In a dark-lit corner of the bar I sit, Gentle Reader, staring into the middle distance, nursing a Gimlet; from time to time, I’ll bend to my open notebook and jot something down. Not poetry, as such, at this stage – just a scribbled portrait of passers-by. As I lay down my pen to step outside for a brief cigarette, an impossibly beautiful young man will approach. He’s dark-haired, scrawny, scruffy, and shy – and insists that he’d like to get to know me better. I demure, and he pursues, until I’m sure it’s him and not the liquor talking. We exchange numbers, and I step outside for that cigarette.
We’ll have talked incessantly all week, ignoring all that wait-three-days nonsense that conventional advice decrees, further confirming what he claims to be true. On the appointed day, we’ll meet again at the bar where we met; we’ll wander around downtown enjoying a singularly sunny afternoon amongst the public art and little shops. Eventually, we’ll stop for supper at a fascinating little restaurant where they know one or both of us, and perhaps stop for a cocktail back at our favorite bar.
At this point, he’ll bring up that he’s gotten word of a private poetry reading someplace – would I like to go? – or else there’s a new art exhibition downtown, or a play or a musical or a symphony – and he’s got tickets. We’ll attend; the sheer beauty will make him cry for love of Art. At that moment, overcome by his passion, I’ll grip his shoulders – he’ll look up at me questioningly – and I’ll ask if I may kiss him. Sparks, naturally, will fly.
Then we’ll go back to his, Gentle Reader, and you need read no more about that.
Except that it isn’t what you think – we’ll curl up on the sofa, amidst copious bottles of wine, and recite poetry at one another – I declaim charmingly. I’ll punctuate the sorrow of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock with amorous intent, and the juxtaposition will light up his eyes. He’ll call out To Amarantha, That She May Dishevel Her Hair while running his fingers through mine. Finally, we’ll recite Cooleridge’s Kublai Khan together, going faster and faster, alternating stanzas until we rhythmically finish in perfect unison. Another glass of wine, perhaps, and then one of us will fall asleep in the other’s arms.
The next morning, we’ll be lying awake, intertwined, and he’ll start singing – The Bed Song, by Amanda Palmer, perhaps. I’ll be enchanted, all over again, and join in on the bits where I know the words. Surprisingly, our voices are both of such timbres that we harmonize well, and that will be proof positive that I’ve found true romance.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Gentle Reader!