And so we watch and so we learn/With eyes wide for our dreams to yearn

Before and After

Nostalgia is such an odd thing. We forget sometimes, how much we live in it sometimes. I know I do. 
But not of the past. The past has always been something to move on from, grow from, work past. People say they find comfort in the past, but I don’t. I find comfort in the future. In dreams. 

In planning and yearning and imagining and making true – in wishing and hoping and trusting. It’s a bad habit in ways, but it also makes life…when your dreams come true – and yes, they have and they do – there are never enough words to describe how incredible life feels. How overjoyed and euphoric and brimming with exhilaration, because this is what you dreamed of, and it’s real.

I felt that when I flew to Argentina. When I walked through a South American rainforest. When I had lunch with my boyfriends family. I felt that hour after hour in India – those three days where I spent time with people I’d never heard laugh before, when I hugged them and watched them smile in real time. Reality became surreal, my brain barely able to process anything that wasn’t directly related to this wish unfolding before my eyes, as naturally as if to say ‘Of course they’re right there – where else would they be? How else could the universe be, but this?’
And yet, what they don’t tell you about dreams coming true, is that there is an After. A time and a place where this present has passed, gone, moved on. Life is not still, stagnancy is poisonous, and so change just happen. And so your dreams do happen, and then sometime else must. Your dream, once so vivid in your imagination, and then so breathtakingly alive – they’ll be gone. Their hug cannot last forever, the ice skating rink will finish the session, you’ll have a plane to catch. And it’ll be gone. It’ll be past, lost in the depths of time again – not to go too Disney princess on you, but when you’re faced with your wishes coming true, and …What if it’s not everything you dreamed it would be? And when it passes, what if it is? What do you do then?
I guess Eugene is right. You just gotta then find a new dream.

Love’s Labours

Falling in love is like a bicycle
Always so easy to feel the thrill, exhilarated
Rushing down those hills when you start off again
It’s a dream and an idea, a warm jacket that feels like a hug
So easy to put on, wrap around, lose yourself in

It’s never the same, each time,
But there are patterns – the familiar swoop of your internal organs
As they leap to catch your heart
Beating so fast in preparation for takeoff
But they’re always too late – you’ve gone and fallen again…
Whoops

I’ve been falling in love since I was in kindergarten
All I remember then, was of that boy with such a special smile
Now, it’s something so natural I’ve taught myself contingency procedures
Not just in theory, but the patterns and behaviours needed
Just to get off this rollercoaster…relatively unscathed

It’s never easy, though
The universe is still ruled by physics;
Once momentum is achieved, to halt is to…hurt
That’s the beauty of polyamory, demiromance, bisexuality
You can love, healthily love, so many
Balance yourself, tightrope underfoot
Between the spidersilk threads holding you in stead
Crisscrossing your heartstrings, support in case one snaps

That worked, most of the time
Not with you though
You were the warm blanket I always wanted to wrap myself up in
The texture just right, between soft and strong
I was never afraid I’d lose you
It never crossed my mind that we wouldn’t have…something

Funny, how our dancing act goes
Combined, we perform as easy as breathing
Natural and powerful, our pH is perfect
But we’re not the only variables, not really
Although we did a damn good job of pretending, didn’t we?
It got to be that I could rarely sleep without burying myself in the security of your affection

Oh, the illusions we build, art thou marvelous
We danced so perfectly we forgot where we were
Or at least, I did, for some time
Dreams are so easy to fall into
Once I trusted you fully, I didn’t want to stop falling
But, as gravity dictates, we must
It wasn’t flying – there was that thud of reality
That hit, eventually; forcing you to pick yourself up
Jarred, scarred, but not regretful
Never regretful, for having lived, having loved you
Known you, shown you, as you showed me
The stars
Constellations that linked my joy with your smiles, and our kisses…

I guess I can’t wear it as my lullaby each night, now
But your heavy coat of hugs and hope still lies in my closet, you know
Just in case destiny decides, and fate provides
Us with the chance, to try it on again
And maybe this time… it’ll fit just right

