Silver Linings

I’ve been looking
for you without
knowing where
to start,
looking at maps
and in the stars
to find where
you are,
staring so closely
at my own reflection,
it’s blinding,
and seeing you
on the edge
of some clouds
as a silver lining

More than I Mind

The world spins
too fast,
time has slipped away,
holding pieces of you
between my hands,
and I still feel
the same about you,
the poetry I need
to console me
to sleep through
restless dreams
when I can’t
sleep at night;
the distance between us
when I wake up
makes me miss you
more than I mind.

Awakening

When a woman is in love, she can’t pretend otherwise. Passion can’t be restrained. Her feelings swell until they consume her. He dominates her thoughts day and night, until she is carried away by the tide of passion. The feelings come before the words. I want to scribble everywhere. I can’t get my thoughts in order. He fills me up like a balloon threatening to float away at a moment’s notice.

Or pop. He could destroy me. I am a balloon and he is the needle. One prick, and I explode, shatter into a million pieces. You would think being destroyed is a bad thing, but it’s not. Not this way. It is strength. Not mine. It is all this man before you. He could destroy you, and I like that feeling. A woman wants nothing more than to think she is strong, until shown otherwise. It is humbling. Not every man can bring you to your knees. This cannot be done by even half of them. Only by a few. So far, he is the only one.

My cup runneth over.

This is ecstasy. Not the pill. There are no drugs here; he is the drug. Ecstasy can feel like a trance-like state, or it can wake you up. It makes your whole body come alive. There is nothing you want more. Actually you don’t need more. That’s the thing. Anyone can give you more. Not anyone can give you enough. I am insatiable. He satiates me. I still want more. It’s madness! There is nothing to end this cycle. The feelings build up inside of me. Energy needs an outlet. This kind is explosive.

I can’t control myself. I am hot and bothered. I pace back and forth. I am woken up in the middle of the night by the force of these feelings. They crush me. I am not weak, they are strong. The feelings pervade my dreams. He haunts my dreams. I see him everywhere. I am never alone. I look at him the way someone looks through a kaleidoscope. There are so many facets to admire. There is complexity and depth. This is not true of everyone. 

There are some people who suck the life right out of you. You can’t bear to be near them for longer than you have to. There are some people who are like magnets. You can’t help but be pulled towards them. You don’t realize the energy it takes to be around them until you’re exhausted. And you do get exhausted, in a good way. But you leave so you can restore your energy and come back for more, because even when it’s enough, you’re never done. Not really.

It’s the definition of an addiction. It’s not just the high. It’s the cycle. Live and repeat. You are flying, you don’t want to come down. It is pure pleasure, never diminished by time. You return again and again.

I return again and again. I could never repeat the cycle with someone else. It is always him. It has only always been him. My experience is not singular. Very few bother looking for it. I’ve discovered it for myself. I’ve found the rest of me in someone else. I am whole. Everyone is looking for something in life. Some of us don’t know what we are looking for. The rest don’t bother to look. They are complacent. He never gets old for me. He is always something new. The only new thing under the sun. 

Falling in love and being in love are two very distinct ideas. They commingle. Falling is the impression of something you can’t control, while being in love is something you have to choose to do or be, not on a daily basis, but minute-for-minute. There is an intensity, a certain degree of emotion that goes into this state of mind. Because that’s what it is. It’s not a choice; it’s the result of making a choice, and then you find yourself in this uncontrollable state.

Love is moderation, but passion has its place. Nobody talks about passion enough. Nobody writes about passion outside of a motivational speech designed to inspire someone, or a lot of someone, elses. I am not setting out to inspire you. I have been inspired.

Better yet, I’ve been awakened. Women do this, come into some sort of awakening. With the right sort of man, they do. A woman who hasn’t been awakened hasn’t read the right books or met the right man. Women awaken and it is men who awaken them.

I am not a man. I don’t know anything about what it is they do. What I do know is that I am coming into my own, and that is because there is a man. There is something in him that can never be in me on my own. I am a woman. We are separate, different, and distinct. There is something to be said for a man who can make a woman submit. A woman in the midst of today’s feminist rhetoric does not submit.

