“Curating,” by J. Bradley

This HFR podcast HFR 1.1 contributor J. Bradley reads an essay about the love poem, entitled, “Curating.” 

“Curating,” by J. Bradley

Full text follows below.


Inevitably, love fails, through break ups, divorce, or death. For most, this is incredibly hard to swallow, except for the poet who continues writes love poems.

The concern from some potential partners is that they will become fodder, research, like instead of fucking them behind the stacks in some unused part of the library, they become the stacks you are going to fuck them over with. I assure you this is incredibly far off from the truth.

From an economic standpoint, the love poem is inexpensive. While the labor costs might run high, depending on your skill level, the materials to which require the creation of a love poem are incredibly cheap if you keep it lo-fi (nice cursive handwriting on notebook paper). Executed well, the unspoken thriftiness of the gift will be completely ignored for the love poem’s priceless emotional value. From an emotional standpoint, a love poem is a great way to capture a moment or a feeling impossible to capture with pictures or non-fiction; essays aren’t sexy but boudoir photos are sometimes.

However, love poems should never substitute for couples counseling. Missed your anniversary? Here’s a poem about how we should celebrate our love every day instead of on just one day. Wondering why I never buy you flowers? Here’s a poem about how flowers die sooner than our love and that’s why I never buy them. Got drunk and possibly messed around with a stranger? Here’s a poem about the dangers of Jack Daniels and Coke and how our love is like Bruce Springsteen singing “Secret Garden”. The economic and emotional impact of using love poems as a relationship deus ex machina varies from state to state and whether you have children.

Poets write love poems most of all because we think they are enough to keep you around, suspend the belief that love ends inevitability.

I didn’t grow up around good relationship models, watching the slow, furious decline of my mother’s second marriage. I thought like with all of my mother’s other mistakes, I would learn from this one; I haven’t learned enough. I still wouldn’t trade all of these exhibitions of failure for anything.

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