Accompanying Tweets to The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan: B

Saturday, November 10, 2012

babble, v.: I try to cover my fear with words, but the more they come, the more I feel like I’m pulling at threads, not stitching them.

babel, n.: You may be trying to cover your fear with your words, but I can’t see the fear or hear the words; there’s only my own confusion.

bacchanalia, n.: Your party lasts about five hours longer than I do.

bachelor, n.: I hear this word and it sounds lonely and archaic, an errant uncle to the things I want.

back, n.: There is no turning away from the fact that you turned away; the returning must be navigated around that.

backbeat, n.: I can always hear your laughter in the room, a little bit off from everyone else’s, but still enjoying itself.

backdrop, n.: You were so hungover at the Grand Canyon that it was a lucky thing you only had to look down, not up.

backhanded, adj.: “You clean up good,” I say, when you haven’t; “You’re always right,” you respond, when I’m not.

backlash, n.: There are moment I worry I am taking you hostage when I say “I love you.”

backscratcher, n.: “If God didn’t want us together,” you say, “why didn’t he make it possible for us to do everything by ourselves?”

backslide, n.: When you stop saying that you’ll stop, I know it’s started again for real.

backstage, adj.: I love it when I walk in while you’re getting ready, and you’re nervous, as if I’ve never seen you getting ready before.

backup, n.: I kept the profile up for a month, just in case, but after a week, I stopped reading the emails.


bad, adj.: You only propose to me when you’re drunk.

badge, n.: When we first dated, it would only take five minutes for me to bring it up; you were always the first item for show-and-tell.

baggage, n.: I want so much to let go of the past, but if we did, what would we have to blame besides ourselves?

bail, v.: You like to play the Get Out of Jail Free card, without ever realizing that I’m the one who quietly pays the bill.

bailiwick, n.: If you don’t lecture me on authors you’ve never read, I won’t talk to you about drugs I’ve never tried.

bait, v.: I am not an innocent party. I know what will set you off and I use it.

balaclava, n.: There is such a fine line between looking like a hipster and looking like a terrorist.

balance, v.: What I’m trying to say is that I don’t want our relationship to be a balance beam; I want it to be an avenue.

balderdash, n.: I’m trying to get you home and you say, “You’re on my spleen!” so I say “You shouldn’t leave it out!” and we both laugh.

ballast, n.: When we moved in together, I used it as a reason to get rid of some of my adolescent possessions; it was time for new things.

ballyhoo, n.: We dance around the kitchen to “Blister in the Sun” until we are out of breath, grinning without having to think about it.

balm, n.: Sometimes even you get sick of the drinking and the noise, and you take us far enough away to be away, and there we talk.

bandage, n.: They say the best thing to do is rip it off. But what if the wound is still healing?

bandwagon, n.: Sometimes I hear the zeitgeist creepling into your vocabulary. I snicker, but within weeks I am asking you WTF?

banish, v.: You still think that someday your prince will come, and sometimes I catch you looking for him, when you think I don’t notice.

bank, v.: When I make you owe me something, am I putting it away for a rainy day, or am I turning too quickly on a slippery slope?

banter, v.: When there is a lightness in the language, the lives temporarily follow suit.

bar, n./v.: You say it’s your release; I say it draws too tight a circle around you. If feeling good is all you feel, there’s nothing left.

barbaric, adj.: I cannot watch you eating a lobster. It’s like going on a date with a caveperson, in a baby’s bib.

barbed, adj.: When we go with you to dinner with your mother, I act as a human shield, trying to deflect her unpleasantries.

bare, adj.: It’s not the spur of the sex but the comfort of the vulnerability that gives this nakedness its meaning.

bark, n.: You’ve never bitten me, so I can’t honestly tell you which is worse.

barrage, n.: My thoughts are a 24-hr news channel of what goes wrong, and at night, the volume gets loud.

barrel. v: There are times that I am having so much fun with you that I don’t care if we’re headed over the falls.

bashful, adj.: Whenever I want to sing along, I turn the volume up first.

basic, adj.: Acknowledge that I have a heart, and know that when you don’t, you fail to acknowledge me.

basis, n.: You leave notes for me in the strangest places, and in the strangest way, this is one of the things I love the most.

bask, v: The summer day transforms time into something that no longer concerns us, and helps us revel in the slower joys.

bathrobe, n.: It emerged in winter, and you made fun of its tatters, but later said you’d miss it like you’d miss all my quirks.

bathwater, n.: There are many moments when I don’t mind if you throw both of them out.

battle, n.: We line up our armies and prepare for war; I can't help but think that some of my more sentimental soldiers are on your side.

battleax, n.: Your mother’s first words to me were: “You’re trailing mud into the house.”

