The Ways I Do Not Love You, Day 10 NaPoWriMo (Phew–with one second to spare.)

“An un-love poem isn’t a poem of hate, exactly — that might be a bit too shrill or boring. It’s more like a poem of sarcastic dislike. “

The Ways I Do Not Love You

I do not want to count the ways I do not love you.
To do so casts me too solidly in your image
without your excuses
for doing what you did:
that you were crazy-jealous,
crazy-in love, crazy-in rejection,
crazy period.

I had always wanted to be loved to distraction,
but being loved to craziness is another thing:
your deep truck tracks carving artless Nazca lines
into the fresh sod of my yard,
the new mailbox snapped off at its base,
the queries from strangers who had met you in a bar
and heard all of the intimate details
of your insane version of our love affair.
The letters to every member of the school board,
every administrator in the district, every lawyer,
every preacher in our town of 50,000,
telling of the wild schoolteacher
and outing her gay friends.

I do not want to count the ways
you proved the heartbreak
of your love for me,
those ways that now delineate
the ways I do not love you.

I do not even love the memory of you
at Vedauwoo, standing on the monolithic rock,
your sun-shy son crouched in its shade.

I do not love the memory
of driving to Jackson Hole,
the twelve-foot-high banks of snow
on either side of the highway
that made it impossible to slide off the road.
The dark, split by our headlights,
pixelated by the mesmerizing onslaught of snow;
and suddenly, the miraculous glimpse of the giant elk
arcing from the left hand snow mass, high above us, over to the bank on the other side,
leaving us spellbound and mute,
as though this was a miracle
neither of us had the words to describe.

What are you, about 21? You asked
that first night at the Ramada.
The music was starting
and I thought you were there to ask me for a dance.
When I answered 26, you smiled that crooked smile
and walked away.
That unpredictable mystery of you
was what kept me intrigued.
I never could stand the ordinary.

Not that I love the memory of this.
And not that I know how long the list would be
of why I do not love you any more.
My mind wanders through the memory of you
like a lazy woman picking chocolates:
testing one and discarding it.
Choosing another.
Finally deciding
perhaps it is the brand of chocolates
that does not suit.
Oh, my once-darling,
I despise the thought of you.
Even these intrusive memories
cannot win me back.

You told me once, “Babe, you are so good
that you don’t even realize your powers.”
You’d lost your job and most of your friends
and blamed it all on me.
Even your friends had chosen my side, you said,
blaming me when I didn’t even know there was a game,
let alone its rules or its consequences.

I do not want to number all the ways
I do not love you anymore.
Suffice it to say that once over,
love might as well have never been.
Like a snowflake on a sun-warmed sidewalk,
there is no evidence
of its ever having existed.

Better to exhaust one’s efforts on a new love,
for there is no way to list the ways you do not love.
No way to bring to light now that list
that you have never written.

That list.

That list that you keep hidden
in the back of your heart
with all of your life’s other

This entry was posted in Love Stories, NaPoWriMo, Other kinds of Loss, Poetry on by .

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

18 thoughts on “The Ways I Do Not Love You, Day 10 NaPoWriMo (Phew–with one second to spare.)

    1. grieflessons Post author

      Thanks, Donna. I can’t believe I got it posted one second before midnight. I’m determined not to backslide on this, but had company and only had a half hour to get it finished and posted. I did it! And there you were to read it…Sweet dreams to you. Gonna check out your blog now..Judy


  1. Ann Garcia

    Wow, what a powerful poem.  That “love” had its moments–the elk on the snow bank, the boy in the shade of a big rock (I felt sorry for him)…and then the abusive streak.  I never knew this happened to you.  How terrible.  I didn’t even hear about it, so the preachers, school board members, etc. must’ve taken it with a proverbial grain of salt.  There is that hold-the-breath story going on in this poem and beautifully chosen words, as usual.  I do not know how you do it.  Every day you come up with these beauties.  So impressed.  Love, A


  2. redgladiola

    So tangible. I’m sorry those seemingly beautiful memories (to this reader, at least) were later tainted. Often, I think people feel safe in venting their frustrations on loved ones, just because they’re there. It makes no sense to hurt the ones supporting you. They should be cherished and apologized sincerely to. *hugs*


    1. lifelessons Post author

      It is very interesting that I don’t think I ever asked him about his mother. I believe she ws 1/2 Native American. Other than that I know nothing of his background other than his brother. Hmmmm.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: For Fandango’s one-word challenge: Love | lifelessons – a blog by Judy Dykstra-Brown

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