One Step Forward

One step forward,
My hand on your waist,
With you my mirror
Backing away.

You turn your face,
Elongating your neck,
But your eyes rest on me,
Awaiting our next move.

I step aside, then back,
And you follow me
Step-by-step, swaying
With my rhythms.

You move your body,
Grace flowing like water;
I move with purpose,
Punctuating each step.

We hum the melody
Of a well-known tune,
One we’ve heard before
And will always know.

One step forward,
One step back again,
Following my lead,
Your hand in mine.

Advertisements

Time and Space

Life is not a series of snapshots,
Disjointed, separated by time and space,
Categorizing relations and emotions–
Me here, you there, we then, us when?

What does it take for a life to feel real?
This life, my life, our life, in pictures:
Clips and broken laughs, short smiles
Are enough–just–for how long, though?

How long can we last living–if it is that–
Like this: saying goodbye far more often
Than we meet–or so it seems to me.
Is this all we can expect from life today?

And what of tomorrow: will time relent
From its hold on our expectations for love?
And will the space repent of its sins against
A faltering relationship, struggling through?

Everything Reminds Me of You

Everything reminds me of you;
It is the most wonderful and
The most agonizing feeling
To see you everywhere you are not.

Truthfully, ‘everywhere’ is one place:
It is here, where I now stand;
In the remotest parts of the world
I have brought you with me,

Though the only place you now inhabit
Is my mind and in my memory;
For until we again meet face-to-face,
You live only in thought and dream.

Security

Those who trust little tend to love not much larger,
But you have proven the exception to the rule
With a heart that seems not to close itself off,
Despite learning lessons that would have silenced others.

You carry insecurities born from years of such schools–
From childhood, your teachers taught you to think less
First of others, perhaps, but the lessons soon turned inward,
And turned inward, outward appearance gained new import.

Consciously, you tried to refuse ces nouvelles morales,
Leading a self-charged revolution contre la mode
A self-imposed rejection of material importance–
To be a living standard of rebellion against your own beliefs.

These beliefs you hold, you do not deeply cherish,
For they draw attention to an ever-growing sense
Of your ever-diminishing love of self
Even while your love for fellow man survives unscathed.

More successfully than others, you have taken in worldly voices,
Convincing yourself of their emanation from the inner self,
And fallen victim to your own reproachfulness and censure–
A greater critic of self than any other might have been.

For what in comparison to the world can you be rebuked?
For which quality would I think you unsuitable, inadequate?
And yet you have learned your lessons all too well,
For when I tell you there is none greater, you only demur.

The lies in your life have also been truths told cheaply.
Words may lose their value with time and inattention,
As you’ve learned when others valued initial feeling
Over abiding joy–over deep roots and solid foundation.

Would that I could portray myself as worthy of your trust,
But then the gifts I offer are not all so rich as to merit it.
What could I give you but honest feeling and mere belief?
What could I offer that could mitigate the great risk?

For I have sold my words cheaply to others before you–
Guilty of the same crimes that brought you to this place,
And though forgiven, my rehabilitation remains to be proven
By one willing to take the chance on an undeserving parolee.

Alas: parolee–one who gives their word–an ironic phrase
In my case and yours, for whom words have healed and hurt,
Given hope and taken it away, offered life and given death–
And yet you know that words are all I have to give in this place.

Take my words and give them value–take them into your heart–
Or dash them against the rocks of your mind and sift them as sand–
But take them, for they are all I have to give, and I must give to you
Something–the most valuable thing I have left: my own cheap words.

But words can turn into promises, and promises may become truths,
One day, some day–not too far off, and yet not close enough.
But hold on to my words, and if you cannot believe them now,
I only beg you to wait until you can consider me worthy of trust.

Then we will both learn new lessons from one another,
Lessons in grace no others could yet have taught us.
Then may my promises of words become security in truths,
And I will repeat them over and over, all of your days.

Numb

I walk the world asleep these days.
Wandering aimless about my work,
Listing from one senseless moment to the next
Until it is time to lie down to wait for dawn.

When daybreak comes, I take my daily anesthetic
And forget how to feel the world around me.
I cannot let the outside in; it might prove too much.
I can only focus on so much pain in each moment.

The hurting is the only thing I feel today,
And even that might prove overmuch
For my already weakened state
From tiredness and ever-longing for you.

We say Some Day and it relieves the pain–
Temporarily. Until I remember that Some Day
Was once Yesterday, or Last Month,
And now even Next Month is uncertain.

When will Some Day be Today, oh love?
To ask you is unjust, for we neither of us know
What tomorrow holds, or what holds the year–
The year with all its empty promises.

So I choose pain over apathy as a last resort
For I need to feel something when I say “love”.
Pain is a reminder of what I do not have–
Temporarily–until we reach Some Day.

Great and Precious and Lonely

I have discovered the secret
Of being great and precious
And lonely.

They say the great and precious
Must be lonely, for they must
Be alone.

But this we had already counted
And weighed and measured and
Found wanting.

Neither greatness nor preciousness
Can exist in a vacuum; they require
Communal significance.

And the reverse cannot be true,
For not all the lonely are great
Or precious.

This claim is, of course, a worldly one;
I will not speak on Heaven’s behalf in
Such matters.

To be great, a man must overcome
Any obstacle, any man, any fear,
And himself.

The task of conquering oneself
Is the greatest test of all for even
The saints.

But greatness only derives its meaning
From recognition by another, seen only
In relationship.

And to be precious, the object must
Enjoy the privilege of possessing
A subject.

That mutual possession we call love
When it lifts us high, though it could
Do otherwise.

But to be held as precious by another is,
As it is said, the greatest thing: to love and
Be loved.

And yet only today, I feel truly great
For I have been esteemed as such by one
Who matters.

And today, I knew I was held precious
For the letter she had written and sent
Weeks ago.

Today, I was alone with my thoughts,
Without one for whom my soul longs, and
Am lonely.

So the secret of being all these together–
Of being great and precious and lonely–
Is you.

Write Me Your Love

If I ever thought I did not need you,
If I for a moment forgot my affection,
If I almost give up on that which is us,
Write me a letter with your love.

Not yet has any such ill-favored thought
My mind crossed in terrible rumination,
Nor shall it while I control my faculties
And may wrestle them into submission.

For though you are now far from me,
Your heart has reached across the page,
Touched my own, and lifted up my soul.
With a word alone, I feel your presence.

Write on, loved and lover; send your love
With prose and poem, with pun and wit,
For I can never have enough of you:
Of your words, of your love, of your self.