I do not submit. I hold my own. He makes me weak. No, he makes me vulnerable. Or maybe neither of those things. I still haven’t exactly worked all of this out. Women are supposed to be more given to emotion. Not me. This is not a brag. It’s an insecurity. To be a woman in the presence of a man, my God. Make no mistake, it is a man’s world. This man takes up mine. 

I don’t know what it is exactly that I’ve awakened to. I’ve not been sleeping these last however many years (a lady never gives her age). There is no reason to go into the sexual awakening that has accompanied this passion. It wouldn’t be proper. He takes up all of me. It is all one to me now. What exactly have I awakened to? 

Maybe that the minutes of my life have meant nothing until now. Maybe that the idea of an independent woman I’ve held so closely my whole life no longer means anything to me anymore. Maybe that two is better than one. Maybe that I am not an island.

Maybe. I don’t know. He does this to me. Makes me uncertain. Maybe it’s an awakening to the realization that there is never a more to life, that you can eventually reach a state of this is it. I don’t mean that as a fatalist. I mean that as someone who has become satisfied after running in the rat race of life too long.

As a woman, nonetheless. 

It doesn’t matter if I don’t have all the answers. He probably does. He won’t tell me. This is what keeps things interesting. You don’t want to make it too easy. The fact remains: I’ve been awakened, and I’ve not walked through life as some unintelligent fool thus far. Three years ago, you would never have caught me admitting that a woman is better off with a man. Never. Times have changed. I’ve not changed. But I’m different. I see things differently.

I’ve awakened to something. Let me tell you that I have acted the fool in front of this man for the sake of nothing. For the sake of him. For the sake of it all. I have not been awakened to some kind of realization that I’ve some untapped potential. I don’t know what potential I would speak of. I have failed at almost every endeavor I’ve embarked upon. Probably because I’m a woman.

That’s only half serious. But that’s the whole point. I have failed at every turn in life in spite of trying my damnedest to do the best I could. And none of that matters anymore, because here I am. Pouring my heart out as if I’m in some kind of therapy group, which I’ve been a part of in the past. I’ve met Jesus Christ himself in one of them.

None of that matters. What I’ve been awakened to is what really matters. For me, that’s him. That’s all that matters. I am well-educated, and I’ve been awakened backwards into a silly girl in love like I am still in high school (I never went.). I have worked all my life to be something and I failed.

Here I am. This doesn’t feel like failure to me. I feel blessed and blissed out of my mind. All the time. He does this to me. I thought it would go away. It hasn’t. Not for months. Years, actually, if I’m honest. I’ve tried to avoid it. I can’t. I’m in love. This is what happens. Nothing else matters. 

Only this.

I’ve awakened. Maybe to nothing except him, I don’t know. Do I need more than that? He has taken up my whole life, and I give him mine. 

Joy Ride

You took me
for a joy ride,
took a chance,
risked a life;
I’m getting whip lash
from colliding
with the past,
a crash dummy
in all of your
experiments,
setting off
a head-on
collision,
with no room
for revision,
broken,
and dented,
a marred aesthetic,
no chance to
correct this,
the definition
of an accident,
and you,
the driver.

The Disease Known as Love

You are a fever
running through
my blood,
not by choice,
not my will,
fighting infection,
yet still lethal
enough to kill

You are a virus
spreading throughout
my entire body,
unstoppable,
incurable,
unable to be controlled,
leaving no part of me untouched,
infecting my soul

You are dangerous
in close contact,
a wild strain,
and new,
six feet apart
isn’t far enough
away to protect
me from you

You are the disease
known as Love,
and I the patient,
stuck together
forever and always
in isolation,
until the day
you kill me.

Through a Glass, Darkly

There were a lot of things I never told you that summer. I couldn’t force your hand. No ultimatums. No expectations. No strategies. A story was handed to me, one different from the one I thought I had. It played out like a “choose your own adventure” book with every choice affecting the next chapter. We shared the beginning and filled in the middle together on our own. I never told you about the ending, about how many times I tried to write it by myself before realizing it was never mine to write.

It was always yours.

