At the start of our relationship, Josh lived in the West Village and Brent lived on the northern tip of Manhattan.  We would alternate weekends in each other’s respective locales.  At the end of each weekend, we would each write a poem to one another, and we were not allowed to read the poems until we had parted. Through subsequent moves, the poetry journals had been packed away and almost forgotten.  We certainly had not looked at them in at least 10 years.We wanted our wedding vows to be deeply personal and reflective of not only the men we are now, but the boys we were when we first met 14 years ago.   We dug out these old journals and each chose 3 poems to read to one another from our youthful writings—a remembrance of that time of first site, young love, and first blush



photo 3


Josh’s first selection




The distance between

The Big Bang

And the Man on the Moon

Stretches 164.6 miles compared to

The .oooo186” between

The Beginning of Us and

This Morning



The largest space,

Immeasurable by human means

Is always between

The moment I saw you last

And kiss you next



photo 2


Brent’s first selection




The gift of the first year

Is paper


The stuff that

Lines birdcages

Wraps fish

Spews from the printer and fax in a never ending stream of work

Blows down the canyons of New York City on a cold winter day

Overflows the can at the corner of West Fourth and Jones Street




Gets ink our your fingers on a beautiful Sunday morning

Is a template for the knowledge of the ages

Is a canvas for the likes of Rembrandt and Degas

Streams down at the stroke of midnight in Time Square in celebration

Enshrouds event the smallest gift with anticipation

And records the precious thoughts of one lover to the other?






photo 5


and then Josh




Blank pages

Are poetry

Of a sort


A sonnet of synchronicity, of

Sympatico, of



Blank white pages

The skin of one’s back

A poem traced onto the flesh

Left to freckle and wrinkle over the years

The knowledge

That time is abundant

Leaves books empty


A shame,


Since books deserve to be written















Brent’s rebuttal




I find it hard

To be Superman

To get that cape ironed just-so

And hand-washing those so-called fade-resistant blue tights

Hurts my hands



I  find it hard

To have wings

Especially in the city

They always get caught in the subway doors

And nothing at Barneys fits

Don’t mention the halo


I find it hard

To be a hero

To have my picture in the paper

To have women swoon in my presence

And all those kids slober on me




I find it hard

To love you

And your insecurities and doubts

Your ambition and greed


But then years from now

When I had you the world on a Tiffany silver plate

You’ll know that I do


photo 4


and then Josh said




At night I can ponder for hours

Puzzling through dreams

Wondering how such a

Beautiful face

Wound up mere inches

Away from mine


You are never far

But I cannot still myself


The distance between us

Should be that of






photo 1


and then Brent had to one-up Josh with a brand new poem




If you  promise

To have and to hold me

To provide food, water and shelter

To take long walks


And occasionally rub my stomach




I promise

I will not bite you

That for each year of our lives, I’ll make enough memories for 7

That each time I see you come through the door, I’ll act like I haven’t seen you in a million years

And that every time you call my name


I’ll wag my tail so hard my whole body shakes


What words do you remember saying to your own beloved?



by Josh and Brent

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Patreicia Friesen

Beautiful memories of your wedding and hearing these loving, funny, touching words spoken by each of you with so much love to one another….and of course, the tears and the choking up . The definition of love is Josh and Brent and the love they share with one another and the world.
Love and hugs, Pat

Megan Snyder

Really, really beautiful. You guys are an inspiration. All happiness to you both.


Those journals must be some of your most precious possessions. Absolutely beautiful! Thank you for sharing. When we were first dating my husband wrote me a silly poem. Time for me to dig it out 🙂


Once again, I am speechless at the gift you bestow on those of us who, while not your family, are friends of a sort – long distance friends who support and cheer you with every accomplishment. You constantly remind me that effort and love and intelligence and love and faith and love and determination and love and sharing and love are everything required to bring joy, not only to ourselves but to our community of friends. You are extraordinary and special men and even more special as a couple. Love and much happiness to you both!


What beautiful words….takes my breath away and brings tears to my eyes. Just when I think it’s impossible to love you two any more than I already do, you surprise me with more….thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts with us….I am sooooo happy for you both. xo


I performed onstage for many years… dance, chorus, literary interpretation, plays, musicals… so many explorations of art and form. But never was I so nervous as when I first read my own poetry aloud at a writer’s event held in a familiar theatre. It did not matter that I had stood on that stage many times before… to read my own poems was so personal I could hardly find my voice. Thank you for sharing an exchange so intimate. Your tradition is lovely.


I just loved watching the look on both of your faces while reading each passage. Your eyes were filled with the anticipation of the words being recited and knowing your hearts were swelled to capacity upon hearing the expressions of love and promise. It was a magical day for us all and a day I will never forget.

Barb Cannon

My husband makes me handmade Valentine’s cards that always touch my heart. You two were destined for one another. Your paths were meant to cross and intertwine. Live, laugh, and love one another ever after.

Bev Nan Murphy

Time spent especially well, prior to his long away trip. Then, a card arrived,the drawing, two crossed legs,each encased in a different,flamboyant argyle sock. The notation:
“You blow my socks off!” received with raucous delight; to this day, it is taken out and
viewed and reviewed. When memories are what remains, there are none better than this note, pure, unadulterated poetry, for ME.

