or, Visions of Self-Love

-for Luba Morsch


on my 21st birthday

for the first time

I became aware my Mama really knew me

it might seem odd but,

to a sensitive soul like me,

advice is indistinguishable from complaint

and I don’t know a single writer who loves the critics


but I held a new notebook in my hands

already the perfect gift for any writer, even the ones who type,

not just the notebooks but the idea of the notebooks

their empty pages patiently awaiting our curiosity

curiosity, not skill, because the best notebooks

don’t like to house any self-serious dribble


this notebook, bound in clean cream cloth,

rivets holding pages and ribbon lace,

with a stylized heart like a watermark at the top of every page

the cover emblazoned with a dress form, a corset

framed perhaps in a mirror donned with heady pink roses

scrawled in the top-right, “Visions D’Amour,”

Kodak captured a perfect freeze-frame of my heart


for a decade I brought it everywhere

painstakingly labelled each page by hand

with a Table of Contents too, although admittedly

if I’d gotten married one of these times

it would have likely been the signature book

and what a mistake that would have been


instead now it’s loved, frayed

falling away without glue, and sparsely filled

but on the very last page,

the jacket page, beyond the last page

but not inside the back cover,

a stranger from my twenties with my handwriting has scrawled:


you have seen now that it is not what you hold onto

that defines your being

only what you give

and how much

and what

and to whom

this and only 

this is who you are


so now you see? beauty beckons to our best nature

the work blooms and grows to its own rhythm

what we learn this way cannot be forgotten


2 thoughts on “VISIONS DE L’AMOUR DE SOI – Hour 24

  1. An ode to a journal. The meaning here is rich. I loved this line: “a stranger from my twenties with my handwriting has scrawled…” I envy your being able to revisit a journal from your younger years and find something so eloquent and brimming with a sense of gratitude.

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