I Loved Once

I loved once but grew weary of the underlying blame that the woes of the world belonged to me or my gender.

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I loved once but grew weary of the underlying blame that the woes of the world belonged to me or my gender.  Weariness, my dear friend is not anger, no more than fantastic or wonderful is anything good or wholesome.

We came together too quickly he and I.  We moved toward love and intimacy at such a rate that consequence never left.  He was in my mind, still is.  I can still hear him call me, I feel his pull but I know in my soul he resists the very memory of me.

I don’t ponder him much – just on Fridays when I know he prays and I wonder how desperate he might be for a cigarette.  That makes me smile – the damn things.  I sit here in the far west and for the first time in my life am content.  I must someday thank him for the loss, for now I am less afraid of life, perhaps not afraid at all.

Do I sound enigmatic?  That is not my intention.  My intention is to tell you to love, love deeply and lose.

I have few friends but the ones I call friend are indeed so.  One sent me a message, a quote the other day; “what would you do if you were not afraid?”

The best answers in this age are questions.  That’s how we know we are lost, distorted, darkened. The world we know is not right.  The left is right and the right is always east.  I sit here in the west and think of him and her question to me.  Fear is a funny thing; it comes upon us in the middle.  Bravery is the answer to our hesitations and when attachment is too well formed, too perfect, fear takes over and eats away the foundation.  Top heavy and teetering we let the shambles go in a crash.

My crash was the making of me.  I am in no hurry and the shy hand who brings me deep red roses, with no words to tangle my mind, is the warmth I crave.  My hands and face will never be warmed, nor my body crave a passion that distance cannot defeat.  I sit here in the west and let the east keep.  I pray still and wait for the floods of antiquity to purge us again.

I seek high places and allow weakness to win.

This Is An Escape

I have faith that I can live without you and your lack of vocabulary and your lack of effort. I can live better without, than sitting here with you in doubt

I often wonder if suppression is not my bailiwick. 

I hate the vague, I hate the words that hide that feeling you simply cannot find the word to describe.  Find the damn words. 

Don’t drift off into meditation damn it, get a dictionary, a thesaurus, pay for the subscription to the Oxford English Dictionary and sort it from the 19th century on down.  Surprise me. 

Please.  I won’t beg, I swear I will walk away.  Of course that means I’ve already walked away.  Here I stand out in the middle of Lake Michigan, realizing that it doesn’t bother me to walk on water. 

No I’m no Saint, I have faith and that’s all it takes. 

I have faith that I can live without you and your lack of vocabulary and your lack of effort.  I can live better without, than sitting here with you in doubt. 

You look beautiful by the way, the way your hair catches the sunset and the steady breathing you maintain in the middle of this muddle.  I love the sheen of your day old beard and I love the thought of you carefully shaving it all away.   Yes, I too can love.  Yes, I too can push it away. 

Not everyone is able to grab the right word, not everyone can understand the effort, not everyone can stand the cold dunk of water that searching for meaning takes. 

I’m not for everyone, isn’t that amazing. 

I’m not for anyone, I understand.

Guess I’ll walk north to Lake Superior and stay. 

There is an island up there, nice sized that boarders on Canada and sports still the stars and bars.  Have no idea why.  Maybe I’ll give it a try. 

I’m not much for crowds and I’m certainly not much for love.  I feel you dissolve before I can mourn the loss.  Was that encounter just now or one hundred years ago?

I long for the northern wind who whistles down with no mercy to meet me.  I have shunned him more than once asking for a reprieve; his love is too demanding, he exposes me.  Think of yourself totally naked, no lust, no love but up for examination.  His critical eye assessing, measuring my age, my height, my skin.  Curl under.  Go ahead and curl under and the northern wind will thunder.  So I stand straight and feel my skin tighten and my breast squeeze painfully in the freeze and I am humiliated.  That’s loving the north, that’s loving the north wind. 

What else can I do?  I too can love and I become too demanding. (Find the word but you won’t will you) I too can love but you won’t allow it – this must be a one sided thing with me grateful and you always fulfilling.  We could have it the way you want it my egotistical despair, if you could just find your heart in all the preparations you’ve made to love me.

No I am not rejecting you – this is an escape. 

 

Lydia Ink / This is an Escape by SK Woodiwiss

Liar Books

I have a rule, never speak to a man, no matter how attracted I am to him, unless he has the backbone to speak to me first.

I have a rule, never speak to a man, no matter how attracted I am to him unless he has the backbone to speak to me first. 

I don’t speak to many men. 

For two years after I invoked this rule, I was astonished at how lonely I was.  I’m not saying that men didn’t try to approach me and speak to me, they did.  They were married, of course, and we had a conversation about the weather, the owls at night (really) the training of dogs and all manner of things at all different occasions.  Not one single male, however, made a move in my direction.  Not one single male approached my friends and asked to be introduced. 

Now some might think that perhaps I’m the female version of Quasimodo – not so.  I’m no prima donna but I’m not stooped over with a hunched back and bald – nor do I have a little black mustache. 

