"Lover/Loved" was my first sonnet, written in a class with Joan Larkin. I'm not sure I still agree with the couplet/conclusion – it seems too self-serving. Or maybe I've learned the art. "Gas Station Pick-up" is a double sonnet based on a failed pick up attempt. Sales seems like a kind of seduction. www.jackpowers13.com/poetry/
Must there always be lover and loved
spooner and spooned, hand and glove
why not equal parts of held and hold
tongue and groove, folded and fold
Must one always encircle the other
one absorb, one soak another
can age be blamed, is it gender
do genes assign sendee and sender
Or is loving an art that can be learned
accepting love a talent to develop
can one change from yearner to yearned
To both surround and be enveloped
And why is it when push comes to shove
I choose to be the lover, not the loved?
Gas Station Pick-up
In Oakland, New Jersey I stop for gas.
Before the car even comes to a rest,
a tan guy at the next pump sticks a mass-
ive hand inside my window and says, West,
Doug West. Goatee and FDNY cap.
Where you from? I know whatever I say,
he'll hand me his card and claim, I hap-
pen to be expanding there. He backs away
as I open the door, step to the pump.
I'm in e-commerce, he says. Looking for
a go-getter. I wish he'd go, but some-
how I want to be that go-getter more.
Although, go where? To get what? Yes, I know
he's just out networking, but I feel so
harassed (and flattered). The gas hose feels strange.
I have no card. I shrug, explain: Don't think
I'm your man. He persists. Maybe you'll change
your mind. Your number? he insists. The stink
of gas makes me feel drunk. It's 2-0-3,
I say. Part of me dreams of E-commerce
conquest. 2-9-6. Or just wants to be
wanted. 8-2. I know I should reverse
the last two numbers, that old bar pick up
trick but I say, 5-0, and let the tank
fill. We shake hands again – a firm, quick up
and down, eye contact, three shakes. He winks. Thanks,
Jack. Drives off. I wad his card in a ball,
inhale more fumes and fear (and hope) he'll call.
"Lover/Loved" was first published in The Leaflet (Spring, 2015).
©2016 Jack Powers
©2016 Jack Powers
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF