Monday, October 28, 2013

These Worlds In Which We Live

It makes me sad
To think about the loss,
To think about what used to be us.
I miss the drive to make it work,
To fight for something that was greater than I.
But I have to remind myself:
What I yearn for is more than you.
I desire the relationship;
That which we had only a glimpse of.
I have to remember
That it will never be possible
Because there was always something
Chucked into the system:
Lack of respect.
I wanted to fight,
But I didn't want to fight for you.
I didn't feel you fighting for me,
So I only fought against you.
So, really,
I miss something I never had.
It was all just an illusion;
A figment of my own imagination;
A fantasy world based on potential;
Ignorance of reality.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

In the Eyes of the Beholder

I wanted to be someone
But how can you be
when surrounded by so many others?

You are a puzzle piece,
he told me.
But I looked at all the others.
We were are all the same;
splashes of disorganized color
and curvaceous edges.
Amoebic entities vying
for attention,
for definition,
for importance.

That means nothing,
I scowled.

You are mistaken,
he replied.
Your color scheme:
Your shape:
Come and look,
he said.
He picked me up
and placed me
on his shoulder.
From there, I watched.

The puzzle pieces
were a cacophony
yet he handled them each
with the care
and precision
of a masterful
I watched
as each
was put in its place.
the picture began to form;
the harmony to ring.
And then he stopped.

It’s beautiful,
I said.
But, what?
he asked.
There is a spot missing,
over on the side.
He stroked his beard in deep thought.
You are right,
he replied.
The picture is missing something.
Do you know what it is?
he asked.

I stared at the picture,
disheartened by its
I replied.
I do,
he said.
It’s you.
He picked me up
once more.
And placed me in a spot
my spot
the only spot
in which my colors
would blend
and my shape
would fit.
I could not see the whole
picture from this point of view.
But I could feel,
and I could hear
that it was beautiful

and it was complete.

Saturday, October 19, 2013


“Do you even love me?” I knew the question was coming. It always came. A last ditch effort to back me into a corner and reel me in. But I was tired of lying. “I don’t think I even know what love is,” I replied. Thus ended the year-long relationship.

“Love makes the world go round.” The phrase was inscribed on a merry-go-round sharpener I owned as a child. Every time I sharpened my pencil, the mini horses would take their short trek around the perimeter.

My experience of merry-go-rounds as a child was rare, despite living in our carousel-saturated county. Most of my memories of this rarity are of the Highland Park merry-go-round. My father often used to bring me and my sisters there—an escape from the confines of his one-room apartment a few blocks away. Even at a young age, I was a people-watcher. I would watch the fractured movements of people, as the carousel raced me toward and then whisked me away. I would listen as their voices grew louder, more pronounced and then, just as quickly, dissipate, engulfed by the constant music. It seems like music is what makes the merry-go-round.

A little girl is twirling to the music. Her father is delicately holding her hand above her head, providing an anchor for her spin. “Am I beautiful, Daddy?” She has been playing hard. Her dress is covered in mud, and her hair is matted to her face in sweat. But she is a little girl; she is infinitely cute. The external mire cannot mar her beauty. The carousel whisks me away.

I am brought back around. The girl has transformed. She is a young woman; no longer spinning. Now, she is clinging to a young man.

“You obviously love her very much.” I wanted him to contradict the words, but I knew he wouldn’t. “What makes you say that?” he asked. “Because she is intertwined into your very being. She has been in your heart since the moment I met you. And she seeps out of you here and there.” “That sounds like some kind of infection,” he replied.

The young man looks very pale. His face is turned away from the woman. But his fingers are wrapped tightly through her long flowing hair, clutching the strands as if he might fall away when he lets go. Then they disappear from my sight.

“Love is an infection,” I conceded. Before I can see the young man again, I can hear him retching. “There has to be a way to be wise about it,” he retorted. “I’m not sure exactly what that is, though. Most people just act cynical.” The young man comes into view. He is no longer clutching the woman; she is not even in sight. Green discoloration distorts his face.

Cynical: bitterly or sneeringly distrustful, contemptuous, or pessimistic. I felt the burn of his accusation. “I think the people who are cynical are those who have never loved or have been burnt by love. The former are jealous; the latter have an excuse.”

I want off the carousel. It is no merry-go-round. I clench my eyes shut. But I cannot drown out the music. “Loved people love people.” The accusation burns again. I hear my own voice: “I don’t think I even know what love is.” I want the young man’s fingers to be intertwined into my hair. The burn grows hotter. “Love is an infection.” I feel blood rushing to my ears as the carousel moves faster and faster. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” I move my hands to cover my ears. The speed of the carousel is too much; I begin to slide off. My stomach sours, as the heat sears my eyes and ears. I tumble off my horse, and the carousel spits me to the side.

