Ode to Old Loves

Ode to Old Loves

For some reason, I’m on a poetry sharing jag right now.
Here’s one of my personal favorites I’ve written:


My first love was my grandfather.
He made sure to always blow the spaghetti out of my ears,
and together we walked the miles and miles (yards) to the tiny bridge
over an even tinier creek to play Poohsticks.
He told me tall tales of ranches and mining.
Educated me in the arts of ghost towns and gambling.
Always had a lemon drop or a silver dollar he’d saved ‘specially for me.

My father was my longest love.
Showing me the genius’ search for God.
Painting the starlit nights with wonder as he pointed out the names and shapes.
Crying at a science fiction movie because he couldn’t explore outer space, too.
Listening to all my meandering stories, pretending fright in my haunted houses,
and tucking me securely into bed every night.
Modeling for me, daily, the simply joyful strength of giving oneself.

Next came my youngest love.
All of a sudden, we noticed that he was a “he” and I was a “she.”
He carried my books as we walked me to school;
I ganged up playing four square then gave him my top spot.
We held sweaty palms at the first sixth-grade dance.
But what I loved best was laughing together
as we made utter fools of ourselves.

Soon afterward I dreamed my make-believe lovers
based on Hollywood movies.
I became obsessed.
The line between fantasy and reality grew thin with habit.
I discovered the glory of losing oneself in illusion
and delighted in the tingling of my body
as I imagined intimate interludes.

Then the Older Man.
A youth minister who found my innocence and developing body
an alluring combination.
He held my hand on Colossus and wrote me my first love poem,
promising me forever.
I learned that the compliment of attracting an older man’s attentions
doesn’t make me any more worthy,
and just because he works in a “spiritual” job, doesn’t mean
he’s any more spiritual or less male.
I’m not ready to grow up.

Ohmygod…my prom date!
Picked me up a half hour late
because he was too busy bragging to his buddies.
We popped straws at McDonald’s (such romantic ambiance!)
He kissed and groped me every time the lights dimmed,
but at least he succeeded in convincing me that
big breasts are beautiful;
taught me that I’m only cheap if I allow him to treat me like trash
Nasty boys don’t mean a thing.

Sigh…my first Heartbreak.
A senior majoring in psychology who had the psyche of this sophomore mastered.
Pursued me after my first public poetry reading,
in love with my beautiful mind.
Excessive flirting during Statistics and in-depth all night “talks.”
Emotional intimacy now a reality (with some physical sprinkled in for spice.)
How glorious to be loved for who you really are
and not what they want you to be!
My first time togethering…
at surfing sunrises
missionary dreams and
Mexican sunsets.
I learned that poetry and depth are not sufficient for some men.
Attractive men can have their cake, eat it too,
and have a little extra icing on the side!

Quickly enter: The Rebound.
Directed me towards Teaching and Dedication to Church and Country.
Loved his Momma–too much!
Kissing him was like kissing the brother I never had.
Bounced out just as quickly.

In thundered the Greek God.
A statue in the flesh and purely erotic connection.
I simply saw and wanted to touch.
He sold cowboy boots and took me western dancing.
I still dream of the night we fed each other chocolate chip cookies
after a thorough dunking. (don’t ask!)
He stimulated (among other extremities)
my life-long love affair with John Denver.
But I soon saw that the opportunities he offered
did not compare to my convictions.

The Husband to Whom I Vowed Forever.
An irresistible, karmic attraction.
I’d save him, while we saved the world.
City lights, loud music, and excitement-filled days…
but lonely nights.
I finally growed up, but I lost the little girl.
My nose was pushed in my own “sin nature,”
my naivete consumed by the shadows.
Give to the homeless, love the downtrodden;
have time for everyone except those you love the most.
I am never enough.
Addiction to the desperate way he makes me feel.
We hate what we don’t understand.
It ended, despite Forever.
Abuse creeps up on you and you’re only a victim
the first time.

The birth of my Beloved Son,
with whom I am well pleased.
The bliss of being the center of each other’s universe as we nurse.
All those fabulous firsts.
I see that souls are born much holder than their bodies,
and enter this world with a slew of resistances.
A fierce, protective love arises at all costs (even to myself).
I am much younger than I thought.
Motherhood is the greatest joy of womanhood.

Unexpectedly, my Mixed-up Mentor.
So proud to be an enigma.
From camping and nature, to merlot and solitude,
we embrace our precious moments,
he hesitantly–I gulping greedily.
I return to writing for my Muse.
Beginning to accept what is, rather than regret what is not.
He teaches me how to teach others what matters,
rather than what’s required.
I dally in the extremes to make up for the deficiencies.
Living for the in-between instead of the lasting.
Perception is not the truth.
Soon we’re caught in our web of lies, deceit, and justification.
I am sliced by the double-edged Gemini and his
spirituality of imperfection.

At last, I discover my Other Whole.
A combination of the best of all my previous loves,
and the worst of none of them.
We begin with the Perfect Moment on a sunlit beach
(even when you SWEAR you’re not attracted to each other!)
He demonstrates the rhythm of life.
Life is a game, why not tap dance on the lines?
Songs are so much more than simply the vehicle for lyrics, and I
FINALLY find out what the big deal about SEX is!
It’s the age of the soul, not the body, that matters.
He helps me give permission to myself to dream the impossible,
to know the truth not by limitation, but by exploration.
We find magic in this mundane world, facing the unknown
with clasped hands and open (but aware) minds.
He gives me space to consider my intuition,
as well as the companionship to create something beyond ourselves–together.
My lost child is nursed back to health–and beyond.
Finally, I forgive the past as I comprehend its purpose, for
loving is simply the process of discovering our own divinity.

–by Rose Guildenstern

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