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Love Poem

Copyright 2002, by Samuel M. Post.
Note:  If you’d like to produce this play, on stage or in a class — please email me and ask permission.  It will be granted, but I’d really like to know about it. (here’s a short film of the script, made by Simon O’Keefe)

Characters

LAURA, 22. Rational, intelligent. Sweet. Dressed smart, fashionable, conservative. Pretty, but with perhaps a bit too much make-up.

JEFF, 22. Shabby. Forced post-hippie attire. Less wise than Forest Gump, but more intelligent.

Setting

a small apartment.

Two twenty-two year olds
drinking tea and discussing their future.

LAURA: Do you take sugar?

JEFF: And milk.

LAURA: Don’t have milk. Lemon?

JEFF: Just sugar then.

She brings the tea. They sit beside each other on the couch.

 

LAURA: So what are you gonna do when you finish?

JEFF: I don’t know. What are you gonna do?

LAURA: I finished last year.

JEFF: That’s right. We started at the same time. It seems like we ought to finish at the same time.

LAURA: You took an extra year.

JEFF: I know. This is a nice apartment.

LAURA: Thanks.

JEFF: Are you working?

LAURA: Yeah. At a high school teaching special ed. Next year I’ll be in grad school.

JEFF: Wow.

LAURA: So you don’t know what you’ll do when you graduate?

JEFF: I’ll write more poetry.

LAURA: I love your poems.

JEFF: Thanks.

LAURA: I guess you’ll probably look for a
job?

JEFF: Probably.

LAURA: What do you want to do?

JEFF: Doesn’t matter. I’ll write.

LAURA: As long as you’re writing.

JEFF: That’s the important thing.

pause

I wrote a poem for you.

LAURA: Really?

JEFF: Here.

He gives her the poem. She reads the title aloud.

LAURA:

reading

“Us, over water.”

JEFF: You don’t have to read it now.

LAURA: I want to.

JEFF: Okay.

LAURA:

reading

We sit, on a bridge The two of us Side by side

JEFF: You’re gonna read it out loud?

LAURA: Do you mind?

JEFF: I guess it’s okay.

LAURA:

reading

We sit, on a bridge

The two of us

Side by side

With our legs hanging

Over the side

Of the bridge

Above the water –

Each of us

With our legs

Makes a shape –

The letter V upside down –

Together,

We make an M –

With the reflection

Of our legs In the water

There are

Two diamonds

Side by side –
Or would it be

Two M’s on top of each other

Like mountains?

I’m not sure.

LAURA:

a bit nervous

For me?

JEFF: Yeah.

LAURA: Thank you.

JEFF: It’s nothing.

LAURA: It’s really nice.

JEFF: You like it?

LAURA: Sure.

JEFF: Waddya think? You’re an English
major. Waddya think?

LAURA: What do I think?

JEFF: Yeah.

LAURA: About the poem?

JEFF: Sure.

LAURA: I’m shocked. I’m touched.

He tries to kiss her and she stops him.

LAURA: Wait a minute.

She rises.

 

JEFF: What’s the matter?

LAURA: What’re you doing?

JEFF: I thought I’d kiss you.

LAURA: I don’t think so.

JEFF: Okay. Just thought…you
know…sorry.

LAURA: You never even asked me out on a date or
anything.

JEFF: Isn’t this a date?

LAURA: I invited you for tea.

JEFF: That’s a date.

LAURA: It’s not a date. I felt sorry for
you.

JEFF: Then kiss me.

LAURA: No!

JEFF: I thought you liked me.

LAURA: I’ve always liked you, JEFF.

JEFF: Then what’s the problem?

LAURA: I didn’t like you like that!

JEFF: Do you like anybody like that?

LAURA: No.

JEFF: That’s what I thought.

LAURA: You thought what?

JEFF: That maybe you’d…be
ready.

LAURA: Ready! I beg your pardon.

JEFF: Sorry.

LAURA: Are you about ready to go?

JEFF: We were sitting pretty close there for a
minute, and you liked my poem.

LAURA: Liked it?

JEFF: You said you did.

LAURA: It was the most asinine load of dribble
I’ve ever read. I told you I felt sorry for you. Why’d you write that
for me, anyway?

JEFF: Why’d I write it for ya’?

LAURA: Yeah. Why me?

JEFF: I happen to have a pretty big crush on you.
Why else?

LAURA: You have a crush on me?

JEFF: Since freshmen year.

LAURA: God, you have a funny way of showing it.

JEFF: I’ve been afraid of you.

LAURA: Why?

JEFF: ‘Cause you’re so smart.

LAURA: I know I’m smart, but why does that
scare you?

JEFF: I don’t know. It just does.

LAURA: Where’d you come up with that?
About our legs hanging off a bridge? You and I have never been to a bridge.

JEFF: My imagination.

LAURA: You imagined the two of us on a bridge, our
legs hanging off the side.

JEFF: Looking down at the water together.

LAURA: That is kinda nice.

JEFF: You think?

LAURA: Yeah. It is. But it’s really weird.

JEFF: I was high when I wrote it.

LAURA: I’m sure you were. Are you high
now?

JEFF: No. You wanna get high?

LAURA: No! I’m a teacher in a school!

JEFF: Yeah, that’s right.

LAURA: I have to get up and go to work in the morning, and work all
day, and do what people tell me to do, and get a pay check. Do you have
any idea what that’s like? What it’s like to be out
of school and paying your own bills and taking care of yourself? You
can’t just walk around getting high and scribbling poems.

JEFF: I’ve worked.

LAURA: Summer jobs are different.

JEFF: Yeah, I guess so.

pause

You didn’t get high when you were in school
either, did ya’?

LAURA: No.

JEFF: Didn’t think so. So the job
isn’t really the reason.

LAURA: Not really.

pause

Why do you get high so much?

JEFF: I don’t know. I think I’m afraid to be with
people, so it helps me…not notice…or something.

LAURA: Really? Not notice what?

JEFF: Not notice…who I am.

LAURA: What’s wrong with who you are?

JEFF: I don’t know. Can’t
explain it.

She picks up the poem and reads.

 

LAURA: Two diamonds Side by side – Or
would it be Two M’s on top of each other Like mountains? I’m not
sure.

pause

You know. I like it.

JEFF: Really?

LAURA: Yeah. Really. The last line
is…well…cryptic.

JEFF: Cryptic?

LAURA: A bit cryptic. Is the poet unsure of the
image itself? Or is he unsure of his perception of nature? Cryptic.

JEFF: Cryptic. Yeah!

LAURA: I do like it.

JEFF: You do?

She sits beside him and leans toward him. They kiss.

end of play

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