There are only a handful of times when I have really stepped outside of the box I have carefully constructed around myself. There are just a few moments when I have opened my heart, opened my perspective, and then opened my mouth to say things that, in those moments, I thought were genius, and in those moments, I was actually proud of myself for saying. Yes, they’ve backfired on me for the most part, but mostly just the drunken examples. There was one time, though, when I said something I wish I had not said, only because they were misconstrued and blew up in my face. However, thinking about it, sitting on it for a few years while the discomfort of the situation haunts me, I’ve come to think of those words differently.
We seek the things that meet our most basic needs. It is a human instinct. It is part of the way we must survive – not just physically, but emotionally. During my time at CMU, I met someone and we became friends. We saw each other almost daily, we talked about things that were familiar to me. He played the guitar and he had fabulous hair. He felt like all the things I’d missed most about my fair ginger lover (FGL), and this was a time when we were at odds and we were separated in every single sense of the word. We were lost to each other in two different parallels of the the Universe. He was in his world; and I was… not.
Then I met this tall man, this man who played guitar and spoke gently but passionately about the things he believed in, this man who could hold an intelligent conversation with me, this man who, after knowing me for maybe a month, allowed me to cut his hair into a Mohawk. This man we joked about being a Superman because he was a dead ringer for Clark Kent. He had the glasses, the jaw, the hair, the All-American with an alien view. He shared so many characteristics with my estranged FGL that at some point, I translated him into the language my heart needed to hear. My soul was hurting and while he wasn’t the cure, he gave relief to the emotional-level symptoms. I kept my hands to myself and for a long time, my words.
Then I wrote a few of those words down. And I sent them to him. And it blew up in my face. And for that – I am so, so sorry. It changed our friendship and cut it off at the knees. It made me think twice about ever being that open with anyone ever again, made me reconsider the act of what I had thought had been bravery.
But it’s been a few years since then, and I’ve read these poems over and over, and I’ve felt over and over again the discomfort the aftershock of those words left me in. I will never publish them in a book. I highly doubt he will ever see this blog – he has moved on to bigger and better things and I’m an unabashed work in progress, and probably always will be. But I want to share my words with you because I felt them, and they were real, and that is not discounted just because they were not accepted.
Also, I’ve now received 13 rejection letters from publishers and I’m staying optimistic. Just because they didn’t like them doesn’t mean those words aren’t just as important as every other word out there.
The scent of you draws me in,
Something I cannot help but cannot accept
And your towering presence magnifies my uncertainties
About you, about us, about what this means
To you, to me, to anyone who doesn’t understand
What it’s like to be smitten
To wonder if you’re wondering
About me, wondering about you.
The way you vocalize your thoughts,
Argue with me over nothing, over everything that matters but doesn’t
It’s too far away to touch me, but not you.
You can laugh softly, make me catch my breath
And know you’re challenging my heartbeat to a race
I have no chance of winning.
Your friendship should be a crime
For it baits me, lures me to thoughts I forbade myself to entertain
When I denied the way I’d grown accustomed to your face.
I put up pretenses, to prevent the panic from setting in,
To force myself to watch the clock tick our time together away,
To watch you fade away from me.
When that same clock has grown tired of chasing the moments,
I think to myself, “He’s awake.”
You’re studying the words, the actions, the thoughts of others
And learning to mold yourself to the cause;
The causes you must fight for,
Truth, and logic, the complete upheaval of society itself.
I could overthrow myself, my life, my carefully crafted creation
Of what is and should be because it must
And so easily slide my fingers across the softness of your stomach
Along the alabaster smoothness that is your back,
Forgetting that you don’t see me the way I see you,
Clean, a canvas untouched, begging to be destroyed
By something so passionate as the things I keep from you.
THERE’S A TALL MAN IN MY HOUSE
There’s a tall man in my house
He has a soft jacket
Slung over my banister
Like it belongs there.
With a quiet voice
He asks my opinion and
We discuss politics and religion.
I think he thinks I think too much
But in such a thoughtless world
He’s a new idea that seems to work.
In the corner, he fills the room
With denim and uncertainty
Asking questions, hitting it last,
“I think it’s cashed.”
Being smart and funny.
A total stranger to himself,
and me, a stranger to him,
But I know this tall man.
With dark hair and hidden eyes,
Who plays guitar and
Shares my hopes and dreams,
Though he doesn’t know it.
What else he doesn’t know
Is when he lingers in the doorway
With his hands on the doorknob,
I want nothing more than for
him to stay.
This last one is a bit more recent.
THE FALL OF SUPERMAN
Gone is his quiet manner
Away with his smile and grace
The pompadour has been reduced
To fuzz, atop a grim face
No more do I hear his guitar
Daring me to think twice
We never talk anymore
I barely recognize
The man, without that “S”
In prideful, valiant red
Emblazoned across his chest
That man might as well be dead.
His ideals have escaped him
His plans for a better world
The yearning for structure and reason
Have all become unfurled.
He carries a gun for a darker cause
In the same pocket I’d slip a note in
To tell him how glad I was to have met
A man as dynamic as him.
I don’t know where he lost himself
Across this giant land
But I’ve lost a friend to the saddest end,
The fall of Superman.
I think the best friends are the ones that leave a lasting impression – no matter how long they lasted, or how long it has been. Thought for the evening. Have a great week, and thanks for reading.
-xoxo : )