I had to wait until you were done to drop all my cards, to finally give away all the secrets I’ve been keeping from you when I’ve shared everything else so far. Only by the end could you have ever known how real and deep my feelings for you are, that nothing you did could have ever changed the way I felt about you. I had to keep these secrets so every other possibility would only ever be secondary to the weight my words carry. I’ve had to hide everything else I’ve seen and everything else I’ve known so we could both look back with a deeper appreciation for the story without becoming trapped by “what-ifs” and “I wishes.”

Consider these an afterword, a celebration of what was, instead of a eulogy for what might have been. You are the only person in the world who can fully appreciate the choices I have and the choices I make.

You are the only one.

If You Leave a Lover Alone

If you leave a lover alone with her thoughts for twenty-four hours, here is what will happen: 

She will start by pining, consumed by her own sighs, and lost in the memory of her beloved. He occupies her thoughts day and night. She is in love to the point of distraction. Nothing holds her attention. She won’t take food or water. She will starve before she ever sees her beloved again. Her thoughts take a turn.

Her beloved is dead. His horse and carriage have turned over. He was killed in a duel. The victim of a political assassination. He jumped off the side of a cliff. The thought destroys her. There is no life after him. She goes through a list of things she has to live for, and nothing comes to mind. She doesn’t have time to mourn him. Her imagination is running away. She is coming up with fifty ways to die. She can live no more. Her life is already over. She throws herself into the abyss of despair. 

All feeling is gone. She is cold and calculating. All she needs is a plan. She thinks about flinging herself off a cliff, too. Maybe she’ll drown or drink cyanide. The possibilities are endless. She’s enraptured by her own imagination. How else could she do away with herself? A knife to the femoral arteries. Her father’s revolver he keeps in a drawer in the study. There’s some rope laying around. She could make a noose and tie herself to the willow tree outside. 

The willow tree. This is where her beloved first touched her hand. She wasn’t wearing any gloves, and he touched her! A reason for living springs to mind. Maybe he’s not dead. She has no proof. She has been locked in this room for far too long. Despair metamorphoses back into hope. Her heart begins to thaw. She decides to eat the first morsel of food she’s had in days. Clarity returns. Love reigns in her heart once more. 

Now she is flying. She takes no notice of the time. The sun rises and the sun sets. This is all she notices. She is optimistic. She finishes the duties she’s left neglected for the last fortnight. There is a tray of letters in the hall she hasn’t read yet. There is one from her beloved, and she really knows now that he is not dead. The letter is short. Her optimism fades to mortification.

He hates her. She has never been so absolutely certain of anything in her entire life. She couldn’t be sure he was dead. She’d rather him dead than hate her. She won’t give him the satisfaction of killing herself. He will have to hold on to his own hatred for her. She turns red. Her anger flares up. She has done nothing to deserve this. The burning inferno inside her turns cold. Her stomach drops.

What if she has done something to deserve his ill favor? She reads the letter over and over again. He has not said what she has done wrong. She makes a new list. The new list makes her want to die, too. It is everything she has done wrong ever in his presence.

She was too cold. She was too capricious. She was too bold. She was too honest. She had the audacity to approach him. Her manners were too affected. He hated her gowns. Her coiffure was too gaudy. Her curls too tight. She had no accomplishments. She was undomesticated. She showed her concern too soon. She preferred the tender charms of Petrarch to Baffo’s sonnets. Everything is wrong.

The willow tree. She should hang herself there. She has the memory all wrong. She has blown things wildly out of proportion. He didn’t touch her. He merely stumbled and grazed her arm. Her imagination has magnified the smallest detail. She has lost all sense. She can’t think straight. 

The next morning she doesn’t get out of bed. The maid comes and wakes her up. There is a gentleman caller in the drawing room. It all comes back to her. It is the fifteenth of the month. Her beloved is downstairs waiting for her. She wants to fall to pieces when she sees him.

She swoons. 

What I Love

The silhouette of your hand
over these pages,
traces of your
ink-stained fingerprints
time won’t fade,
the impression you
left behind,
every word I write,
erasing every trace
of what I don’t say;
what I have loved
I love forever,
what I love
stays.