Friday, July 24, 2009

true love (36)

true love
rejoice with those who rejoice
& weep with those who weep…
st paul

the apostle who verily wrote of spiritual gifts,
who claimed sweet love to be the best of these
was no more an authority than johnny lee williams
when he sang in ’59 his only lead for the drifters
before being finessed aside by ben e. king:
if u cry i know my heart would break
that would be much more than i can take…
could that holy, humble apostle, who repudiated
women – said they sinned first, were created second,
& should by all means keep quiet – even measure up
to the doo-wop balladeer whose slick androgenic
stylings honey-dripped with such unerring empathy.
if you cry i don't know what i'll do,
baby cause i'm so in love with you.
& if i knew that i had caused you pain,
my tears would fall like the rain.
u’d have to be deaf, dumb & blind not to know
that johnny lee truly loved his baby. & in that same
way i hoped to love mine, whoever she might be.
her joyeous joy would be my joy; her precious
pain would be my own, her life my cherished life.

how pristine pure the framework, how striking
quaint the lens an eleven year-old looks thru’ to
interpret, to interact in his world. most of my
ideas & beliefs about love came from someone
else, somewhere else; were uninformed by

my own dormant perversity. sieved thru layers of
st paul – a year before paul anka’s anthem on
transient, adolescent love – my amorous notions
crystallized. but i could only see thru’ them darkly –
& only what I wanted to see.

i could not see the markers for tragic long-term abuse,
& there was no one to explain to my youthful heart
that love & obsession were identical twins that
sometime had the same euphoric feel; & happy
ever after depended on telling one from the other.

so i opened up a vein & mainlined the music;
introjected doo-wop voices to tell me what my
mama couldn’t or my daddy wouldn’t. about my
baby, my sweet baby, like tommy bullock of
the fiestas sang, she’d most definitely be:
… so doggone fine
…loves me, come rain, come shine…
fine. my simplistic motivation for attachment.
that’s all she had to be. big lipped, heavy hipped
& built up from the ground; could come in any
shade. no confusing eroticism for love. the two
were, of course, the same, like intensity & intimacy.

my baby, captured by my powerful induction,
would ooh-wee bring the drama, change my mood,
provoke me to make her over & endure my jealous
rages as proof of my devotion. she would supply
my every need.

i couldn’t see it then but i can see so clearly now,
looking back over the wreckage & withdrawals of
four different matrimonies, a bevy of broken romances;
over all the what-went-wrongs – there is no true love
in a doo-wop song; no true love at all.

© Joseph McNair; 2009


  1. I like this. I am a big fan of the drifters and drifter's trivia, so I knew of Johny Lee Williams lead o "True Love." Don't be so hard on Doo Wop songs. Some of us got all the love we needed from them.

  2. I concede that you might be right. Its all about what you are looking for. I have learned in a long life that you don't cruise bars to find long-term, wholesome relationships either

  3. We always expect to find the True Love in the one who will be by our sides. Sometimes we think we found that someone. When we see heaven in his/her eyes or think about that someone all the time, we believe True Love has come. When we feel happiness just to be with that someone, we believe True Love will be there forever. Until the ups and downs participate in the journey of love. Sadness, anger, deception, jealousy, negligence and resentment take part in the game, bringing disappointments to the relationship. True Love seems to be an illusion. We thought it was there, but it was never there. But the truth is that True Love has always been there inside of us. It is always there and will be there with us forever…

  4. In this piece of writing which talks about true love, it shows how the body, mind and heart works together and as a whole. Sometimes in life an indidvidual sees another person and feels as if that this person is the one and only. In some cases this situation works out but in most cases it does not and causes the heart to be in pain, become angry and in most cases scared to love again.

