Unrequited Love Song
i want so much from you it hurts
until i understand
all the things i want
are all the things you can’t give
This poem comes from a lot of places and, I hope, means a lot of things for different people. Interestingly, when I wrote the poem I didn’t picture myself as the one doing the wanting. I wrote this poem after a friendship that I valued started to deteriorate because my friend had a crush on me and didn’t seem to know how to separate friendship from desires for something more–something I was incapable of providing. It also was a bit inspired by the main character in The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando who is also the object of some (unwanted) unrequited love.
I wrote this poem without capitals and without punctuation because I always think of unrequited love as unfinished. There usually isn’t any kind of closure (no period at the end of the sentence, if you will) because someone is always left wanting. Initially I had imagined this as a much longer poem but then I realized I didn’t need to say more because these lines already said what I wanted and the central point of the poem was already distilled in these lines.
It’s easy to imagine pining–we’ve all been there. But it was harder when I was first writing this poem to think about it from the other side. What does it mean to know someone wants so much from you? What do you do when you know you can’t give them what they want?
In my case it was really painful and frustrating and put a major strain on this friendship. Eventually it became easier to just not talk to this guy than to worry about whether I was accidentally leading him on or wondering exactly how blunt I had to be before he could take the hint. Eventually the friendship ran its course and we lost touch. Whether it’s fair or not, I’ve realized nothing about our dynamic, such as it was, was the foundation of a healthy of meaningful friendship. It just took a while to admit that.
So that was my mental state when I was writing this poem. But then things shifted and I started thinking about it from the other side after dealing with a particularly devastating crush and realizing it was never going to be anything more. Which hurt. A lot. But it also made me a better person because I am braver and (I hope) stronger as a result.
Since then I’ve started thinking of this little poem of mine more and more when I think about interacting with people. Because any interaction with a person has some kind of want attached whether that’s a desire for them to see you in a certain way or even just a conversation. When I wind up not getting what I want from a given interaction (for whatever reason) I remember the sentiment behind this poem and I remind myself that sometimes you end up wanting more than a person can give and you have to deal with that and make peace with whatever you do get.
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.
Talk to me about your favorite poems or poetic context in the comments and be sure to check back every day this April for more poetry-related posts and guest posts.