His prose is clunky, his verse is crass. His rhymes are all slant and no posture, his metre leaves much to be desired. His form is haphazard, his themes are clichéd. He loses every competition he enters.
But his poetry, despite all that, is beautiful. Many find it detestable, all lovers of language do.
But there is one who gives it light.
She smells of strawberry shower gel, her laugh is a girlish giggle. She likes evergreen trees, teen magazines and chicklit. She works as an assistant to an economist, singing pop tunes as she photocopies. She once had hopes of being an actress, but sensibility has stamped those dreams out of her. Two school musicals and a community play about a man with HIV are all of her CV. She is the textbook case of a could-have-been, should-have-been.
But on airy summer nights, he reads his clumsy sonnets to her, and she sits in rapture at the sound of his voice. It rises and falls as he describes love and spring and babies, hesitating on some particularly kindergarten style rhymes.
Later, they head inside and make sweet love. She reenacts the definitive “Oh yes!” scene from “When Harry Met Sally” as they go, thinking those acting days were not such a waste after all. And in the aftermath (as she tries to appear satisfied) he reads to her again, this time about rain, storms, and their relation to the Global Financial Crisis.
Then he tells her about his day serving coffee in the city, all the zany characters that pass through the cafe’s doors, all the fun he supposedly has serving them.
She tells him about the woman at the office who just had a baby (she named him Bruce) and how her boss pinched her bottom on the way out that afternoon.
Then they fall asleep in each other’s arms, he dreaming of Chaucer and she of Anne Hathaway, stars in their eyes and cotton in their ears, the soundtrack of an imperfect love story playing throughout their lives.
Sometimes you just have to accept the love you have, instead of the love you dream of.