Kissing Strangers

So what about it?
Would you dare?

How about that person on the street,
lost in their tunes. Maybe that old lady
mincing her way to market. Or the kid
with dreads and attitude. Maybe
the buttoned-up businessman.
Would his tie go askew with a kiss?
Would the world shimmy sideways?

Some folks are comfortable with kissing.
You can tell. Their mouths are set
just off-center. Not a smirk exactly,
but like they’ve got a secret (and probably
a past).

Those aren’t the ones who need a kiss.
It’s the mouths set in a grim line,
the guarded eyes with a beaten dog
behind them, the ones with clenched fists
and stiff walks, the furtive ones with a coat
hiding their soul.

Go on.
Walk up as if to pass, then wham!
Lay one on them. Full on the lips.
Then skip away quick, turn back
to grin, to see the jolt, the slow smile,
the sudden allegiance to the human race.

– Sarah Russell
For dVerse’s prompt “Magic
Photo source


40 thoughts on “Kissing Strangers

  1. I doff my chapeau at this kissing poem. Funny, you have described my mouth to a tee…off center and not quite a smirk. Years ago in university, I lived in a house of gay men. I learned about social and stranger kissing. I fell in love with it. I won’t kiss on the mouth but I will kiss on the cheek or the top of the forehead of they are bedridden. I like your poem to kissing. Kissing is magic.


  2. How delightful to think about. However, in today’s climate, I’d probably be thrown in the clink for sexual harassment! I have to say, though, that when my dentist (who is retiring) gave me a hug and a kiss today, I left smiling smugly.


  3. Oh, man. I love this, Sarah.
    “Would the world shimmy sideways?” — I truly think it NEEDS to, often.
    “Their mouths are set
    just off-center.” — I think this just might be me. 😉


  4. Kissing can be an art form, or just grunting & sucking face. A kiss has always been spiritual with me, more than foreplay, the fleshy foyer doors leading to the love nest, to the heart strings. But your fun use of kissing intrigues & delights me.


  5. This poem should be a government manifesto, Sarah! It reminds me of the Joni Mitchell song, ‘In France They Kiss on Main Street’:
    ‘Young love was kissing under bridges
    Kissing in cars kissing in cafes
    And we were walking down Main Street
    Kisses like bright flags hung on holidays’.

    My favourite lines are:
    ‘Would his tie go askew with a kiss?
    Would the world shimmy sideways?’
    ‘You can tell. Their mouths are set
    just off-center. Not a smirk exactly,
    but like they’ve got a secret, and probably
    a past’.


    1. Oh Kim, I don’t know that song. Running right over to You Tube to hear it. Yes, they do that in France. (And it could be part of their constitution.) One of my most awkward lessons there was learning the two cheek greeting kiss that everyone does. My nose got in the way all the time!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. These lyrics are why strangers need kisses.

        “They don’t take chances
        They seem so removed from romance”
        “They’ve been broken in churches and schools
        And molded to middle class circumstance”

        Thanks again for the song, Kim!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mish. I think that may have been in the back of my mind when I wrote it. I think there are people texting and walking that might not even break stride for a kiss! More’s the pity. I probably should have included a tester in the poem. Rewrite time…


  6. Fantastic! I’ve definitely daydreamed about what would happen if I did random stuff like this (before I was married and it would be more naughty than funny) but what a fun depiction of the recipient’s surprise and “the sudden allegiance to the human race.” Very well put.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s