Love Poems, Then and Now

by Jessica Machado

For the dude in my 10th-grade history class:
At first I found your flirting annoying
Then it became some kind of treat
But I considered it nothing
For you flirt with everyone you meet

For the dude in line at Starbucks this morning:
I will agree with you about the pale scones
Say uh-huh, the blonde roast sucks
But as you can see, I haven’t had any caffeine yet
And need a break before dealing with office fucks


For my soul mate, 1993–1993:
’Cause we are two hearts
That share the same mind
We could be together
If only you weren’t so blind

For my soul mate, 2009 — :
’Cause when I look at you
Beaming like the sun
The devil in your dimple
I know you must’ve ripped one


For the guy I wouldn’t make-out with over spring break:
You were too serious that night
And I wasn’t used to you that way
I fell for the flirtatious little pervert
Who always knew exactly what to say

For my husband after I tell him “not now, later” and then start to feel bad:
We have all of Saturday morning
When we’ll no longer be drunk
Or you could just kiss behind my ear
And you might fall into some luck


For the bro I made-out with junior year and never called:
I would like to know if you’re worth it
Hoping that the pattern of the quiet phone will be broken
That my kiss lingers in your head like a pleasant headache
Thoughts of you get confused with others ’til they flow simultaneously

For the editor who never responds to my pitches:
I was just wondering if you had a chance to read this
Not the piece itself, just this email about the email about the piece
Just where I wrote that clever line about the ironic rise of the goatee
It shows I have a witty, chill voice, right?


For my boyfriend, who was a junior to my senior:
You broke all my standards
Too young, too unpopular, too nice
But once you knew you got me, you unknowingly became
Too insensitive, too untrusting, too unromantic

For any dude in his twenties:
It shows on my face
Too wearied, too unfazed, too eye-bagged down
A few years ago I’d fool you into a glance, but now I’m
Too close to forty, too employed, too into caftan dresses


For the bench on my parents’ balcony, which cradled me as I looked out into the streetlight and listened to Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” on my Discman on repeat:
There are times when I feel alone
And times when I feel sad
Those are the times when I feel like
Nothing is all I ever had

For my apartment on a Saturday morning when I wake up and realize I have the place to myself:
There are times when I feel alone
And times when I feel sad
But wrapped in an afghan with a queue of trash TV
Makes for the most restorative morning I could ever have

Teenage love poems excerpted from spiral notebook, titled “Poems” in bubble letters, by Jes Machado, c. 1993–95.

Photo via varlasdrive/flickr.

Jessica Machado writes about what kind of grown-up she is here.