What’s The Secret?

“What’s the secret to staying married sooo loong?” This was the question asked by a young waiter during a recent anniversary dinner at R2L.

My husband and I looked at each other and chuckled a bit without saying a word. I was taken aback by the way the waiter stretched out the two words: “sooo loong.” Perhaps he was not accustomed to seeing people have such a good time together after all these years. The question was a fair one, but his tone Continue reading What’s The Secret?

“My Funny Valentine” Love

A longing that only a heart can describe
(Still I’ll try)

The lilt of your voice
And curves of your laughter
Just whets my appetite.

You caress my cornerstones
Of tenderness, of wanting…
Your words splash over me again
Like water against the mountain.

The stretches leave me thirsty,
Temperamental, swooning for your return.
I know it won’t be much longer
Before I can feel the end of yearn.

Still, I thirst for your outpouring,
Which comforts me once more,
It washes over me again,
Penetrating to the core.

Yes, the sun still shines over me
But she only leaves me hot…
Worked up into a frenzy.
Ready and longing
For your touch.

Happy Valentine’s Day, my love!

Some “Romantic” Musical Inspiration:
My Funny Valentine“, Chaka Khan
Love’s Taken Over“, Chante Moore

“My ‘Good Afternoon’ Fixation”

I miss you…often
And especially, this afternoon.

Then again
You give me so much to go on
Your absence leaves me craving
Not wanting
The difference is subtle
I want for nothing with you
Your love is perfection embodied.

The afternoon sun warms me
And right now, its brightness is like a reflection
Of your style, your grace, your kindness,
The very essence of you.

I squint at its glare
until my eyes fall upon the larger-than-life shadows…framed so beautifully
By your scent, your lips, your smile
Your rhythms, your movements.

You’re better than good to me
You’re good for me
In spite of me
With me
On me
Oh!
It’s all good!

I bask in the afterglow
Because even when I’m not so good
You bring out the good
In me
Makes me want to be with you
For good…for ever, for always

It’s definitely a …Good Afternoon, my love!

“Comes Love”, as rendered by Dianne Reeves

Love-takes…on Thanksgiving

Billie Holiday, Downbeat, New York.

From the time I can remember, I’ve always insisted on going against the grain. I’ve never liked doing things within the norms of tradition because that would be so predictable, plus I don’t want to create any expectations. 🙂 So I figured why wait to write about love on my wedding anniversary, which is more than a half-year away, when I can write about it on Thanksgiving or thereabouts, because after all, it is just the thing for which I am most thankful. I know…it makes complete sense to me too.

After seventeen years of being coupled and nearly fifteen years of being married, I’m still amazed at the lessons that Love teaches me. They are several, and even while many of us know them at our core, I think that these, in particular, bear repeating:

Love takes no less than everything.
Seriously, just when you think you’ve got it covered, you have to turn it up a notch or fine-tune it to keep it running like clockwork. However, unlike clockwork, it needs more than regularity and sameness. It needs spontaneity and diversity. Who enjoys taking the same route, after fifteen days, let alone seventeen years? Frequenting a different cafĂŠ or rendering an occasional surprise from time to time changes things up a bit. And, who knows? It might even be fun!

Love is not all about you! Don’t say I didn’t tell you.
Love takes an ongoing divestment of self, and submission of pride or haughtiness, to not constantly argue or be combative. Naturally, this is a lot easier when your significant other has a good track record of having your best interest at heart.

Love requires more than him saying “Yes, dear”. 
Love also requires your voice. Say “Yes siree, Bob!” sometimes, even when you don’t mean it.  Say “yeah, ok” or something along those lines, and keep it moving for Peace’s sake! Some battles just ain’t worth it, I say. There are some matters that men just won’t understand, no matter how hard you try, or how compassionate or brilliant they are…and that’s really okay. Really, it is. You can get him on the next go-round! Booya baby! 🙂

In love, intimacy means more than sex.
All joking aside, real intimacy happens when there is more than just horizontal alignment; it occurs when two people are aligned in financial and spiritual matters, including long-term goal setting, parenting (if applicable), and life dreams. That isn’t to say that we must agree on everything, but it does mean that fundamentally, our values are compatible enough to allow us to grow in meaningful and sustaining ways.

Lauryn Hill captured it best when she said, “Fantasy is what we want, but reality is what we need”. The same is true  about our impressions and expectations about Love. Real love lies beyond the fantastical and far beyond the horizon of any fairy tale, so I’ll take my hubby even after our worst days, when everything feels anything but right, and certainly after I’ve realized that I can no longer remember what it is we were arguing about in the first place.

