Oh, that wretched holiday is dawning upon us. This conspiracy theory disguised as a holiday of expressing one’s love truly is a money-making scheme that is fast approaching in a few days. Let’s face it. It’s a no-win situation. It’s a reminder to those who are single about their relationship status and it forces those who are under awkward pressure to participate in the sappy ritual of exchanging candy, roses, and crappy cards. Blech. Personally, I put more value into being told that I’m loved on a random Tuesday or when I receive flowers from someone “just because” or when someone calls out of the blue to see how I am. It’s occurrences like these that remind me that I’m loved, not some card from Hallmark specifically marked for February 14th.
In my opinion, celebrating this holiday is a sign of conformity to corporate America. According to recent statistics of the National Retail Federation, Americans are expected to spend $14.7 billion on Valentine’s Day this year. Are you going to be one of those suckers?
Allow me to share one of my favorite love poems I grew fond of in junior high school. Of course, that was an awkward time when I used to adorn my Algebra book with Marilyn Manson stickers, paint my nails black, and claim to be Wiccan because I had no friends to hang out with at lunchtime. However, I found solace in the school library amongst of my favorite authors: Stephen King, and my all-time fave, Edgar Allen Poe.
For this special occasion I’d like to share one of my favorite love stories, “Annabelle Lee” by the romantic Mr. Poe. How does this poem apply to Valentine’s Day? Because the character’s ultimate morbid devotion to his dead lover beats those cheesy love poems imprinted on cheap cards.
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea;
But we loved with a love that was more than love-
I and my Annabel Lee;
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.
And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud, chilling
My beautiful Annabel Lee;
So that her highborn kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulcher
In this kingdom by the sea.
The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me
Yes! that was the reason
(as all men know, In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee.
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I feel the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In the sepulcher there by the sea,
In her tomb by the sounding sea.
Now there’s commitment for you! Any poor conformist that believes flowers, hearts, and candy given on this single day is collected recognition of true love or, much worse, atonement for the past year’s sins and wrongdoings should take a hint from Mr. Poe. His definition of love is certainly not to be taken lightly if he seems to think that lying by one’s dead lover every night is commitment. Write that on a greeting card!
Well, I hope you all have a terrific February 14th! If you’re down by El Paso, Texas, come by and say hi to me at the Red Parrot located at 14401 Gateway Blvd West. The club’s number is (915) 852-2181. We can discuss more poetry and acts of conformity in between my stage shows.
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