Only in the backwoods of Carolina
in the Year of Our Lord, 1982
would the marriage of a 23 year old man
and a 15 year old girl
make sense. And
Without a pregnancy, to boot!
No need for a shotgun
except we loved before we knew
what love cost,
the price exacted
as that first great flame of crush
burns low, embers left
You were my person of first things:
First trip to the mall
First dinner in a steakhouse
First trip to a movie theater
to watch romance
its union through Richard
and Debra in An Officer and A Gentleman.
All with you. Before then
I walked through gardens, picked peaches.
Motorcycle gangs and Jack Daniels drinking —
straight from the bottle — rape violence poverty
the three demons of daily existence.
You could save me
but it would take years to understand
the depth of that damage,
more years to know no one
could save me from myself.
I hated me years before you
with that cold-sterile hatred.
My promise of kindness
like that day I gave you
a shoulder rub, like
our first Christmas shopping
the mall in Charlotte, the night
I sat in the new pink nightgown
beside the Christmas tree and you
said I was beautiful. Then
I wished I could use your eyes
not those dirty broken lenses I owned.
And I wish the children knew now
How much we loved back then —
air to lungs, pulse through blood —
before they became the only us that endures.
Photo Credit: Sophisticate by Richard Young
You are Water.
You come to me like the deep-running crystalline water
of cold mountain streams I once roamed beside in childhood hours.
Water flowing fast over polished rocks, the glint of Autumn sunlight
dancing across the gurgle and swish of currents, rolling
down, over, lower toward some eventual unknown ocean.
My soul captured by that bright sparkle was forever reaching
for the golden glimmer dancing beneath my hands, child-fingers
grasping in the icy water unable to capture the light illusive and fleeting.
You are Earth.
You open before me like the moss covered ridges and valleys
I strolled through as a girl in the tall pine forests of Carolina.
Your scent like the deep wet earth after a gentle Spring rain.
Your arms and hands and fingers the sinew of roots, your skin
the color of evening descending through the valleys at twilight.
My spirit captured by the deep-graying light of evening, sitting
still on the dark green moss – watching – until the last streaks
of light left the sky and dark descended like a curtain on the world.
You are Air.
You flow into me like a breeze moving through the giant oak trees
of my adolescence, twisting and turning each leaf to movement. A sudden
symphony of hushed tones, soft rustled sounds of possession as
the tree becomes one with the wind that invades it. Like God breathing
into Adam — a gentle whisper carrying the all-consuming power to Be.
My mind captured in the soft-voiced honeyed silk words sliding from your lips,
you become a foreign zephyr traveling through me, carry me skyward and
leave me adrift in the wordless place of amber-eyed heights that is you.
You are Fire.
You burn through my veins like liquid mercury. The white-hot presence of you
rages in the room stealing the air from my lungs, leaves me weak and yearning.
A bright silver fire flowing through all those secret places of memory and need
before the fire becomes all, the flames filling my body to bursting-glowing
like the face of Moses after standing before the burning bush of God.
My body captured by the curiosity of wanting to know, to experience
the most uncommon of things. How could I have known the Mercury —
so glittery-silver and liquid-beautiful in my hand — would be so deadly?
I dream of poets –
of their bright-broken bruised
Their plight of speaking tomes
to the dead, to the living trying
to find word-songs to sing.
These ghosts of witness, prophets
caged in a time where prophets are
un-believed, are mere myths residing
in the places of Jesus
and miracles, and antiquated belief
don’t exist beside
economic woes, and woe is
the would-be poet-prophet who
tries to sing songs, speak warnings and
create dirges in a world gone deaf to hearing
and too busy for reading
and, of course, wouldn’t read poems anyway, but
would be more inclined toward
something like an e-book on “How to
Make $10,000 a year from home,” or
”The True Story of Rock Star John,”
a serialized E-special in print. Poets
and their prophecies spoken
in silent voices of white paper and black
letters in books filled with screaming
voices that are silent
upon the unhearing ears
of the world.