Linda McNeill Wilson

You two are sooooooo romantic! Sigh…..I am so happy that you’re in the world, and that I know about you!

Here’s one my husband wrote to me right after we met. He is a stained-glass artist, and I went to take a few classes. His daughter, who was one of my art students, convinced him that as an art teacher, I’d catch on quickly. Little did we know…..

Trail of Tears

“Raven spirit, brown-eyed beauty,
Child of fearsome Cherokee…
Maiden Spirit of the Forest
In my dreams you call to me.

Down long hallways past rememb’ring
Down the length of years gone by
Through lost ages cloaked in myst’ry
Call me home with tender sighs.

Cloaked in magic, clothed in wonder,
Gentle heart so bruised and sore,
Like unto a fairy vision
Knocking on my stained glass door.

All at once, without words spoken,
All at once, from out thin air,
Never met, yet long remembered,
As I saw you standing there…

All at once, I knew the maiden,
All at once I recognized–
No new stranger on my doorstep,
Kindred spirits, eye-to-eye.

Raven spirit, brown-eyed beauty,
Child of fearsome Cherokee…
From your trail of tears delivered,
Come and live in dreams with me.”

By Doug Wilson

Bev Nan Murphy

You must and do, I am sure,preserve this with careful tenderness; no material treasure will shine brighter, warm the heart more, or be retained longer in memory than will this gift. Knowing sweet spirits join makes us all the richer. Bravo Doug Wilson.


You need to publish this as a book of poems. Seriously – the two of you are very talented. You poems speak to me.

Diane Svatek

You two are enormously talented. Keep on writing! (I await new books by Josh, and Brent, you must have some wisdom to share beyond the cookbooks…perhaps a joint venture about the farm? A sequel to the Bucolic Plague?)

Karin Thomas

The poems are beautiful! Thank you for sharing them and your lives with us. I would so love to visit you and see your delightful town.

Sue Wimble

Wow. So beautiful! You are both so talented in so many ways, you never cease to amaze me. For your next cookbook, you should include some of your poetry. Maybe a cookbook for lovers?

Suzanne Koba

Such a talent. Putting your feelings into such gut wrenching words you shared years ago and were still so very appropriate to use at your wedding. I, too, envy the talent you both are blessed with, and you’re right, Onder is a wonderful inspiration for Brent’s last poem. <3


The poems are wonderful…but the handwriting is PERFECT! Hubby and I have been married for over 19 years and have had our share of love notes, most of his include a certain amount of deciphering time. LOL


Good God–those took my breath away…had to bookmark the page to favorites. The poems are too beautiful to let fade away into blogosphere,… no matter how private they are. The triumph of your finally being able to marry in NY State is yet more meaningful, knowing how your romance first evolved.


Thank you for sharing these with us. They’re so poignant, so personal, so loving. They’re beautiful. What a wonderful memory to share. I’ve said this before and will say it again, the way you love each other is a beautiful thing.

sue tolbert

I felt as though I was snooping and shouldn’t continue reading. Yes, I did continue. sue t.

Cheryl Koflan

Your love- Simply wonderful… and justified. Thanks for sharing and once again making yet another day brighter 🙂

Nellie bowman

Made me cry, made me smile, made appreciate again how much affection I have for the two of you and your hearts!


I have always enjoyed writing poetry from a young age. I am lucky enough to have a husband that is also romantic and poetic. I have a large stack of hand written love letters from him. He was out to sea for 3 months and he wrote me a letter everyday. Emails and texts do not have the same weight as a handwritten letter. Great poetry guys! Is there anything you two are not good at?


So beautiful guys <3 that you kept these all those years. What wonderful things to look back upon.

Sonja Norman

We leave each other notes on the mirror in the bathroom, or little notes in his lunch. We are married 27 years. And are the same age as Josh 🙂


I really, really enoyed these! So heart-felt they brought tears to my eyes. It is amazing, the vast array of talents in you two. You have a never-ending supply, and I envy it to no end. Thank you for making my day…..yet again.


My husband and I will have been married six years this Sept. Each anniversary my gift from my hubby is an original song. Usually he comes up with the song on the spot and it seems to be one of those songs that goes on and on and on! ha. It makes me laugh. I look forward to my original song each year.

Marie Chilcote

We met on an hour long bus ride in November 1958. He came to visit me in April 1959 and stayed with friends of his for a week. He came to visit me in August 1959 for a weekend and stayed with his parents in the town to which had moved. He came to that same town in September 1959 an we were married. Yes, that’s right, we saw each other 10 days and wrote to each other for 10 months. We have been married for nearly 54 years. I don’t remember what we said in those letters!!

Kristine Gadomski-Summerlot

Thank you for the smile your poetry has put on my face. My husband was not a man of words but of deeds. When we were dating I worked at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. I worked in the Ivy tower of the main building and could see aroung the campus. Here came my beloved wearing his cowboy action clothing, fringed boots and an arm load of roses. I giggled and blush like a teenager..I was 45. Now I’m 56 and he still can make me giggle and blush like that day.

Bev Nan Murphy

Tender, precious and private. Again, you two amaze.
When I grow up, I want to be a poet too.
Nan ~ in her 75th year