'I love you,' he wouldn't say: it was against his philosophy; I-love-you didn't mean what it meant, plus the verray construction of the phrase caused bad-old-concrete-lawman-vandal-verbal-mildew-upon-the-grape- harvest-and-war-for-rare-minerals-required-to-manufacture-commu- nications-devices damage; saying I-love-you damaged love, subject and object; plus he could prove this in two dense and delphic languages suitable for philosophy, opera, cursing, and racking the nerves of arti- ficial intelligence machines that perhaps could love but would be hard-wired giammai to dare say so. So what moved him to not-say I-love-you? What wake-up-and-spoil-the-coffee ashtray-licking djinn? I have to start to agree. The verbness of it impropriety (eyes glob up the syringe when you're giving blood: semisolid spiralling); perhaps too active... I-love-you, I sand you, I drill you, I honey and set you for wasps, crimson you like a stolen toga, add value applying dye, fight owner- ship, I cite you to justify skilled outrage, put your name as guarantor on an astronomical mortgage, I admit desertification comes as a relief, from I to O, O my oasis, O my mirage. Maybe the verb is a tending-to- wards? A tightrope? A tropism? A station? But that's meeting him on his own ground; plus I can't disprove entire languages; plus those three little words aren't meant as saying. An icy drink in stormlight. A looked-at leaf left to transpire its own way until... And sans I-love-you the centuried moon rose above dinnermint stone; many men contin- ued talking; a woman lifted her sarsenet skirt, peed on green lilies and, utterly gracious, walked through the archway to join the mixed group delighting in — word! believe it! — fresh air.