My poem, "Dictionary," is now up at The Shine Journal. It looks great, if I do say so myself!
The editor requested an origin story, and on the site I kept it very short. In reality, I was in the throes of breakup woe over my first two lovers when I wrote this. Both relationships were unhealthy, so I used a shorthand and combined them. During writing, I alternately saw the names and faces of first one, then the other.
Bachelor Number 1: My first boyfriend. I met him in my small high school, in my little town. I couldn't conceive that there might be something better out there, and I didn't know what love was, so I imagined that this was love and accepted whatever came along with it. We were constantly clashing because we had utterly different expectations. I never saw him as he really was, and I doubt he could see me, we were so full of preconceived notions. We never made each other happy. I was too busy trying to make him fit into my dream life, dreaming of true love and a perfect marriage that I was too blind to see was not reality. He tried to change me, I tried to change him. He did us a huge favor and called the wedding off just a few months before it was to take place. What a relief! In the poem, I allude to the feeling of losing my sense of self whenever I was with him. After that fateful phone call (no sniggering, we lived 3000 miles apart at the time), I was left with an apparently blank slate. It filled back in with my personality after the shock wore off.
Bachelor Number 2: I had a lot more in common with him, and I could really see us spending our lives together in blissful contentment. But I was still trying to change one fundamental thing about him to suit my fantasy: he never wanted to be with me for the long haul. Through no fault of his, I was convinced that he was The Love of My Life, that there would never be anyone to compare him to. As recently as two years ago, if he had given me the signal, I would have dropped everything just to be with him. If I've ever suffered from erotomania, he was the object. I knew that when they did my autopsy, they would find his image on my heart. Very deluded, indeed. Very self-effacing, as we see in the poem.
Thank goodness, it turned out that Bachelor Number 2 was just a step (an important step) on that ladder toward meeting my real soulmate. To anyone who's suffered in love, keep the faith!
Enjoy "Dictionary"! It's just one of many self-rediscovery poems in Dusk Before Dawn.