There is not enough said
About longing for a new home
For the places you haven’t been to
For the worlds you haven’t known

There is not enough said
About yearning calls over the sea
Life you can so clearly imagine living
If you could only just be free

There is not enough said
When your town is the back of your hand
And you ache to find your other pieces
Buried with hearts in some other land

For when you know the feel of home
In a place every detail strange
There is joy to be found in unfamiliarity
And reassurance in change

And when you find new friends and love
In a world still foreign when you leave
You have to wonder; “Why the fuck did I go?”
“I need more time to live, to breathe;

“To find my rhythm in curiosity
With enough memories made to fill
What’s missing inside me – that exploration
And new discoveries I know surely will.”

For home is where the heart is,
And mine is big enough for the world to share
Now my problem isn’t finding all those places, though
But the monumental task getting there

Intentions

They say actions speak loudest and words are for naught
When evidence remains cold, but I’ve always thought
Intentions, honest meanings…don’t you see?
We can all have reasons that don’t show plainly

Do what you must, you can say what you will
I trust you – I do! – I know you mean well
How I feel is arbitrary, malleable still
Your intentions are what hold, no matter how the dice fell
Surely it’s rational, to seek perspective and grow?
I think that it’s healing, to try and understand
Where you’re coming from, why you acted so
So I can mould my story like the palm of my hand

That I can curve to yours, a shake or caress
I know you, I trust you, I love you and yes
Sometimes words can hurt, sometimes actions sting
But when intentions are good, how could I ever bring
Myself to feel anything but compassion for you
When I believe what you mean is to be constructive and true

I never see a reason to hate you, begrudge you my pain
Because that I can nullify, and love you all the same
And please forgive me, if these rhymes are too cheesy
It’s late and my head hurts and poetry’s not easy!

Having a Coke with You

Frank O’Hara

is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne
or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona
partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian
partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt
partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches
partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary
it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still
as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it
in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth
between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint
you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them

I look
at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world
except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick
which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time
and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism
just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or
at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me
and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them
when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank
or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully as the horse

it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience
which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it


And in reading this I know that I love you. That the mere minutes, every shred of time I have been blessed enough to have, to know you, watch you smile and hear you laugh, are never going to lessen in value for me. You are golden, beautiful, human masterpieces, flawed and real and vivid and confusing. And I love you. I will always love you, all of you, and I will never stop thanking the stars for the chance I had, to know you.

The underlined parts are the parts that I most found moving and profound, just because it seems poetry can be read either as a whole, or as a collaboration of words seeking to connect with others who feel something as well.

I hope that maybe, maybe, you felt something, too.

 

Handprints

When I was in Rajasthan I stood in a temple and held my hand against a print on a wall. The village had been abandoned for centuries, lost and forgotten, save for the story of their disappearance, tourists clambered over old stone houses and posed amid the ruins. All we knew now, was that the village was haunted. 

IMG_0716

But I stood. In that temple. With that handprint. It wasn’t the only handprint, but this one was in my reach, close enough that I could stand on tiptoes and press my palm to match hers. I knew it was a ‘hers’. Another woman, just like me. 

But she was a woman of long ago. Who’s language I could not understand, even as today words stood carved on the pillars of that temple. Who’s life and culture differs from mine so greatly it takes whole books of ideas to understand. A woman’s handprint, henna red against sandstone. Bu I had been told, I knew what that means; a woman condemned to die. 

In my world, our world, we tell stories to each other, to explain feelings and ideas and what mere facts can explain. We share lives and fantasies as easily as the sun shares sunlight, as the breeze shares coolness with our vividly alive skin. Just think. To be alive. We weave our stories as immortality, armour against our world of fleeting life, held onto with every passing second. Because without them, we forget. What can we remember, but the stories we spin our lives into? Does this make us more substantial, documenting every moment of our existences, with diaries and momentos, Instagram and Facebook and Twitter. Clinging to our nows and making them forever. 

