Something I return to on and off when I’m writing poems is something I call my “love song” series. The poems aren’t actual songs–they aren’t lyrics and they don’t have music–but I think of them as a kind of story with a kind of theme which is something I associate with a lot of love songs.
These love song poems are necessarily based on something that happened to me or something I felt. But most of them are just stories I want to tell. For these particular poems I often start with the title because that tells me what kind of story I want to tell and, by extension, what kind of poem I want to write.
Eventually I’ll branch out more but where I started with these poems is with genres that have some familiar tropes. The one I’m sharing today was written when I was on a sci-fi kick so, of course, it’s a space opera.
Space Opera Love Songthere are scars on the mooncraters as big as canyonsmaybe there used to be aliens tooeverything changesdistances made malleablewith elliptical orbits and light speedthey tell me I can reach you in twenty yearslong enough to grow old even though I won’t feel itlong enough for everyone I leave behind to forget melong enough for you to live a life without meyou say you’ll waityou say you’ll be there to meet metwenty years from nowwhen my ship completes its elliptical orbit to youbut there are scars on the mooncraters as big as canyonsmaybe there used to be aliens waiting there too
This one was inspired by a few things. First by one of the stories in The Ghosts of Heaven in which a ship makes a spiral shaped (elliptical) orbit across space. Next I kept thinking about when Logan gave Rory that stupid model rocket in an episode of Gilmore Girls and it took her forever to figure out its significance. That, of course, led to thinking about the Twilight Zone episode “The Long Morrow” that prompted Logan’s gift in the first place.
So when I sat down to write the first draft of this poem I knew I wanted it to say “Space!” which meant there should be a spaceship. Then I knew I didn’t want this to be a perfect love poem because space operas are usually messy, sprawling things. So starcrossed lovers made more sense here which led me to thinking about the characters who essentially miss each other in a very literal sense in “The Long Morrow.”
I don’t remember where a lot of the original imagery came from. I have a feeling the scars on the moon and craters might have been from a documentary I watched with my mom. And aliens feature because, well, why wouldn’t I have aliens in a poem called “Space Opera Love Song.”
As I played with stanzas and line structure I also wound up making the poem circle back on itself the way that the ship’s elliptical orbit might. Unsurprisingly (since I wrote it) this poem is in my favorite kind of style with straightforward lines and a simple structure. I might even go so far as to call it deceptive because a lot of the meaning doesn’t come from reading the poem closely line by line by from reading it as a whole.
Is this poem how I actually feel about love or Space!? It’s hard to say. Sometimes it probably is. But sometimes it isn’t. All I can say for sure is that I like the idea of little green aliens pining on the moon waiting for their own loves to return until the only trace left were scars and craters.
Note: This poem is an original work by me. If you are so inclined you can share it but please do so by crediting me (Emma Carbone not Miss Print) and linking back to this post.