Poem: A Valentine’s Wish, 2023 by Marie Cartier

What if everyone said everyone was their Valentine?
I mean you are walking down the streets telling strangers:
You are adorable.
You are my love.
Kiss. Kiss.
Well, maybe not, I am thinking of those candy hearts, with the sayings, my favorite Valentine’s candy.

But what if everyone in the world on Valentine’s Day, February 14th,
decided that that the world, the Earth, was their lover?
Squishy hugs and smacking kisses,
and loving her with what she wants.

What if we all decided for twenty-four hours to love everyone
in the way they wanted, in the way they needed?
To respect women?
To say please and thank you and excuse me?
To honor difference and listen to all these voices
who have been silenced?
To give the sweet chocolate of understanding to those
who have been so misunderstood?
To take fifty Happy Meals to downtown L.A. and pass them out to the homeless,
yelling, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”?

I don’t know. It’s an idea.
I hear so many people say, I hate Valentine’s Day. I got it- I’m married.
My wife surprises me with something every Valentine’s Day.
Once it was tango lessons at Union Station.
Another year a dinner with opera surrounding us.
Another at the beach on a pier, with fisherfolk
around us, as we ate shell fish at sunset.

I get that I could be jealous of me—maybe.
If I didn’t have a partner– maybe.
Maybe I’d be a free bird creating my own love
nest for myself- who knows?
What I do know is …why hate a holiday about love?
What does it mean to love, be, want, need?
The most recent research on aging says that community
is what will save you. You can drink. You can smoke. You can do all of that –
but you really can’t live without community.
Community is the number one thing that contributes to longevity.

So, love is love is love is love is love. Right?
Hearts, and flowers, and smiles, and…hugs.
And…I want a holiday where we say:
Dammit, man I want you to live big. I wanna live big.
Let’s all do it together.
Because brother/ sister…you matter to me.
Without you, I got nothing. Community—who is it?
How do we get it? How do we hold onto it? 
So, as we age, we age with love, whatever that looks like?

I don’t know. I don’t have the answers—just a feeling that I want to make everyone I meet tomorrow—which is Valentine’s Day—feel special.

Feel a part of my life and me a part of theirs. In ways big, or small.

Love will keep us together, that old Captain and Tennille song.
Just stop ‘cuz I really love you.
Look in my eyes and let love… keep us together.

Love is a four-letter word.
So is home. This planet—all we have.
Valentine’s Day:
I love you, man. I love you, sister.
Kiss, kiss.
You are adorable.

–Marie Cartier
February 13, 2023

With thanks to QUEERWISE , a Los Angeles based LGBTQIA+ multi-generational writing collective and performance group

BIO: Marie Cartier is a teacher, poet, writer, healer, artist, and scholar. She holds a BA in Communications from the University of New Hampshire; an MA in English/Poetry from Colorado State University; an MFA in Theatre Arts (Playwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Film and TV (Screenwriting) from UCLA; an MFA in Visual Art (Painting/Sculpture) from Claremont Graduate University; and a Ph.D. in Religion with an emphasis on Women and Religion from Claremont Graduate University.

6 thoughts on “Poem: A Valentine’s Wish, 2023 by Marie Cartier”

  1. As usual Marie you cover so much territory that I am overwhelmed

    Wonderful writing –

    I tell the earth every day i love her by paying attention – the same way i do with my dogs, the turkeys huddled like fluffed up monks waiting for food….

    Anytime i am forced out of my body by trauma – i lose my love – only to return with more gratitude than ever … my partner happens to be nature in all her manifestations –

    I have to say that Valentines day leaves me cold like the empty words “ have a nice day” but sentimentality has never been my thing… and i do acknowledge that people like you and your partner know what LOVE really means – and not just on Valentines Day!


  2. Oh, I Love This Sweet Poem, Marie……..Yes, the world would be such a better place if we all Loved One Another and Our Mother Earth and showed that Love Every Day!!! Much Love to You and Yours, Lilith


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