Friday 10 February 2023

Five Poems by Ken Gosse


My First and Only


Our first date wasn’t her first date

although it had been mine.

The same was true when we first kissed—

a plan of her design.


Sometimes I wonder, when we tryst,

what other firsts of hers I’ve missed:

How many others know the gist

of learning love with her assist?

Am I just one small bit of grist

of hearts and limbs that she’ll entwist?

When she’s with others, am I dissed?

How many more will she enlist?

What myriads may yet be blissed

because they’re on her bucket list?


So many torments yet persist,

encroaching always, they insist

that I must ask.

I must desist!

Perhaps I’m just a hedonist

with nightmares that can’t be dismissed.


And yet, I find I can’t resist

my only Valentine.



Commence Advancing


A poem of lovemaking, Valentine’s Day,

without the encumbrance of metaforeplay.


His hand in her bra, her hand in his pants

as he closed the front door at the start of their dance

toward his only-room sofa, his go-to hot spot

(even though neither cared if they reached it or not

since a chair and the carpet were also nearby)

leaving shoes, shirts, and sundries wherever they lie.


This wasn’t romance—it was college in spring.

For her: break-up sex. For him: a fresh fling

with a girl he’d been plying, a classmate from band,

as he waited for her to give in to demand

to partake of a song that had played through the ages—

a lifeline of poets, disquiet of sages—


the care he would render when she needed tender

and sweet loving hope, a fresh need to elope,

or the rut he would offer to refill her coffer

when her heart, stripped bare, would take any man there.

So, desperate from need or to even a score,

she’d soon cross a threshold she’d set long before.


Her heart had been broken by first-love’s belief

in a joy ever-after, when no hint of grief

was imagined, in high school where true love was born,

but now, inconceivably, left her forlorn.

Her first new encounter was followed by more

from a lineup of others she chose to explore.


In the end, would she parry the one who’d returned,

hat-in-hand, broken hearted, confessing he’d learned

what a foolish and dreadful decision he’d made,

now despairing of many long months he had paid

in regrets (staying faithful throughout, while he mourned),

who in humble contrition asked not to be scorned?


At last, not long after, she married a fool.

Which one? Does it matter? They’re just a gene pool.


Admitting the voice of this story is mine,

there’s a bias of gender that’s left on each line.

Her tale would be different than this, though aligned,

but facts underlying are always defined

by the teller who may or may not have been there—

a stranger, some other, who may or not care.



Often Upon A Time, Long, Long Ago


I no longer presume that my wife can assume

“The Position”—not A, B, or C—

nor one of those others of my favourite druthers,

the ones that once best sutra’d me.


I ravished her once (and a few times thereafter)

but since then, age ravished foundation to rafter,

and not just for her but for my aching bones—

along with some petrification of stones.


When Some Totals Don’t Add Up


I sing the ways I love my love;

she’s mute on ways she don’t.

So many ways which I sing of,

but sing along? She won’t.



A Valentine’s Day Epitaph


She loved him fully,

To the brim.

Her husband shot

And buried him.

Ken Gosse usually writes short, rhymed verse using whimsy and humor in traditional meters. First published in First Literary Review–East in November 2016, he has also been published by Pure Slush, Home Planet News Online, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, and others. Raised in the Chicago, Illinois, suburbs, now retired, he and his wife have lived in Mesa, AZ, for over twenty years, usually with rescue dogs and cats underfoot.



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