Let’s Clean House


Don’t talk to me about love.


The shirts need to be picked up from the cleaner’s .
The cat’s gotta be fed.
There’s the hairdresser’s and the new 5 slice toaster
and remember
tonight there is today’s Movie of the Week.


Love? Let’s have children.
Love? Let’s join a fitness club.
Love? Let’s look at our new sofa.
Love? Let’s make it twice a week at 5:15.
Love? I’m reading a book about it.


Don’t talk to me about love.


when military spending is so low
when I gotta plan this winter’s getaway
when it’s raining outside,
when the neighbours just bought a new car
when the alarm clock’s just waiting to blow
it’s time to go.


Don’t talk to me about love.


Let’s clean house, the Little’s are coming over……

Category: Poems 9 comments »

9 Responses to “Let’s Clean House”

  1. George

    Oh, that is a great one…
    Ordinary life, with so many chores and duties; life and its trifles. A man can easily get so tired by that, that he/she does not realize/forgets that the love has not disappeared. It is only buried in dailiness…

  2. George

    But I just wanted to add, that dailiness can easily bury love, that is true..

  3. George

    It brings so many thoughts to me…, sorry for my another comment:
    that only a strong feelings and strong personalities can survive this loong period of love/life, others probably call it disillusionment.

  4. ellen

    I was in the middle of a big reply, but I pooped out in the middle of it! I think passion is one way people form an original bond.

    But love, all love, is about compassion, and caring for the well being of the other person as much as you care about your own. I’ve stayed monogamous to Chuck through all these years because it would have devastated him if I hadn’t- it’s that simple.

    It seems undeniable that commitment is also an element of love. Can you sustain love without being willing to sustain the relationship even when you don’t feel it? This is true in friendships, in sexual relationships, in raising children… in caring for any other living thing.

    I think this element- having compassion (caring for the other’s well being with the same strength you do your own, or very close to it), well, it might even be what love is.

    And commitment is how this compassion gets carried out through time.

    The desperate longings we have for relationships we once had, or wished we had, I don’t think that is love. I don’t think it’s bad, but I do think it’s misconstrued. It’s longing.

    I don’t have this all figured out, either! But we make a way big deal out of feelings that eventually (and I wish I could underline the word eventually- I am queen of the torch holders) we will see as having not been as important as we once thought. But the love we feel remains with us right up through the time of dying. It never leaves.

  5. George

    In my opinion love means that you want to have children with that person. That you are willing to let them their own space (though it can often be off yourself), that you can be yourself but still grow together, that nobody tries to bend you, that you are happy when they are happy, sad when they are sad. That you both feel you are more being together than every man for himself.
    In a few words: attachment, connection, understanding, toleration, respect and a common objective. And must not forget passion – on some good days:-)

    When I am now thinking of it – what a heavy load for one love… :-)

    Ellen, you are so happy to find a person to resonate with!

  6. David


    You wrote – “I think this element- having compassion (caring for the other’s well being with the same strength you do your own, or very close to it), well, it might even be what love is”

    I totally see where you are coming from and believe that’s a large part of it. But I also think that one must never “define” love. It is like poetry, free and only to be known when it appears and not of its parts/definition. But I hear you – it is a kind of “getting out of yourself”.

    I guess I wrote this poem to express how as George saw, we get so occupied with so much else but at the end of the day, on our death bed – what matters is those we love…… let’s think more of this and less about all the other things that tend to consume us too much… I have to work on that too!


  7. ellen

    When I am now thinking of it – what a heavy load for one love… :-)

    Too heavy, George! OMG- when you are unhappy, do you not try to bend the other person? :D Even if it won’t work, even if, as is almost always the case, that person is simply feeding into your own unhappiness, and can’t possibly “cure” it because they are not the true cause… it takes awhile to really see that. Then you still try to bend the other, but you know it’s just a pattern, not substantial… and the fights aren’t so serious. I think that takes about 10 years! (At least if you start when you are young.)

    Each relationship is also going to limit or prune you- how else can it be? When you study very hard to learn one thing, you give up learning about many other things, it is the way of experience in time.

    I know a lot about monogamy. I know a lot about sticking it out through thick and thin. And I can say, that after many years, there does seem to be a big payoff that I did not know was coming. I have something that I think could have only happened over this long stretch of time. But why doesn’t it work out that way for all long term marriages?

    It’s not because we were always, or even mostly, happy. For myself, there were unhappy years… not weeks or months. It didn’t last forever, but without any exaggeration, there was one full year where I was deeply unhappy in my relationship with Chuck for every single minute of it. And it was his fault- he was awful. I think of it as his pathologically grumpy time. Not one minute did he let that go for a full year (plus). Not one smile from him, not one kind word, just anger (not violence and not much yelling, just this unending angry and blaming mood.)

    There is a limit. He reached it, I was done, he knew it, and he turned back the other way. Who knows all the mysteries that go on there? My limit came at a specific minute. It wasn’t wordy, and it wasn’t a fight. He knew it, he could feel it, and he stopped his bad behavior.

    Two things are important here. When he knew he reached the end of the line, he didn’t keep going- he stopped and turned around.

    And as soon as he stopped hurting me, I stopped being angry with him for doing it. There was nothing in me that was any less towards him than before.

    I tell you this not out of a sense of marriage counseling- I do not wish this on my children, it was extraordinarily painful- but because I don’t think you can expect a marriage not to have times like this (different specifics for different people). You can hope that neither of you causes great pain in a marriage, but chances are it’s going to happen. Do you stay married, or do you divorce?

    And compassion for the other plays an elemental role in this. Anyway, that was a long time ago- about 15 years.

    And monogamy is only one way to live. Children sure help to cement the bond. I can’t imagine how you stay through those times without having them, but I had Adele when I was 23, so I don’t really know.

    One way or another, the passion of youth is going to come out! (smile)

    I’m almost done, it’s 4 am, but just to mention. There was an immediate deep recognition between Chuck and I, from the very moment we met. I felt like, in those few minutes, I knew everything that was important to know in him (not the same as everything). But it wasn’t passionate. It was more like I had met my brother, as in someone I had known and grown up with all my life. It was different, and it did seem as though the hand of god, if that is possible, was in it.

    But the relationship has also been forged, like a force of two wills, willing it to be.

    Honesty George, I recognized, spiritually, his devastation and his capacity for devotion, and it matched mine.

    Anyway, I hope I have not tried your patience : )

    Good night!

  8. George

    Ellen, you reach deep inside of me…
    Thank you for your story, thank you for sharing such private feelings. It helps me a lot, because I am only at the beginning and struggling a little. I know very well that there are hard times in every relationship, but I know it with my brain only. I am such an idealist and it can be such an obstacle.

    I must have little faith…

    When I was a child I dreamed that I was a little stone with many sharp edges. Yet I knew that it was inevitable to become a water worn pebble I wished to stay what I originally was, an untouched stone. It is still in me.

  9. Cristina

    This poem spears and forbids love. And yet…it is true.

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