Fog Horns

Gliding through
a field of ice,
hands too frozen
to climb,
a beautiful mess
of a shipwreck,
diving through
confusion 
to the parts
that still
make sense,
all the pieces 
spell out your name,
but what I wouldn't 
give to see your face

The reflection
in the water
enough to pull
me under,
wound around you
tighter than
a spring,
the only life line
keeping me
from floating
out to sea

It gets harder
to remember
what I've
already memorized,
gave them a smile,
but saved you
my eyes,
digging through
the debris
to find what's
left of me
because I get 
lost in your
look, now you're 
all I can see

Too deeply involved
to ever get out,
but the ocean
deadens sound

If I go down,
then we go down
together, because
I remember 
what you said
when the horns
were blowing,
push through 
the storm,
until it gets 
better, and then
keep going.

Days of the Week

On Sunday, we do nothing
with no time to lose;
Monday I chase away
your blues;
By Tuesday, I'm drunk
on the pain of missing
you; I don't want to talk
about Wednesdays
too soon; Now,
I know on Thursday
you've got something
to do, and Friday
I wait by the mailbox
for you, so Saturday
is always something
new.

Landscape

He's seen me
at my worst,
knows me better
than any book,
hands-down
dragged me
head-first,
speechless when he
gives me that
look

We were always
leaving, 
catching each other
out the door,
never saw him
coming,
I crashed right
through the floor,
yes, no, and maybes,
and have I seen 
you here before

Images waiting on words
with nothing left
to say,
we were staring
at each other,
blank looks on
our face,
unreadable expressions,
we couldn't turn
away

A landscape of
us
when the words
won't come,
an infinity
when the limits
of love are
none.

Grief

Saying goodbye
has only broken
my heart about
a dozen times
so I started
saying goodnight

Let's do it again
turned into asking
for one more time,
begging for another
ride

He was teaching 
me how to fly,
I was learning
how to cry

I remember
waking up
and
taking off,
wondering if
I could have
ever held him
enough. 

Neon Lights

This is how 
an angel cries,
walking home
under neon lights,
on the corner,
a man screams
into his phone,
whatever it takes,
just bring her
home

Frost on 
all the windows,
shops closing up
for the night,
still a long way 
to go,
but she's not
going home
tonight

This is how
an angel cries,
walking home
under neon lights,
on the corner,
a girl in 
all the wrong clothes
screams into her phone,
please pick me up
and take me 
home

And it's 
a travelled road
if you've been here
before,
all the freedom
in the world
with no place
to go,
running until you
run out of 
road.

This is…

His face
between my hands,
asking for one more
dance,
hoping this night
won't end

Wandering through
a reverie,
absorbed by
the revelry,
lost in his eyes
again,
the room turns
as we spin

The park
at dusk,
his arm,
my touch,
the song
in my soul,
the way breathing
comes so natural

in solitude 
and peace,
my heart,
his sleeve,
dazed by 
the memories

Lamps lit
by one spark,
at home
before dark,
long drives
and small talk,
daylight fading
into night stars

Dandelion wishes
around bonfires,
kissing in the kitchen
and long-held desires,
the truth comes out
between my lips,
I am in love,
that's what
this is... 

Precipice

Staring into
a black abyss,
scared to fall,
still jumping in,
never thought
to dream of
this,
feel him move
when gravity 
shifts

He was the 
one exception,
standing on
a precipice,
every bone 
in my body
trying to 
hold back
the wind

Unraveling threads
from the web
I weaved,
walking along
the edge
on the Cliffs
of Insanity

Hiding behind
pretty words
with a face
that would
terrify the
world

Smothered the flames
of infatuation,
took the journey
before I had
a destination

Eviscerated 
every thought,
every memory
from my mind
suggesting
an alternate 
ending

Hanging off
the side 
of a precipice,
feel the rock
crumbling, 
slipping
right through
my fingertips. 

Love by Another Name

Two people you love are hanging off the side of a cliff. Who do you save?

Easy: I let go.

Not Clamence! This man is close enough to see the “cool and damp” neck of a woman dressed all in black staring at the river, hears the sound of a body striking water, and keeps walking.

It’s a metaphor for love, of course; it’s remarkable how often love and death coincide. I’m reading The Fall by Albert Camus and he’s drawing the boundaries around a definition of love from his perspective and experience.

Nobody is born knowing how to love. Growing up, my parents showed love by feeding me, clothing me, and keeping a roof over my head. When my ex-fiance kicked me out and I showed up at their door, they closed it in my face. I was forced to rearrange my own definition of love and face a truth I wasn’t ready to accept.

While heartbreak is universal, not all love is created equal. Camus (as Clamence) says:

“Some cry: ‘Love me!’ Others: ‘Don’t love me!’ But a certain genus, the worst and most unhappy, cries: ‘Don’t love me and be faithful to me!’ Except that the proof is never definitive, after all; one has to begin again with each new person. As a result of beginning over and over again, one gets in the habit. Soon the speech comes without thinking and the reflex follows; and one day you find yourself taking without really desiring…not taking what one doesn’t desire is the hardest thing in the world.”

Love is an ever-evolving concept. The only way I’ve learned how to show love is the same way as my parents showed me: feeding, clothing, and keeping a roof over somebody else’s head. It’s no mystery how three of my own relationships have collapsed. My concept of love dissolved the day a door closed in my face when I needed nothing more than life’s bare minimum to survive.

The only thing I’ve learned about starting over and over again is more about the way I desire myself to be loved, the only kind I’ve read about in books, and not the kind I can give myself. Self-love, for me, is empty and unreciprocated: it is a one-way street, a dead end.

Clamence is a “judge-penitent,” someone who has known love, but only in retrospect. Death is the deepest form of separation to express and properly convey the level of remorse he feels about whatever happened. The details are hardly relevant, not that he did, in fact, check the papers to see if the woman is still alive.

What he attempts to convey is the sense of an irreversible loss, something a better person would learn how to do the next time they are beginning over with someone new. He overcomes the false belief that a “woman who had once been mine could ever belong to another” and learns what belonging really means, that the love he received was taken for granted, not cherished as it should have been.

Now it’s too late because the woman is dead: she will never belong to anyone else ever again.

There’s a tendency to conquer heartbreak by loving the next person harder, instead of differently. Communicating love is an individual act. Heartbreak can become an all-consuming fire in life destroying everything in its path, or it can be a catalyst to do better the next time.

In other words, remorse. Love by another name. As a woman, a series of relationships is a mark against her. For a man, it’s experience. Without starting over, how does anyone learn?

Shakespeare says that a woman may fall when there is no strength in men. Camus shows what strength looks like through his character Clamence by looking back at the life he lived and returning as a judge-penitent, leaving a shining example for someone else to follow.

If there is one thing I’ve never had from a relationship, it’s closure, a definitive reason for why things went wrong. Now the answer to that question is clear as day: they simply don’t know how.