photo by niznoz via Creative Commons



by Jay Frankston



I used to carry I love you
in my childhood
and blow it like soap bubbles
to my mother sitting on the bench
in the playground


I used to carry I love you
on my belt
like a toy gun in a holster
and shoot it bang bang
at the friends I didn’t have


I used to carry I love you
in my satchel
together with my school books
an autographed picture of Lana Turner
and a poem by Alfred Tennyson
and I took it out
when the girl with the blond curl
walked by me in the hall
between classes


I used to carry I love you
with the picture in my wallet
and wrapped it around
the lamppost at night
waiting for the one
who didn’t show up


I used to carry I love you
in my mouth
words I was hungry to say
to her, to you, to anybody
who would listen
and I’d open it
hoping the butterfly
would flutter from my tongue


I used to carry I love you
in my heart
knocking at the walls of Jericho
looking for a door, a window
a crack in the ceiling
praying the walls
would come tumbling down


Now I carry I love you
in my dreams
and take it dancing every night
when the moon is full
and the streets are empty
in the twilight of my life


And as I’ve carried it
it has carried me
and covered my canvas
with splashes of color
and put sugar in my coffee
and syrup on my pancakes
rollerblades on my feet
and wings on my days
to soar above beyond
and be free.



Jay Frankston (wlp@mcn.org) was raised in Paris. Narrowly escaping the Holocaust, he came to the United States in 1942, became a lawyer, and practiced on his own in New York for nearly 20 years, reaching the top of his profession and sculpting and writing at the same time. In 1972 he gave up law and New York and moved himself and his family to Northern California, where he became a teacher and continued to sculpt and write. He is the author of several books and of a true tale entitled “A Christmas Story” which was published in New York, condensed in Reader’s Digest, translated into 15 languages, and called a Christmas classic by many reviewers. El Sereno, his latest novel, is a short epic set in Spain with authentic historical background. It took 10 years and two trips to Madrid to complete.