My Name Is Iden | How to say I love you
- Published: February 17, 2023
Happy February to all of you, my lovely friends and readers. I’m going to start by leveling with everyone here. I hate this month. February is the most unpleasant month of the year. It is wet and gray, windy and bitter cold. February is an ordeal. It is a trial of the soul crafted for the pleasure of a twisted and spiteful god.
At least that’s according to Iden. You all may feel differently. All I’m saying is that it is going to take more than a cup of hot tea to warm me up. But fear not, my fellow stellar travelers. I am determined, despite the Sisyphean cosmic Nascar race that brings me back to this month lap after solar lap, to stay positive. I will counter my hatred with the only weapons powerful enough to do so. I speak, of course, of love and poetry.
You see, our overreaching capitalist forbearers have given February a silver lining in the form of Valentine’s Day, perhaps the most important day of the year.
OK, hear me out.
I know that most of us have come to see Feb. 14 as just another obligatory stop at Target and that the true importance of Valentine’s Day has gone overlooked. Humor me for another 600(ish) words and we’ll see if I can’t change that.
If you are like me, you have said “I love you” many times and, perhaps, if you are lucky, to many people. That tiny little sentence, “I love you,” contains within it the totality of our human experience, the full weight of incarnation, and yet we often drop these words from our mouths with the same lack of thought with which we drop our keys onto the counter after a day at work. I have heard “I love yous” given with all the enthusiasm of a fourth-grader reciting multiplication tables. This pains my poet’s heart.
Love is the center point from which we chart all other human emotion. We owe it to each other, and to ourselves, to recapture and appreciate anew the great gift it is to be able to give and receive love.
What an effort it must take for our little minds to compress such a massive concept and experience into eight letters. Eight letters isn’t even enough for me to ask if you want fries with that. Expressing love in this way turns it to a dense thing, a singularity, when it should be a thing of light and warmth, of vibrant, kinetic beauty.
Valentine’s Day, for all of its consumer silliness, provides us an opportunity to say a proper poet’s “I love you” to those special people in our lives if, that is, we are bold enough to take it. This year, let us agree to not let that opportunity pass us by. Let us promise one another that we will stop whatever it is that occupies and distracts us long enough to decompress our “I love yous.” Let us stand together, breathless, as all the majesty of existence swirls over and around us. Let us reconnect with our divinity. Let us write love poems.
Maybe that seems too intimidating. Maybe I’ve lost you. Maybe you’re thinking about how much easier it is to just run out to Target and grab a card. Please, stay with me for just 300(ish) more words, because we are going to take those cards, those sterile transactional cards that were crafted and delivered with less joy than a child standing at a chalkboard, and we are going to fill them with gorgeous words. Fill them with words gauzy and delicate, words like a breeze, gentle and warm, that will push out the gray of winter and lift the soul into the light of spring.
I promise it will be OK. I promise this is something that we all can do, and I promise that it is worth it. Writing poetry isn’t nearly as hard as poets make it out to be and besides, it’s Valentine’s Day. There are no bad love poems on Valentine’s Day! But, if any of you want some advice, from the wounded heart of a poet, I can get you started.
There is a card in front of you. Forget that. There is a person in your mind that you bought this card for. Forget that, too. There is a reason that you are thinking of this person. You love them. You. Love. Them. You move through this life with them and they with you. You cycle through the seasons together.
This is what Valentine’s Day is here to remind us of. That love is an exchange. Love is a flow. It is the breath of the soul. Inhale. Exhale. It is the tide. It is the steady circling of heavenly bodies. It is shadow flowing to light, winter warming to spring.
That love isn’t something to just tell someone. Love isn’t words to be said or heard. Today our words are not meant for saying. They aren’t meant for hearing. That is not poetry. Poetry is for feeling.
Let us all open these cards and write words for each other that are meant to be felt. Let us write words that are for shivering and for holding. Write words that are for flowing, merging, crashing and folding into one another.
This is poetry, and poetry is how you say “I love you.” At least, that’s according to Iden. Now, go forth my friends. Write poetry and love one another while I go and put the kettle on.
*The author is an artist and writer. She lives in Yellow Springs with her wife and three children. You can follow her work at mynameisiden.com.