July 6, 2011

An Unsent Poem

[Editor’s Note: Congratulations to the Class of 2011! The BDU Blog has invited all Duke 2011 graduates to write and share Senior Posts, which we will publish over the course of the summer. If you are interested in writing a Senior Post, please email me, Risa. Also hit me up if you want some ideas about what to write. There is no minimum or maximum length and no LGBTQA related topic is off limit. We will accept and publish anonymous submissions.]

An Unsent Poem
By Anonymous 2011 Graduate

In your eyes, I could see our future
it was the one I planned, it was the one I worked for.
I waited a month with you in mind.
I ran and lifted thinking about us in bed.
We were supposed to be perfect,
topped off with a white picket fence.

But here I sit, waiting for the train home,
alone and sad,
heartbroken and wanting to cry.
This wasn’t your fault – you only partially led me on –
I’m not apologizing for you but rather,
I recognize that how I feel lies mostly with me.

My friends told me not to project the future,
not to impart my feelings, wishes, and dreams onto us.
But how could I not?
You wanted me at the beach club and we can back together to my room.
It was the first time someone did that –
to express interest and follow through.

That night was unforgettable:
We were naked and it felt like the most natural thing in the world.
We felt each other’s body and mind –
who talks about schools and voting in bed?
We did and it was amazing.

I was nervous as hell because it could have been my first time.
Yet you were there and made me feel so wanted.
I would have given myself to you.

I’m not sure if we can just be friends now.
There’s too much baggage, too much emotional damage on my side.
I can’t be next to you without looking into your eyes
and thinking about what could have been.

I’ve been in this place before.
In fact, I usually become best friends with my crushes.
I’m counting three right now.
But I don’t know if this will end the same,
that white picket fence is too high.

I thought lunch today would settle everything,
that it would end with either a yes or a no,
but again reality didn’t square with my expectations.
I shared my feelings and got crushed.
Yet you sat there with suave and grace,
Trying to pick up the pieces of me.
You shared your past – the struggles and the burns –
Like a wise sage imparting advice onto a child:
“Try online dating and get a group of friends here” – find yourself.
Hearing you talk, I was in awe and appreciation.
You’re a great guy who I now want more,
but now I realize there is a maturity gap between us.

You’re looking to lay roots –
to develop friends and networks that will carry you through your Ph.D.
Your dates are to find what is out here in this new land.
But me – I’m not sure what I want to do.

Because there are two me’s right now:
One is the heartbroken me who is listening to Adele on his dying iPod
and hearing her words like never before.
He wanted a relationship –
something serious to connect and explore another person,
to be safe and to have a future.
The other is the one that you saw on Saturday night,
the one who bought $100 of alcohol and proceeded to take shots like Party Boy Chad.
He was the one who went to the clubs drunk,
was shirtless half the time,
and somehow ended up grinding with some guy hoisting him in the air.
He was so focused on having fun,
so focused that he didn’t even notice all the looks he was getting
because he spent the last 22 years studying on Saturday nights,
and because he wanted to show you how much fun he could be.

I’m not sure which one is the real me
because that second one has not been me.
But I’m young and I want to have fun,
and I want the attention.
I realize that I sound like a spoiled brat –
but don’t I deserve, haven’t I earned, a chance
to move to the beats and get crazy?
I’ll still wait for that first time to be special
and I’ll still pull 70 hours a week in the office,
but I want my weekend nights to be wild.

Yet I don’t want the sadness and pain of loneliness.
We’re not right for each other now – this I realize after writing.
I do need to find myself first.
One day I’ll text you to be friends or something more.
and on that day, there won’t be two of me.
I don’t expect you to wait –
the only expectation I know to be true is that my friends and I will always be there for each other –
so take care of yourself so that we can brunch one day in the city
without it ending in a sad poem.


  1. this was really beautiful i love the mix of simplicity of writing mixed with the complexity of emotion

  2. This is beautiful - so raw and vulnerable, like you just held up a window for us to see into your emotions. But it's also so relatable; so easy for me to see myself in the same circumstances. I too thought I'd "text [him] to be friends or something more", but I never did. Neither did he.