Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Poetry on the Brain

Alternate titles include: Nothing to do with Spain, Reminiscing, Ill-fated and Star-Crossed...

But I will say one thing about my life in Spain. Some guy was angry that he missed the bus and threw a rock through the windshield, causing everyone on the bus (including me) to be late to work and fear for our lives for a minute. It was the craziest thing that has ever happened to me. 

Alright, so, today is the last day of National Poetry Month in America. THIS IS MY FAVORITE MONTH. And while I was sick, I decided to play "What is this document?" while getting rid of old Microsoft Word files. I don't get rid of anything in Word and have a slough of poems, short stories, character sketches, etc. So, basically, opening any document on Word is a trip down Memory Lane for me. 

I opened one document titled Milton Bradley Poems - poems about a crush I used to have. (I can't explain my mind or weird references). Now, I did a bit of research for this blog post. The nickname for this crush of mine came from the board game designer Milton Bradley. Before an hour ago, I didn't even know there was a baseball player with the same name. Also, before an hour ago, I didn't actually know anything about the game designer, so, I took the time to educate myself. 

He gained some success by printing advertising for Lincoln's campaign. He then created "The Checkered Game of Life," which was the springboard for the still popular "Game of Life." Back then, it looked something like this:

But with more squares. These days, there are spaces like "Get a Flat Tire. Lose a Turn." (I may be making that one up, I can't actually remember...) Back when Bradley invented it, there were bad vices and things on it such as gambling. I'm not sure how to play, but you had to collect 100 points in order to win the game. 

Enough about random history, let's get back to my Milton Bradley. Like I said, this was a boy I had a crush on and, therefore, the subject of a number of poems including a sestina, which I will share with you.

But, first, a bit of background on this crush. I sat next to this girl in one of my classes who knew him and one day she came to class and was like "I ran into [him] at the gym. And then he was talking about this really cool girl he'd met. And then I realized it was the girl I sat next to in English!!" Before that moment, the girl didn't even know I knew him. And to a teenage girl, the fact that a boy you think is cute talked about you at the gym is some of the most exciting news in the world. Him and I became sort of friends throughout the years, but nothing beyond casual flirtations and cute moments. 

This poem is for the Milton Bradley.

It's a sestina, in traditional sestina form and I have played around with it a little bit since I found it in the word document. Not the best, definitely feelings of a teenage girl (at this point in my life, I'm like, "Wow, looking back, I didn't think I felt so strongly...." ) but I like it and wanted to post a poem for National Poetry Month. 

Working title: Mercutio

We watched the sky for hours
as our hearts tempted fate
and we fell carelessly in love,
wandering through life
not knowing our watched stars
had pain in store for us.

We never meant to be an us.
in those first significant hours
we just sat in the light of the stars
thinking we were exempt from their fate.
Exempt from the human-ness of life
and safe from the pains of love.

But it turned into love.
And, horribly, turned to an "us"-
-a "we," ampersanded in life.
We whispered nothings to pass hours
and pretended not to be ill-fated
but rather crossed by stars.

My hand in yours watching stars
made me feel more wildly in love
wondering if meeting you was fate
wanting to be more of an "us"
watching for seconds, minutes, hours
wondering if I could be lucky in life.

But I wasn't lucky in life,
was I? Day broke and the stars  
faded, breaking my heart. Within hours
of my be-all, end-all love
I half-heartedly watched us
crumble and give up faith in fate.

Before you, I didn't believe in fate
but now I live a different life.
I hate that there won't be an us
as I sit and watch the stars,
alone, wondering about future love,
hoping next time for more than hours,

but if it's only hours aligned in my fate,
then I hope for more loves in this life
than stars that stretch the miles between us. 

Milton Bradley, if you are reading this and you know who you are, smile because you were such a good friend of mine. Even though we weren't close, you were always there for me, even when the going got rough. I used to love our conversations about obscure music and sharing earbuds with you to listen to music and just our conversations about everything. I also loved later when you used to ask "How is what's his name doing?" when you knew perfectly well what my then boyfriend's name was. I liked that a boy I was dating could make you jealous. Also, thanks for always keeping on my toes and calling me out on my bullshit. 

If the girl who sat next to me in that English class is reading this, come on, it's not like you didn't know. I'm pretty sure you and I have had conversations in which all we talked about is that the Milton Bradley was sooo hoooot, as teenage girls are known to do.

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