If “if” was a fifth, we’d all be drunk.

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Girl – Age 17

And this isn't even half the ifs I can contemplate in a week...s-s-s-s-s-l-l-l...

I borrow my title from the archives of my big sister, Denise (bka Niecy).  And from my own archives, a poem from the artist at 17.

If only I wasn’t a drama queen.  If only I had realized he wasn’t the beginning and ending of my world.  If all that happened, I guess I wouldn’t be the (hopefully better) poet/person I am today!

This hyper-dramatic poem, “If,” comes courtesy of First Love.  He was my first (and last) serious breakup; I was 17; in my 7th grade report for Mrs. Kopay about becoming a writer I admitted I preferred to write when I was “sad or depressed.”  Oh let me stop trying to justify the melodrama.  This is how it appeared in our school literary magazine, the Iconoclast.  Talk about putting your business on Front Street!


If I could turn back the hands of time,
I’d go back to that warm spring night
That I stepped out on a limb,
Thinking that everything was just right,
I’d snatch my heart right back
and make you prove your intentions were true
Before I gave up my heart and soul
In hopes of sharing true love with you.

If I could turn back the hands of time,
And go back to that night
That we shared under the full moon
As you held me tight
As the breeze tickled my neck
And the waves crashed at our feet
And you pretended to love me
And I, like a fool, believed,
I’d give you what you wanted–
What you asked for and more
Because I wish you had a token
of what I was feeling all along before.

If I could turn back the hands of time,
And go back to that night
That we spent together
Until early daylight
That night that you claimed
That you wanted forever
Playing stupid mind games that never, ever…
Came true…
I would have never been so foolish
As to believe you.

But I guess fate always works itself out
You got just what you deserved from me
(Maybe more than I’d planned)
But one day you’ll see–
What goes around comes around,
And that you’ll be sorry you gave up
The love you never knew you’d found.

July 13, 1992
dedicated to  j.e.r.


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