This week I was given a poetry prompt titled “How to Break My Heart.”
Breakups suck and love is the worst. It’s also one of the hardest
things to write about. Most of the time, writing about love is either
cliché or cynical. I won’t lie, my attempts are usually the latter.
Love is this weird thing that is simultaneously unique and exactly the
same for everyone. I mean, everyone even uses the same universal
phrase: “I love you.” It’s always lovely at first. Then you fast
forward to the end and you want to collapse into yourself like a dying
star because the person you once were is in shambles. The strange
thing is, most of the time, you get right back up and do it all again.
I think it’s because we have this perception of love as this cosmic,
wonderful thing – once you get it right. So we keep trying because we
all want to capture that fleeting yet essential feeling. I blame
Shakespeare, the man who says,
Hear my soul speak: / The very instant that I saw you did /My heart
fly to your service. (Tempest)
Well yeah, if you put love that way, then yes I want it. I think that
in our culture we are taught to expect love to be this way and to
expect that it will happen eventually, so our hearts get broken over
and over again in its pursuit. It makes me think that because we are
searching for this so badly, having a “How To” on it would be
advantageous. If you could just hand this to the person you’re with
and say, “When you’re ready, just do this,” then maybe it wouldn’t be
Apparently, this was more than just a prompt.