Sunday, August 3, 2014

Poem Cycle: My End of Something

Despite being a constant presence on Facebook, I rarely speak about very personal things.  At least not those things I consider personal.  But, once in a while, something will occur in my life that I feel the need to express and put out there.  The process helps me wrap my mind around what I'm feeling and properly deal with it.

The last time I did this was when I posted a cycle of poems about the love I was feeling for the young woman I affectionately referred to as "My Lady" in various posts on Facebook.  In these poems, I wanted to capture the multitude of feelings a man experiences as a new relationship begins, everything from physical desire to the deeply emotional.  And, I shared them with the woman about whom they were written.  And then I shared them with the rest of you.

I don't know if those poems were any good, but they were as true as anything I'd written up to that point in my life.  When I look back at them, my memories of what I was thinking and feeling during that time are made fresh.

Now I find myself at a different stage and feel the need to express what is inside me.  That relationship I held so dear came to an end a little over a year ago.  The hows and whys I don't want to go into because ultimately they are only important to the two people involved.  And, I don't want any displays of sympathy; I reached out to those personally closest to me for support during that difficult time, and, with their help (among other things), I got through the ordeal and have come out better as a result.

What I wish to do now is share another cycle of poems that I hope capture what the experience was like for me.  There are three poems in total, and I worked on each one periodically over the last several months.  They are a reflection of what was my perspective at given moments during the process of letting go and moving on.  And, without explaining the poems too much (because there is no surer way to kill an expressive piece than by over explanation), they are not meant to place or deflect blame, and they only present one side of this experience - mine.  

Finally, just to assuage any concerns people may have, the third poem is the most accurate depiction of my current mindset.  I'm doing well.  And, I am finding real peace and joy in my life for the first time in a very long time.

For E. - Goodbye...

The Coward

A storm was coming
And from your spot on the front lawn, you stood
And yelled
For me to secure the roof
Board up the windows
Waterproof the basement
You barked commands
On how I needed to be a partner
To participate
Be present

I scampered and you
And talked
You talked to friends and family and passersby
About the approaching storm
About your fears that the house would fall
And how I might not have what it takes to see it through
You talked
Of how you were taking every action you could

I scurried
Over the floors and the boards and the windows
Hammering here, fastening there
Scaling the walls and climbing the roof
And whenever I reached out a hand to feel yours
For some sign of love, affection, support
You slapped it away and said
Not enough
Not the right time
You’re doing it wrong
Don’t be a victim
Get some game
When I suggested I needed your presence, you said
Don’t make me feel like I’m not enough
That I’m not doing enough
The nails are crooked
Why’s that board there
I need to feel safe
I need to know you can do this
I need, I need, I need…

Out of hurried fear
And stupid desperation
I covered up the house’s more vulnerable parts from you
Skimped on a few nails in a rush to get it done
I didn’t totally secure some valuables
And I stopped to catch my breath on the opposite side of the house from you
Trying to get it all done in time,
Hoping it would all be enough
But when the storm came
The house went tumbling down

And in the midst of the rubble
When I reached out a hand and sheepishly said let’s rebuild
I found…a note
Taped hurriedly and coldly on the leaning mailbox
Saying you had gone to stand
And talk

At another house
True Medusa

Something the storytellers don’t tell you
A man makes his own Medusa
Fortifies her gaze with his weakness
Feeds the snake hair with his lies
And like a warrior on a (sometimes) winged steed
He flies off to destroy his creation
Never realizing he goes to tackle himself

For the Medusa doesn’t turn men to stone
With a look of horror all her own
Her eyes are immense green mirrors
So men see themselves when they look at her
And they are stiffened by the truths laid bare
Becoming not stone, strong and resilient,
But brittle shale
That crumbles at the slightest touch
Or a gentle sob heard from behind a closed door
There Was Laughter

There was laughter
The last time we spoke
Face to face
Not through your barrier of texts
And it was nice

We laughed
And I felt
Something build
Something renew
Not a bridge
To bridge the gulf
Between us
But a steady foundation, strong and true,
Surer ground to stand on, to feel secure in
Providing confidence in my step, trust in my legs
And I could be where I was and go where I needed

And from this I find the honest strength,
Not born from protective sarcasm or manipulative intellect, limp and useless,
But, real strength to send you love without ironic self-servitude or romantic delusion,
Love that says I wish you happiness and peace and fulfillment,
Love expressed earnestly with no fake-it-to-make sentimentality
Love that frees me (even as I hope it enriches you) for a future I want to experience.
What pain we caused each other, what anger we nursed, what resentment choked our hearts,
All is gone now for me, replaced by the tremendousness of calm unknowing
And feeling the touch of the past as it slips off my shoulder, I look forward to what lies ahead.


  1. Most excellent! I have a friend in Milwaukee who is a published poet and your verses rival his. You may inspire me to pick up the pen again.


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