Hi everyone – happy Friday!
I discovered a poem today, here: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/250878, called Fast Gas, by Dorianne Laux. I promise it is worth the read.
I was looking up love poems, because I’ve always thought them to be a peculiar breed – so overdone, right? It was brought on by my boyfriend, asking why I only ever wrote about things that were sad and I thought, dammit, I’ll write about something happy – I’ll write a love poem! Which turned out to be a mess, because love poem can become so… trite? so easily.
So anyway, I was researching love poems and I found this one and it spoke to me and I was hoping it might speak to some of you and – if it did – that you might tell me why. I found this poem to not be trite at all; when I read it aloud, the words made my mouth feel full and my skin heat just a little, and most of the poem is not about love and yet it is.
For me, I think, that’s what was key – the poem used content to tell two stories; every line worked two ways telling a story of gasoline and a story of love (and the way love can be explosive, just like that fuel). Especially, I loved the way these lines worked: “the gas/backed up, came arcing out of the hole/ in a bright gold wave and soaked me — face, breasts,/belly and legs”. Love explodes out of that place we can’t see inside us, a bright and golden (so positive!) wave, soaking our whole body in hormones and making our whole body, from face to legs (and especially breasts, thrown in there perhaps for a little sexualization), tingle. The next set of lines I particularly loved: ”
” Doesn’t that seem just like love? Making us light-headed, making us feel raw and amazed. It contains that pain and yet that shimmering beauty. It covers the ordinary nature of us, the asphalt, with the beauty of the rainbow, glowing. “Shimmered and ached” – that feels like love to me.
All this being said, I almost wish the poem had not transitioned into being so explicitly about love; I was feeling the metaphor so strongly that when it transitioned and was explicitly mentioned I was disappointed for having it all explained to me. Did others feel the same?
Another love note (haha- get it?) was for the form. The run-on, no stanza breaks made me feel the love, and its tension, full throttle with no stopping. It was certainly fast gas. There was no time to stop and take a breath, and love is often that way; fast and all-consuming.
I also wondered if this poem spoke to me simply because of my past experiences – my dad and I spend hours in the garage together, and he has worked on cars his whole life. Thus anything about cars, even the smell of gasoline, can feel like love (though paternal love, generally) to me and evoke a sense of, at the very least, contentment. Did it speak to others, even without this background?