wrong way

Do you love me enough to hurt me?
I don’t mean in a sick way
And I don’t mean for no reason
I want to know if you’ll rip the band-aid off my skin
or let it fester, pretend it hasn’t been on too long
And smile so you’re not the bad guy.

Do you love me enough to disagree with me?
If I ask your advice, and I’m treading on ice
Will you tell me to move? Or better yet-
Throw a rope and get me somewhere safe?
Or will you tighten your brow and say nothing?
Tacitly approving while pleading in your silent heart

Do you love me enough to make me uncomfortable?
If there’s some flaw that I have in me
Spinach in my teeth, snot on my sleeve-
Would you tell me? Or will you hold your tongue
So that maybe someone else can say it?
And you’re saved the embarrassment

I’m not talking about public shaming, and I don’t
Mean simply being contrary. I said it before,
And I say it again: discomfort. Am I worth that to you?
Is anyone worth that to you?
See, it’s sad, because there’s a lot of people, I think,
Who don’t consider a soul in this world worth that cost.

It isn’t a very big cost.



I love the Spanish language.  I began learning it years ago, and I continue to marvel at its beauty and grace.  I write this to let you know that today’s post is not an accident, and I am aware that it’s in Spanish.  I wrote it that way.  A year or so past I penned this piece of poetry, and I hope you enjoy it.  For those of you who prefer English, I’ll post a loose translation below, but it feels better in Spanish.  Anyway, enjoy.




La gente dice cosas cómo,

“Tú éres mí respiración

Y moriría sin ti”

En canciones y en la poesía


Y después ellos se casan

Y se dividen

Y trampar, mentir, y decir

Lo contrário que antes


“No éres mi respiración”


En luz de esta oscuridad

Déjame ser tu vela

Porque es imposible caer de amor

Cuando estás raicido en amor


Querido, cariño

Te diré la poesía

Y apretaré tu corazón

Mejor que otro que luego decía


“No éres mi respiración”


No éres mi vida

Pero me haces desear

La vida completa

Amable, e emocionante


No éres mi sueño

Pero sueño de ti continualmente

Y los sueños son dulces y permanezcan en mi mente

Pero éres más, mí realidád


No éres mi respiración

Pero llenas mí pecho

Cómo un fuerte viento

Llena la vela





People say things like

“You are my very breath

And I would die without you”

In songs and in poetry


Then they marry

And then divorce

Cheat, lie, and say

The opposite


“You’re not my breath.”


In light of this darkness,

Let me be your candle

Because it’s impossible to fall out of love

When you’re rooted in it


My love, my dear

I’ll speak poetry to you

And I’ll caress your heart

Better than another, who later says


“You’re not my breath.”


You’re not my life,

But you make me want

The complete life,

Full of love and exciting


You’re not my dream,

But I dream of you always.

These dreams are sweet and they remain in my heart,

But you’re more, my reality.


You’re not my breath,

But you fill my chest

Like a strong wind

Fills the sail.

A Noticeable Limp

These sorts of affairs were always the same.  Big philanthropy ball, some old man we’re honoring, and tiny cocktail appetizers that actually make you hungrier.  Needless to say, I wasn’t a huge fan.  The lights were blinding and the whole scene reeked of pretentiousness.  If it was a “feed the hungry” campaign I wouldn’t have minded, but it wasn’t anything that noble.  Just a bunch of stuffed shirts trying to be seen at a charity ball.

The only reason I was there was that my editor thought it would make a great story for the local news section.  I thought differently, so he thought for the both of us, and there I was at the ball.  I pulled a plastic smile out of my coat pocket and wore it around like a professional, but no one was worth talking to in my admittedly jaded perception.  I had a few drinks and rolled my eyes when they announced that there were going to be some speeches.  All of the others clapped politely and tried their best to remember the name of the charity they were supposedly so invested in.    It wasn’t a bad cause, it just wasn’t that great either.  It bugged me.

Some silver-haired ken doll made a criminally long introduction and managed to say his own name eight times.  I counted.  I jotted a few half-hearted notes and had a few more sips of bourbon at the bar.

Then the old man walked up to the front and took the stage.  He was elderly, but vibrant.  A little slow, and he held the microphone in the exact middle of his chest.  I figured his speech would be more of the same, so I wasn’t holding my breath.

