Friday, February 15, 2013

my 12++ funny valentines

sing it, Ella!  
. . . pretty please? 

You're my funny valentine
Because, I love #1 Ella Fitzgerald, I love her voice, her elegant phrasing, her power,
and #2 this song particularly
for its #3 tender swooping croon 
and #4 its happy wordplay 
which depends for part of its punch on #5 its satisfying, insistent and frequent rhyme,

Sweet comic valentine
and I do love rhyme though it is so outre of me to say so, though maybe so outre it's time for it to be retro and come back again bigger and badder than ever, not as some irritating cliche that jingle-jangles at the end of the line.  

Not rhyme as cliche, so trite and slight.

You make me smile with my heart
But rhyme as a kind of life-affirming lub-dub of the human heart, the joke with its answering laughter,  the mirroring expressions of good conversation, call and right-back-atcha, dancing together rather than just one individual shaking alone 

Because I have a theory about rhyme
Your looks are laughable

that it's a persevering echo, a hopeful amplification of  the universal day and night and day, a cerebro-aural celebration of the regular return of the seasons and everything else that's good. 

I think there's something to the coincidental loss that we incurred when we turned away from rhyme at the same time we turned away from dancing as a social and communal recreation, at the same time we turned away from gathering around to sing together, at the same time we, most of us, more of us than ever before in the history of the world, left our bodies in gray cubicles and began to take up full time residence inside our minds.

Which were not the same kinds of minds we had when we had sky above us most hours of the day, but were now only our best, gray, thin and sickly approximations of a mind, divorced more and more from our blood.  

Yet you're my favorite work of art
At the same time TV came in, with its reruns and repetitive commercials and plotlines (a poorman's approximation of real rhyme) and our towns began to glow with an eerie blue light in summer evenings as the porches emptied and the fireflies and crickets did what nocturnal insects do undisturbed now by laughing calling children who were no longer running through the now too-quiet shadows and the untrampled and cool dark grass.

 okay, it's true, I love #6 theories.

Is your figure less than Greek?
Though I realize loving theories argues against my polemic above in favor of living in the body more. 

Just like my writing here instead of working outside in today's unseasonable sunshine could be seen as a betrayal of all I claim to hold most dear.  

 Because I do love #7 the individuality of the body, the whorls of thumbprints

And I do love #8 sunshine.
Is your mouth a little weak?
When you open it to speak . . .
And not only that, I love #9 all excuses to celebrate, to make joy and take joy, to dance a little and laugh a lot and tell people you love them, because how often do we get permission to do that and why would we think we need permission?
and what's more I love #10 all the paraphernalia of celebration: doilies, especially the intricate ones, 
and pink paper and bows of red ribbon
. . . Are you smart?

and also I love #11 puns.  
(Yes, I know punning is a degraded form of humor, 
but hey! even it was said of Shakespeare 
that he'd sacrifice a whole scene for a really clever quibble.)

(and really clever in my book
is all in the eyes of the beholder) 
Don't change a hare for me . . .

Which is just another way to say,
I really love #12  Valentine's Day.
Despite all the obligatory cards and bad chocolate.
Despite all the surrounding romantic angst.

I think I have always loved Valentine's Day because it was never primarily for me about coupling up but more about familial love.  Because my mom always made this a day to celebrate her love for us, my dad and me and my brothers and sisters.

And when I say always, I mean of course, at least once or twice, when I remember coming into dinner on Valentine's Day and finding some funny toy on each plate and, I think, heart-shaped pancakes at breakfast.


. . . Not if you care for me
But maybe it was more than once or twice.  Maybe it was actually always.  The way my grandmas always sent funny valentines with sparkle on them and their curly handwriting inside always saying how much they loved me and how wonderful it was to have someone like me always in their hearts.

Because that's another thing  I love:
I love + the way, if you do it right, 
your kids remember you always 
doing wonderful and loving things 
as if you always did them.

Even if it was really only once.
Stay, little valentine, stay
But somehow that once became a part of the fabric of everyday and a piece of the love you had amongst you. 

 Because most of all, despite the usual grousing and laundry,  
I love ++ my resident funny valentines, 
pictured here.  

Each day is Valentine's Day

Though by resident I really mean the ones who live, wherever they really are, all of them, always in my heart.

And now I really am going outside to work in the sunshine.  
Which I love.



Lisa B. said...

I love this song so much. Here a couple of other versions you might like.


Happy one-day-late Valentines Day, MJ!

Melody said...

Happy two-day-late Valentine's Day!

This is so fantastic. And, oh, Ella! And thank you so much for your lovely doilies and words. All so intricate and warm and valentine.

Love you, my friend.

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