A Dialogue with Valentine’s Day
Contribution by Ululy Rafael Martinez
Valentine’s Day, as much as I’d like to yield to your seductions, I just don’t measure up to your economic standard of love.
It would be nice – a romantic evening, sweetened by the taste of candy, the scent of flowers lingering over the course of dinner, an elegant restaurant – but I just can’t afford to spend all that money in one night.
Sometimes your Valentine’s Day pressure makes me feel like I don’t measure up to my love. But those feelings fade when she looks me in the eyes and thanks me for the 365-days-a-year commitment I give.
Even if I had the Valentine’s Day money, I’m not sure I’d substitute the natural ingredients that we chop, dice and cook in a labor of our love, with the food from the Valentine’s Day assembly line.
But I got to give you credit, Valentine’s Day.
You got all the angles covered. I can’t escape you.
Taking up newspaper, television and Internet time, with ads that stir guilt and longing, replacing the love felt with a cold exchange of commodities given out of consumer pressure and not from the heart.
And those Valentine’s Day clothes that you sell.
The pink and red, the lace and silk, and the fancy zippers, strings and buttons that keep it all together. They almost distracted me from seeing the permanent beauty beside which your clothes pale.
But I respect your creativity, Valentine’s Day, or the money that you have to pay creative people.
Your artistry and color schemes, the words woven in and out of your greeting cards, and how they insinuate themselves. But those cards, full of recycled words, fall short of capturing the love, the looks and gestures that breathe life into the spontaneous flow of words that I share with my love.
Instead of trying to convince me to participate in Valentine’s Day, maybe you should expand your concept of romance and stop trying to price the value on love, the complexity of which has been monetized and sadly misinterpreted by your board of directors.
If you don’t change your ways, you risk losing everything, because more and more people are starting to see that if every day were Valentine’s Day, we’d become numb to your mechanical repetition of the words “I love you,” go bankrupt for spending beyond our means, and become sick from your unhealthy diet. And you know what happens with people who are broke, sick and tired of the chains that confine their love? They resist!
Ululy Rafael Martínez was first drawn to poetry through hip-hop. His love of words came to embrace other forms, rhyming and non-rhyming, but the poets he most gravitates to are those who speak to his experience growing up in urban America. Ululy found his poetic voice after attending an Open Mic at the Inspired Word and now spends most of his poetry time writing about the struggles of his people. His publications include: a memorandum of law in support of a motion to reduce his Dad’s prison sentence; uncounted resumes written to help people in his community secure jobs; a grant application for funds to secure the right to legal representation for defendants unable to afford an attorney; letters to the Public Housing Authority in support of Section 8 beneficiaries facing eviction; and other writings crafted to advance the cause of justice.