Friday, February 13, 2009

I Heart Valentine's Day


I.The following comments about Valentine's Day always irritate me:

1. Valentine's Day is just a made-up holiday that the greeting card industry uses to make a quick buck.

2. My man/woman (usually man) should love me all year 'round. If he/she needs a holiday to remind him/her, I'm not interested.

Sigh.

Regarding the first instance I say, of course Valentine's Day is just a made up holiday. All holidays are just made up holidays. Do you think the first of mankind to crawl out of the primordial sludge was greeted with specific instructions on how to carve the Thanksgiving day turkey? Of course not.

Regarding the second part of the first instance: this is America. We're a capitalist country. to survive in a capitalist society (and any society for that matter), you need to make capital. Besides, what else is the greeting card industry going to make money on?

The second instance is irritating for its solipsism, and its shortsightedness. The solipsism is evident, but the lack of perspective regarding the definitions of who we are that can be derived from the holidays we choose to celebrate, is alarming.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are celebrations of family and communion. They also give us opportunities to be generous and thankful. Halloween provides our children with an opportunity to experiment with different aspects of their personality by playing dress-up, and it's the closest our culture ever comes to acknowledging death. New Year's is a chance to celebrate our successes and reset our goals. It also can serve as a good marker to measure our achievements against.

Valentine's Day is just as important. It's an opportunity for us to celebrate our partnerships, and to meditate on our loves. It's like a New Year's for the heart. And, besides, who doesn't like a little bit of champagne, dark chocolate, and Chet Baker every now and then?

There is also a certain hedonism to Valentine's Day that I find irresistable.

II. For 20+ years, Ted Kooser (a great poet) has been writing a Valentine's Day poem for an ever enlarging list of women, and mailing it to them. "Valentine's Day is a great holiday for the poet...It's not tied up with anything other than expressions of sentiment." Check it out.

III. Here is something of a universal Valentine poem that appeared in my e-book, Mule & Horse. I wrote it in honor of those wonderful devices that carry women from point A to point B.

YOUR LEGS

Your legs
Your olive legs
Your caramel
Snow-white
Ebony
Pink tan legs

Are the scissors
That cut my concentration

Through halls
Designed to indulge echo
You clip
My head
Turns

Your legs
Your thick legs
Your soft
muscled
Thin
Tattooed legs

Should require
A license to operate.

IV. And here's a poem I wrote more specifically for my wife, from the same collection:

LARGE OBJECTS MOVING SLOWLY

As your breasts
make their glacial excursion
towards your hips,

and my balls begin to droop
like a Halloween bag
full of too much candy:

I will pause
(from time to time)
and remember years before:

when our two taut bodies
were so easily entertained
by such equally firm surfaces.

We explored them ruthlessly:
Like conquistadors,
looking for golden cities.

I will smile,
and consider these current days:
Terrain complex. Unpredictable.

A safari nowadays of the many
curves and folds,
may take months of planning.

And only god knows
how many hired natives
will be lost along the way.

V. Have a fun, happy, sexy, wonderfully indulgent & celebratory Valentine's Day everyone!

Flight Of The Conchords: