A Response; or, Sometimes I Write Poetry

A Study of Dating Habits
(For Philip Larkin)


Studying his reading habits,

Philip Larkin ripped around in the dark,

Like Jacky-boy, out for a lark but when he

saw the women, he saw not

The women but the flaky candy that could be clubbed.

He saw the women but saw


The women.  Instead of the women he saw

Meringues.  Hands grubbed


Flittered about,

Lurked about, reaching for a cloak,

A fang,

A book,

A lang-


that could communicate from villain

To victim to let him in-

To a story ready to be told.


Ripping on Daddy, Sylvia

made him into Dracula,

Asking for that boot in the face and the Mein Kamp look.

Daddy, daddy,

A vampire through and through.  That old black shoe,

The old clever poem, a song to be sung


After the girls stopped asking for a man




Sucking the blood, swearing their love,

Everyone girl loves a fascist,


Mrs. Hughes?


I refuse to believe

in the same old affair.  Leave

out the Heights Wuthering, the girls named Eyre,

The Darcys hovering, like Batman in the dark.

Rochesters, Heathcliffs, stalker-boys, all.

I was told to love them, to make my boys tall,

And dark, and handsome,

Broody and poetic,



Lose some geeks, nerds, the gruffness for show, all for an ideal that is



And dangerous to know.


Oh, Lord Byron.

Did you ever guess

That it would be

Your icon

That would make me so digress?


I want,

For future girls of generations

To take purchase.

To take notice.

To take the time

To find

A love

Who doesn’t suck


Who wants a mind not brains,

—The Zombie-chomp kind—


Stephanie Meyer had it wrong.

Cullen should leave Bella alone.

She should have chosen the living over the dead,

Avoid the blood spatter, its messy red

Drying stiff, rusting into brown,

The end result of

Larkin’s boys larking all over town.


Repeat after me:







Do Not

Equal Sexy.

Do Not Equal Sexy,

Not even in the best-est sense,

Not even in the nicest sense,

Not even in any sense because the word


Is in there,



I want,

For future girls of generations to find

Partners in crime,

Not perpetrators of it.

Partners in crime, not fanciers of it.

Partners in crime,

Not villains.


So for today,

I offer the following PSA,

As a service, from one girl to another:


If he breaks into your room,

To watch you sleep?


It isn’t sexy.

It isn’t sweet.

It is creepy, and wrong, and scary, and gross, and dangerous, and a little bit psychotic, but most importantly, it is a violation of your privacy, your sleep, and your trust.



Most importantly,

And yes, even if

He is a vampire.




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