You know, I think more and more often

You know, I think more and more often
that I should go back.
Maybe I’ll meet you. And happiness?
Happiness is being sad together.

So I look through the moonlit window
and listen.
Nothing. A breeze stirs somewhere.
Alone among the leaves – the moon.

Like a golden wheel it rolls
above the windblown leaves.
Such moons, only paler,
shone over the Vistula.

Even the Big Dipper on its course
stops in a tree at midnight,
just like at home. But why here?
Truly, I don’t know.

What’s here? Longing and sleepless nights,
unknown streets and somebody’s verse.
I live here as a nobody:
a Displaced Person.

I think of you. I know I must leave.
Perhaps we can return to our past,
but I know neither what youth will be like
nor where you are.

But I’m yours or no one’s
forever. Listen,
listen, read this poem
if somewhere you are alive.

– Tadeusz Borowski

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Those of us who think we know

Those of us who think we know
the same secrets
are silent together most of the time,
for us there is eloquence
in desire, and for a while
when in love and exhausted
it’s enough to nod like shy horses
and come together
in a quiet ceremony of tongues

it’s in disappointment we look for words
to convince us
the spaces between stars are nothing
to worry about,
it’s when those secrets burst
in that emptiness between our hearts
and the lumps in our throats.
And the words we find
are always insufficient, like love,
though they are often lovely
and all we have

– Stephen Dunn

Crush

Maybe my limbs are made
mostly for decoration,
like the way I feel about
persimmons. You can’t
really eat them. Or you
wouldn’t want to. If you grab
the soft skin with your fist
it somehow feels funny,
like you’ve been here
before and uncomfortable,
too, like you’d rather
squish it between your teeth
impatiently, before spitting
the soft parts back up
to linger on the tongue like
burnt sugar or guilt.
For starters, it was all
an accident, you cut
the right branch
and a sort of light
woke up underneath,
and the inedible fruit
grew dark and needy.
Think crucial hanging.
Think crayon orange.
There is one low, leaning
heart-shaped globe left
and dearest, can you
tell, I am trying
to love you less.

Traces (for a mechanical heart)

This morning your heart stopped working.
They phoned me first –

My old address card was in your pocket.

You were wearing the suit we found
Together in Chelsea, the grey flannel,
Hardy Amies.

Rien: You always said to me,
‘Why don’t you stop writing poems for a while
And tell me a story?’

At first I thought I would cry to death.
When we met I loved you and wrote about you,
And never stopped.

They were all about you –

Even though we went away from each other
Into many worlds.

– Daniel Stephensen

The Password

It is simply a question
of syllables,
a word

the smallest
child may
know.

But when I say it
the sentry in you
smiles,

and all the doors fly open
on their winged
hinges.

– Linda Pastan

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. train your heart
like a dog. change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. you lucky, lucky girl.
you have an apartment
just your size. a bathtub
full of tea. a heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. don’t wish away
your cracked past, your
crooked toes, your problems
are papier mache puppets
you made or bought because the vendor
at the market was so compelling you just
had to have them. you had to have him.
and you did. and now you pull down
the bridge between your houses,
you make him call before
he visits, you take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
don’t lose too much weight.
stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. and you
are not stupid. you loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. heart
like a four-poster bed. heart like a canvas.
heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street.

– Marty McConnell

we haven’t talked in a few weeks, but it’s been over for months. he won’t be the next to call and it seems i won’t/can’t call now either. there’s nothing new to say. it’s undoubtedly over and yet…

i keep rereading the love letters, chats, emails – 880 in one year, looking for the lessons to be learned. instead, it just makes me fall back in love with him. then i go to sleep alone, blurry eyed, lungs tight, and have to break myself from him all over again overnight.

what have i failed to learn from this year? how did we allow our attachment to stitch our two selves together over so much when he wasn’t going to be there? he says he never stopped loving me and it appears i love him still. in truth, i still love anyone i’ve ever really loved. but, christ, this one hurt extraordinarily. this has been a wrenching year and the times i was devastated by this cruel, perfect man outnumbered the pleasures. what drives me mad still is how little sense it makes. how did we manage to get so entwined if we wanted such different things? how did it all fall apart if we had all these passions still strong? how am i here on this other side feeling whip-lashed by his love and indifference, unable to see how far back i turned the wrong way? how does a person love without wanting? risk without trusting? 

of course the reason that i won’t call is because there’s someone else. or three. i’ve given the dating sites three busy months. it’s diverting, sure, but it’s honest. this is what we do. we pack up our hearts, stand up straight, and attempt some grace as we give it another go. i am amazed at the honesty, charm, and effort i’ve found in particular dates. it’s a sweet salve and while dating is itself a precarious task, it serves many desires and demands the audacity we broken hearts need to find to wake up again tomorrow. i’ve been overwhelmed and swept up in the delight of others who seem to want my time and attention and appreciate whatever it is that makes me appealing to strangers.

this grief is so tricky. he didn’t die. he didn’t leave again as far as i know. he’s there. so close and alive and living his life exactly as before, just with a space beside him that used to hold me. there aren’t condolences. i don’t feel allowed to just be sad. it’s an expectation that i find revenge, that i account his wrongs, that i regret. i can’t do any of those things. i just … won’t. so i’m looking for the growth, the point, the mercy. trying to be wiser, stronger, and braver than before. 

a man in the line of the new york headed hurricane is pulling on my thoughts and time and i’m trying very hard to enjoy how incredible it feels to want someone who wants me back. but instead, i press my breast and think, “god, is this going to hurt.” it’s a pale form of ptsd.

here’s to another go in one direction and staying gone in the other.

see? don’t ever think this isn’t a personal blog. in the lines of the poems are the lessons i need. thank you, mcconnell. this one hit. 

Youth

Through all of youth I was looking for you
without knowing what I was looking for

or what to call you I think I did not
even know I was looking how would I

have known you when I saw you as I did
time after time when you appeared to me

as you did naked offering yourself
entirely at that moment and you let

me breathe you touch you taste you knowing
no more than I did and only when I

began to think of losing you did I
recognize you when you were already

part memory part distance remaining
mine in the ways that I learn to miss you

from what we cannot hold the stars are made.

– W.S. Merwin