(A Golden Shovel, poetic form invented by Terrance Hayes after the Gwendolyn Brooks poem “We Real Cool.” This one is after Shakespeare’s “Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds.”)
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
My experiment in form and voice:
She takes orders easily; she minds.
All she wants is somebody to love,
But guys who want to use her’s all she finds,
That stain is darker than she can remove.
So she sighs and lets it leave its mark,
And still her innocence is never shaken.
If she’d only grow a crusty bark,
Maybe next time she wouldn’t get taken.
But facile compliments still pink her cheeks;
An order still can make her go and come,
So shadowy figures stay for years or weeks,
Then leave her once again to self-taught doom.
She spun and circled thus until he prov’d
That even she could finally be lov’d.