In the Spirit of the Day

[I know, I know; haven’t I learned my lesson?]


She loved singing
Chanted hymns softly in the month of July
Stuttering canticles of innocent twinkling
Stars in my declining midnight sky

She whistled lilting tunes, chosen and few
They taste of comfortable familiarity
But also of sparkling new consonants blinking merrily

She hummed me a love song out of her soul
It was golden with her sunset and hot on her coals

And finally she whispered
Into my ear
Of questions and doubts and things that she feared

But I cannot sing or tell her the future
All I have is a headless hope
Running and tripping whither it will
So we walk by faith and not blind eyes of stone


Surface conditions are vastly overrated
And time moves slowly through my lackluster veins—
From my brain to my heart,
To the tip of my tongue
Bled to life slowly on the sharp point of four years

If I didn’t have you, I’d drink you in like tears
Sitting downtown, daydreaming you into existence

Your skin is citrus in our deafening dark
All cinnamon blush and ignited spark—
From my far-flung first touch
To the ends of your earth
Fashioned of my bone, beckoned of my flesh
Twenty-one and four in the past

If I didn’t know you, I’d taste you like my dreams
Smiling myself awake with your faintly liquid laugh

Your breath in my ear with simple imprecision
More beautiful than flame
From a sinking suspicion to a bittersweet bliss,
To your twenty-five carat kiss–
Of all the things I’ve heard, this alone has not been named

(I love you Tennille…)


Quotes for St. Valentine’s Day

The revolt against vows has been carried in our day even to the extent of a revolt against the typical vow of marriage. It is most amusing to listen to the opponents of marriage on this subject. They appear to imagine that the ideal of constancy was a yoke mysteriously imposed on mankind by the devil, instead of being, as it is, a yoke consistently imposed by all lovers on themselves. They have invented a phrase, a phrase that is a black and white contradiction in two words—’free-love’—as if a lover ever had been, or ever could be, free. It is the nature of love to bind itself, and the institution of marriage merely paid the average man the compliment of taking him at his word. Modern sages offer to the lover, with an ill-flavoured grin, the largest liberties and the fullest irresponsibility; but they do not respect him as the old Church respected him; they do not write his oath upon the heavens, as the record of his highest moment. They give him every liberty except the liberty to sell his liberty, which is the only one that he wants. … Thus in love the free-lovers say: ‘Let us have the splendour of offering ourselves without the peril of committing ourselves; let us see whether one cannot commit suicide an unlimited number of times.’ –G.K. Chesterton, “In Defense of Rash Vows,” The Defendant

I’m thinking of a word that has been
Knocked up and overused
You could say it’s lost all meaning
From so much abuse

But when you say love, OH

Most everything I ever wanted
Doesn’t really have a name
But baby you’re as close as I’ve come and
I know that it sounds strange

But when you say love, OH

So open up my heart-shaped box
It’s full of combination locks
I’ve swallowed all my love-sick pills
To keep from getting chills
Look at all the books I’ve read
In my lonely single bed

But when you say love, OH
–Over the Rhine, “When You Say Love,” OHIO