Richard Katrovas (b. 1953) is a poet born in Norfolk, Virginia, who writes formalist poetry to compensate for the chaos of his childhood. He has been widely anthologized; I read a fun poem that I found today (I usually prepare these posts about 1-2 months in advance, so ‘ today’ in this case means March 7th) about the love of one’s enemy:
Love Poem for an EnemyI, as sinned against as sinning,take small pleasure from the winningof our decades-long guerrilla war.For from my job I’ve wanted morethan victory over one who’d triedto punish me before he died,and now, neither of us dead,we haunt these halls in constant dreadof drifting past the other’s lifewhile long-term memory is rifewith slights that sting like paper cuts.We’ve occupied our separate rutsyet simmered in a single rage.We’ve grown absurd in middle agetogether, and should seek wisdom nowtogether, by ending this row.I therefore decommission youas constant flagship of my rue.Below the threshold of my hateyou now my good regard may rate.For I have let my anger pass.But, while you’re down there, kiss my ass.
Good fun. I imagine an office (in what other ‘halls’ can you conduct a decades long guerilla war?) with old employees considering each other as nemesis. Paper cuts and the metaphors of decommissioning and flagship hint at an office realm as well.
I like the ring of “We’ve occupied our separate ruts / yet simmered in a single rage.” (Other rhymes like now/row, you/rue and especially hate/rate are not that brilliant, says I). I am also a little bit confused about the above-below. The enemy is below the threshold of my hate, where he can rate my good regard because I’ve let my anger pass. Why the sneer in the end?
Anyway, it was entirely unimaginable for me to not include a poem that ends with “kiss my ass”.
Reading: Love Poem for an Enemy by Richard Katrovas was originally published on Meandering home