Day of Love

D and I had our first date on Valentine’s Day, eleven years ago. We met for dinner at Enrico’s, a restaurant in North Beach that always had live jazz and is no longer around. After dinner, we went across the street to the Black Cat for more gimlets, music, and starry-eyed conversation.

Later that night, I looked out the window of my Nob Hill apartment, at the water, the bridge, and Alcatrazz with its spinning lighthouse beam. I thought about the man who’d passed me in the street on my way to Enrico’s. He’d asked, “You lonely tonight, sweetie?” I’d wanted to tell him that I knew I’d never be lonely again.

Shortly thereafter, this picture was taken at D’s brother’s house. I’ve never been one to hide my emotions.

And finally, here is one of my favorite love poems. Happy Valentine’s Day.

I Like for You to Be Still, by Pablo Neruda

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you.
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.
You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove.
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
You are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.
And I am happy, happy that it΄s not true.

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