Thursday, January 5, 2006

The Power of Love

As you travel south coming off the Broadway Bridge, just before you make that ridiculous turn onto I35, there is a highway sign, or exit sign or some sort of green road sign with graffiti on it. This graffiti is always a joy for me - it makes me smile, laugh, think, dream - it is inspiring in its way. What message does this humble, tagged sign impart unto passersby? Only these simple words: "Happy birthday, whore."

What emotions drive someone, man or woman (for we know nothing about this undiscovered Shakespeare) to write such a thing in such a public place? Rage? Lust? Joy? Envy? The spirit of friendship? Nay, I believe the author was fueled by love. The author wishes his subject to see that he/she is being wished a happy birthday by thousands of people. Perhaps "whore" is a pet name by which the subject may itentify that the message is for them. This author has done the closest thing in their power to erecting a statue in their love' s honor, and I applaud their audacity.

Along these same lines is a poem I recently discovered by Thomas Lux. It, too, is about the expression of love through graffiti.

I Love You Sweatheart

Thomas Lux

A man risked his life to write the words.
A man hung upside down (an idiot friend
holding his legs?) with spray paint
to write the words on a girder fifty feet above
a highway. And his beloved,
the next morning driving to work. . .?
His words are not (meant to be) so unique.
Does she recognize his handwriting?
Did he hint to her at her doorstep the night before
of "something special, darling, tomorrow"?
And did he call her at work
expecting her to faint with delight
at his celebration of her, his passion, his risk?
She will know I love her now,
the world will know my love for her!
A man risked his life to write the words.
Love is like this at the bone, we hope, love
is like this, Sweatheart, all sore and dumb
and dangerous, ignited, blessed -- always,
regardless, no exceptions,
always in blazing matters like these: blessed.

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