I dream of poets —
of their bright-broken
I can remember
the way you walk –
a fluid movement
with erotic appeal.
The way your hair
falls a certain way
across your cheeks,
beside your eyes.
A slight lift to the right
whenever you smile –
the honey sweet taste
of your lips, of you
in a passionate kiss.
I can remember
the way your back
feels soft and muscled –
warm – as I roll closer,
snuggle into sleep.
Waking to feel
the length of your legs
entwined with mine,
the width of your chest,
the weight of you
shifting, above and within
me — your chest touching mine,
soft whisper of words
against the nape of my neck.
I can remember
the strength of you
holding me, taking me,
hot against my flesh –
filling me completely
all those long years ago.
~July, 2011 South Carolina
ARTWORK: Reverie by Richard Young. For artist information, other available works, and further details on this piece, please go here.
I start the day
thinking of nothing
in particular. Survival,
another day at the office
to get through — the
from reckless people – avoid
a mysterious x-love,
avoid daredevils and
those with death wishes.”
I think of you
for the first time
in weeks: lips,
against my neck,
hands meeting your
warm hard presence
pulling me into memory.
My phone vibrates,
displays your name in bright
I end my day
thinking of mysterious
influences, daredevils, horoscopes,
and the cliff I once jumped from
with spectacular, reckless courage.
“… the meaning of life differs from man to man, from day to day and from hour to hour. What matters, therefore, is not the meaning of life in general but rather the specific meaning of a person’s life at a given moment.” ~Viktor E. Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning.
What is the meaning of life? What is the meaning of MY life? Does my life have meaning for anyone other than me?
I read the book, Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl about a year ago during a period of questioning. I believe it’s a book everyone should read at least once – not because it answers the “big” question, but because it changes the way we ask that question and others like it. Frankl shifts our focus to the deeper longings hidden in these questions of existence and meaning. He also gives us a new perspective from which to view ourselves and others. The idea of a fixed destiny changes and mutates under his examination.
Last week I wrote about thoughts on mortality and the personal situation that led me to those thoughts. This week, I’m happy to report that the doctors found no evidence of cancer and I am doing well. So what did I learn from my cancer scare? Some surprising things actually.
I learned that I don’t have as many regrets as I expected. There was no great need to go make amends for the past or apologize to people so I could die with things “made right” in my life. I’ve always tried to live as if today were it, which means I try to apologize and make amends as I go. Still, you always wonder if you’ve done the best you could. No one wants to be that person on their deathbed filled with a thousand regrets and tons of bitterness. The cancer scare helped me see that I’ve made right those things within my power to make right – the lingering “unfinished” things are there because they are beyond my ability to fix. Sometimes an apology and forward movement are the best one can do.
I also realized that I’m fairly happy with who I am and the experiences that make up my daily life. My primary regret was the books I haven’t written — and that was a surprising epiphany! I’m not sure if it’s because I believe my words are that important or if it’s about needing to leave some type of legacy behind. Just that I kept thinking: “Crap! I thought I’d have more time to get these things written!” The thought that my projects would never be real and see print bothered me terribly. There was a sad sense of leaving something unfinished and not completing my purpose. It was an odd but enlightening experience that brought writing back to center stage as a primary focus of my daily life. (Who knows? Maybe that’s exactly what it was intended to do!)
Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life to carry out a concrete assignment which demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is as unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. ~ Viktor E. Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning
Photo Credit: pensive by James Shepherd
A young girl watches you
get out of the car at Wal-Mart
and thinks – one day
I want to be like that! The pretty car,
the nice clothes, expensive purse,
the perfect hair.
You are the vision
she holds onto, cherishes
in her broken-ness.
She will strive
to become . . . You.
You are her symbol-metaphor
for success – a chance sighting,
a living image of what it means
to have made it. . .
Out of the fear of less,
out of the poverty of nothing,
away from the cold truth of being
Photo courtesy of Bigfoto.com