Look at a mom’s face when she bends to kiss her child. Watch two teens intertwined, kissing goodbye in the school parking lot. Go to an art museum, listen to 4 out of 5 songs, or look into someone’s eyes that half eternity pause before your lips meet. So much of life is given over to the future and the past — should ? did I? maybe if? when? did it? The moment of a kiss is a now, a here, completely in the moment of touch, sensation and emotion.
My birthday coincides with the day of that iconic V-J day kiss in Times Square. Recall the shot, a nurse bent back nearly horizontal, waist supported by the sailor’s splayed hand and his other arm cradling her head as his mouth plundered hers. A moment captured forever … out of rhythm… separated from the timeline, its story told within, but not needed for the narrative.
That suspended moment spoke to me, free of expectation, devoid of time — and I began collecting kisses. Anchored by a print of that victory kiss (which one day will wear a frame), Cutesy doesn’t speak to me, so the collection is small — a figurine of the VJ kiss, a wooden African interpretation of that endless moment, and several small framed prints. I’m always searching — they have to have that sense that the kiss is its own truth. An example is the marble “Cupid & Psyche,” at the Louvre…. Canova’s lines intertwine the figures, finding their gravity in the kiss.
Can those moments have meaning? Of course, and Stephen Dunn’s fantastic poem explores that juxtaposition of mouth and mind. Discovering his work has been a treat…. contemporary with Plath and Sexton, he brings a refreshing lack of angst to many similar topics. Enjoy!
She pressed her lips to mind.
How many years I must have yearned
for someone’s lips against mind.
Pheromones, newly born, were floating
between us. There was hardly any air.
She kissed me again, reaching that place
that sends messages to toes and fingertips,
then all the way to something like home.
Some music was playing on its own.
Nothing like a woman who knows
to kiss the right thing at the right time,
then kisses the things she’s missed.
How had I ever settled for less?
I was thinking this is intelligence,
this is the wisest tongue
since the Oracle got into a Greek’s ear,
speaking sense. It’s the Good,
defining itself. I was out of my mind.
She was in. We married as soon as we could
–> The Kiss by Stephen Dunn
- Kiss on My List (Hall & Oates) — this eponymous song reminds everyone that you can be remembered in a kiss
- Touch Me (from Smash) — campy TV, that produced some luscious music, including this driving little number that pulses
- A Thousand Kisses Deep (Leonard Cohen) — I adore this song, it conveys so much passion, tempered by the need to understand…. there is a version with Jackson Browne & Cohen that I think is fantastic
- Kiss Me Again (We are the In Crowd, featuring Alex Gaskarth) — a “punk pop” band with a sound that makes you want to see them in a little club
- Steal My Kisses (Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals) — the hook on this song is insane — you have to move when it is playing
- Another First Kiss (They Might Be Giants) — simple little song from a rather non-tradional band, Sunday morning lazy…
- Kiss you All Over (EXILE) — sneaking into my big brother’s room to listen to this…. dreaming of boys I hadn’t met, too young to do anything other than swoon
- Kiss (Prince) — no one can make a simple kiss sound quite so comprehensively suggestive,,,,
- This Kiss (Faith Hill) — poppy, country ballad from one of the modern queens of the genre
- One Last Kiss (from Bye Bye Birdie) — Both school musicals this year featured “kiss” songs — this is the ironically self-conscious heartthrob song
- Kiss the Girl (from Little Mermaid) — lush, reggae inspired show-stopper that brings the audience into the moment
- Then He Kissed Me (Sandy Posey) — 60s girl group, traditional hearts & flowers
- My First Kiss (3OH!3 featuring Ke$ha) — on the other hand, 00s pop still fairly traditional: kiss me = excited….. just more panties and panting compared to the older song
- Just One Kiss (Raphael Saadiq with Joss Stone) — R&B perfection — Saadiq is an incredible virtuoso, and Joss Stone could read the ingredient list to “fruity pebbles,” and I would listen
- Every Little Kiss (Bruce Hornsby) — I love him, he loves music — you can tell when you listen and oh my gosh! at a live venue, he consistently innovates and excites musically! And my youngest & I have gone dancing in the taper/dancer section — and it was beautiful!
- Kiss Me (Sixpence none the Richer) — time and place song, can smell the crisp air — the parking lot venue — the reverb…. I even see the color of the sky and the clouds wisping by when this song queues up
- Drops of Jupiter (Train) — so before, Hey Soul Sister, Train had a nice little discography that has some well-crafted songs….
- Passionate Kisses (Mary Chapin Carpenter) — one of my favorite stanzas ever in a song: “Is it too much to demand/I want a full house and a rock and roll band/Pens that won’t run out of ink/And cool quiet and time to think” and of course, lots of kisses
- You Still Touch Me (Sting) — not possible to do a post about kisses without him, though this one is more about all your senses
- Shut up & Kiss Me (Mary Chapin Carpenter) — one of those singers that her songs find you when you need the right words, this one reminds me of the song “show me” from My Fair Lady — sometimes words are superfluous
You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how..–> Margaret Mitchell