One Kiss Too Many


“One kiss too many
And kisses lose their meaning”
Diane Wakoski

Let me, this once and without condemnation,
be churlish and openly maledictory
(my poetry might be a poetry of revenge
but having the last word is often pyrrhic):
I wish for you the loneliness
you have given me. I mean by loneliness not that
common state of being alone in a crowd,
but something else, more awful.

That is not nice of me.
I’m supposed to hug my grief and grievances
to myself and like an extraordinarily
benevolent peasant woman
wish you a long life, many offspring
and a multiplicity of happinesses. I should care
for you and keep the thought of you (you
as yourself I loved) precious
no matter where you go what you do
no matter where I go what I do.

Loving you has made me bitter and not
courteous or gracious or kind.
I did not learn about tenderness, warmth and
mystic moments of burning worlds and carnal satisfactions
(of which I’ve read in other people’s poetry), although in my
fantasies I know of such things well
and tried to offer you a tentative self.

I cannot suffer fools gladly and
all men are fools (like the feminist
in Miss MacIntosh, My Darling I’ll die
with forty trunks filled with bridal dresses).
I continue a petulant virago
and wish in my heart of hearts
that you will be weak, your ambitions thwarted,
and that you will be smitten with boils
until we know you not. And, unlike Job, you will not have
the integrity or wit to say
how long will you vex my soul,
and break me in pieces with words.

I bear my words and meanings are too simple,
my motives too transparent.
I will be fettered imaginatively and emotionally
if I cannot be more involved with matters other than

love has died, friendship has faded.
But because I loved you gladly
because we in a manner of speaking blew it baby
because I no longer like you
because I despise and curse you
and because I am lonely
I want to protest. I mean love’s a myth isn’t it.

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