“Thank you all so much for coming here tonight,” he began, and then he smiled a little bit.  “You all know how important this organization is to my wife, Isabella, and I.  In fact,” he said, getting a wily look in his eye and leaning forward, “it’s our anniversary tonight and there’s a whole city full of romantic bistros we’d rather be at right now, but we’re stuck here with all of you people.”

The crowd chuckled politely at the old man’s ribbing.

“I’m not kidding, the second this thing ends, we’re out of here,” the old man continued with wide eyes, evoking a bigger laugh from the audience.  He allowed himself a wry smile at his wit, and I grinned too.  Maybe this guy wasn’t going to be all bad.

I set down my glass and listened as he got into his speech.  I wasn’t expecting much, even then, but I’ll never forget what he said.

“In all seriousness,” he continued, still holding that microphone in the dead center of his chest, “I want to thank you all for the award that you’ve given to me tonight, but at least half of it belongs to my Isabella.  She loves this work as much as I do and has had a hand in it from the beginning.”  The old man reached up and scratched the top of his head.  “So if you’ll permit me, since it is our anniversary, I have a few words I’d like to say about her.”

I’ve heard the routine before.  Cynical as I am, when it comes to women I’m something of a romantic.  I knew the drill; tell her she’s the air you breathe.  Tell her you’d die without her, tell her you’re nothing without her, that you couldn’t get out of bed in the morning if you didn’t know she was there.  I liked hearing that sort of thing.  A little bit of real emotion might even break up the sea of posers around me, I thought.

He didn’t say those things.

“Isabella, my dear, I love you.  You’ve added immeasurably to my happiness in life, and you’ve helped  me with this foundation more than I can thank you for.  You’re beautiful and hard-working and I’ve never regretted choosing you for a moment.”  I got my pen ready to quote the loveable geezer.  He was getting ready to tell everyone how hopeless life would be without his better half.

I looked up from my pad of paper with a slight smile, but I saw a seriousness in the old man’s eye.  He held that microphone clutched to his chest and he stared intently at one point in the crowd, clearly at his wife.

“I would be telling a lie if I said I couldn’t have done this alone, my love, but it was more fun with you.  It was better with you and more enjoyable.  People have said that they can’t walk through life without their partner.”  The old man shook his head.  “I could.  Even now I would be able to walk if you were taken from me.  I’d grieve like the dickens and, Isabella, we’re old, we can talk about this sort of thing.  If you were to be taken from me I’d be sadder than I’ve ever been, I know it, and in my selfish heart I pray that God takes me first if he can’t take us at the same moment.  But if you were gone, Isabella, my love, I could still run this organization, I could still function.  I could still walk.”  The old man reached up and scratched his head once more, pausing only a brief moment, but already the crowd was on edge.  Heck, I was on edge.  He didn’t slow down.

“I could still walk, but it would hurt, and I would have a noticeable limp.  I don’t love you because I’d fall apart without you, I love you because I love you, Isabella, and I can’t think of anything I like better than spending time with you.  As we celebrate our 57th wedding anniversary later on tonight, I want to tell you that I wouldn’t have it any other way, and I hope that the time we have left together is as wonderful as the last 57 years have been.  I love you, Isabella.  I love you.”

The crowd was almost too stunned to respond, but someone managed to awkwardly clap so everyone else snapped out of it and joined in.  The old man looked intently at his old wife, his eyes alive and his lips trembling.  He still held that microphone in the middle of his chest, like it was glued to that spot.

He kept talking after that.  I don’t remember what he said.  He talked about the charity or something or other, and then he finished and the night went on like you’d expect.  I never forgot what he said, though.  It caught me off-guard.  I felt like it was so opposite my idea of romance, and yet it was so beautiful.  You’re supposed to tell the girl that she’s your soul, your life, your idol, the blood running through your veins, but he didn’t.  He said that he was capable of living without her, but no one in that room could have doubted that he loved his wife.

I still lay up thinking about it sometimes.



How can it be you love one such as me?

Me, whose sullied footprints show where I’ve been,

Betray my many regretted stories

Of courage that’s lacking, and giving in.

While you of surpassing beauty and grace,

Such brilliant light dances within your eyes,

With your gaze hold the very stars in place

With foolish things you can confound the wise.

I have no such halo above my head

But the one you hold there, you’re perfection.

My eyes do not shine, rather there’s instead

No light at all, but for your reflection.

In such an inequality I’ve learned

That love is only love when undeserved.