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What Is Love

What Is Love 
   by Edmund Siejka

My parents argued frequently
So love was an elusive something 
Usually found in someone’s else’s home
In high school 
A little more sure of myself
I dated my first girlfriend
In the go- go decade of the sixties
When Kennedy was President
And the race to the space
Was on
In working class neighborhoods
Sex was a taboo subject
Ours was a puppy love
Holding hands
Making out 
Heavy petting
Gail was intimidated by the city
Rarely ever leaving her Queens neighborhood
I, more adventurous
Worked in  Manhattan as a  messenger
My simplistic view of life
Was Midtown was Midtown
Above was Uptown 
And somewhere near the misty Harbor
Hedged in a hodge podge of narrow streets
Was Downtown
Oh yes, there was another simplistic truism  
Don’t  knock up your sixteen year old girlfriend
Eventually when we split
She cried 
And behind her back
I choked on my tears.

Going to college under the GI Bill
I lived in the East Village
One night a couple introduced me to their friend
At a place that later became CGBG’s
She was quiet and ignored me
After our second meeting
She asked me to go with her to another place
Seated in a booth 
Drinks on the table
I felt eyes on me
Especially from the tall well dressed waitress
Whose arrival was announced by the fragrance 
Of sex scented musk. 
It turned out my quiet date
Was a poet/artist
Some years older
She knew everyone in the art world
She drank a lot
But I was not known to pass up a drink
Sex, a necessity
Was often expected
She gave me advice 
Introduced me to artists
But despite the casualness of the people
The first names
And pretty smiles 
I soon realized that the art world
Was a world within a world
Of dog eat dog 
Lost, she needed to find herself 
And I was just too young to take on the added burdens of stepchildren,
House and home.

Judy was a no nonsense woman 
Who went through the motions of sex 
Our mornings were awkward with not a word being said
She didn’t drink
Which in my jumbled way of thinking
Was odd  
I could never talk to her
It was then that I began to doubt that
Sex and the bar scene was the way to go
Some weekends I just stayed home
Or drank with my buddies.
Our conversations inevitably coming to  
What was a good relationship
And what did we want to accomplish 
Once we hit thirty. 

I met Elaine
It was the ease of how we met
No pressure
No lies
It just happened
But what was the key to our relationship?
Good movies
Holding hands
Being together
Or was it that I finally grew up
Ready to accept responsibility.

I trusted her
I listened to her
She was on my side
Maybe that’s what love is?

Whatever defines love
It’s something the great philosophers can’t explain
A compound of many things
Mixed up in some crazy laboratory
Stronger than any emotion
Ever known 
That binds one person to another
And allows two people to live as equals.


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  1. Date: 12/9/2014 8:37:00 AM

    wow.. quite the poem there.. I had an inspired read of it .. Thank you~Joel