Did I ever tell you I used to publish a zine? (A zine is a term for self-published magazines … kind of like a precursor to blogging.) It was really a newsletter for my friends to keep in touch after college, and I wrote book and music reviews, shared poetry, interviewed people, had a question of the month and all kinds of other goofy things. It ended up expanding a little beyond my own circle of friends, and I was really into it for awhile before it ended up being too much work and I shut it down. (Some of my friends who remember my zine, which was titled without permission, said of my blog when I started up: “It’s like without permission but on steroids.”)
Anyway, this very long story is to tell you that I was going through my zine archives and I thought I’d start sharing some of the poems I published in it for FreeVerse. This first one is by a writer called Richard Brautigan. (Check out his biography by clicking on the link; it is kind of sad.) I can’t remember where exactly I “discovered” him, but the poem below was one of the ones that appeared in my zine. In rereading it, I still like it, and it takes me back to those awful awful days of dating, when I was always the one who like the guy more than he liked me. I think this poem does a fantastic job of capturing that imbalance of love in relationships.
It’s Raining In Love
by Richard Brautigan
I don’t know what it is,
but I distrust myself
when I start to like a girl
It makes me nervous.
I don’t say the right things
or perhaps I start
what I am saying.
If I say, “Do you think it’s going to rain?”
and she says, “I don’t know,”
I start thinking: Does she really like me?
In other words
I get a little creepy.
A friend of mine once said,
“It’s twenty times better to be friends
than it is to be in love with them.”
I think he’s right and besides,
it’s raining somewhere, programming flowers
and keeping snails happy.
That’s all taken care of.
if a girl likes me a lot
and starts getting real nervous
and suddenly begins asking me funny questions
and looks sad if I give the wrong answers
and she says things like,
“Do you think it’s going to rain?”
and I say, “It beats me,”
and she says, “Oh,”
and looks a little sad
at the clear blue California sky,
I think: Thank God, it’s you, baby, this time
instead of me.
Can you relate to being the one more in love than your partner was? Did you ever have it flip around and feel the sense of relief that you weren’t the one more invested in the relationship?