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True Love and Sandboxes, or a heart by any other name is just as fickle

Updated on April 30, 2009

The following is an original piece by Clark Waggoner. 

(c) 2009 Clark Waggoner

(image from
(image from

Call them twins, call them brothers, call them as fast as you can.
There they sit in a sandbox built for other purposes
But in that childish way they don’t look at all out of place.
Two boys licking freckles and making school yard curses
Breaking their leads on crumpled yellow notebook excuses

You’ve got thing 1: this hipster-starlight-dreamer
You’ve got thing 2: the so-called-wise-and-jaded-poet

Ok so they both scribble in third grade penmanship about the written word…
Or in our case tonight, the poet’s voice, or to put it bluntly—bias and how we relate.
I’ll let you in on a little secret, everything I’ve ever read or have written,
At least to some varying degree, depends on what these two kids,
Who need Kleenex brand tissues, are scribbling in sloppy handwriting.

It all, at least partially, revolves around these two and their seemingly irreconcilable differences.
But the rub is, they reconcile.  The rub is, they reconcile in me all the time.

And when I get tired of what I write and what I live and what I know and what I see,
I’m the jaded poet.
And when she loves me, and when I get a call back, and when I’m published…
Suddenly I forget what I knew to be the truth only moments before.

I found out the hard way how much it hurts to be the hipster-dreamer.
I found out fairy tale endings are just that [listen good, boy]—fairy tale endings.
I found out Romeo and Juliet died—and get this, at their own hands.
I found out that, and to use my own ridiculous words.

“Once every generation a love comes along…”
(And forgive me if I don’t finish my original quote here…)
“…that is so powerful it lasts, oh say, 14 months. Big deal.”

So I lock myself up in a tower waiting for my hair to grow
Even though my neck could never support her slender weight.
She’d just snap my neck in two. Maybe that’s exactly what I’m hoping for.
Then my heart and head would never have to reconcile.

Back in our little sandbox, where there are shoes and socks waiting
Patiently on the old wooden planks that mark the borders
Of where human beings will allow the sand to travel (the wood
Came from an old roller coaster at an amusement park that went
Out of business due to tax evasion, evidently the government wasn’t
Very ‘amused’ after all.) Our hero’s write their thesis statements:

One little boy writes, ‘She loves me.’

And the other little boy writes, ‘She’s too young to know what love is.’

You know my biggest fear is that the opposite is true as well:

‘She’s too old to know what love is.’

Because haven’t we always been shown and taught
That love is reckless and uncalculated?
Like Mel Gibson said:
                ‘It makes you wanna jump off buildings,
                But it also gives you wings to fly.’
I suppose I’m obligated to mention he was portraying
A character insane enough to not be able to leave the house
Without a copy of Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye’…
You’d think I could come up with a more reliable source…

Or am I being the hipster-dreamer again?
If love is not what good old Mel says it is
If instead it’s what my parents taught me:

                “the steady repetition of choice in honor of commitment”

…I can respect that
…but it doesn’t seem like anything to write poetry about.

Ok so follow me here. Half of you write about this depressing crap that
Hardly seems redeeming or inspiring, but here I go placing qualifications on poetry
That shouldn’t even be there… besides I’m ignoring the redeeming value of…
Therapeutic writing on showcase for a thousand people who skip half the poem anyway.

And the other half of you (I guess I’m included in both groups) write about this
Unrealistic, impossible love… I have a hard time believing that this perfection
Exists anywhere except poet’s hearts, idealistic teenagers, and Hollywood films
Attempting to earn a profit… You’ve seen it, you’ve heard it, and you’ve wanted it.
You may have even tasted it—‘the love that puts out the stars’—but
More often than not when I see it in real life—it just puts itself out in the end.
Love doesn’t need reasons why it didn’t last, does it?

Recently my conclusion has been that I’m a fool to think that something
Has to last to be real. Nothing lasts—and so what if my ‘true love’ was
Only a 14 month affair? Does that mean I’ve any right to deny what it was?
The thing that scares me is—if I could have her back right now—I’d Run.
I don’t even want to go back there. I don’t want to be happy like that again…
At least not with her. Is it her? Is it I? Is it love?

So after all this garrulous rant I’m stuck playing hopscotch
With two schoolboys who both think the other is up a tree again.
Or up a creek…
Or something.

And from where I’m standing—they both look so much alike
They both couldn’t possibly really be there.
Maybe only one is real and the other is a mirror…
Or maybe it’s me and I’ve spent my whole life staring in a bunch of mirrors
And maybe there aren’t two clear boys at all; maybe there’s a hundred more…
Or maybe it’s just an old broken mirror—
And I’m just trying to see something new where all of you have made
Your minds up about this long, long ago…


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    • k@ri profile image

      Kari Poulsen 

      9 years ago from Ohio

      "But the rub is, they reconcile" Life is full of paradox, isn't it? I enjoyed reading this!


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