be, v.: Our love would flourish, if we didn’t keep getting in its way.

beach, n.: The only place I don’t mind being in your shadow.

beacon, n.: I am drawn to the idea of a time when I wake up next to you for the ten-thousandth time and feel nothing but joy.

beagle, n.: One of these days, you’re going to mug a dogwalker, just so you can take one home.

beamy, adj. You do the same little dance when the sun comes out that you do when you’re running through the rain.

bear, n. and v.: You are wrestling with it – it is overpowering you – and you wonder how much more confusion you can take.

beard, n.: When I kiss you and you bristle, I know it’s time to shave

bearer, n.: You deliver your sorrows, and you deliver them to me. I take them – never gladly, but understanding it must be done.

beat, n. and v.: It is the tick that hammers us, the tock that comes to blows, and the lubdub that saves us every time.

beautiful, adj.: The word starling, the color of the sky at 40,000 feet, the orchestra tuning its instruments, the sharing of the universe

becalm, v.: As I lose myself in the high pitch of getting through the day, I need you to be the low murmur of other cares.

because, conj.: In the absence of higher meaning, I strive for a generous life, and find contentment therein.

beckon, v.: You dare me to leap, so I leap. You dare me not to think so much, but I keep on thinking.

become, v.: We don’t become like each other so much as we adopt the versions of ourselves that are most compatible.

bed, n.: Sixty inches by eighty inches, and half our life together.

bedfellow, n.: The strange thing is the way the choreography of sleep accommodates such an invasion of space.

been, v.: At times, the past feels like the destination, in the way we accumulate enough of it to prop us up.

before, conj.: There were hundreds of stations and I was only listening to a dozen of them.

beg, v.: I want you to want me.

begin, v.: There were more favorite books listed on your profile than favorite anything else, and I thought, this is worth a date.

begrudging, adj.: I'll concede that the capital of Montana is Helena if you concede that even after two years, you need to say thank you.

beguile, v.: We all dance with veils, revealing enough of the truth to entice, but not enough to fully confront.

behavior, n.: Even at your worst, you never spill your drink, which leads me to believe you’re focusing on something, just not me.

behind, adj.: Sometimes I’m resentful you’re rushing and I’m lagging; other times I’m grateful you’re clearing the path.

behoove, v.: “It would behoove you to ready the horses,” I say, and you reply, “I’m not behooven to any man!”

beige, adj.: I say it’s melancholy, and you say it goes with everything.

belabor, v.: The harder you press on the point, the less it acts as a point, and the more becomes a series of cracks radiating out.

belay, v.: In actuality, the rope is rarely a noose; instead, it’s the tether that lets you swing without the fear of falling.

beleaguer, v.: What a strange league that makes its members persist in playing the game to the breaking point.

believable, adj.: Just the act of saying something’s believable admits that there’s a credible reason to be cynical.

benchmark, n.: That first time you said I love you first, I thought, yes, put a bench here so I can come back, sit here, observe.

bend, n. and v.: Every time we come to one, it feels like I’m the one who has to.

bender, n.: To you, it seems like a straight line; only I can see the true shape, because I am so outside of it.

benediction, n.: We’ll never get your mother’s blessing; the only thing we can hope for is a break in her disdain.

benefits, n.: Sometimes I feel our friendship would be better off without this particular expectation.

bequest, v.: One night, drunk, you say, “If you leave me, I get to keep this chair, okay?”

beret, n.: It was raspberry, like the kind you should absolutely leave on the shelf in the secondhand store.

berserk, n.: It seems crazy to me that the first ‘r’ is silent.

berth, n.: We thought it would be romantic to go by train; there was no sex that night, only attempts at balance.

beseech, v.: If you stay, do it with as much care and planning as you’d use to leave.

beside, prep.: I don’t want you to have my back. I want you to have my side. Because with you there, the winds can't turn me.

besotted, adj.: Ninth date, I was so lovedazed that when the check came, I signed your name instead of mine.

best, adj.: You do yours when you bring out mine; I do mine when I bring out yours.

bet. v.: Every day we’re together, every week or year, it feels like a deep wager of my future on you.

betrayal, n.: I don’t know which is worse – that you did it, or that you wanted to.

betroth, v: Slowly you find your thoughts are married, your possessions are married, your plans are married, and it almost seems inevitable.

between, prep.: I live in the area bounded by my expectations and my disappointments.

bias, n.: I find you beautiful, but of course I’m biased, because if you’re not, that reflects on me in some way.

bibliography, n.: I wish all of our lives were followed by the list of works that influenced us, the raw ingredients of our beliefs.

bicker, v.: There are times when we are enjoying it too much for it to be arguing. It’s all joust and parry, no bloodletting.

