Dear Love & Co. [Winner of the 1st Annual Ruhi Dayanim Award in Poetry]

by Sarah McCall

Dear Love, I’m like that fictitious heart
that expands and contracts red pulses
of affection, as if it could feel into the brain’s matter.
Dear Sex, I don’t care if you’re the primordial
instinct from a single-celled organism
or a non-verbal chimpanzee with a hard-on
for his girl as long as you assault
my guts with the warm bloom of desire.
I confess, I never took that psychology class
or cared for the smoking cigar of Freud’s ideas.
I care his family was house arrested during the war
& that his mouth was bred into a hothouse for cancer.
I care he said the inability to have vaginal orgasm
was due to early conflicts, a failure to launch.
Dear Love, I never had to escape persecution
or defend my family’s history to the gods.
True, I avoid wading into a frenzied surf
with shark warnings but have thoughts of getting wet.
Is that why I’m for life preservers
on deck to save, maybe, drowning blow-hards like Freud?
Dear Sex, despite the inflated girl talk about hearts
and red, feels more like I’m motoring
stretches of empty highway without lights, hoping
to crash or get caught, those turned down beams,
the lost cause of their darkness and the darkness
of their lost cause.  I confess to more chase
fantasies than a librarian with a tightly wrapped bun,
but this time, don’t know how I forgot
reality.  Maybe, I’ve come to change the address
to Dear Good Enough, Dear Solace, & accept the rest
like movie tickets waiting to be torn in half
at the box office, like those occasional ecstasies, flares, for you to fan
the smoke back and forth after the sparkler’s orange heat.

 

*After Glenn Morazzini’s “Dear Spring & Co.”

 

 

About “Dear Love & Co.” Judge Rick Barot said: “Dear Love & Co.” has a whimsical, performative tone that’s probably meant to underscore just how vulnerable-making love, sex, and desire are. Therefore: “I avoid wading into a frenzied surf / with shark warnings but have thoughts of getting wet.”  And therefore: “I’m motoring / stretches of empty highway without lights, hoping / to crash or get caught.”  There’s a melancholy self at the heart of the speaker’s bravado—a melancholy self that might have to settle for “Good Enough” and “Solace,” though continually fervent for the “occasional ecstasies” that can show up in a life.

 

 

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Sarah McCall is a poet, yoga teacher, and student of all things wordy and spiritual.  She has spent many years as an English teacher, bartender, list maker, and lover of clean, bright things.  She and her husband and their two dogs live in Norfolk, VA, where Sarah is an MFA candidate at Old Dominion University.