Poem Sampler

Anti-Love Poems

For breakups, heartache, and unrequited love. More “screw Cupid” than “Be mine.”

Anti-Love Poems

BREAKUP POEMS

The Glass Essay” by Anne Carson

In the days and months after Law left   
I felt as if the sky was torn off my life.   

Movement Song” by Audre Lorde

we were always saying goodbye
in the blood in the bone over coffee

The Flurry” by Sharon Olds

I mutter, “I feel like a killer.” “I’m
the killer”—taking my wrist—he says,
holding it. 

Cuckoldom” by B.J. Ward 

if you look
for alimony,
it follows
acrimony

After Eden” by Rachel Wetzsteon 

“I’m trying
to break up with you!” he shouted as
stockings and scruples flew;

Explore more breakup poems.   

 

HEARTACHE AND VEXED LOVE

You left me – Sire – two Legacies” by Emily Dickinson

You left me Boundaries of Pain –
Capacious as the Sea –

No, I wasn’t meant to love and be loved” by Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib

You are a laconic marksman. You leave me   
not dead but perpetually dying.   

Semele Recycled” by Carolyn Kizer

After you left me forever,
I was broken into pieces,
and all the pieces flung into the river.

Endless Summer” by Nate Pritts

& you never again   you lovely   you summer you   everything that is now
never again   whatever that may be   the rage I loved   me under the stars

dear love,” by Barbara Jane Reyes

it comes to this, vying for geography. there is a prayer stuck in my
throat. douse me in gasoline, my love, and strike a match.

Browse more heartache poems

 

UNREQUITED LOVE

I Feel Horrible. She Doesn’t” by Richard Brautigan

I feel horrible. She doesn’t
love me and I wander around

A un Desconocido” by Lorna Dee Cervantes

Where is your skin, parting me?

The Breather” by Billy Collins  

All that sweetness, the love and desire—
it’s just been me dialing myself
then following the ringing to another room 

The Consolations of Sociobiology” by Bill Knott

                              I see: it’s not you
Who is not requiting me, it’s something in you
Over which you have no say says no to me. 

Sometimes with One I Love” by Walt Whitman

But now I think there is no unreturn’d love, the pay is certain one way or
    another

Find more unrequited love poems

 

LONELINESS-LOVE POEMS

Surface Translations” by Lisa Fishman

Wish that, you had stayed. 
       with : me 

Time Does Not Bring Relief: You All Have Lied” by Edna St. Vincent Millay

There are a hundred places where I fear   
To go,—so with his memory they brim.  

Dear One Absent This Long While” by Lisa Olstein

We expect you, cat and I, bluebirds and I, the stove.

I Don’t Miss It” by Tracy K. Smith

Straining against the noise of traffic, music,

Anything alive, to catch your key in the door.

I’ll Open the Window” by Anna Swir

Aloneness
will enlarge the walls of the room,   

More poems about loneliness

 

SCREW CUPID

 

What Isn’t Mine” by Jill Alexander Essbaum

Used to be in love.
Ho. Hum.

Sonnet [You jerk you didn’t call me up]” by Bernadette Mayer

I’m through with you bourgeois boys
All you ever do is go back to ancestral comforts

The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator” by Anne Sexton

At night, alone, I marry the bed.

Epithalament” by Brenda Shaughnessy

I will crawl towards the heavy drawing

and design the curtains in the room
of never marrying you. 

from “An Attempt at Jealousy” by Marina Tsvetaeva

How do you breathe now?
Flinch, waking up?

 

Originally Published: February 5, 2013

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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