a poem after re-reading the ABBA poems

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i re-read denise duhamel & amy lemmon’s ABBA, a collaborative work accomplished by alternating lines. one of the things that always stands out to me when i read it is this: why haven’t jill and i done something like this yet? and of course what stood out to me on this particular read-through is the poem why men don’t call, a piece full of terrific, edgy wit, a piece that tells a modern-day reality for lots of us:

… I popped a can of ginger ale
and went on Fish-in-the-Sea-dot-com, trolling for dudes
who knew who they were.

wouldn’t that make a great epigraph to a poetry collection? i just may do that … and there’s also this:

my last pick-up
ate my last Pop Tart the morning after and never
even asked for my number

those lines are from the poem “flirting with disaster,” which references bishop’s one art as “poem about losing, an art, a disaster” in the brilliant pop culture-rich style of the whole collection.


some of you who know me on facebook saw my declaration that i’d quit online dating. it was true. i have since re-activated them (*sigh*), but i’d deleted them initially for a few reasons: i lost interest in sifting through profiles and pictures, i wanted to reclaim some of the time i was investing (wasting?) and i began to wonder if i was becoming the jack-ass whisperer, a term coined by the terrific blog post at the other end of that link.

it’s not true of everyone, of course. i really enjoyed conversation and intimacy with a few of the men i met, but overall the experience of online dating didn’t seem worth the effort. at the same time, i was (am) redefining what it is i want from dating – not an easy task for someone who’d been in the same relationship 20 years. in any event, the ABBA poems — many of which are about dating (and/or the circus relationships can be) — are really resonating.

here’s a draft of something inspired by them … in which i borrow the rhyme scheme. yes, a rhyme scheme from a poet who typically can’t manage rhyme without going all green eggs & ham. but this time, with the exception of “something” and “humping,” i think i avoided the dr. seuss effect. i’ve also managed to be light and a little bit funny — two other traits not ordinarily in my poetry wheelhouse.


[poem removed for editing]


  1. I love this. I have deleted and reactivated accounts online for the same reasons. It really is more work than it is worth, it seems. The alternative however, is hoping you run into someone that can read at the grocery store. (Never once has happened to me, btw.) I am currently on Plenty of Fish…if you need blog material, that’s where it’s at. I am more entertained than I am hopeful of meeting “the one”, but it’s better than nothing, right?

    1. yes, i know it’s dicey at POF, bc my profile is there, too. i just played around w/the details in this b/c i didn’t know how else to get out of the poem. 🙂

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