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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

False Start Valentine

After agreeing to post in combination with Suze's "False Start Valentine", I feared I might, as a man of little emotional aptitude, stray beyond my area of expertise. But, after absquatulating with her big smiley emblem and absorbing some enthusiasm, I began to see it as an experiment. Men like experiments because sometimes they explode and stink and stuff  (the experiments I mean, not the men -or at least less often). 

Men are often less than forthcoming in regard to strong feelings of affection. They tend to hold a lot back, not from recalcitrance so much as conditioning and the fact that they are emotionally limited by nature. According to a study by the American Institute Of Commentitious Neurology, women have roughly four times the emotional range of men. So, if you are a woman, the average man has no idea what you're feeling 75% of the time. Hence my first selection.  Let's begin with an excerpt from The Rose:

I grew up watching oaters full of strong, silent role models. Drama was left to the female lead, whose difficult job it was to elicit heartfelt responses from Gary-Cooper-quiet heroes who often really were Gary Cooper. It typically went like this:

Rose: Don't go, Tex, oh don't go.

Tex: Gots to go, Rosie.

Rose: But the Driscoll gang'll get you.

Tex: Mehbee....mehbee not.

Rose: But Tex, I...I love you, you big galoot.

Tex: Aw, Rosie.

Rose: Just come back to me.

Tex: Aw Rosie. Yuh give me the goldurned emotions!


This is not to imply that men have no sense of romance. We do. It is simply hard to articulate. We love strongly and it makes us marvel and gag. Sometimes we even fall in love when nobody's around. I have selected two poems written at different stages of  my emotional development. They won't help any but they might furnish some insight on primitive sentiment.

Dark Express

You remember me better
Than I do.
Who I was, under a hat:
Another magician arriving
In station echoes--
A late train, smells
Of cigarettes and steel.
An overcoat
On a cold night,
For an instant seemed
Real, right and just, more
Than invention in
Shadows, dust and years.
Here, you touch glass
That stops a place where
Steam is,
Clear a squeaking
Circle and
Remember me.
This Dance

I leaned down
Nearer your
Heart and
Heard singing.

At this juncture, it is probably best to call upon a poetic specimen of more general appeal. So I will quote Shakespeare, Romeo And Juliet, from memory:

Juliet:  O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?
           Deny thy name and I shall refuse mine
           And...uh...Oh won't you be my Valentine?

Although nothing especially exploded or stunk in this experiment, it was instructive. I learned it is really hard to memorize Shakespeare and after a certain point in romantic progress it is impossible for us to get a picture without some portion of a grandchild in it. But we do our best.

Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. "Men are much less forthcoming in regard to strong feelings of affection" partly because of their masculine pride, and mostly because they've been kicked in the ass too many times.

    This is a great post - - and my hat is off to anyone who can properly use "absquatulating" in a sentence (did I spell it correctly??).

    I loved the poems, especially "Dark Express".

  2. Thanks, Jon! I think you spelled it at least as correctly as I did. Spellcheck didn't know what to make of it.

  3. I think you did a fabulous job at a valentine post. I loved your humor, and your poems were lovely. I especially liked This Dance. So simple, yet so evocative.

  4. Excellent piece. Including the dating period that began when we were 15, I"ve been with my current mate for 42 years....still an utter mystery.

  5. I'll admit that it's hard for some men to articulate, but I've often wondered if that's more societal than anything, that is, are men in our society taught that it's "unmanly" to articulate romance? Good area for discussion. Also, I have to use a thesaurus at least once with every post of yours (ahem, absquatulating) - so you definitely give us a cerebral workout :)

  6. I don't even know where to start with all the things I love about this. "American Institute Of Commentitious Neurology," maybe. Men and experiments. Or Rose & Tex, which made me larf. The train smells: cigarettes and steel. I love the way you swing between humor and sentiment.

    Here's a secret: women find men just as puzzling. And I don't think we're any better at writing emotion-stuff.

  7. G., I throaty-laughed all the way through Tex and Rosie.

    Sorry about the big smiley emblem. Those of us who actually elected to wrangle with it were definitely in the minority!

    I think I love Dark Express and Dancing as a pair. The thought of you viewing this challenge as an experiment which might have blown up and your face -- and so quite obviously did not -- is almost as moving to me as the image of you and who I am going to guess is Norma and a scrap of progeny a generation out.

    The bit about Gary Cooper also made me laugh, must go look up 'commentitious,' now.

    Thank you so much for all you have contributed to this project, Geo. Thank you, thank you.

  8. absquatulating....sounds like something you do in a gym.

  9. Absquatulating. Looked it up and thought, "Gee, now that's a fine word." Repeated it several times at loud. And yes, it does sound like something you'd do in a gym. haha

    I've never been in a romantic relationship before so I'm no expert on romance and Valentine's Day and such. I learn from stories told by friends and family and of course, movies. Enjoyed your poems too!

  10. Delighted with these words! The cigarettes and steel brought back some strong railway station memories- but nothing so romantic :-)

  11. I liked your second poem especially - quite a lot of emotion crammed into those four lines, I'd say.

  12. Wow, I loved this post from beginning to end. You may THINK you, as a man, don't do a good job "expressing emotions", but you'd be wrong. Excellent, dude.


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