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Love Has No Pride: A Valentines Day Review

If we never died love would mean nothing at all to us. Neither would life. Life would be a form of perpetually entropy. Maybe the first 500 years are so would be fun. Maybe the first 10,000 years. Maybe the first 10,000 true loves.

But within a million years, we would be laying in bed, eyes open begging for release. Begging for nothingness. The only thing that makes life livable is death: it gets all its flavor through its briefness.

And as for love? Without death there would be no love. Within a coupla 100,000 years, we would have figured out its impermanence and would be unable to believe a single world. We’d have broken up with the one woman (or man!) for us so often, we would be a stunted object, an emotional vacuum. We would not love.

Personally, I don’t think that the problem is our mortality but that we die too soon. If we lived, say, 500 years, that would be perfect.  Just around the time you have had more than your fill, you are done. Plus, the aging process would be much slower and childhood would last 100 years!!! How much fun would that be?

Also, true love would actually mean something.

Ah, yes, love. I’ve given it up. I’ve had so many true loves they’re coming out my ears and I ALWAYS end up getting gutted. But being something of an expert on all types of love, loving the wrong person is always the most interesting. Also, loving more than you’re loved is a deeper feeling though not necessarily deeper experience. And since life is finite, the depth of our feelings is very important; at least in a society where survival isn’t the first order of business.Because life is brief, how we feel couldn’t be more important. We don’t have the time to get it wrong for 2,000 years. It’s now or never, baby.

So on Valentine’s Day I am looking for a song. It is the first Valentine’s I’ve been alone in years and, to be honest, much like birthdays, I don’t care. But I do care about music and I do care about how stuff feels, I’ve more than bought into “I’d rather feel pain than feel nothing at all”, I think I sometimes go with “I’d rather feel pain” period. Or a type of pain, not a toothache and not a death but some form of melancholia and loss: the deep rooted sadness of losing someone you love. So no , no “In My Life” for this guy, even though I am not thinking of a specific person, I will go with “Love has No Proud”.

Eric Kaz and Libby Titus wrote it and Bonnie Raitt covered it  but Linda Ronstadt nailed it. The complaint against Linda back when she was a superstar is that she was too clinical, too pristine, too specific. Nobody denies she SOUNDED GREAT, but she sounded as if she was giving a singing lesson. All rather silly now, true. But it works very well on "Love has No Pride" because the song is so devastating, if there wasn’t a little distance it might fall apart, it might break down and cry. Instead, there is just enough space between singer and song for the listener to get in the middle. Juiced by a twangy slide guitar and so many strings it seems to be wallowing in its sorrow while Linda just keeps on hitting the notes. However, the lyric is beyond need or want or desire:

If I could buy your love, I'd truly try, my friend
And if I could pray, my prayer would never end
But if you want me to beg, I'll fall down on my knees
Asking for you to come back, I'd be pleading for you to come back
Begging for you to come back to me

The love is harrowing, it is beatific in its humility, masochistic and near death. This is a daydream of love, and it is a truth of love. A love so powerful it goes beyond the usual distance to love. It seems self-evident that a mutual love, a marriage, children, are the strongest bonds of love, but here the case is otherwise.

It is possible unrequited love is a  truer love than requited love. A hopeless, hapless, useless, tired, unbreakable unrequited love, may overpower you. If you love somebody and they love you back, well, at some point, all the illusions of that love slowly fade and what is left is something else. Maybe something stronger. But not the love where your entire being is involved, where it is so big and so completely irrelevant it destroys you and everything you have ever stood for.

You can never lose what you don’t have, and so you can never lose that obscure object entering inside you, devouring you, leaving you on your knees, apart from yourself, and apart from the world, lost in a daydream and as the shock of the daydream ends, as you close your imagination and return to your loneliness, the gasp of pain, the wince of love, is almost too much to bear.

Here, you are more alive than you will ever be. At your very bottom you will understand more clearly what you are capable of, the person you are under the person you are. “Love has No Pride” is masochistic, love as self-abuse, love as the horror where life is completely closed in.

If you have ever been on a side of that love triangle (you, her, and her love), it is scary and enervating at the same time. It doesn’t really satisfy your ego because you think they are loving an illusion. I can’t remember who said this (maybe Oscar Wilde) but the argument was we think that when we are in love we are fools, we don’t see the person we love the way they really are. And then when we are no longer in love, the illusion is broken and we see them the way they always were. Wilde said, it is the opposite. When we love somebody we see them clearly and we really know them, we see their divinity, and when we break up, it is the illusion of what they are we are left with.

The claim is, my claim is, we are not wrong when we worship the ones we love. We should worship them.  When we “return to our sense”, that’s when we lose our sense.

Which leaves me happily alone, and really given up on love for one life time and yet… I love the idea of subjugating myself to love, I love the image, maybe it is religious, of being bowed down to a love. I’ve been on all sides of loves triangles but what I enjoyed most (and maybe this is a writterly thing?) is the thought of love. To paraphrase lester Bangs, I love the thought of the love that loves to love.  I love the lostness of love on a another Valentine’s day:

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