“My first date with Luke started at four in the afternoon—and at midnight, we were still going. Sitting on stools at Frank’s Cocktail Lounge (a bar that feels like a holdover from the seventies, right down to the occasional fedora-wearing patron), we were bent over the carefully folded piece of paper Luke had just taken out of his wallet. As he smoothed it out on the bar, I saw the seven poems, in tiny font, that he carried with him at all times—and I braced myself.
“This guy wasn’t just so charming and handsome that I’d already trembled once or twice, near him. He was also ‘haunted by verse.’ That was a description an English professor had once applied to me, after I’d run into her while crossing campus one night; drunkenly, I’d begged her to remind me which poet had written, ‘Let us roll all our strength and all our sweetness up into one ball.’ (Andrew Marvell, for the record.)
“Robert Frost famously said poetry provides ‘a momentary stay against confusion.’ Seeing Mark’s poems didn’t make me one bit calm, however. We’d been doing a high-wire conversation act for quite a while by then, but it wasn’t till I saw his aesthete’s bible that I noticed just how far off the ground I was.”
—Maura Kelly, “Love and Poetry”