Poem: First Kiss

one damp press, lip to lip and not
enough pressure for me to remember
dry or luscious texture

__________________and then nothing

two weeks later I said let’s
just be friends
in the library, I think

__________________and then nothing

until a week later—he left
a threatening voicemail; I remember
none of his words

my parents called the police

__________________and then nothing

__I do remember
__long dark hair
__his mohawk
__was usually


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19 comments for “Poem: First Kiss

  1. September 15, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    ugh…sad when the first kiss ends with a threatening voicemail and having to call the police…good you didn’t go further with him…ugh…

    • ekswitaj
      September 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      High school was a strange time.

  2. September 15, 2012 at 10:36 pm

    Really like the way you crafted this piece, certain words can really offer a layering/symbolic effect of multiple meaning–very fond of poems like that, where it all seems as is, pretty confident that was the intention, but just that little inkling inside the head, telling you….but perhaps it’s also this…I find that very cool. Great take on the piece. Thanks

    • ekswitaj
      September 15, 2012 at 11:46 pm

      Thank you.

  3. September 15, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    frig…ugh….sorry he was a jerk….HS is a strange time….working in one now i am reliving it all the more…first kisses and police calls should not have to go together….

    • ekswitaj
      September 15, 2012 at 11:48 pm

      Yeah, I’m over it by now ;). I think it’s because I’ve been rewatching Buffy recently that I’ve been thinking about it. But it took a bit of doing to get back into that headspace even still.

  4. September 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    “And then nothing”… such a poignant refrain… And then the limp mohawk made me smirk, a silly boy.

    • ekswitaj
      September 15, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      I think I saw it standing up *once* but that was long after all this.

  5. September 16, 2012 at 3:59 am

    Seems a bit of a disappointment, as a first time. Hope the second one was better.

    • ekswitaj
      September 16, 2012 at 5:00 pm

      Seconds, I think, are usually better than firsts–or maybe it’s just the lack of expectation.

  6. September 16, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Hi Elizabeth,
    I enjoyed the poem. There are some fabulous line breaks here that really get the reader working. ‘he left / a threatening voicemail’ is excellent, wrong-footing the reader perfectly.
    Why the link to the piece on Olivia Byard?

    • ekswitaj
      September 16, 2012 at 5:01 pm

      Hi John, thank you for your kind words.

      The links at the bottom are selected from a list suggested by the Zemanta plugin; I find it’s a good way to expand the context and discussion (and to refer any newbie poetry-readers who might happen by to the broader poetic world). I also found a lot of what you talk about in Byard’s work to be germane to my own poetic process, though it doesn’t necessarily show in this piece.

  7. September 16, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Sound subject as mine and looks like both went badly! Although mine sounds a long time ago!

    • ekswitaj
      September 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Mine was lifetimes ago. It took a bit of doing to get back into the headspace.

  8. September 16, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    Smiling — fun confession. Ah, firsts are full of mistakes — or experiments and stepping stones.

    • ekswitaj
      September 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Much healthier to look at it first times as the latter; I think it’s a shame we have so much hype around them.

  9. September 16, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    high school!!! tough tyms…loved the poem. “and then nothing” esp

    • ekswitaj
      September 16, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Thanks. Yes, you couldn’t pay me to go back to those days. I don’t understand the tradition of HS reunions, to be honest. Why would people want to reminisce about that?

  10. Olivia
    September 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm

    Thank you for linking to the Rude Lines article on my latest book.

    I do like the ending of your poem – the shift to his mohawk for the word ‘limp’ – a brave conclusion, externalising the discomfort he caused you – out, and onto him. You identify him just right – ‘limp’ has all sorts of strong connotations and succeeds in dismissing him – therefore making yourself free through your poem- also the vagueness of the description at the end which emphasises that he is unworthy of being remembered as anything else.

    A friend of mine talks of the ‘power of poetry to help and heal’ – you’re doing that already! Best wishes.

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