What happened was that I obtained a reputation of being a snob, a woman who thought too much of herself and unapproached – frigid in other words. (I am not allowed to think men’s egos didn’t play into my code of conduct but this really isn’t about the male ego nor my sarcasm).  I knew this was happening because single women started to avoid me too, they didn’t want to be branded as frigid or unapproachable by associating with me.

Please don’t think that Prince Charming showed up, swept me off my jaded feet and made me the envy of all women – he didn’t.  What did happen was that I sold my flat screen TV, boxed and donated any book I owned which was written in the 20th century or after and sat down in my apartment with every book I said I had read in the past but really had not.   

In short, I began to read all the books I had lied about reading – my liar book list. 

My first attack was on all of the Jane Austen books – even Lady Susan.  Next, I tackled the Bronte sisters but please note I had already actually read “Jane Eyre.”  I was aghast to realize that I hated “Wuthering Heights,” and wondered as I struggled through the novel how the hell I was going to continue lying about the book for I had fairly gushed over it in the past, along with all my wine drinking literary friends. 

I began to wonder then if my friends had read the abridged version and I suspected that I wasn’t the only liar in the world. 

Don’t think that I ignored male authors out of spite, I did not.  I read Robert Louis Stevenson, HG Wells, and Oscar Wilde – I laughed out loud when I read “I’ve been telling the truth all this time, can you ever forgive me?” (The Importance of Being Ernest).  The man was a genius in being delightfully rotten.  I began to believe in evil as an entity with a personality (I still believe that Satan exists and is an enemy of God) after I read the books of HG Wells. 

I became so absorbed in the restitution of my lies that my friends started wondering what had become of me.  I refused invitations and my parents drove in from the suburbs one Sunday afternoon to make sure I wasn’t bloated in my apartment and drawing flies.  My father walked down to the sports bar after seeing I was okay and my mother picked up “The Invisible Man,” and started reading it. 

“If only it were true of most men,” she said opening the book and settling in beside me with some hot tea.  She took the train in and out of the city to cook for me after I told her that I was taking a week off work to do nothing but read.  She even stayed with me a few nights and read “Dracula.”  (She reacclimated herself to her Catholic upbringing soon after reading that novel).

The Friday evening of my week long liar book marathon I lamented to my Mother the idea of having to go back to work for my rent’s sake. 

“What brought all this on?  Why are you reading these books?” asked my mother.

“Because single men refuse to speak to me.”

She blinked at me from behind her thick reading glasses and for a moment I thought we were both underwater, looking at each other from behind underwater masks. 

“What?” she asked slowly.

“No single man will talk to me.  I’ve not dated a man in four years,” and went on to explain my life in the last four years.

“Do you mean to tell me you haven’t had your heart broken?”

“No.”

“You won’t talk to a man first, so no man has spoken to you in four years?”

“Well, I’ve spoken to men, Mother…”

“Yes, yes,” she said quickly “but because your experiment has worked, you are sitting down and making restitution on the lies you’ve made regarding books you said you read but really haven’t.”

“Well, now it really wasn’t an experiment but a sort of theory I was testing.”

“A theory?” asked my mother her voice rising.

“Yes,” I said wondering at her

“Do you mean to tell me I’ve been sitting in the suburbs wondering if you’re a lesbian and afraid to tell me, dead or heartbroken and all along you’ve been testing a theory?  A theory?”

I was shocked at her strident tone of voice.

“You idiot girl!”  My mother got up from her seat on my sofa and started to pace my living room floor, then sat back down and looked at me. “I took you to Sunday School to figure out men.  I read you the Genesis account of creation.  You punish yourself because you think men egotistical, and all they are is lazy, ignorant and moronic.  When mankind fell it was because Adam wouldn’t talk!  Where have you been?  How did we miss this?” She got up and paced a few more times across my living room floor.   “Oooooh!” my mother moaned and collapsed back down on my old library chair, landing on Dante’s “Inferno.”

“Mother I would hardly say I was punishing myself.  I mean I’ve been lonely but I’m better read than most people my age.”  I shrugged and picked up ‘Moll Flanders.’  “Besides most of my friends are already married and wondering why they spent the time and money on the effort.  Perhaps I’ll skip all that.”

My Mother was looking at me from between her fingers, her blue eyes shining out from behind her reading glasses.  “Then you don’t blame me for being a terrible mother?”

“I don’t consider you a terrible mother.”

She seemed relieved and removed her glasses to dab her eyes with a tissue.  “Do you see yourself ever in a relationship?”

“Oh perhaps some older man who walks by me while I’m reading on a park bench, might stop by some day and ask me what keeps me so absorbed.”

“Have you seen him?”

“Every day on my lunch hour.  After a week’s absence, I’m hoping he might have the courage to ask me what I’ve been up to.”

“Oh, darling I’m so relieved you’re not so noble as to not try stealth.”

I smiled at her and asked if she wouldn’t make me a pot of tea. 

“Oh yes certainly.  And since it’s only Friday, I think I’ll read the Pickwick Papers.  I always hated Charles Dickens and lied through so many of his novels.  But it’s time to come clean.”