Although subverted in places, this poem is written in a form called a ‘sestina’ . It’s possibly the longest poetic forms I have encountered, which challenged me to write longer poems. Wish I could go back in time and ask the person who created the sestina how they came up with it:
MONOTONE LOVE AFFAIR
We are colanders. Colanders sieving
life through our bones, on a throne –
well, a bed – of fire and candles we already put out,
extinguished. I suggest we put our marriage down,
pretend we are new to love, pretend there’s still a fair
amount of time before the huge room
filled with our family and friends, and rings on middle-fingers. Before the room
we settled down
in. When our conversation worked on a tone
when we used to go out.
When you still took me to park fairs.
This isn’t fair,
you know. What happened to the times when we used to sing
together? Remember when went down
to the Karaoke Box? We booked a room
and sang songs by the Overtones
(your choice) and Bon Jovi (mine) until we were kicked out…
We’re doing it again. Why do we have to shout,
fight like boiling water in a pot, searching for room
to breathe, to reach over the other? Don’t you know that hot water stings?
This isn’t fair
to either of us, putting each other down
all the time. Guilt weighing heavy like stone.
You apologize in that sweet tone
of voice I married you for. ‘I’m sorry, let’s not fight,’ with that funny pout
you do. You lower your head down
to mine and kiss me. I say sorry as well (it’s only fair).
We laugh at the same time when we hear the neighbour “singing”
outside and move to a different room.
TV on, we sit in the living room
where you’re reminded of your tone-
deaf “girlfriend” who just loves to sing –
trying not to laugh, running a hand through my fair
hair whilst the other turns the TV down,
tired of listening to characters spout
their nonsense on love. I tell you about
my “boyfriend” who refuses to put the toilet seat down
and we continue our monotone love affair.