One day, you’re gonna look around and you’re going to realize that everybody loves you, but nobody likes you. And that is the loneliest feeling in the world.

—BoJack Horseman

I.

How do you write a breakup poem for a love you no longer mourn? Because you come to realize that love isn’t extinguished no matter the flame metaphors. It’s a favorite record taken from the turntable, placed on the shelf for a rainy day when you need to remember who you were before all the pain. No. Love is an old friend who’ll never be a stranger no matter distance. It’s remembering the good outlasted the bad. A country map, the atlas, marking where you’ve been, not where you’re heading. Love is Frost’s two road poem. A diverging path of familiarity, but not always the one you take. Love is never extinguished; it’s an energy transformed.

II.

How do I write a love poem when the fear of losing you clutches my chest? How do I say you’re beautiful without it being a compliment paid to one friend from another? How do I explain that your touch doesn’t hurt? That when we’re together are the happiest I’ve been in years? That it doesn’t matter what we watch just so long as I’m close to you? How do you tell someone how you feel when you lost your voice? Express the regret I have at not handling things better? How I would never had kissed the wrong lips between her and you had I known that you existed? That our paths would one day cross? How do I write a poem declaring that you’re the first and last thought I have each day, no matter the mood? That just the thought of you can force the tears dry and a smile to spread? How do I explain to you that a third of my breath is yours should you ever want it?

III.

How do I write a poem explaining difficulty of letting myself fall & see where we land? The hours I spent talking to married women wanting an exit, and that exit happened to bear my name. Those who stole my time, taking the vulnerability I offered in good faith. To Selina, whose words echoed on the screen. Showed me my flaws and brought me to my knees. Who worked a future in my imagination that wasn’t hers to offer. To Jenny, too afraid to break my heart because she couldn’t have my blood on her hands. Never responsible for her actions. Escaped one marriage to run into another. To the coffee drinker in need of someone to give up control. Whose time I wasted with nothing to offer except a bed and regret.

To the mistakes I made to get to where I stand, not regretting a second of them, knowing that I will do them again if I had the chance.

How do I write a poem about you without giving you my history? Because I like you and that sorta scares me. Because I know what it feels to kiss the girl in the fast food parking lot and knowing there’s no future. Because I know what it feels to wait for an answer that will never come. I know what it feels to love a person for ten years and lose them. Because I know the difficulties that come with being in a relationship with me. That I give it my all, but ignore their feelings. That behind every I-love-you there may be an escape plan. Because I know love isn’t a flame, but we can still be burned. Because I’ve learned that saying I love you isn’t the same thing as being in love.

Because I don’t fall for people. I plunge.

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