Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

[An edited version of this poem appears in the ebook Like. Love. Hate. available at Amazon and Smashwords.]

I. Like

Mustard is formless yet gives form to the tasteless with a glancing gaze and a dollop of flattery. It’s the imaginary strawberry topping on a hope sundae. It’s a periwinkle crayon, a surprise, neither blue nor purple, operating as a symbol of whimsy. As amorphous as a Persian cat, it’s an abstraction, a sly appraisal meant to stand for the opposite of cabbage (in turn, a thing that means only itself, layered and dense, the heart of it calm, plotting, and planning, the red ones running to burgundy). It’s an 11-fingered hand dangling over the side of the pool float, trailing the water, or is that just me? It’s the memory of five minutes ago illegally parked, blocking in a spring day (dandelion seedheads, floating sugar, a clutter of fairies fat on Lay’s potato chips, Wednesday on its throne symbolic of a fading week, a ghost whisperer angling for a record deal). It’s a modicum of maturity and freedom, wearing sandals despite the apprehension of baring unpainted toenails. Almost too busy for a schedule, it’s a Superbowl party dip–for want of a better term–fried to a crisp, like for like.

II. Love

Slathered, not spread, you clog my heart, my Mayonnaise, looking for all the world like a beautiful mistake. Sincerest appreciation, my Chocolate-Dipped Optimism! My pen, amazed, is the master of thoughts that mewl like kittens, simple in their complexity, of utmost interest to infants and scientists, like fractals, the cruciferous broccoli, the absolute quiet. Nothing can prepare one for the brightest of reds or the truth of seven, for the ocean oozing from the sides of a karma sandwich. Imagine me speeding down the highway full out, convertible top open on a dry summer day, Equal artificial sweetener-laced iced tea in the cooler; the dirt of a picnic lunch, a spread being laid, the samba of Friday, nocking a bow like a Warrior Princess, stomach weak from laughter, having the wisdom to walk barefoot, suffering only useful worries as I, engrossed, thumb through my itinerary: next, the Olympic trials of being in love with love.

III. Hate

Ketchup stares up from the plate and masks the taste of all it touches, a twisted imitation of Midas, a cousin to vanilla in the family of delusion, a pencil point ripping the page. We are blindsided by its power as a pantry staple: That sort of control is usually reserved for that which has fur and sharp teeth, crouched and waiting in obscurity, assuming we are the dangling carrots. The silence and the shrewd calculation that silence conceives (the answers born pink, snouted, and squealing) are separated by exactly three feet, as it’s hard to drown in a lake more shallow, and me, tuned in after years of traffic tickets, dark winters, and nonfoods (like ketchup and Splenda), still sweeping up the dust, lies, and Tuesdays knowing vampire slayers don’t exist. We feed at will and vomit the excess, and no one becomes immortal. Socks bunched up around our ankles, we are guilty of life, obsessively budgeting the cost of our dotage. This game, this sport, this need that robs independence boils over the pot onto our clean stoves. Hate sucks the air out of the room.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2012


Comments on: "Like Love Hate (the poem)" (30)

  1. Buffy doesn’t exist?????? 😦

  2. Your way with words astounds me…pictures pop into my head as I read, moving rapidly through like a kaleidoscope of light and color…loved it Adriene…

  3. All the words? Why? In PART”Like” I gather it is for the pleasure of surrealism, despite having to bare unpainted toenails. In Part “Love” it is for “the Olympic trials of being in love with love” including the attributes of mayonnaise, chocolate, broccoli, karma sandwich, picnic–there is so much eating in love I see you rushing to the table in that convertible. Which leaves Part Hate–I hate when this is last! I can see that you do too. Except for the pigs, it is mostly about absence–absence of taste, of air, of food, etc. So that makes me jump right back up to like and love. Word games. don’t have to love them–but gotta love the ones who are patient enough and good at them! Good play!

    • Thanks, Susan! Yeah, basically this was for the fun and challenge of it. I’ve always wanted to go back to the original post and use those words for something. Also, I’m a stickler and a completist so I tried to use all the words, but every successive draft (and there were a few!) I kept editing out the key words! But putting them back in forced me to bend the thoughts in unexpected directions. (After publishing, I noticed that I left out a word! But it’s heavily implied … maybe next draft …) After finishing part Hate, I seriously considered leaving it out. Then I thought about putting it first or second, then was worried no one would read past it! ;p

    • (Left out “age” in the Hate section)

  4. Wow, you have a way with words, Adrienne, this is lovely, like a whirlwind of images, here one second and gone the next!

  5. Terrific flow of thoughts here. I really like this piece.

  6. Your words fascinate me! How do you come up with such unique imagery. It took me to a journey as I read this. You are amazing!

  7. This is so fascinating! You are so brilliant with this! 🙂

  8. As I was reading this post I could actually imagine all the things in my head and it left with a smile as it ended.

    Superbly written!

  9. I love your words and I totally agree with you take on mustard, mayonnaise & ketchup. the thing is, my daughters are mad about ketchup. I must have done something wrong.

  10. Love this one, there’s a lyric tone all the way through, or at least there is to me. Different from some of your other works.

    • Thank you, Brenda. I called myself writing a prose poem, but in truth, I’m not sure what that is, exactly. Here, I think, I mostly just put everything in paragraph form instead of stanzas. I love doing stream of consciousness but I use it sparingly.

  11. How long did it take you to write this Sweepy? What a beautifully introspective word exercise. You deserve a prize for this one. Both pieces are very well done and a joy to read!

    • Hey, Tameka. The core poem was written over the course of 2 days, then I spent about 3 days revising it. For a poem of this length I consider that to be fast but these days I find it easier to get into the mental state I like to be in when I write. I’m also rethinking how and when I share my poems. There’s lot I haven’t put out yet. I must say, though that as I read this one again, I can see a few spots waiting for me to refine some more!

  12. […] there was the blog post, then the poem. Now Like. Love. Hate. is an ebook of four […]

  13. […] [See also: "Like. Love. Hate." the ebook and "Like Love Hate" (the poem).] […]

  14. Well done, dear.

    Take care,

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