A Different Kind of Embrace

“No you don’t.”

He really had to say I love you. It really couldn’t wait.

“I do, though,” he said.

“No. You don’t.” I tried not to laugh uneasily.

“I think that love is when you see someone’s shadow, and you don’t run” I said. “Maybe you’d even see something you never wanted to see. But you decide not to run.”

I can’t say if that’s how others have ever loved me. But that’s how I learned to love. A miracle of some kind. Because nobody in my lineage of relationship train wrecks ever taught me that. But it took too long to learn. My mind wandered to my true love. And what I knew made it true.

“Love is when you meet someone’s shadow, and forgive them for it. You distinguish it from yours, but you decide to embrace it too.”

Unless you don’t know how to do that. Then maybe you love and destroy. Maybe love gives rise to the very impulse to destroy. If you don’t know how to treat it. If you don’t know what you are doing.

Love is an action taken. Love is a decision. There’s no rushing it either. This is just an attraction, nothing more. It has no actual meaning. It is only the beginning of potential meaning. But potential is hollow.

I was looking for a different kind of embrace.

“Do you love me?” he asked.

“No.”

“Really? You don’t?”

“Not yet.” I tried to put it more gently. But I didn’t. And I wasn’t sure I could.

“I don’t know your shadow,” I said. “And you don’t know mine.”
















He got up to use the bathroom.

My eyes filled with tears as he exited the room.










A Polished Predictable Person

There was a time in my life I actually embraced being alone. Content with it, full and complete. Other times I’ve feared being alone. Or it’s just made me feel, in one word, miserable.

Now I just feel neutral. And that doesn’t have to mean anything.

Writing about loneliness can scare people, although I’m not exactly sure why it should.

There was a time when I wrote more “poetically” on here. I suppose it was nicer, prettier, or better quality in some way but I don’t know. It’s a different time now. An uncomfortable one, but this is interesting. I have no idea what will happen.

Something broke in me. For a time. Now I am just here. Quietly. I was subjected to the myth of the perfectly polished woman. Tortured with its image and all its presumptions.

Someone fell in love with that myth. Someone dear. But there were no people there. There was no truth. Only gods.

The real woman is pissed off by all that now. She is sad. She is a spontaneous puddle of tears. She is feeling forsaken. She is seeking the generosity of spirit that this myth wouldn’t allow her.

Inside is the only place to go – for that piece, at least. The trouble is, this myth is actually everywhere.

There is no point in pretending. There is no academic-background point of view that will do anything. There is no game to play to elevate the mind over the feeling. We have enough of that crap around.

Shit is normal. But to eat shit is not.

When true cruelty is encountered – and it does exist in degrees, from unlikely alcoves at times – closure can never come from its source.

The flip side of the most romantic type of personality, is sometimes that it is the least realistic. Romance has always been a good thing – not something to be so cautious about. But there is true romance, and then there is romance riddled with agenda.

This morning I had the odd thought, I should just dress like crap with no hair cuts for a while. I’ve done it before. When I didn’t have any money. I got through. Right now what I don’t have is time, and patience to entertain any level of psychological garbage. As if this disengagement from elements of the myth could weed it all the way out.

I am heartbroken. It resonates. But I am surviving it. And learning to have fun.

It’s an open road again. I can’t see the whole thing. Only the entrance.

I have seen a much smaller light before now, and followed it out.

Anything could happen.

All There Is To Remember

I took photographs of the long row of palm trees in the way off distance that we’d soon enough cross in the car.

The palm trees looked like fairy flowers, the kind you pick and blow wishes off when you’re a kid. Like dancers of all different heights, lined up in unison. Like the way your heart feels inside, when free of comparisons and worries.

I watched you as you talked, for the right moment to take a photograph.

The first lights of cars on the other side of the freeway began to flicker on. Dusk was not that near. Some must have been daylights auto-sensing impeding change, prematurely.

I focused on the line of your jaw. You looked handsome but I didn’t tell you. The landscape flat, the clouds thin, orange trees and wiry weeds to the sides.

I wanted to talk to you about music, but didn’t. I was tired of feeling stupid. I do it to myself, I guess I find others to confirm it.

Later, once we’d settled in to the cabin, once we were walking, the mood was about to shift.

