John Heaton (jheaton) wrote,
John Heaton

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Poet's Corner: My POSSLQ


Come live with me and be my love,
And we will some new pleasures prove
Of golden sands and crystal brooks
With silken lines, and silver hooks.
There's nothing that I wouldn't do
If you would be my POSSLQ.

You live with me, and I with you,
And you will be my POSSLQ.
I'll be your friend and so much more;
That's what a POSSLQ is for.

And everything we will confess;
Yes, even to the IRS.
Some day on what we both may earn,
Perhaps we'll file a joint return.
You'll share my pad, my taxes, joint;
You'll share my life - up to a point!
And that you'll be so glad to do,
Because you'll be my POSSLQ.

Charles Osgood (born 1933)

My brother, who unlike many of you reading this is old enough to remember when POSSLQ entered the public consciousness, suggested I post this poem. POSSLQ (rhymes with "fossil yew") is a census term meaning People of the Opposite Sex Sharing Living Quarters. The Census Bureau developed the term in the 1970s as part of an effort to better determine the rate of cohabitation in these United States. During the 1980 census, further artful questions were asked by census workers upon learning someone was a POSSLQ in order to separate opposite-sex roommates from people who were actually shacked up together. By 1990, they had done away with the pretense and just asked respondents if they were unmarried partners, and the term fell out of general use.

Incidentally, you may recognize those first few lines. My understanding is that Osgood allowed a struggling young English poet to use them in one of his own poems.

Tags: poet's corner

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