  5. An interesting piece and one I agree with. There is no love in a doo-wop song. There is only the remnant of an emotion once felt. When you first listen to a doo-wop song, or any song for that matter, that deals with the topic of love you must take into consideration (which many don’t) that the song is one filled with biased opinions and ideas of what constitutes love for them, the artist. An impressionable youth will take in all that the song has to offer, and convert it into a lens that will forever taint the way they see the world around them, especially, if they don’t have any one to turn to for clarification. This piece touches upon the topic of paradigms and frames, and how we see and interpret the world around us. What someone may consider to be true love, another may consider it to be an obsession. How many women stay in long term relationships with men that abuse them, all in the name of true love? Believing with every blow that grazes her cheek that this must be true love; that he acts this way because he really loves her; that it’s just the way he shows her that he cares. Songs just offer one glimpse, out of the many, on what true love is all about. And although we can find some comfort in their words, we should not let ourselves rely solely on their take of love.

  6. True love never dies,it is an embodement of the way the mind,heart,and soul works. If one can find a 'true love'it makes the search that much better because in the end your heart and mind is at peace. Many students have their first love in their youngest years,and others develop it years later.

  7. Can a song really tell me what to expect from true love? Yes in so many ways... The feeling, the attitude, the raging hormones, etc... Looking into that other persons eyes and feeling as if we are on cloud nine. A love song can make us feel as if this is the right time for everything and this is who u wants to be with, but in reality you don’t even know the last four of their social number (lol). Back in the days love was something that was honest. The guy had one woman and the woman had one man, relationships were built on trust, commitment, love, sticking thru that person thru the downs and the ups. Now it’s everyone with everyone... There is no trust and honesty and most relationships are considering a fling. In my clarification... Love songs are just an infatuation for today but the old days. They have true meaning of love.

  8. Precious!!! You are such a romantic! Well done

  9. I think doo-wop songs were idealized views of what love was supposed to be. Realistically, Johnny may have truly loved his baby, but how long did that love last? Only my family loves me unconditionally and forever, I can't be positive any man ever will. However, I do believe healthy, committed reltionships can bring an enormous amount of joy to life. And even if that joy is short-lived, it was probably worth it. Doo-wop love songs can easily access beautiful emotions of desire, passion, and undying loyalty, unlike most of today's popular music. And if our frameworks and paradigms allow us to appreciate the artist's words, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  10. Its amazing how a single song or singer can inspire the way we see love. While some of these song are based on true stories some are fiction and often time cause others to set high hopes in finding love. The poem highlights the path of love and how it can lead to a joyous feeling or sometimes emotional devastation. According to the poem, true love is felt and shared. Love can cause you to become blind to certain issue in the relationship. You may end up looking for a fairytale love if you are influenced by song writers.

  11. I feel there is true love in a doo-wop song, or any song that sings about love because I am in love. My love is developing through rain and shine.

    I always ask the question does love come natural, or is love work?
    I got five responses 1. it’s natural; 2. it’s work; 3. it’s both; 4. love is work then becomes natural; and 5. love is natural then becomes work. For every couple its different. I know with my relationship it’s all of the above. That is what true love is.

    Its just like anything in life, takes practice and work. If you are an employee, parent, child, friend, or significant other-nothing is going to be easy-obstacles are in the way- but you must overcome them-and it makes you and the relationship or situation stronger. Just like Emmet Fox (July 30, 1886–August 13, 1951) stated:

    “There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer;
    no disease that enough love will not heal;
    no door that enough love will not open;
    no gulf that enough love will not bridge;
    no wall that enough love will not throw down;
    no sin that enough love will not redeem...
    It makes no difference how deeply seated may be the trouble;
    how hopeless the outlook; how muddled the tangle; how great the mistake.
    A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all.
    If only you could love enough you would be
    the happiest and most powerful being in the world...”

  12. This piece focused on the idealism that was created for many because of their interpretation of Doo Wop songs. But just as well as any many other things in life, you must not use one aspect of something to base your whole outlook of that one thing. The part of this writing that caught my attention the most was the part where you talk about love and obsession having the same feeling. I think that many people confuse the two or might even think that they overlap somewhat. Personally I feel that these thoughts are molded through experiences and personal values. Once a person experiences obsession firsthand, then they can learn from the experience and be able to differ one from another there on after. I think there is true love, but there is only minimal exposure of it, through Doo Wop songs.