How to (almost) Kiss

NaPoWriMo Day 19:  Many years ago, “didactic” poetry was very common – in other words, poetry that explicitly sought to instruct the reader in some kind of skill or knowledge, whether moral, philosophical, or practical. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write the latter kind of “how to” poem – a didactic poem that focuses on a practical skill. Hopefully, you’ll be able to weave the concrete details of the action into a compelling verse. Also, your “practical” skill could be somewhat mythological, imaginary, or funny, like “How to Capture a Mermaid” or “How to Get Your Teenager to Take Out the Garbage When He Is Supposed To.” Happy writing!

There are volumes of works written on kissing
It has been many a poet’s favorite subject
The way it feels, the reeling, the heart palpatations
What he or she smells like when you catch your breath
Enough to eventually, after a long wait, make an inhalation
But for all of the romance of the first kiss,
Kisses desired, to kiss frank, even practicing*
The practical is often missed
So without further ado, allow me to instruct you
On “How to Kiss”


2016 Phil Draws

This is a lesson you don’t want to miss
A practical skill that may make her forget
If you forgot your anniversary or her birthday
I promise you surrender still yet
I offer you the codified secret of lip service
Start with a sincere compliment
And if you can’t think of one let alone many
Well, best you just get on your way
Leave her to a real man for some other day
If by now you have determined you are not a lout
Direct your admiring comments toward her pout
Then, caress her face; Move in slowly, and “Hey!”
“Are you paying attention?” Retreat
Yes breathe, take her all in, my sweet
With your eyes, silly
Appreciate her unique quality
Today’s women are strong and smart and capable
We want a man who can, and will, take the lead
Don’t be in such a hurry for your maws to meet
Hear me again: Hold the small of her back
Caress the nape of her neck (unless she has a weave!)
If your lips are chapped, you better have an A-Team distraction
And if you had onions and garlic for dinner, you might as well retire
For this lack of planning alone could ruin the attraction
She needs to be thinking, “Whoa whoa what is happening?”…
And when your mouths finally greet, do not consume her with greed
Find the balance between intention and anticipation
Every woman of every size wants to feel both delicate and desired
Master this and you will be ahead of the rest of your breed

But, let us return to the thick of the plot
If you’ve come this far you are ready for the lesson now…
There are no magic do’s and do not’s
There is nothing on this earth as impractical as kissing
Try as you might, it is not something that can be taught
Still, I’d sacrifice myself over and over anyhow
After all, I am simply another romantic poet
Not the kissing Tao.

~Just L (April 19, 2016)

*The First Kiss by Kim Addonizio
Kisses Desired by William Drummond of Hawthornden
To Kiss Frank by Dorianne Laux
Practicing by Marie Howe

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