Love wasn’t designed to be perfect, static, or untested. Rather, love is ever-changing and challenging, yet remarkably beautiful and worthy of obtaining. Yes, love takes us into an orbit beyond our comprehension, and into a place for which no amount of previous navigation prepares us.  It takes us to a place where our egos are suppressed, sometimes against our will; but in the long run, we emerge better for the indelible impression it makes on us.

Sorry Adele, you’re my girl and all, but I’m writing the lines this time. Sometimes it hurts in love, but somehow, it lasts instead! So, maybe I will give hubby his birthday present on Thanksgiving after all! 🙂

I’d love to hear about  your love-takes, or how love has affected you in a way that you don’t mind sharing. Come on, indulge me!

More Love-takes for your listening pleasure:

  • Comes Love, rendition by the late, great Lady Day aka Billie Holiday
  • Love Rain, waxed poetically by the lovely Jill(y) Scott from Philly

Kiss and Tell?

Apparently, it seems that one of my children have made off with one of my writing notebooks in which I took notes for this morning’s writing. Now I have to rely on my memory sans the notes. Look, this has been brewing in me since Sunday morning! (Oh, that was only yesterday!) 😮 At the risk of forgetting any more than I’ve forgotten already, I better quickly get in the flow.

I watched Every Day, an independent film starring Liev Schreiber and Helen Hunt, on Saturday, with hubby dearest, and it raised some good discussion.  This film was beautifully done as it took the viewer into the personal aspects of this family’s life. Liev plays Ned, a husband of nineteen years, a father, worker, son-in-law, while Helen plays Jeanne, his wife, a daughter, mother, and worker.  Ned is going through a mid-life crisis of sorts: he seems less than satisfied with his gig; he’s still making sense of how to best protect his fifteen year old son, who opened up to the family as a young gay man six months prior; his marriage already appears strained; and to top it all off, his bitter father-in-law (played by Brian Dennehy), who is ill has just moved in to live with them. Oh happy day!  Amidst all the hoopla, Ned has an affair with a co-worker during a “creative” session for his job, in which they are under the directive to concoct  material that’s sensational enough  (ie.,  vulgar, raunchy, over-the-top bizarre, sex-laden, out-there) enough for film.  Juicy? Well… not really.

This film’s approach at showcasing a family’s every day struggle to just keep it together, as they confront real issues that are a far cry from trivial or mundane, was rather tempered.  None of the subplots took precedence over the other, nor were they themselves sensationalized. At the end of the day, this family loved each other.  It wasn’t implied. They were actively engaged in loving their children.  Despite the hardship of this particular stage of their lives – caring for aging family members, a teenager coming of self, parents feeling less than satisfied with their careers and sense of living out purpose – they’ve managed to raise two compassionate sons whom they love dearly.    In an instance when Jeannie’s dad (I didn’t get his screen name) launches fierce criticism at her youngest son for not playing the violin quite right, Jeannie interjects like a Mama lion to emphasize  that he’s only playing for enjoyment. Clearly hurt, the boy walks away with a look of puzzlement and irritation which probably only I interpreted  as “you know what, you’re a blankety-hole, but I’m going to let you slide because your blank is sick”; nonetheless, he demonstrates compassion toward his old grandfather, who insists on not dying alone. Ultimately, the grandfather does die, shortly after this same grandson comes in to hold his hand while he takes his last breath.

Ned and Jeannie truly need each other like they’ve never before, but Jeannie, admittedly, isn’t quite available. The responsibility of getting her father the care that he needs, including staying on top of the seventeen prescriptions that he’s required to take, rests squarely on her shoulders, and it is has clearly taken a toll on her life, let alone her sex life.   I don’t believe that Ned went looking for an affair, but it sure didn’t take much cajoling! After all, he was love-starved, and definitely unattended in the intimate department, given his wife’s recent role as caretaker of critical, bitter dad.  I feel for the two of them. Clearly, they need reassurance from each other. It’s obvious that they love and need each other…however, the subplots of their life have taken center stage.

My husband and I asked the question of whether Ned should let Jeannie in on his little affair, and believe it or not, our answers surprised even us!  Perhaps, this was Richard Levine’s goal in writing this film, which is based largely on his own life.  Every Day forced us to be nonjudgmental in areas where we thought we had answers.  We believe in truth and honesty, but agree that there is no right time to unveil this particular truth, given the new circumstance of the father-in-law’s death.  I can take that, but I do believe that they should not waste too much time to address the elephant in the room – that is, non-intimacy – before it takes them down this road again. After all, we know nothing about what similar fate might befall Ned, should he have to care for his own father. You know what they say about women as we come of age.  Ha!!

Georgy Porgy, as performed by the late, great Luther Vandross