A Wedding Ceremony

Minister: Behind me is the river. So near the shore, it flows to the sea at low tide and to the mountains at high. Behind me is the bridge; almost all who cross, later that day, cross back. These are the confusions made each day.


American Dreamboy

This is the America of road songs:
asphalt, macadam, concrete, oiled roads,
dirt roads, gravel roads, roads with high middles
growing timothy and bermuda grass.
And lines alongside: telephone, electric, lines
that hum from calls home or away from home.

This is the America of wandering, of fast
driving down from passes, along rivers,
across plains, by surf, through sequoia groves,
into towns made light jewels in the dead
of night, through cities lit sodium orange
or blue where lights for cleaning crews
stay up all night, up into mountains, past farms
as old as angels, to the graveyards of old frontiers.

The song of roads is the song of lines,
quick verses blank of understanding
and sympathy, too young to abstract. Let
me try to find nourishment in these lines,
along these roads and on these plains; let me
sit beside these weed-lined avenues of someone else’s memories
where creosote-soaked poles rise up
like crucifixes half-made, like rods grounding hope, like
monuments to yesterday’s surprises.

Let me have these roads,
let me have the wind whispering soft in the wind-bent wheat
let me have nothing but these then,
if I can’t have you.

Minister: Step back, though, and watch more fully. All the rain that falls upstream flows down this river and out to sea. When you both came to this very spot, you crossed that bridge from far side to here, and this is the place of no turning back—this is the time and this is the place you have chosen to end your separate ways and become as one.

Minister: Marriage is when you stop pretending, when each day is all there is, but when it passes, it’s just one more—when what is constant across all your days is each other.


“I Love You Sweatheart” (by Tom Lux)

A man risked his life to write the words.
A man hung upside down (an idiot friend
holding his legs?) with spray paint
to write the words on a girder fifty feet above
a highway. And his beloved,
the next morning driving to work...?
His words are not (meant to be) so unique.
Does she recognize his handwriting?
Did he hint to her at her doorstep the night before
of “something special, darling, tomorrow”?
And did he call her at work
expecting her to faint with delight
at his celebration of her, his passion, his risk?
She will know I love her now,
the world will know my love for her!
A man risked his life to write the words.
Love is like this at the bone, we hope, love
is like this, Sweatheart, all sore and dumb
and dangerous, ignited, blessed—always,
regardless, no exceptions,
always in blazing matters like these: blessed.

Minster: The beginning of every romance is filled with excitement and little stupidities, but after love starts to turn deeper, more patient, more trusting, and more respectful, it begins to take on the characteristics of marriage which is a framework for commitment and loyalty—an established home—meant to last forever. Before you, Wife and Husband will join in marriage. Please join hands.

Minister: I ask you now to make your marriage vows.

Husband: Wife, it is simply this: I will never stop loving you; I will never leave you.

Wife: Husband, it is simply this: I will never leave you; I will never stop loving you.

Minister: We will now have the ring exchange.

Husband: Wife, with this ring, I thee wed

Wife: Husband, by accepting this ring, I thee wed.

Minster: Today you have consented to be bound in lawful marriage, and have made special promises to each other, which have been symbolized by the joining of hands, taking of vows, and by giving and receiving a ring.

Minster: By the authority vested in me, according to the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I now pronounce you to be legally married.