Saturday, September 26, 2009

The commodification of love...

It started off as a tiniest little twinge
of self-doubt, of asking oneself,
"Have I been taken for a ride?"
A futile question, undoubtedly.
Though I didn't realise
how affectively lethal this question could be...

We started off without the usual barters
of romantic love, of the wining-and-dining
that goes with the treacherous territory of dating.
"We're the smart ones!" Or so we thought...
Until one night a row threw a lightning bolt
and showed us that we have -- each of us, both -- been counting, rather assiduously.

The thing is, it really wouldn't have mattered if
we've actually been focusing on our mutual gains.
Alas, who knew we'd turn out to be
such misers and sore losers when it comes to love?
For we both have only concentrated
on what we each considered to be individual losses.

To the extent that, eventually
I can't stand the sight of you, and you me.
They say misery loves company, but no,
in our case we'd rather be
anywhere but here. Feeling involuntarily stuck together
is most discomfiting when two people are meant to be forever.

I once thought I could play Eloise to your Abelard.
That I would have given up anything
just to be with you. And that you'd feel the same.
But in the respective ledgers of our minds
we totted up hours
wasted, opportunities lost, costs incurred
forgetting what we mean to us in our hearts while we unceremoniously quantify everything...

So what now? You'd ask, casting a rueful glance
at what has since become
the commoditized wreck of our once heroic love.
Can we still go on? Do we want to go on? And, pitiably,
is there even a genuine "we" to speak of?
Answers on a postcard, please.

Copyright Snowdrops 2009. All rights reserved.

Addendum 1: Events and persons depicted in the poem are not based on actual events and people, although the blogger would like to argue that the poem does have some basis in fact. Call it, if you will, a cautionary tale constructed out of a composite of the blogger's experience, observations, and sheer paranoia about what could happen to a relationship.

Addendum 2: Each stanza is meant to contain only six lines. The narrow width of the blog column however distorts the intended stanza length, so that the last line of stanza #2 and #6 get split into two segments, when they are meant to be one complete line. Those who read this on a feed service should not be affected.

Addendum 3: Yes, the split infinitive in the last line of stanza #2 is deliberate for the sake of scansion. And no, I think it is rather natural the way it is currently structured as it approximates at least my own verbal speech pattern (so yes, my conversations are riddled with split infinitives, so what?).

Addendum 4: This poem didn't turn out the way I expected it to. I had been thinking the imagery would be more along the lines of "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (e.g. measuring life in coffee spoons) and the theme song of the musical Rent (e.g. measures of love in "daylight, in sunset, in midnight, in cups of coffee" and "in laughters and strife", etc.) Alas, I seem to have completely failed to achieve any level of sophistication in mimicking the same verse structure (the 5th line of stanza #5 is the only place where I managed to bring that in, and is evidently a rather piss-poor attempt). May attempt a second poem on the same topic to have another go at this.

Addendum 5: That said, I still like this poem, and have already translated it into Chinese in my mind. Unfortunately I don't know how to type Chinese, and I am not attempting the kind of Yahoo dictionary mix-and-match searches to try to get my desired set of words that I did just for the blog title of my last post (and even then it still did not yield the words that I really wanted anyway!)

Addendum 6: Minor wording changes (Stanza #1 lines 4, 5 and 6; Stanza #6 lines 3 and 4) effected on Sat. 7 November, 2009.

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