I sensed the irritation when I lingered too long at the top of the hill. I love you, I thought. I’m sorry. I had to take more photographs.

I’ve never seen clouds like this in my life. It’s special, I’m sorry. My heart was sinking. I had to get the pictures. I tried to take them faster.

I recall the gorgeous picture of the palm tree in LA, the one you’d sent me in the very beginning, when we first met. Large imperfect leaves reaching into irregular directions that collectively balanced out into an odd symmetry.

Not a banal snapshot; it captured a wildness. It wasn’t about the tree – it was the way you had framed it in the shot. Your style of looking. You get it. You were speaking my exact language. I thought “this is my man.”

I don’t know if it was on purpose or an accident, the innate sense of choice. What’s called an eye. Or maybe not even that – maybe you just understood how to capture a feeling.

“Why can’t you catch the next flight, I’ll pay for it” in a smile I could hear over the phone.

I don’t know if that was the real you, or if this is.

We have different sides of ourselves. I guess I held the sides of you, that you’d rather disown. I held them along with the rest of you, with all of you, or I tried so hard to, but from your point of view, maybe, there was only one side to be on.

It just, wasn’t mine.

Artists are immature. Artists just need to grow up. It’s just, not very adult.

I didn’t understand.

It was all a mistake, a misunderstanding.

I focused the shot on your silhouette in the light. Beautiful.

Hurry up, I told myself.

Hurry.

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My Stranger

 

The earrings I wore
like tiny weapons
bounce light

Off the shine
Of mountains,
Like sunrises flash

Through the curious
Peaks of your
Clear eyes crossing

The table.  Summer glows
Off weeds outside, drills
the roots in so deep.

Our history envelopes
One glance, gone
I wince.

We share a glass house heart.
A new sap trails off peaks we’ve been.

Sofrito and crème fraîche fall
Over thick red meat
And we saw something there

Really worth drowning for, then you
Face south.  Like curtains dropping
Over a river, eyes

At the border of beef.  Each cut
Slowly sawn I watch.  Edgily
Feeling it out.  Then,

Without saying anything, you
Reached up
And took off the checkered
Cloth.

 

 

 

Night Water

–Thoughts from October.  I dig up this saved draft I’d hesitated to share but now it’s wrapping its arms around a sleepless night and my travel bug, that escapist impulse to jump in a car, on a plane, a train, a boat, anything–

All that really needs to escape is that toxic tendency toward self-censorship.

Writing is still elusive.  Writing is hard, unforgiving in a way at times.  Writing involves so much organization, I often can’t even handle it without also making visual art.  Words have felt like pressure cookers, images like rivers.  Images like relief.

It’s said that words, language, are limited and inadequate – but which mode of expression isn’t?

Images aren’t enough either, as enamored as we are of them.  There’s things that pictures just can’t do, can’t show the same way.  Pictures can not take the place of words.  So then it’s the writing that happens by surprise in the midst of creating art.  Writing is the relief.  Out of a sudden desperation, exasperation that  can’t be expressed immediately enough without switching mediums, turning to words.

Images and words have never been separate to me.  Two sides of the same coin.

There’s the times none of it seems to satisfy – images, words, whatever.  The moment’s raw and the only thing to do is keep going.  With the current project, with any project.  Whatever’s in front of you.  The medium hardly makes much of a difference.  It might make you feel better, or just more like crap but you don’t stop.  I feel strangely serene now in the face of intensity when it’s there.  Its presence doesn’t scare me as it once did.  As if my brain partitioned into two coexisting sides of reality, dark and peaceful.

When the inspiration gets intense, weird, dark, I imagine some of the reactions and opinions those pieces could incite.  Oh well.

Mixing beige paint in my room and laying it over black I contemplate my favorite person to be with.  Wanting this man is futile.  Will you leave once again and call me months from now, and what will I say then?  No more?  I love you?

Even the worst of you could not make me cold for long.  An inescapable fact, love.  I want out of here, too, restless.  It’s the middle of the night.

I toss this whole situation into question.  My job, my expensive life here in Oakland.  What am I doing?  This art.  These photographs.  This writing.  How much could I sacrifice to be able to do this all the time, nothing but this for as long as it takes?  Almost everything, I’m thinking.

What if I just said, everything?  What would everything look like?