bifurcate, v.: The metaphorical condition of the heart mirrors where we are. If we split, it splits. If we’re together, it’s together.

bigamy, n.: You can’t be married to the bottle and be married to me. The bottle doesn’t play fair, and I won’t live with unfairness.

bill, v.: There comes a time when the love stops being freelance. No longer charging by the hour, you want the full salary.

billboard, n.: NOT PREGNANT? WE CAN HELP, it reads. Later that night, you come out of the bathroom and say, “I can help.”

bind, v.: You think it holds us together, but I can’t help but thing of the binding of feet, that constriction.

binge, n.: You count the bottles when they’re full. I count them when they’re empty.

birthday, n.: It was like you were wrapping my friends in the decoration of a party and regifting them to me.

birthmark, n.: Sometimes it’s a hand reaching up, sometimes a star plummeting down. I can trace each trajectory across your collarbone.

birthplace, n.: The only time I ever wished my mom had turned my childhood bedroom into a guest room was when you wanted to have sex there.

bite, v.: I hear the teeth in your voice, but don’t pull away fast enough.

bitter, adj.: I like the feeling of it against my tongue, the breakage of the sweet, the sharper sensation, the aftertaste of chaos.

bizarre, adj.: I never thought I would be the type of person who would smell the pillow after you left, just to find your echo there.

board, n.: I don’t want a Monopoly life – making money, losing it, making more, paying rent, around and around, with nothing else to do.

body, n.: When it craves, when it stays awake with thoughts and longing, it does not have its own best interests at heart.

bogeyman, n.: The person hiding under the bed, keeping me awake, is the version of me that I know no one will ever love.

boggle, v.: I see ART, you see RAT. I see NOW, you see WON. I see TON, you see NOT. I puzzle over this as you shake things up again.

bohemian, adj.: I confessed to you: “I still want to wander the world, but I no longer want to sleep on the floor of where I stay.

boilerplate, n.: What I want more than sex, more than compliments, more than words, is for me to be trusted, and you to be trustworthy.

bolt, n. and v.: The noun stays, the verb goes. I feel we all have that potential, to shift our meaning because of the way we’re used.

bomb, n.: We like to believe they tick, but the reality is that they are no longer tied to clocks or sounds, just the undetectable wrong.

bombard, v.: When you use “I love you” to prove something, it proves nothing but your own desperation.

bombast, n.: You can dazzle me with your words, but when it comes to words, dazzle isn’t at all what I’m looking for.

bondage, n.: You don’t need handcuffs or whips or chains for the power struggle to be there, for it to be in control.

bonhomie, n.: I think certain channels exist solely so we can sit like this, make our comments, share a mindless pause in the mindful world.

bonus, n.: They give you an extra hundred dollars for Christmas, and you call me from work to invite me to drink it with you.

book, n.: Find yourself between the lines, between the words, even in the space within the letters, the ones that give them shape.

bookish, adj.: This was my base-level requirement, my litmus adjective.

boondocks, n.: We drive around your hometown, and you are a teen again, and I am the semi-adult you’ve brought along to pull you back out.

boor, n.: One of the reasons I loathe your bad behavior is that it gives my own bad behavior permission to let loose.

border, n.: I am always making sure to keep enough of me away from you, in case of emergencies.

bore, v.: Every time you go on like that, it digs a hole in me and all I feel are the minutes slipping through, into a pile of wasted time.

born, adj.: “It wasn’t the first time you hurt me,” your mother says over dinner, “and it wasn’t the last.”

borrow, v.: First it's your phrases, then intonations, then thoughts. Finally, I don’t notice the borrowing. It’s as if they’re mine.

bossy, adj.: Where adult responsibility meets infantile urges, the tantrum of power, the two-dimensional construction of you and me.

both, adj.: With one simple word, we are joined - and yet it still acknowledges that we are two. This is my ideal.

bother, v.: Sometimes I think this should be the verb form of “both.”

bottleneck, n.: After you’ve had a few, I am caught. None of the many things I’m feeling will get through.

bottom, n.: At the deepest point of the darkest moments is a mirror which I use to blame myself for everything.

bouncer, n.: You should not laugh when he cards me, and I should not be too complimented.

bounty, n.: That Thanksgiving, we so got much more than usual at the grocery store, then went home and let ourselves eat whatever we wanted.

bouquet, n.: One each day for twelve days, and you were right – it meant so much more.

bourgeoisie, n.: That Thanksgiving, we had boursin and salmon and Pop Tarts and cucumber sandwiches and felt so pretentiously happy.

bovine, adj.: The day after that Thanksgiving, we couldn’t really look at food, as if the perpetual meal had been a one-night stand.

