Monday, February 12, 2007

Romance is not very romantic: in literature it usually refers to stories excitingly exaggerated or highly imaginary; in music it usually means short, simple melodies of tender character; and in life it usually equals a forty-year-old spinster awaiting her prince in shining – by now, rusted – armor. Yet, where would we be without it?

Romance is like the dash of salt in a dish, like the tinge of blush in a cheek – the difference between tastelessness and delicacy, the fine line separating boredom and excitement.

Romance and I

I walk barefoot, down a path dripping with cynicism. Acid tears fall from my eyes; steely sirens pierce my ears. There is an iron rosebush on the side of the path. I reach to touch it. Prickly thorns tear into my skin; black rose petals lie shriveled on the ground.

I roam the streets by night, looking in the shadows for what I do not know. I lie in bed by day, staring up at the ceiling of my dreams. I walk with no one holding my hand; I lie with no one breaking my heart.

One day, as I ride the subway, going through the daily routine – looking at the black-and-white graffiti flashing by like the years of my life, listening to the trains grumbling like the mood of my heart – I happen to glance up – and there she is, staring right at me, a mother-of-pearl smile on her lips. She just keeps on staring, keeps on smiling. I cannot turn away. I am transfixed.

…She takes me to a place I’ve never known, a place where dreamers are made and dreams are made of. We walk hand in hand on a rainbow bridge over crystal-clear streams. I reach out to pick a yellow dandelion from the millions growing by the brook. I tuck it behind her ear. She looks in my eyes and kisses my cheek.

We lie on the green velvet grass looking up to the blue silk sky scattered with white cashmere clouds. I follow her finger, drawing pictures in the firmaments above. She takes my hand, uncurls my finger, and draws an angel with it in the heavens…

Someone bumps my elbow and I am shaken from my daydream. The train is crawling to a halt and I realize this is my stop. But before I get off I must know her name, the name of the woman that changed my life forever. I glance around, looking for a clue. And right before the doors open, as I weave my way through the throngs of humanity, I see on bottom of the ad, just below the mother-of-pearl smile, the words – “Romance by Ralph Lauren.”


Blogger chana said...

is it all so artificial?

...or is this a spark of new perspective?

nice writing.

2/12/2007 3:53 PM  
Anonymous no name said...

i think i just cried


2/13/2007 7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

uh... do you honestly fantasize with that beautiful woman on the ralph ad? seriously dude..

you're beautiful
your're beautiful, its true
i saw your face
in a crowded place
but i know i will miss you
cuz ill never be with you...
la la la la... laaaaaaaaaaa

-james blunt

2/14/2007 4:53 AM  
Blogger Vagabond said...

Wow! The picture you paint. The irony. How the media has crept into our hearts and is able to take an age-old concept and translate it into reality, making it more than reality. How riveting the words, "I walk with no one holding my hand; I lie with no one breaking my heart."

One suggestion: In the last paragraph I would remove the sentence, "Someone bumps my elbow and I am shaken from my daydream" and begin it with, "The train is crawling to a halt and I realize this is my stop."

By saying that it is a daydream you are stating the obvious, creating a very harsh transition from the daydream to the reality of you being on the train. Even if it isn't at first clear that you are dreaming, the last paragraph makes it clear that you are without you having to state that this is so. Plus, the entire piece is very dream-like, even the end, so it's not necessary to shatter this illusion.

One more thing, the writing of this is so beautiful that you should try to submit it somewhere for publication.

2/15/2007 5:19 PM  
Blogger yoniqa said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/16/2007 7:50 PM  
Blogger yoniQua said...
it cant hurt...

heres my message to you:
many people have talents. few choose to make something of their gifts. i hope your writing reaches people, speaks to their hearts, in ways they have never experienced.

im not quite sure how a yeshiva bochur like yourself is so brilliant a writer...

lots of luck to you - kol hakavod

2/16/2007 7:54 PM  
Blogger jakeyology said...

CHANA: romance is no more artificial than the salt in a dish and the blush in a cheek. the point of this piece was to show its power and, therefore, its weakness. (if you notice, there are two moods in this piece, when the character is in romance - albeit an imagined one - and when he is not)

because we are so desperate to find Romance we try to create it instead of realizing that it is everywhere.

oh and thank you.

NO NAME: the best of compliments. thnx

ANON: why not? the ad (if there really is one like that) is about as substantial as anonymous comments. but, hey, the poem was nice (maybe because it wasn't anonymous?)

VAGABOND: thnx. however, i was trying to create a harsh transition from dream to reality (the two-mood thing).

YONIQ: thank you. unfortunately i am no longer a yeshiva bochur in the classic sense (wish i was still struggling over sacred texts from day til night).

but, if anything, a yeshiva bochur should be the most brilliant of writers. the words, even letters, one studies in yeshiva are considered sacred, that is, the yeshiva bochur is taught that the words and letters of the holy tongue (without getting into Aramaic or Yiddish) are more than just descriptive tools with which to portray something; but, rather, they are the actual conveyers of the energy for that specific thing – "adam" is a person because the combination of the (Biblical) Hebrew letters Alef, Daled, Mem, give it that specific energy. if one were to add a Hey to “adam”, making it “adamah” it wouldn’t just be a misspelling; it would create a whole new energy, in this case translating into “earth.”

In fact, it is told that the Alter Rebbe, when writing the Tanya, would “struggle” for weeks over one letter, for the very reason that a letter is more than just a letter. It is the essence of the thing you wish to convey, or, even “create.”

So, the yeshiva bochur, in my humble opinion, really has the greatest ability (and maybe the responsibility) of becoming a brilliant writer – after all, if one sees every letter as carrying a whole energy, then how can one not be a great writer?

2/18/2007 3:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think its a great ad for the perfume. well written. good job.

as for what u say about a yeshivah bochur should be a great writer, thats very true, but not on like romance, or at least tie it into torah or chassidus somehow, now this is the only thing of urs i read, so i cant really say anything, but maybe u should followin the footsteps of ur fam and be a great writer or speaker on subjects of importance. and inspire ppl.

2/18/2007 4:47 AM  
Blogger Chaya said...

Beautiful writing. You just get beter and better ;)

2/18/2007 2:38 PM  
Anonymous Beard said...

Anon numbero dos: If Im not minstaken the subject is not romance persay, rather how romance, taken in its culture defined way, is just a fleeting emotion etc.

Chassidus explains the world. Romance is a part of that world.

Jake has some undercover speeches under his belt at some odd plastic places. Don't judge the ma before you know more about him.


2/20/2007 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By far the best ever.

Your uncle - Yossi, once said:
"A man of feeling can describe feeling, a man of thought can describe thought; a oholei torah'nik, can describe everything- although lived through nothing...

2/23/2007 6:17 AM  
Blogger the sabra said...


let's see, i kinda think i like what vagabond said...though, like you answered, you were seeking the harshness and abruptness. good answer to yoniqua, i completely agree.
and i second what anonymous said, and beard and then the next anonymous.

um i err KNOW u care...

2/27/2007 1:54 PM  

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