Stephen Perez’s book Love Poems for Mary is exactly that: a short collection of love poems inspired by and written for the woman he loves.
This lyrical collection of irregular odes is inspired by and dedicated to Mary. Wending his way through his innermost feelings of longing, loneliness, dedication and desire, the speaker imagines a blissful life of romantic moments with the woman of his dreams.
For example, in “A Christmas Wish,” the author dreams, “My wish this Christmas season is/ That you open your heart/ And capture all my love.” He also speaks of the longing he feels when they are apart, such as in “A Day Without You.” Here, he pines, “I can’t imagine an hour without you/ Much less a whole day./ That’s like having a pain/ That won’t go away.”
Underneath these sweet-nothings, however, readers may sometimes doubt that the romantic relationship these two share exists outside of the speaker’s daydreams. In “This Person,” he writes: “This person, that never tells me that/ She loves me./ Somehow always lets me know./ She really does love and care for me/ But never lets it show.” The specter of unrequited love lends his words an air of desperation that may leave the audience feeling somewhat uneasy.
Love Poems for Mary is a short read. Each full-page poem is accompanied by a corresponding full-page stock photo of romantic imagery, leaving this book of 25 pages with only 12 poems.
The work suffers from some technical flaws: periods where commas would normally appear, an occasional misspelled word (“I love you with all my keart”), etc., but nothing too off-putting.
While not groundbreaking, Love Poems for Mary is competently written and pleasantly generic. Despite the book’s title, Perez’s poems don’t mention Mary by name, leaving readers free to imagine their own loved one in her stead in much the same way one does when reading a greeting card.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.