bow, v.: You grab the mic and sing Kelly ‘til you’re green, and I join in the applause as you revel in the attention you won’t remember.

bow, v.: You grab the mic and sing Kelly ‘til you’re green, and I join in the applause as you revel in the attention you won’t remember.

box, v.: We start to have the conversation, but when I mention the ring, you say, “What? Isn’t it more fun boxing outside of one?”

boy, n.: I look at relationships and often feel like I am still looking at my parents, trying to figure the whole thing out.

boycott, n.: I refuse to deal with men who act like boys, men who don’t want to know anything more than themselves.

brace, v./n.: When I brace myself around you, it becomes a shell around me, supporting and constraining. It keeps me up, but I can’t move.

braided, adj.: I love when our fingers are braided together, our limbs, our bodies. And the loosening when it’s over, the freedom.

brainwash, v.: I don’t happen to think it’s washing at all; it’s an accumulation of dirt that takes on the shape of rationality.

bramble, n.: Poor prince, to go through so much and to have her only remember the kiss, which is, let’s face it, the easy part.

brave, adj.: My biggest enemy is the voice of doubt, and my biggest challenge comes in shutting it out when it will not allow me peace.

bravura, adj.: I wish Meryl Streep would rent herself out for two hours, to play me and get everything right.

brazen, adj.: You looked at him like he was on sale and then at me like I was full price, and I felt left on the shelf.

break, n..: Take one or make one? Is it something you steal or something you create?

brevity, n.: Please.

bribery, n.: I get you to come to my office party by listing the forms of alcohol that will be there, which is a mistake.

brick, n.: We want to believe it’s so solid, but if you chip away at it and chip away at it, it will crumble.

brief, n.: My underwear is named after a period of time, and I don’t know why until the pants come off and the briefs quickly follow.

brightness, n.: Intelligence can be a form of light.

brilliant, adj.: I also love how you call the sky brilliant, the moon brilliant when it’s beautiful, as if giving credit for the design.

brink, n.: There will come a time when I will either stop loving you or I will stop believing that you can love me.

broad, n.: You proclaim yourself a broad on Broadway and belt out a Merman tune. Nobody even stops to look, we’re so NY.

broken, adj.: How many breaks does it take to leave the realm of the fixable? It’s certainly more than one.

bromide, n.: It sounds like a sedative, and perhaps that’s what clichés are.

brood, n./v.: When I talk about having kids, you list the movies we’d never see, the parties we’d never go to, the life we wouldn’t have.

browbeat, v.: I have tried practicing in mirrors, trying to perfect that look of careless cruelty. It only manages to crack me up.

bruise, v.: For all the drinking, for all the fights, never this. But it worries me that Iproud of you, of us, for never bruising.

brunt, n.: Let’s not pretend that I don’t do it too. Sometimes I am the storm and you are the ship, and time is the ocean that waits it out.

bubble, n.: Happiness floats the same way, wobbly and translucent and dazzling. Then it vanishes, and you want to fill the air with more.

bud, v.: Tender is the right adjective here. You can cup it in your hands, but only for a moment. It needs light and room to grow.

buffer, v.: You see me retreating at parties and move in to make sure no one realizes the me-sized gap is there.

bug, n.: Any insect, looked at closely, is fascinating. So when I say you’re bugging me, I should try to pin down its complicated design.

building, v./n.: These solid structures we trust so much could really just be verbs, the constant act of their own creation.

bulletproof, adj.: I don’t want an invulnerable heart, but I want everything else to be protected, so your aim would have to be perfect.

bummed, adj.: The disappointment leaves you that much poorer, so your mind goes wandering the streets, looking for warmth or maybe home.

bump, n.: “It’s a bug bite,” you assured me. “You’re not dying.” And I said, “But can’t you die from a bug bite? If it’s the right bug?”

buoy, v.: At its best, my hope in you becomes a hope in everything, and my hope in everything becomes a hope in you.

burglar, n.: Sometimes I feel you’ve stolen my life, and I look at the empty room and can’t remember what used to be there.

burn, v.: I can understand why lovers never burned letters, even if told to do so. Now we no longer burn; we delete. Something’s been lost.

bury, v.: You were so distraught you tried to bury yourself into my shoulder, into the crook of my neck. Unlike the grave, I welcomed you.

business, n.: I coach you for hours, then you go in there and say, “Can I have a raise?” and get it. I retire from coaching.

bustle, n.: Every morning is like the wordless opening credits of our sitcom – cupboards open, coffee poured, clock watching.

but, conj.: If ‘and’ is a straight line, ‘but’ introduces the angles that we live by.

buzz, n.: Nothing intoxicates me quite like words, especially the times when you say all the right ones, and mean them.

bygone, n.: They don’t disappear, but they disappear enough.

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