Thursday, September 29, 2011

A poem I stumbled across in a coffee shop.

How I managed to copy this entire poem down and still forget the name of the author I will never know. All I want is to find more poetry by this man who can communicate with such piercing honesty an experience that resonates with me in a way I can't describe.

On Love and Loneliness

I have walked down enough silent streets,
Lost in the shadows of my own consciousness,
Afraid to love lest I lose the fantasies
that never really came true,
Afraid to surrender lest I lose some control
that I never really wanted,
Glancing from left to right in hope that joy
and freedom would envelop me.

Loneliness became a gradual companion
when I had not really known him before
And choice terrified me lest I be
only like everyone else,
Which in truth was all I ever wanted to be.
To be myself should be nourishment enough,
according to the wise and self-contained,
But for me it never seemed so from childhood.
Neither was admiration or the embrace
of loving strangers.

It was not beauty I sought,
in some current cultural vogue,
But a heart which touched mine, captured mine,
clung to mine at its very core and drew me
as powerfully to love in turn.
Forever it seems I sought one to love
without a backlog of private hurt and pain.
Without the invading fog that would somehow
mar our love and make it human.

Such never came and I searched the books
that told me what rightfully should be mine.
As the time passed I feared I might not love at all.
And the nourishment not given in childhood
might be lost forever.
When I did not want to live without such love and
seemed incapable of enduring the pain others
silently bear,
I traded loneliness for love, fragile, feeble, afraid,
But locked in my will and my heart:
to see as well as to be seen,
to listen as well as to be heard.

Love was not what I had been told or
what others projected upon me,
But my private gift which promised
to grow every day,
And slowly the loneliness lifted
beyond anything money or power could buy.
Now I am a man among men, loving
far more rationally and willfully
than I knew could exist,
In the massive, enduring, most significant
struggle of all,
that of loneliness and love.

-author i wish i knew

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Raw Ode to an Internet Advertisement

Don't read this is if you're not ready for honesty that will probably make you uncomfortable.

I see the curves, the shades, the skin of her body, and I die a little inside.
Some days, I sit naked in front of my mirror for almost an hour, turning this way and that to see how the light catches my silhouette, to reward myself with pride and attention for a good day, or more likely, to criticize my inconsistencies compared to her- to them- to what is desirable. My eyes bore into every scar, every hill, every valley of my frame and I wonder why it is that God didn't grace mankind with more graphic visibility for our emotional pain. I would like to believe that if every time a man's eyes bore into her body, a knife wound bore into mine- the way it feels it does- he would not, could not help but restrain. So many minds I can't understand.
My own, a lot of the time.
And men, so organically wired to feed visually off of stimuli, an impulse I cannot identify with.
And "hers." It keeps me awake at night, wondering how she can do this to us, her fellow women, when all we want is to be able to share a love and a heart with someone we believe will value them. How she can do this to the woman who has pledged to give herself wholly to a lifelong commitment of marriage she's been working through for over a decade, maybe longer? How can she do this to a generation of girls growing up in a world that convinces them that the best way to assert their femininity is to lord their bodies over men with sex and sensuality.
I have to wonder. Did she grow up insecure, too? Did her mirror reflect her face, or her silhouette? Does she know the pain of losing sleep knowing that somewhere, someone she loves or has loved or will love is choosing something else, someone else?
Surely she knows- I can use no excuse for a "different brain setup." We are women. We draw the parallels.
I try to believe in a greater purpose- a family to feed, a financial crisis that enslaves her to a cruel debt, an accidental photo shoot? I want nothing more than to hear an excuse so I can forgive us all, and ignore my own guilt, ignore the fact that as a woman I can trace the breadcrumbs of her mentality. Because even on my best days, I too am wired to seek out others to make them enjoy something I have to offer. I work for the approval of at least one guy I meet at random every day, maybe every hour. And most if not all days, I give little to no thought as to who that guy might be, and the fact that he may have circumstances in his life- commitments, struggles, someone special. Things that if I knew about, or even just thought about, would keep me from ever trying to charm him.
Lord have mercy on me for the way I become "her" nearly every day. All I want is the motivation to keep myself and others pure until my dying day. In the meantime, I wouldn't mind any reassurance that I'm not just spinning my wheels in a time and age where purity seems as though it is hardly maintainable and rarely desirable.