“Where does love go when it’s gone?”
‘Wherever it came from.”
A message sent from Florida Where you and I were once... you know... I guess your reminiscing, since It seems that time, and wine, have flowed Into the veins you call your life. I say I hope I find you well, Then slowly you unfold a tale Of loss and choice, of ebb and swell -- And I see years long past remain Within each of us, differently. I seek to understand, because However things have come to be I do not, could not, wish you ill. You were my lover, are my friend, And I wish you the happiness Far fewer know than now pretend. For each of us, and all of us, There's nothing simple, now or then: There's myriads within each heart, Both what we are and what we've been.
When a person writes in the volume that I’ve written, it’s easy to see patterns. That’s a nice way of saying I write the same things over and over.
When I started writing poetry here, I spent much of the first few years reliving old relationships. Part of it was to better understand myself, but an equally important part of it was trying to understand better the women I had been involved with, something I don’t think I’d done a very good job of at the time.
Of course, I realized the obvious things, looking back. As a younger man, I may have been overly focused on the physical aspects of the relationship, for instance, or at least, focused to such a degree that I let other parts of relationships flounder. I also realized that being selfish comes pretty natural to me: I never had to read an article or watch a YouTube video to learn how to do it.
In addition, there was this: girls often find early that boys don’t always treat girls like, well, human beings. This tendency in us guys is very pronounced, and it is not always as ill-intentioned and baneful as it can be. I was interested in working through why I struggled to see women as just other people, then using that knowledge to better understand the actual women I had dated.
Eventually, life strips away the pretense and the fantasy in any relationship that is carried on long enough; all too frequently, then, people come to resent the other person for not being what they never were. Love is less about embracing fantasies than respecting and valuing realities.
When my ex girlfriend in the poem above messaged me, it was to talk about a breakup she had recently been through. The reasons she had broken up with him were perfectly understandable, at least to me, but I could see her struggling with the notion that it had in some way been unrealistic perfectionism on her part that had ended the relationship.
All I could think to say was, if regret could be converted to energy, it would be the ultimate renewable energy source.
“Where does love go when it’s gone?” she asked me.
“Wherever it came from,” I said. “Or to wherever it is going next.”