Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Valentines Day

To my skeptical and somewhat cynical way of thinking, Valentines Day is much like Halloween--a ripoff driven by emotional blackmail--and I'm realistic enough to refuse to be manipulated. It's all about marketing and consumerism.

Valentines Day is apparently supposed to be a day when you express the depths of your love to your sweetie. That often comes in the form of flowers that are going to die in a few days, candy you're better off not consuming, and a greeting card that says what the greeting card designer wrote.

Don't get me wrong. I'm a hopeless romantic. I like the overt tokens of affection just as much as the next person, but expressions of real love in a real marriage are usually not accompanied by violins and moonlight. Sometimes it's a "How 'bout I scramble some eggs for breakfast?" or a "Come on, let's go to the fitness center."

It leaves me wondering why merchandisers think we're so short-sighted as to limit expressions of love to one day a year. Where do they think we've been the other 364 days of the year? Do they really think you take your sweetie for granted and then on February 14 erase it all with a few trinkets that say, "You know what I mean"?

My sweetie landed in the hospital Sunday morning with a kidney stone--now that's really romantic--and I sat with him all day as he went through pain and procedure and even delirium coming out of anesthesia. It wasn't fun, especially for him, when the plans for the day had to be abandoned to take care of a problem that wasn't going away on its own. It wasn't life-threatening; nevertheless, we realized it could have been much worse. Still, I thought of my mother watching my father die of an incurable disease--mesothelioma--and my grandmother calling the ambulance that February day in 1961 when my grandfather had a sudden and eventually fatal heart attack. These were life-altering moments for those women who had to go on alone.

No, flowers and candy and cards are not enough. Decide now to regret nothing. Time doesn't wait for you to get around to making a grand gesture that may ultimately be misunderstood. Say now all the things you mean to say, and put it in your own unique words. Here's what I've said to my sweetie:

You’re gone before I even realize
you were there. Softly, the gossamer touch
of your lips tells me so, but hit-and-run
kisses are only the lazy flap of
butterfly wings--I might forget before
our mouths can be together again. Give
me something genuine, sincere, a real
smackeroo, firmly planted, that leaves me
with the familiarity of you,
and the security of us. Don’t tease
my appetite for you, and then leave me
ravenous, wishing you would stay for just
one more sweet reminder of who we are.
Make me remember every time that
you, my best love, my only love, kissed me.

Talking in Your Sleep 
We sleep so differently, You and I--
      You with your right hand up to your face,
      I with my left hand a fist under my chin,
      You with your fidgeting feet,
      I with my tickling nose when pollen swoops in the open window,
      You with your indigo dreams of flying,
      I with my crimson dreams of climbing too high and falling, gravity’s victim again,
      You with your instant unconsciousness,
      I with my constant wakefulness,
      You with your no-nonsense morning routine,
      I with no place to go, lying there listening to you shave.
We sleep so differently, You and I, but we are for each other.
      Awake with different eyes we see alike the same way through.

If I Could Only Hold You Closer
Sometimes when we’re together
and I’m watching your face
and loving you beyond love
I marvel at how the years have
bonded us. We know without speaking
what half a smile
or a raised eyebrow means.
And yet holding hands, arm in arm,
cheek to cheek, even lips to lips
are fully insufficient.
Not even flesh to flesh entwined like vines
can bring us as close as I want to be
to you.


jww said...

I hope people keep reading past the "emotional blackmail-manipulated" paragraph because this is a lovely post. I do think, though, that expressions of love can be violins and moonlight AND "How 'bout I scramble some eggs for breakfast?" I, too, hear the complaint that Valentine's Day is all commercial, and the rebellion that one doesn't HAVE to bring flowers or candy just because it's Valentine's Day. Well, that's true, but my view is that if it's one more opportunity for a showing of love, or gratitude, or appreciation for all those scrambled eggs, we should be jumping at the chance. Nobody in the world is showering his/her love with too much affection.

(Merchandisers DO sell flowers, candy, jewelry and cards all other 364 days of the year.)

Anyway, I enjoyed the "real life" examples of what love is, and the "decide now to regret nothing" view. That's perfect. I love all the poems, too. Very beautiful.

Janet Kay Jensen said...


Janet Kay Jensen said...

Lovely. I am having trouble with deciphering the code words in order to post one word here, but your poetry and the sentiments are lovely. One more try.