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2004-02-07 - 9:15 a.m.

I’m trying to change this piece to have a working one to send to the local Pennysaver paper. They have a contest which inspired me to write on the Valentine’s Day theme, and I was surprised by the outcome. This is a case in which my initial ideas of where I was going with a realistic but not too sappy poem were not brought to fruition– but the outcome was BETTER than I expected! Sometimes its like that when you write- a piece leaps to life on its own and I feel like a conduit. I am having trouble editing it, as I am very pleased with the result. Yet I am not quite brave enough to send this out to the local community. Although here in NY we are neighbors no one REALLY knows, and they COULD assume it is a fictional piece as much creative writing is. Yet they could also assume there is truth and reality of experience behind it. I would send it out if it were not for concern for my Valentine’s feelings! After writing it I realize I REALLY wrote it for ME and perhaps for OTHERS to give hope as they struggle with similar issues. For that reason I feel it is important. And for that reason I have a hard time editing it. And for that reason- that it might be inspiring for someone ELSE to hear these words, I don’t think I WANT to share it with my Valentine, who may become embarrassed at the thought of it being shared. Because I think it NEEDS to be shared. I think I need to send it to a venue which is NOT local. Hmmm.... the thing is that we could actually win a nice gift certificate for a restaraunt from the local contest. The local contest has advantages for me- its LESS competition, so its easier to get published, and their prizes are worth about $50 each! Pretty substantial for a small paper! My son Soren won a Mother’s Day contest with his poem and I enjoyed the hour at a day spa for a back treatment. I still have $15 LEFT on that gift certificate to GO BACK for a manicure! This reminds me I should schedule that soon.... I was trying to wait until I HAD nails again, as I occasionally do. I think we’d enjoy that. (If our neighbors would like to babysit that is!) Hmmm.... if they make assumptions about our lives based on my writing maybe they won’t sit for us! I think it COULD win– as its so REAL and important, and even romantic and hopeful..... hmmm..... A conundrum. (Oops my formattong was lost in cut and pasting this- so use your imagination for paragraph breaks etc... No time now to fix it. )

Valentines Day

Its been years since

I had to conceal with Cover Girl

the chafing of my chin

caused by the rubbing of your beard

from kissing you for hours

And years since the valentine

tantalizingly read

Consider the possibilities

accompanied by candles and rose petals

And years since that Fall

I refused to conceal

the bruises caused by your hand in anger

in this second marriage which

brought children and baggage in it’s package deal

of love and devotion,

When we gazed less at each other

and instead flung insults and harsh wounding words

as the flailing business was run from our dining room table

that saw young genius,

California and NY calls with VCs,

amid crayons of children

and tantrums of frustrated adults,

when dinner was burned and milk was spilled

and the fantasy failed to unfold.

The date the court set for the domestic case

in a twisted sense of retribution

was the 14th of February

when the couples filed in

two by two

Some came together, like us

after shared months of counseling

anger management

and lawyers fees

Some came alone to serve justice

still showing the scars and pain of hate

from not so original sin

that consumed or attacked

as their eyes shot dagger like glances

Others showed denial, either alone or together

and a few remarkably showed hope, whether alone or together

knowing they weathered a surreal storm and

were free of it’s hold

Its been years since we traveled those phases of grief

at our loss

years since we’ve learned the capacity for growth

and forgiveness

Yet also years since you would acknowledge Valentine’s day

as it had been marred by that memory,

the annual reminder

of unwillingness to forgive and forget all

Because Some love is conditional

Yet just last week

you came home from the store

and I saw the chocolate lollipop

that you hid, that said “I love you”

And you opened a bag of tiny hearts

read yours that

said “Kiss me”

as you enfolded me in your embrace

with a kiss

like those that used to cause chaffing



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