Archive for February, 2009

When Roses Speak, I Pay Attention
By Mary Oliver

“As long as we are able to
be extravagant we will be
hugely and damply
extravagant. Then we will drop
foil by foil to the ground. This
is our unalterable task, and we do it

And they went on. “Listen,
The heart-shackles are not, as you think,
death, illness, pain,
unrequited hope, not loneliness, but
lassitude, rue, vainglory, fear, anxiety

Their fragrance all the while rising
from their blind bodies, making me
spin with joy.


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Hopeless Emptiness

Plenty of people are onto the emptiness, but it takes real guts to see the hopelessness.”Revolutionary Road

I paid for 30 minutes with my imaginary therapist, Monique, recently. The topic: Hope.  Here’s a partial transcript from my “session…”

Monique: Talk about your last relationship and how you’re feeling about its…demise.

Me: I’ve got this history of making something out of nothing. Nothing is what I  ended up with when she pulled out of the relationship. No “Thanks  for everything.” No parting shots or wisdom – just a kick in the stomach and there’s the exit: “don’t darken my doorstep,” she said, “because that makes me uncomfortable,” i.e., I’m fine if  I never see you again. I pursued a relationship built on sand rather than concrete. Live and learn people. Live and learn.

lucy_postMonique: That’s the story, but how do you feel (Editor’s Note: It’s always about feeling, isn’t it?).

Me: It’s like Yao Ming vs. Spud Webb. Rejected. I feel I did my best to accommodate her needs, make her feel beautiful, show her sincerity, and allay her fears. Now she’s gone and I’ve lost a friend and more. She told me she was disingenuous with her feelings – as if that makes it easier.  So it’s my turn to be the floormat.

Monique: You mean doormat.

Me: I don’t own a doormat, but whatever. See these high heel shoe prints embedded in my forehead?

Monique: So the lesson in all this?

Me: Date women wearing flats.

Monique: And…

Me: Don’t get lost in the hopeless emptiness.

Monique: Elaborate.

Me: Those who believe in love – an enduring, romantic, I-got-your-back-no-matter-what-kind of love – we place ourselves at constant risk of getting lost in emptiness. The one-sided relationship.  It’s torture. So why do we do it?

Monique: Because your degree of risk is more than most. Life without risk is a life of pablum and water. Sure you can fill up on it, but that’s not living. Many women and men get burned. Some let it happen two or three times before they close up shop permanently. And once the door is locked, they’ll cower in the basement with the lights off when life throws a curve. They only come up for air because the alternative is suffocation. They are only capable of surfacy relationships in life. Which person would you rather be?

So what’s next?

Me: That’s my question.

Monique: You pull yourself up. You stay open to risk. You don’t allow someone’s insecurities or weaknesses to jade you. You’re smart. You’ll get this right with someone who wants to get it right with you.

To flourish, relationships must be a priority for both people involved. And the real ones – the true friendships without the back stabbing, the moments shared without words that turn to knives as they’re spoken, the kind built on more forward progress than retreat – these are the ones that make life colorful. You don’t need drama to have color. There’s enough bullshit happening around us. It’s pointless to create it on your own.

Me: That sounds well and good. But the hopeless emptiness chasm is deep. The hope within made the bullshit acceptable. I’d still be in it with a goofy smile if she’d let it continue.

Monique: Wrong. No one can live on hope alone – it’s funky like that. Your brain knew your efforts weren’t turning the tide, so you held on with hope because you were down a path and wanted her to follow. Refocus the hope on someone worthwhile. Don’t waste it…repurpose it. And keep it linked to instincts and what you know to be true.

Me: Recycle. Reuse. Repurpose. Hope sounds like a rather green initiative.

Monique: It’s a renewable resource as well. No matter how much risk you take, hope will be there. Just stay awake to the circumstance. Don’t talk yourself into something that isn’t something.

Me: I think my time’s up for today.

Monique: You can leave your co-pay on the desk.

Me: You’re a bit hopeful for an imaginary shrink.


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Back in January, I announced I was done writing posts here. But, I’ve got a real dandy in my head and it’s gotta go somewhere. So I take back what I said previously.

Stay tuned.


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And it starts…
Sometime around midnight
Or at least that’s when
You lose yourself
For a minute or two

As you stand…
Under the barlights
And the band plays some song
About forgetting yourself for a while
And the piano’s this melancholy soundcheck
To her smile
And that white dress she’s wearing
You haven’t seen her
For a while

But you know…
That she’s watching
She’s laughing, she’s turning
She’s holding her tonic like a crux
The room suddenly spinning
She walks up and asks how you are
So you can smell her perfume
You can see her lying naked in your arms

And so there’s a change…
In your emotions
And all of these memories come rushing
Like feral waves to your mind
Of the curl of your bodies
Like two perfect circles entwined
And you feel hopeless, and homelss
And lost in the haze
Of the wine

And she leaves…
With someone you don’t know
But she makes sure you saw her
She looks right at you and bolts
As she walks out the door
Your blood boiling
Your stomach in ropes
And when your friends say what is it
You look like you’ve seen a ghost

And you walk…
Under the streetlights
And you’re too drunk to notice
That everyone is staring at you
And you so care what you look like
The world is falling
Around you

You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her
You just have to see her

And you know that she’ll break you
In two


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