Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Love Is Not Cruel, Love Is Not Cliche

This week, I am traveling to Middlebury, Vermont for the wedding of one of my closest friends. Weddings have understandably been on my mind this year, as well as a little endeavor I began at the request of a cousin in 2002. You see, I come from a big family. As in huge. And I have watched many of my older cousins, aunts, uncles, second cousins, and friends get married over the years. I like to think I've become a bit of a wedding connoissuer. And one thing that can kind of bring down the big day is the same old, tired reading. I think my cousin felt the same way, which is why he asked me to write a poem for their ceremony.

This trust we have, she says,
is like sunlight on my shoulders,

clean and warm.
He says, soft, soft, soft.

This poem led to others, and as more of my nearest and dearest get hitched, I find myself with ever-mounting requests. These poems are, of course, different from my other work. They incorporate memories, imagery, and even words that are unfamiliar to me.

you, my luff, my burrito, my sweet,

sweet dessert, my lovely lovey-dovey one.

I find that I really enjoy the challenge, it's a refreshing chance to step outside of myself...and I can get pretty sick of myself. These projects also refresh my own work, in much the same way that a filmmaker is rejuvenated by a great movie, or a painter by a new work of art. But the best part is finding out more about my loved ones and the ones they love enough to marry.

we’re little coals, red hot and smoldering—

we’re cooking something good, a bubbling stew

of habaƱero pepper, garlic, me

and you.

Relationships are like secret little worlds. Two people in love create a whole new mythology and set of symbols that are unique and special only to them. As a writer, and therefore, something of an archaeologist, I am fascinated by these things, and revel in their discovery. By learning about a new word or a special moment, I am learning about what makes these two work, and by extension, how love works.

Dear feet on dash

Dear strong-armed driver

Dear road to anywhere,

new like day

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