Tearing through boxes of Tightrope titles, searching for a poetry collection to kick my brain into gear and fuel me with ammunition for this article, I came upon The Animal Bridegroom, which taught me that love makes more sense if the players are imagined as enchanted animals in a fairytale context. I mean, who doesn’t love a good fairytale? They’re the opium of the mangled heart, and every lover can associate with the experience of being torn to pieces by a ravenous bear in the guise of the loved one.
So, cozy up to your computer, and let me spill you a yarn. Although I’m not one to fall in love with humans, I have been known to feel certain tingly feelings for “perfection.” Perfection’s favourite game was to pepper my day with humiliation. Whenever I left my home, he and his band of nymphs would follow me around, making loud catcalls, holding hands and dancing around me in circles, pulling my hair as if it were a wig that they could take off, stealing my gramma’s homemade cookies, squirting me with water, and so on. When I returned home at the end of the day, I would bury my head in my mom’s lap and cry without cease and then go up to my room to write poems to Perfection about my unconditional love. My mom simply assumed I was going through premenstrual problems.
Perfection, on the other hand, reveled in the attention he was getting from my poems and every night after my parents had retired to bed, he would assemble his complement of nymphs, all under a drunken stupor, and tell them to read my poetry aloud outside my abode. The first few nights, my mom assumed there was some festival in town. Then, one night, disguising herself as an old woman, she went out before their arrival, and found out through her woman’s intuition that the poetry they were reciting was mine, and they were in fact employed in a parody of her daughter. Then, casting off her disguise, she marched up to my room, poems in hand, and declared she was about to phone the police to have Perfection set on fire, which made me collapse to the floor and promise my mother I would no longer write poems for the remainder of my days.
I quickly turned on my computer and wrote a blog posting about Perfection, saying that I was calling it quits. Thinking this action would put an end to him, I lay in bed and fell fast asleep, only to be awoken three hours later, by a dozen new text messages pinging madly on my mom’s cellphone, sent by other bruised hearts from overseas phone numbers. Each message was written decrying Perfection as a wild animal incapable of being tamed.
I vainly called upon the forest gods to deliver me from this evil, who told me wisely to cancel my mother’s cellphone service and that was that.
I still wonder, however, if this whole mess could’ve been averted had I dumped Perfection before poetry got into the picture and taken out my frustrations at Karaoke Palace.
By allowing my poetic muse to be torn to shreds, I ensured that she would spend the next fifty years in therapy and never be able to laugh at another pun.
Maybe I should ask my audience—is love poetry inevitably bound for buffoonery? It’s a fair question …