Sometimes I like to think about things in genres, like a table of elements. This person's character is volatile like carbonite. That person's nature is neon. But really, my little brain is constantly surprised by how layered people are. How they transcend stereotype, or weld stereotypes together. There is no algorithm for figuring people out, no calculus for determining their true nature. Or at least that's what I've learned this past year. And that's the point of Pride and Prejudice.
So without further ado, here is 'Love Is A Table of Elements.' Written in the style of Emily Dickinson.
Love Is a Table of Elements
Love is a Table of Elements
That every group derives
From privy Temperaments—
From rose to viridian.
One has chloride Passion, and
The other chillest White—
One sulfate Envy, Neon Pain,
And Romeo carbonite.
The shelves of Aphrodite’s store
Gleam with globes of chemicals
Classified by hue or soul—
By solids or ephemerals.
When stirred together, loves may churn
Oceans, liquid insanity,
Or may precipitate a rigid mass
Of love stiff-kissed and brittle-kneed.
But when your love is studied through—
The boiling Sea,
The half-tame Beast,
The Ice of chill Extremities,
No Species suits it well—
No Calculus— remains.
BUT WAIT WAIT THERE'S MORE.
I turned this written work into a visual poem... In other words, something you can see and physically interact with, which represents my poem. I actually reproduced the 'gleaming globes of chemicals' by buying a bunch of 99 cent bottles from Michael's and filling them with colored water. Then I labeled them according to the kinds of love they represent. Red was passion. Blue was 'losing you.' Green was envy. Etc.
But then, for the kind of love that can't be categorized, I filled an actual chemistry beaker with totally random stuff... Small bottles of chemicals, glitter, a guitar pick, dried up pens, paper clips. And I labeled that beaker 'Your love.'
It's not shown here, but I did include a reaction plate, to symbolize those relationships that are a mixture of certain kinds of emotions. Have you ever felt both pain and a sense of loss towards the same person? Pain and passion? Envy and affection?
Have you ever met (or stumbled into love) with someone who was impossible to simplify? Someone who superseded your prejudices? Someone you were completely wrong about?
UPDATE: I've just watched a few scenes from Nick Willing's Alice miniseries, and I realize that these two works seem very much alike! At the time of this poem's creation, I had no idea that this miniseries existed... how constantly fascinating multiple discovery will always be. Although I'm guessing that the phenomenon was slightly less enjoyable for Newton and Leibniz in the case of calculus.