I hit the gravel hard. As I try to lift myself, I retch uncontrollably. Am I beautiful, Daddy? “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Depths of Desire

Alone. Empty. Bare. The sheets don’t provide enough covering. She clutches her knees to her chest. The pillow obediently catches the salty water—promising to absorb only until saturation.

She looks at herself in the mirror. Her raw cheeks are now covered by thick foundation and blush; her puffy eyes glossed with mascara and heavy liner. The black dress clings to each curve of her body.

She finds a crowded street.  The darkness is saturated with people and blinking window lights. She keeps her eyes lowered. But she is aware of the elongated gazes. She finally glances up and catches an eye. She holds it long enough to ensure a momentary connection; then breaks it just in time to brush shoulders.

She chooses a window light and pursues the bar table. She sits alone and waits; conscious again of the eyes upon her.

Her skin bristles as he settles beside her. She doesn’t look up. His gaze is powerful enough to strip her. He signals the bartender, brushing her hand as he does so. She flinches imperceptibly. “Two,” he says. “One for the little lady.” She smiles delicately and slowly raises her eyelashes. His eyes are locking onto her. He is not bad looking. He hands her a drink. She takes it, knowing this will help with what is to come.

He drinks faster than she does. For the next round, he brushes her arm; for the third, her leg.

Instead of ordering a fourth, his hand clenches her own. He stands up and pulls her toward the dance floor. She allows herself to be drawn out.

The dance floor is crowded. Sweating bodies threaten to suffocate her. He brings her close to himself; one hand on her stomach, the other on her leg. Her stomach sours and she resists the urge to cringe. She wills her body to swing to the music; melting her into his being—swinging to the beat of his heart.

The hand on her leg tightens, pinching her skin. The hand on her stomach begins to inch upward. His lips brush her ear. “What’s your name?” he asks. She rips herself from his grip, and dashes toward the door. Out into the darkness she runs. Past the blinking window lights. Past all of the eyes that pay her no attention.

She rushes past the mirror, glancing only long enough to see the mascara staining her cheeks.

The pillow resumes its role—warning that salt mixed with ink will saturate deeper. She clutches her knees to her chest, willing herself to disappear beneath the sheets. Bare. Empty. Alone.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Here on the Ground

I felt it this morning. The weight of it upon my shoulders. The coating so thick that my fingers got lost
when I pressed upon its sleeve.
Your words this morning. Why did I even look? Maybe I'm a shame addict. I've been accused of being addicted to suffering. I suppose shame isn't far removed.
Your words this morning. "Sometimes it is hard to forgive." That may be so, but it's not forgiveness that you want to give. You want reconciliation. Is it possible to forgive without reconciliation? Sure it is. It's possible. But not for you. For you, it is either perfect harmony or pure hatred.

How I wish it were this simple. But it is far from it. And it isn't pizza I have given you. I give you access to me. My guilt demands it to be so. 
I thought I could manipulate love itself. I said "yes" with my lips before I said "yes" with my heart. Layer one. In determination, I manipulated myself in order to love you. Layer two. When I cracked, I manipulated the demise of "us." Leah let you in. Anna stabbed you. And the guilt thickens.
Call me a Pharisee. Rejecting the forgiveness of Christ. Determined to earn it from you. I even gave you the trophy, "I left her."
The dance is cyclic. The maypole is guilt. In guilt, I approach you for forgiveness. At first you resist. I drop to my knees. You begin to budge. I grovel on the ground. You take the opportunity to insert yourself back into my life.
But that is where the allergic reaction begins. Think of the tick that you must force to leave on its own.
I even gave you the trophy, "I left her."
Perhaps I am Elizabeth: "What if he took all the assets and I took all the blame? But not even that offer would bring settlement. Now I was at a loss. How do you negotiate once you've offered everything?"
The guilt remains. I've told you to let go--and you claim you have, and yet you still dig in.

On the ground, I can be convinced that you're all I need--that you're my savior from guilt. So I let you dig in. It is the cost I must pay.
To be the perpetual "good girl."
Leah let you in.
But then the allergic reaction begins again. Anna stabbed you. And the guilt thickens. So we dance.
"Christians are dedicated to maturity and unity." But it's more than unity you want. You want harmony--perfect harmony. The punishment of failure to obtain such is pure hatred. 
"Loved people love people." That's the thing of it. Leah let you in. Anna stabbed you. They both manipulated you. I manipulated you. I am unlovable.
And then you say those words. "Did I mean nothing to you?" You force me to my knees.
Gravity. "Something always brings me back to you. . . ."
I just want to be free. I want to be free from guilt more than I want you.
"Loved people love people." Give me the hatred. If that's what it takes. Being the good girl keeps me on the ground.
I exploited you. I manipulated you. Every sugar-coated statement, a sugar-coated lie. I let you in. I stabbed you.
Here on the ground I beg you. Take it all. Everything I thought I could be. Take it and give me hatred. Set me free.