Poem: He Attempts to Love His Neighbours

He Attempts to Love His Neigh­bours by Alden Nowlan

My neigh­bours do not wish to be loved.
They have made it clear that they pre­fer to go peacefully
about their busi­ness and want me to do the same.
This ought not to sur­prise me as it does;
I ought to know by now that most peo­ple have a hun­dred things
they would rather do than have me love them.

There is a tele­vi­sion, for instance; the truth is that almost everybody,
giv­en the choice between being loved and watch­ing TV,
would choose the lat­ter. Love inter­rupts dinner,
inter­feres with mow­ing the lawn, wash­ing the car,
or walk­ing the dog. Love is a tele­phone ring­ing or a doorbell
wak­ing you moments after you’ve final­ly suc­ceed­ed in get­ting to sleep.

So we must be care­ful, those of us who were born with
the wrong num­ber of fin­gers or the gift
of lov­ing; we must do our best to behave
like nor­mal mem­bers of soci­ety and not make nuisances
of our­selves; oth­er­wise it could go hard with us.
It is bet­ter to bite back your tears, swal­low your laughter,
and learn to fake the mild­ly self-dep­re­cat­ing titter
favored by the bourgeoisie
than to be left entire­ly alone, as you will be,
if your dis­con­for­mi­ty embarrasses
your neigh­bours; I wish I did­n’t keep for­get­ting that.

Cur­rent Mood: 🙁melan­choly
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
Posts created 4247

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