She Asks What Eno Is

By Bryan Paul Thomas


I was not listening to the words
until he came upon that line.

“Love is a temper,” he sang.
Or so I thought. But it made sense
so I began to write.

“Love is a temper,” he sang.
An anger. An impatience.

“Love is a temper,” he sang.
A tempo, a ryhthm, a rush.

Did he say that love is a tempo?
I rewound the tape
( I still can not afford CDs)
and played it back.

I listened. Then I kept writing.

Like an emotion written on a face frozen in time.
No. Like her quivering lips frozen in time.
No. That is stupid: how can frozen lips quiver?

I put the pen down and played it back again.

“Love is a temper,” he sang.
“Love, the higher law.”

temper and rage and anger with
and the very word of

This man is a genius, I thought.

I left the pen on the page and
went about my business.


Weeks later I am riding in Amanda’s car.

She is playing the CD
I am reading the liner notes
for lack of conversation.

“They are never going to give up on Eno,” I say.

She asks what Eno is and I continue reading.

The CD includes the lyrics,
something my tape did not have.
So I check the line that humbled me.

“Love is a temple,” it says.

Now it makes even more sense.
Now it makes too much sense.

“You ask me to enter,” it says.

Of course. He is entering
a temple, not a temper.
You can not enter a temper.

This man is no more genius than my lying ears.
But this is what happens when
I listen to a single line
instead of a single song,
instead of all the lines as one.

“I am an idiot,” I say.

I wait for Amanda
to make a snide remark,
to agree with me,
or something.

She keeps on driving.


I have done this with songs before.

Like in that one Go-Go’s song where they say,
“In the jealous games people play,”
I always thought that they were saying,
“In the town of Sans S’il Vous Plait.”
So I decided that their French was really bad,
and for a long time I wondered where the town of
“Without If You Please” existed,
if it existed at all.

And now?
Now love is a temperature.
Now love art more temperate;
love is a template,
love is a temp worker,
love is Indonesian tempeh,
love is anything but a temple
I have heard of one million times before
but have not seen or felt,
let alone been asked to enter.

I guess I have stolen something
that never belonged to anyone
I will keep it in storage
in a notebook on a shelf in
the closet of my mind
until I find a use for it.

It belongs to me now.


Love is a temper