What Love Isn't
|Love is Tom sending poems across state with my address as the return address to avoid postage, toasting this slogan: ‘I got no money. I got no money. I got no money.’ And that is love. Love is Dagan in Africa finding a new tongue. Love is Heather in Knoxville raising her son. Love is Pat and Debbie teaching young punk kids and every shout out I left out when I thought I could stop this and every person I know who helps me stay grounded. Love is me on a curb, fuckin’ pukin’ bent over, almost sober, yeah, I know I’m 22, but I swear I’ve got a future. Under street lights, sewing my life together like a suture and I can’t name this love ‘cause I’ve not fully found it. But I’m reaching and searching and that’s what this sound is. —Daniel Roop|
Most love poems are bullshit and slogans, but I’ve learned how to write yours and here’s how it opens: you are hard work. —Daniel Roop
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, which you probably know if you’ve been anywhere near a store since the day after Christmas. Valentine’s Day is one of those manufactured holidays we’ve set up to sustain the candy, floral and greeting card industries through the cold winter months. There’s nothing wrong with it, really, especially if you’re a kid, because you get to swap valentines with all the other hellions in your homeroom class (Unless you don’t have many friends, of course, in which case you’ll only get a handful, causing you unnecessary emotional trauma that will come up in therapy years from now. Don’t worry. Your insurance will cover it (Unless you’re one of the 30 million or so people in the States who don’t have insurance, in which case you’ll just lug the baggage around until you screw up all of your adult relationships and die a bitter old maid with 27 cats. You have so much to look forward to.)).
The thing with Valentine’s Day, though, is that it perpetuates the false ideas about love that we all carry with us. We’ve come to associate love with feelings and pitter-patting hearts and Peanuts specials. And while that’s certainly a part of love, it’s mostly just frosting.
The truth is that love is more than candy and roses and dinner and ballroom dancing on strategically placed calendar dates. It’s more than the tingling sensation of your heart plunging into your intestines whenever your special someone says your name. That’s all good stuff. But love is lots of not so good stuff too. It’s fighting for the 27th time about whose turn it is to empty the dishwasher. It’s grudgingly going to see your in-laws when, given the choice between the two, you’d rather have a pap smear. It’s making the bed when you get home from work because your wife didn’t have time. It’s chores and cleaning, compromise and too little sleep. It’s hard and painful and sacrificial and draining and stressful and all sorts of other things they don’t sing about in three minute pop songs. Ultimately, though, that’s what makes it so beautiful. And that's why, collectively, our culture is so bad at it.