My Funny Valentine: The Poet's Cut
The sound of my old alarm clock was again buzzing through the hollows of my ears. My eyes, resisting all efforts to pry open, finally allowed a narrow view, an exit from my delectable dreams. Laying there until an acceptance, the day must begin and so must I. The list of things I had to do took over my mind as I bobbled and fumbled throughout my morning. The sting of a razor cutting the skin, the burnt flesh of my toast and the tear of a newly purchased stocking carried me out the door.
The day was cold, the air stinging my face as I walked through the streets, as I played the day out in my head I failed to notice it happening around me. The sounds of the streets, other people walking their journey, occasionally impeded my thoughts and demanded my attention. Only a few concessions made, a hardened warrior of this course, I knew how much to give and how often to collide. This knowing would prove to play a more unique version than normally given to me by the universe, one that began with a meeting, one provisioned in the depths of my tormented mind.
I stood there, willing the line at my normal destination, waiting for all those ahead to select their items of comfort and needed for gestation. For some it was the paper, others a warm tea, for many the scones, filled with nuts and cranberries. The beats of my playlist accompanied me in the stale time, providing soundtrack to the now dance of a coffee-house, I created to bide. I tapped my finger against my wallet, preparing my menu and awaiting my turn. A tug to my sleeve became a moment of reverie as I turned to see what was staring back at me.
At first I saw no one, another pull at my arm gathered my gaze down, now cast upon the most curious creäture that I had ever seen. A small, tiny man, a seeming gnome given life, ready to end his endless slumber and confer on all his thoughts and dreams. A gleam in his eye and an almost threat in his smile, I stood baffled, awaiting someone else to interject their witness to this unexplainable moment. No one chimed in, no other seemed to notice, this time was only for he and I. It was now my turn, to engage the matter, participation required, his patience seemed not to break.
“Hey” the only word I could conjure.
“Hello there love!” he replied in a most ominous way. “I bring you tidings from your dreams, all the things you desire are now awaiting.” he offered, bringing his hand toward me, opening his palm to show a red stone, pulsing light, beating with the drum of a heart.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I said in quick retort, awaiting the incoming price tag.
“Touch it once and feel the tingle, hold in your handle and let it mingle, once burnt in the dreams of time, will shine down on you like the melody of my rhyme.” he sang out, exuberant in his chant.
I knew this would be the extent of his explanation, seemingly ready to loop back into his song offering all of life’s treasures. I contemplated this moment, still stunned from this dreamlike vision. Was I awake? I pinched at my own arms to give my self a jolt, nothing happened. I pulled at the end of my hair to sting myself alert, nothing happened. I allowed myself the moment to consider this possible truth. Could I be so lucky to receive a messenger of tidings, one that graces only a chosen few.
The moment my mind considered the possibility, enthralled in its allure, I became fond of the notion. I extended my fingers toward the stone, a last burst of spontaneity, it was now in my hands. I sat there, embracing its glowing lullaby, allowing its pulse to unite and sync in unison with mine. His chant began to echo, repeating me into a lull. It mutated and warped, started to torment my soul, the pounding of the stone now overtook my own. Thumping and pounding my heart began to hurt, the promise of my dreams not clarified, it was representing those that only trouble, not any that glorify.
I began falling through space and time, each joint, each limb slowly detached, pulled apart like blocks, I began to disappear. Gasping, crying, moaning, the pain of my mind, very much aware. I was in a tumble, each piece of my body falling off into the below thinning air. I begged for an end, my death must come, when suddenly I was reassembled with an impact and resounding thud. I had reached a destination, a resting place unknown. I laid there flat, trying to feel what had occurred, my limbs now present, the feeling excruciating, my soul burned. I opened my eyes to witness a fiery hell, the depths of which could never be described in tell. There were thousands of others, strained to their very core , pulling carts of coal, continuing in a loop of their never-ending terms.
The gnome appeared once again to greet me to my new home. “With absence of mind comes the scold of our design!” he explained. “Your fate now sealed, in our arrangement your life is revealed. You will carry the fuel to torch the nightmares of the world. This is your fate, your love, your line, this my sweet deary is your funny valentine.” he cackled and danced in glorious design. I stood there, unable to stomach my regret, my choice chastened by fate, not everything is a gift of pleasure, only in careful discernment can one see what actually awaits.
I wrote this short story on Valentines Day 2011 and it remains one of my favorite. I love short stories as a poet as I often get exhausted after 15 words ;) This isn't so much about love actually, I've never been that great of an advocate of the theme of "love" put through material expression in modern time. Let us not forget love is a perspective and has equal definitions to that of our current population (7.2 billion humans = 7.2 definitions of love) I've been unable to put that on a card or in a box of chocolates and consider it an adequate expression of my definition of "love".
And so I wrote this to interpret a broader effect of what is trigger by our desire for something, the impetuousness we step into, out of normal character into superhero for a moment. I've learned since the time I first strung these words that the state of discernment is the health of spontaneity and judgment is its pathology.
The image was taken later, another February capture in 2013 and I always have loved that this heart appeared with no interference or effort. A hummingbird feeder had lost its contents onto the surface below, the drips saturating rock and shaping the heart, of whose sweet nectar a community of ants fed. All courtesy of the moment.