The Boyfriend Project,
Such a Girl Press, 2017.
Boyfriends. Where do they go once the relationship ends? Are they tucked away in shoeboxes on the top shelves of closets? Are their photos in yearbooks kissed with lipstick? Where is the class ring? The prom corsage? Where are the boys?
Moving home to Maine in late 2005, I set upon a journey to find the boys I once loved. Sounds simple enough, right? I heard from a classmate that a boy I once loved (in the teenage sense of the word) was dying of cancer. He wanted to see me. I went to visit him and his wife and spent a few hours with him. When I left, he walked me out onto the porch and kissed me on the mouth. I drove away with the image of him hanging on to the porch railing for dear life. I knew I'd never see him again. The project to locate former beaux was born that day. Bruce died two weeks after our visit.
Once the work began shaping itself, and when I began talking about it with other women, I found that there was no end to the stories of boyfriends (happy, sweet, dark, dangerous). Other women began sharing their stories. The project became larger and deeper than the sweet little sad little collection of boyfriend stories from my own limited experience. What began with a poem about Bruce and Donnie and Fred, took off on its own path. The poems wanted to tell a larger story. And tell it they have.
The Boyfriend Project: The poet takes her readers from an inviting front porch to the rugged Maine coastline. We gaze upward with Bachofner at Perkins Cove. "It's the full one, the moon that eyes itself in the sea, swishes its throat in the tide." As we follow her, the imagery remains potent and the language maintains its own ebbs and surges, a true pulse. The poems in this collection touch me in a deep place where my own loves lived and still smolder.
— Audrey Friedman, MFA Vermont College
Sample Poem from the book (p. 23):
On the Bench By the Flying Horses
waiting for boys, waiting for summer
love she’s only read in beach novels.
Her hands sweat in her lap,
mouth dry as chalk. She knows this
is the summer when love will come,
will walk right up to her if she waits, waits.
The sun on her face, ripe as a peach in the sky,
salt in the air, on her lips. In her ears,
carousel music from the amusement park.
The sign over the entrance reads:
Wild Animal Kingdom,
where your wildest summers begin.
She wonders if she should have stayed home,
written a romance of her adventures,
a pack of lies in her diary.
Want an ice cream, Miss?
Suddenly it’s summer
on the bench by the flying horses.
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