I wrote this several years ago for an “I Hate Valentine’s Day” themed poetry night. In a dive bar on some back street of Nashville, TN, I presented a crowd of strangers with the poem below.
I brought the house down.
It was a glorious moment.
Woke up this morning and was inspired to share it with you guys.
Peace, love, and conversation hearts,
Ode to Valentine’s Day
Ah – Valentine’s Day.
There are a bazillion people who hate Valentine’s Day.
And what’s to like? Love is overrated. Hearts get broken. Relationships suck.
50% of marriages don’t freaking last, and the other 50% are probably
just too stubborn to admit they’re unhappy.
We are faced with a barrage of red, white, and pink the minute we walk
in a store, stride past the people greeter and head towards the frozen food isle.
Conversation hearts that taste like chalk.
Large boxes of overpriced sticky chocolates in gaudy foil-lined boxes.
Fake roses in clear plastic vases with globs of lace oozing from the top.
Boxes of flimsy paper valentines with the current popular cartoon
character, or movie star, or latest superhero plastered on them in
all their materialistic glory.
And don’t forget the god-awful bright teddy bears with glazed
coke-head smiles plastered on their scratchy furred faces with a
pillow that reads “HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY” sewn to their paw and the
current year tattooed on their foot.
Candy – sugar – red – pink – puffy – fluffy – flagrant – ugly –
horrible – products dripping off the shelves and screaming to the
masses that if YOU AREN’T LOVED YOU AREN’T SOMEBODY!!!
Valentine’s Day sucks, right?
Everyone hates Valentine’s Day, right?
To these who hold this idealism to heart, I have but seven words for you.
FUCK YOU! MY BIRTHDAY’S ON VALENTINE’S DAY!!!!
I LIKE Valentine’s Day!
It’s a fun holiday! It’s SUPPOSED to be a celebration of love – and
everyone loves something, right? Do you love beer? Then you love
something! Do you love sex? Pretty sure that fits right in with
Valentine’s Day. If you love SOMETHING – you can celebrate
Valentine’s Day! Buy your six pack of beer a freaking dozen roses and
then go watch some porn. If THAT was the traditional way to celebrate
Valentine’s Day, I guaran-damn-tee it everyone would be doing it.
And yes, the holiday IS a little fluffy. I’m not crazy about the
red-white-and pink motif. Actually, I hate pink. But I LOVE
(See, I love something else – fits into the whole loving theme going
on around the day.)
I have many many many happy memories of Valentine’s Day. My mother
was ALWAYS room mother on Valentine’s Day (for obvious reasons) and
ALWAYS made the most kick-ass cupcakes with little sprinkles and cream
I came home one day from one of these parties, high on cupcakes, to
find a HUGE pink rabbit sitting in my little rocking chair. (I liked
pink back then – I was seven, cut me some slack.) I fell in love with
her immediately. I named her Bunny. I still have her. I love her.
🙂 (Again with the love thing on Valentine’s Day.)
One year, I reached inside my coat, and discovered that my little
red-haired freckle-faced boyfriend had slipped a pipecleaner that he’d
bent into a heart into my pocket when I wasn’t looking. That heart is
still my favorite present ever.
I know some of you didn’t get any Valentines when you were in school.
I’M SORRY. I DIDN’T HAVE A FUCKING THING TO DO WITH THAT. I gave
EVERY ONE OF MY CLASSMATES a Valentine’s Card. Why? Because I’m a
nice gal. That’s what I do. I gave it to them all. Even the kid who
smelled funny and always had a stream of gunk running out of his nose.
Even the gal who wore mismatched socks and weighed twice as much than
the teacher. Even the little boy who pulled my pigtails every day at
recess and called me names – I GAVE THEM ALL A VALENTINE!
BECAUSE IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY!!!
And I wanted them to like Valentine’s Day as much as I did.
I’m sorry you weren’t in my class so I could give you a Valentine.
Now there’s a very good chance that not all of my birthdays were rosy.
There’s a chance that when everyone got flowers and balloons at the
front office in high school my name was rarely called.
There’s a chance that my grandfather died on the day I turned 16.
There’s an excellent chance that the kid from Algebra class blew his
brains out one day after a bad afternoon and I went to a visitation on
There’s a good possibility that I got dumped on my birthday for a
clarinet player with bucked teeth and stringy hair that laughed like a
We’re friends on Facebook now. She wished me a happy birthday this
year. He didn’t.
There’s a GREAT chance that one year in college I was
presented with TWO dozen roses, a box of chocolates, a diamond
necklace in the shape of a heart, and a white teddy bear with a red
nose, holding a pillow that said HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY in block
letters and the year tattooed on his foot.
I have no idea what he got for the gal he was cheating on me with. They just celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary.
Is there a POSSIBILITY that every Valentine’s Day I’m fleetingly
reminded of all the men who broke my heart, the TWO diamond engagement
rings I returned, and the wedding dress I took to Goodwill when the
divorce papers were signed?
But these thoughts quickly pass.
BECAUSE IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!!!
And I love Valentine’s Day.
Maybe true love does not exist.
Maybe we’re all just fooling ourselves, and Valentine’s Day is merely
a representation of that foolishness.
Maybe I spent this last Valentine’s Day in tears because the man I
love . . . .
does not love me . . . .
But there are still a lot of things I love.
And my birthday is one of them.