different from our hairier cousins.
For us musing humans, loving someone
seems to be equal parts artifice and fascination.
We love someone, first,
not for who they are, but for whom we make them out to be through the mists of
dim recognition--across the roomful of phony fog and the pulsing rainbows of the
disco ball. This fascination, combined with the artifice of who
they present themselves to be, is just the initial sauce of the gourmand's
smorgasbord of attraction and affection we term "love."
And where the
imagination latches its mollusk, it secretes its magic--transforming the
rottenest rowboat to Cleopatra's bejeweled barge.
A courtship between
two adult humans contains, on average, one million words--roughly 100,000 more
words than Shakespeare's complete plays. This is the titanic effort that the
imagination brings to bed with us. And from this art, we weave the dreams of
our sexual lives, our tenderest expressions of affection. and, indeed, we weave
our own families.
How we imagine love is important. To be raw, to be
vulnerable, to weave our dreams of love in utter nakedness, is important. It's
what we talking apes do. We do it incessantly and, in all the animal kingdom,
we do it with an artifice and fascination compounded mainly of
This human intrusion of the heart and cock into one's
interpersonal affairs can be awkward, embarrassing, and nearly impossible to
winningly negotiate. Such a spectacularly humbling comeuppance is celebrated by
the sonnet--a form of soul-singing at once earnest, witty,
[Gregg G. Brown]
In every face, every cinch of
All the coffee, the talk, that passes my lips;
Tired of my
solitude under cold covers.
A day is a long time, an hour, even a
Without you, stranger who will melt my heart,
Who will hear the
doves beating in my chest
And fold herself into my arms like a
Arctic winds cross my forehead,
My hands chill and splayed as a
penguin’s orange feet
As I wait on this ice floe for the one I must
One who will ignite my nights with lavender heat.
Who are you, hands
held before you toward my hands’ use….
A sleepwalker? A zombie? A mistress, a
[Gregg G. Brown]