#4 has now seen some changes. The following is the final draft for as long as I can resist the temptation to tinker. #6 is much more of an unfinished work. There was lots of giggling when I workshopped the previous version (a curse on that Wombat Joke); this version is much more "honest" - by which I mean "closer to what I want from a love poem with roses in it to be"
My friends ask me: how much does that special smile
of yours cost? I'll warn you now it's pricey:
not a trinket stacked on shelves in giftshops
trading junk. You cannot wipe my palms
with coins and watch it swipe its muscly tricks
across my face, nor will enticements bag you
that act - for a drink I'll swap a grin, and for food
I'll pack a leer into our dialogue. But
my smile, my honest sweat-on-face with blushing grace
stretch of lips and crowfeet tracks towards my ears,
deserves a deal that only you can strike, my love, when
you look at me with lids half-drawn across your eyes.
I buy a rose to mark
stout, black thorns
erupting through the stalk
in whorls; the sawtooth leaves
nestling the tight bud -
sheets of peach and cream
rolled in green folders.
You smile, take my palms
and lag them round the stem,
pluck a petal and press it
inside my mouth with kisses:
"Love", you whisper, "is what
we do with symbols, yes?"
I nod and grin, and bite
the lips that feed me.