Sunday, February 24, 2008

She said it went something like this

I asked Her how she knew so well what it was like. She looked distant, with those eyes, like the sherry in the glass the guest leaves.

One blessing had I--than the rest so larger to my eyes that I stopped gauging--satisfied . . .

She called it a blessing, and must have sensed my disbelief. She consented to give what, for her, amounted to an explaination.

. . . Why paradise defer--why floods be served to us in bowls--I speculate no more.

Suddenly the series of dreams, waking and otherwise, that had made me want to die, were bearable. Not quite delicious, but embraceable, maybe, at some point in the future. She had done it again. Guessing she was weary of my gushing, I didn't respond. The silence between us must have been what she'd been looking for, because she smiled.

She was unspeakably out of my reach--but she was mine.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I never followed the back of your head across the courtyard and knew the expression on your face. We never strolled into the trees and stopped time. You never came to me in the night. I wish for sleep. I welcome dreams.

I never cowed from love you offered, or cut to the end of a book I didn't know we were writing together, or waited like a fool for fantasy and reality to overlap. Others hold a candle to you. They do. Not everyone pales in comparison.

It was fair. We had our chance. There wasn't anything left in the cup we left. I don't remember every word. The taste of you leaves me. No shivering as I pass your place. No haunting. No remembering. No dull ache. No draining of blood from my face or pounding the piano with songs that write themselves for you.

There isn't only you.

You never were the love of my life.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Insecurities Exchange

It begins innocently enough. The teacher, who used to get comments on how young he looked, looks in the mirror and says, "How old am I?" He has honestly lost track. He calculates back to his birthdate, and realizes he is . . . thirty what? The mirror is tired of him. Without that youthful face, he realizes, people are more likely to notice his shortness. It's part of the hard-crust irony of his life that the Universe granted him Youth, but denied him height. Always a trade off, he notes, and wonders if, given the choice, he'd have chosen to be six foot something. He realizes in an instant that he'd now be staring at the tired reflection muttering, "If only I'd taken the Youth." But this is why the Universe is deaf to us. He reflects for a moment how he can't stand people commenting on his looks, or his height, or anything else. And yet here he is staring at himself.
The mirror is in the closet, and he can't help but notice the rows of neatly identical clothes, all designed, he now realizes, to attract attention and inspire comment. No, he says, denying it all. I simply want to look a certain way. He thought he had a sense of style. But at this particular moment of clarity he realizes that his clothes are the one thing upon which he can brook comment. Now he has to come to terms with the fact that everything he wears is in almost every way attributable to his conflicting advantages and deficiencies. Not simply a matter of superior aesthetics. He'd been hoping his style would become class when he became old. Now, teetering on the brink of it, it's unsettling to be even in the slightest way unsure of the transition.
But the only transition that seems to be occuring lately for the not-so-young, overdressed, undertall teacher involves the averting of his eyes, so as not to glimpse the definitively young, adequately tall, stylishly dressed females the universe has put around every corner to remind him of the cracks in the glossy veneer with which he polished over his inadequacies. No, not the UNDERaged females. From them he runs screaming, metaphorically speaking, at increasingly rapid intervals (every ten minutes and shrinking) throughout the course of a day spent teaching, as shirts get shorter, and pants sink lower, and girls (not women--GIRLS) become increasingly forward, (and froward too, he muses).
In essence, he wants everyone fawning all over him. And at the same time he'd rather they exhibit an understanding of his need to stop needing things. Merely ignoring him, strangely, is not doing the trick. So every give and every take is charged with this futile, conflicted energy. He jokes, and preens to be visible in a crowd of taller people, and wants wantonly, and cries out to be taken seriously, and wishes for invisibility, and wants desperately to stop wanting altogether. It all comes down to the stage-like exhibition of something purporting to be his self. The fourth wall is a membrane, thin enough to allow for a certain amount of biophilosophical exchange, but thick enough to leave one wondering if anyone on the other side is paying attention. Or why, if they are. Or if they should be. Within the four solid walls of a house, the answer is simpler. Until he caught his own eyes just now, and it became obvious that weather he should have been or not, he has NOT been paying attention.
Looking for something besides a blank stare, he, the only member of the audience at this point, only manages to wonder if a wry smile or a rueful shaking of the head would do the trick. The mirror--useless thing--never did have any answers.