Sunday, December 2, 2012


There once was a time
when people were of a mind
to speak their minds,
and "a penny for your thoughts"
was thought to be a fair exchange.

But we're all playing it mighty close
to the vest these days,
and dealing with the truth
is no penny-ante proposition.

Now most of us aren't deaf
and most of us aren't dumb
but nonetheless half of us can't speak
and the other half can't hear...
so we've come to rely upon
what is known as the sign language of love.

Some of the signs are round
and some of them are square
but the most important ones to remember are:

The trouble is that it's hard to tell
from a safe distance
which sign a person is displaying
at any particular time,
and even those who are well versed
in the other romance languages
can become dazed, confused, 
tongue-tied, and disoriented when faced
with the daunting task of
translating the sign language of love.

The trick, of course, is not to think
about what's being said,
but what's behind what's being said.
If she says "See ya later"
does that mean later tonight,
later next week,
or later in another lifetime?
And if she says
"We should probably get together...sometime"
as she glides past you heading for the door,
should you hearken back to the Uncertainty Principle
which states that one cannot simultaneously
know the position and the path
of a moving object,
because you have a bead on her position
for the moment,
but can never be certain
of the path she will lead you down?

Do her eyes reveal the secrets of her soul,
or are they two black holes
sucking you into a time warp
where you will repeat the same mistakes you made yesterday?

Only your friendly neighborhood physicist would know.

So I bought this book on body language
that told me if a woman crosses her arms--
that's a negative sign...
but if she spreads her legs

So I wrote that down.

Armed with this critical information
I felt confident enough to try my luck
in the world's most romantic city...

So I flew to Paris,
and found myself sitting at a sidewalk cafe
where I noticed a Frenchwoman 
giving me the goo-goo eyes
from a nearby table...

She smiled at me
and I smiled back at her
and she smiled back at me
and I said now here's somebody
who is speaking my language!

Then she got up and walked
right over to my table...

and right past my table...

and sat down with the woman
who was directly behind me
and just a tad to the left.

So I think I'm just as dense
as I ever was
about the sign language of love,
but I do know that you can't dance
and somewhere along the way
somebody has got to commit to something
before you're both committed...
so knock three times on the ceiling if you want me--
twice upside my head with your purse if you don't want to know.

I'll get the picture.


  1. i wrote that with the truth
    is no penny-ante proposition....true as well as how hard it is at times to read people as well...and true on the commitment as well...hope they knock for you...and not on the head....

  2. This is great! Love it. Can I pass it one to some friends? It really is good. Jack

  3. OH! MY! GOD!!!!!!!!!!! I SO adore this. Love that you wrote down the key "signs", love how she was looking just past you (oh have I been there!, love your humor and your view of the world. Loved this poem! Made my day! I laughed out loud. For Real.

  4. LOL. I know what you mean, pal.

  5. Oh gosh, I just want for you to have that wonderful luck when all the signs point to YES and the person is the right special person at the absolutely right time.

  6. oh i love it too. and those signs can be confusing no matter how long you've been on the road with someone :)

  7. Fantastic ! a great write and your humor made me laugh !

  8. Signs, signs, everywhere signs....I hate the game playing. I told my husband that I fell for him on our first date when he pulled an olive pit out of his mouth, stared at it, and said, "I never know what I'm supposed to do with these things. Do I put it on my plate or hide it in my napkin or what? I'm trying to impress you here!"

  9. laughing the most sensible one... that is something I enjoyed without taking another breath.. thank you so much.. well this sign language is really quizzical ... :-)

  10. An intriguing and in-depth analysis, Timoteo. Deep thought, today!

  11. aaaahhhh, good old hermeneutics! It's surprising humans can coordinate action at all considering the intricacies of interpretation and relaying signals. :-)


    So I wrote that down." <== Made me smirk. :-)

  12. HEY EVERYBODY, THANKS FOR THE WONDERFUL COMMENTS...what you do with the olive pit is you leave a little food on your plate and you bury the pit underneath the food, or if you're a girl you can hide it in your hair!

  13. haha...body language isn't so easy to decode sometimes and the communication beyond what's actually being said is the bigger part...some compare it with an iceberg... the biggest part of it is never visible for the watcher..just for the brave discoverer...smiles

  14. You manage to mix a kind of pop psychology with the wisdom of the ages.. Always a moment arrives where I crack up:

    ...So I wrote that down.

  15. cool shifts here. Lots of neat philosophical tidbits and psychological pieces strewn in here, really came out well. Your discussion on subtext is very good. Thanks

  16. This is great as usual. The signs of love... I like how you worked the uncertainty principle in there, very clever. I just noticed your "I don't do Facebook" deal on the side. I don't either. I suppose that might explain why when I run across an affable soul I may send out lengthy missives...

  17. Tim, first time here, thanks to Real Toads. You're so self-effacing... I love your FB shafting, too.

    The "signs." There's an old jazz song called, "Detour Ahead" that has a bit of this in it, but you really laid out the predicament for the contemporary straight male. The signs have changed with the times, just as the barriers (whether it's an internet relationship or "did you bring the condoms?" wink) change.

    As a straight woman in a 15-year relationship, I can tell you, I would not want to be "out in the marketplace" for a million bucks. I was impressed by your forthright statement of the situation. Peace, Amy

  18. CLAUDIA: Icebergs come in all sizes and shapes--with blonde, brunette, red, or black hair. The common denominator is that they are all out to sink your dingy.

    KERRY: HA gotta write the "insightful" stuff down!

    SERENA: Yes, even the physicists are how are the rest of us supposed to figure anything out?

    SHARP LITTLE PENCIL: Thanks for coming by. Yes, being "out in the marketplace" is no piece of cake--and you know how long the market has been down!