But we forget. 

We forget that lives happen, lives are lived and loved and lost in the hopes of so many, desperation and joy repeating like the seasons. That a woman once stood where I was, and grieved. Not just for the loss of her husband, but the loss of her life. Having tied all her worth to a mere mortal, her life was to be cut as surely as his was, be it by her jumping or being pushed onto his burning body. Cremation for two, because surely love burns eternal.

The real forever lies not in our tweets and saved MP3 files. It lies in handprints, scattered across the globe. It lies in carvings, not in rooms of wood and stone, but in time. We are as old as the universe, truly, and each moment we breathe merely adds to the compilation of time we barely know ourselves. 

Every inch of our planet is layered with the past, of stories and lives told over and over again. Searching for something greater, never knowing if we’ve found it. Will we find it? Maybe, one day. But until then, we can only feel. We can only remember.

We remember for those long gone, what their worlds would have been, when lives ran so alien to your way of now. They weren’t as different as we imagined. They felt wonder and curiosity and fear and pain and joy, just  the same. They died, just as their forefathers did before them. And as feet tread this well worn path, again and again, baby steps of change incrementing us forward imperceptibly, blinking under the sun, one handprint comes to mind. Red, small, thin. The handprint of a wife without a husband. The handprint of a woman about to die. A piece of humanity amid the wreckage ensued by time…more than what is left for so much more if our past. As obscure as our future and as alien as martian life…and yet, her handprint fitted mine, so perfectly, perfectly…

Elemental Extremities

They say when you’ve reached
The farthest constellations of despair, just breathe.
They say when you’re stuck, improvise.
Get creative, do something new.
There I was, knowing every variation of new.
I thought I could understand it all, before this began.
Life made sense – it did!
I fit in the world.
Live it all now. Grow, change, explore.
The greatest achievements are the ones expected by no-one
I suppose by my rules, that makes us spectacular?
Except, by you
You play by a very different game.
Dedication and sacrifice, focus and discipline.
You knew where you belonged, where you were going.
Achieve, fight, thrive.
Stone when I was air,
Fire when I was water.
Work hard and plan, you say
Smile and laugh, just live, I say.
And I’d warn you, of your pride too proud
You’d chide me in return, my ideals to loud

Between a rock and a hard place
A roaring, clashing chaos, the ocean met land
Swirling water and unforgiving stone
We were always two worlds, fighting to coexist.
I puzzled over you, fought for you
Fought with you, in excess
Too much, hours of time
An avalanche and an onslaught
Clocks struggled to stabilise, as with the rising of the moon
The tides would turn,
The sea would rise to meet stone again
As new ground, old ground
And ever changing terrain was swept over

“Never healthy”, you said
“Don’t care”, I said
If opposites attract, then maybe we are the same?
Magnets of the same polarity
Drawn together inexplicably, pushed apart violently
Too close and yet not at all
Each bound to their tethers
Never truly meeting
Never truly parting
Alien textures of the other, explored with curious fingers
Of words, snatching what we can in each interaction
Taking and giving and sharing and baffling…

You are more than I ever imagined was possible to exist
And you are less tangible than any cloud to sweep my horizon.
I am too different to function in your world,
And you are too defiant to function in mine.
But I know, that one day
You will burn your name onto every stone on your path
That ever lead you, to greatness and power
Just as, in my own way,
I will seek to weather and round the edges of my paved journey of curiosity
Just a hop, skip and a jump away
Along softened stone, my feet will tread
A very different path to yours, this we have always known

So yet,
Even if we never speak again
Even if I never hear your voice, or shake your hand
I think maybe, just maybe
I’ve helped, to smooth out some of your edges
To soften your path, no matter where you go
Just as I know you have helped forge me
And
Your name will always be burnt, on the inside of my skull
Long after you have left my present and future
Each taking a piece of the other with them
Long after the ocean leaves the rocky shore.