I have been concentrating on Valentine’s Day sentiments for greeting card submissons before an October 24th deadline. The rub is in the “taste” of one known greeting card company. The funny thing is, I used to write heartfelt poetry that looks very much like what they currently publish and sell. The emotions and style that feels very chicken soup-y and unaffected was true for me about 20-22 years ago in a creative writing class at the community college in Palm Desert, California.
I realized how much my aesthetic senses have shifted from that earlier place in my life. So do I morph back to an younger version of self so that I can get paid $300/ accepted poem? Can I, with any integrity write greeting card poetry and send it into the world with knowledge that it is contributing to the decline of gendered discourse and Western Civilization as I see it? And if I can’t, someone else will…. because apparently the greeting card industry is not planning on fading away, even in this double dipping depressed economy.
Until I pass the deadline, I will continue to wrestle with “heartfelt” sentiments required of a commercial greeting card in the hopes of landing somewhere between Shakespeare and Hallmark.
There is a dull question in the back of my head that is waiting to ache. “Has my heart stopped appreciating romantic love?”
There are still roses in the shops to buy, chocolates to give and children to learn to celebrate their first Valentine’s Day in our classrooms. Love and its reasons are still alive, below the radars of advertisers and businessmen. I don’t want our children to repeat cynical words like “holidays are for retail.” No, you don’t know that when you are eight years old. And if you do know such profane reality at a tender age, I will hold your hand while we eat roses and chocolates together until we feel much better or heavier. Whichever comes first.
This is the fourth draft of my valentine haiku below.
“I belong to the
Brighter light behind those eyes
Which see me rightly.”
Text copyright ©2010 by Hae Jung Kwon. All rights reserved.