Saturday, January 28, 2006
Until Bananas Turn to Ink
Until bananas turn to ink
I'll keep you in my heart.
Till helium begins to sink
I'll hope we never part.
Until pillows grow on trees
And the ocean turns to glue
And polar bears raise honeybees
I always will love you.
These are the first few lines of a poem I wrote on Valentine’s Day, at one o’clock in the morning, at a bus stop, under a street light, in a snowstorm, with a broken pencil stub, on a discarded paper bag. My wife was pregnant with our daughter that year and I was bussing tables nights to make ends meet. That particular night as I left work, one of the waiters said “Happy Valentine’s Day, Bill!”
His words struck me like a bomb!
Valentine’s Day! Our engagement anniversary!
I had always surprised my wife with some special little gift on Valentines Day, and here it was: Valentine’s Day, 1:00 am, snowing hard, no car, no stores open, and not the shadow of a possibility of getting any kind of gift for my wife. As I waited for the bus I tried not to think about it, but I was sure my wife would be waiting up for me, and I was doubly sure she would remember that it was Valentine’s Day.
A car drove by, its wheels sloshing through the wet snow. “They roll with squishy sounds,” I thought. I liked the sound of that, and suddenly the words of this poem began pouring through my mind. I fished the stub of a pencil from my pocket, found a paper bag in the bus stop trash can, and wrote frantically til this poem, from beginning to end, was recorded. When I gave it to my wife that morning (she was waiting up, and she did remember), she loved it so much that, years later, when she was pregnant with our son, I illustrated it lavishly, printed a little edition of it, and gave it to her again on a Valentine’s Day.
I still have the tail end of that edition - about 200 books, all hand signed, which I am offering for sale at $20.00 a book, plus shipping. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.