Old Poem, Age 24 (Edited)

[I had completely forgotten this poem and the event it refers to. At the time, I would not have thought that possible, so hard did it hit me. – Owen]


One night, you gave yourself to me
  the next night you had gone away
I do not understand
I do not understand at all

I still remember how it felt
  to be right next inside of you
I do not understand
I do not understand at all

The wine the bath the touch the kiss
  the hours spent in all of this –
The feel of you the sound of you
  the taste of your intention

One night I do not understand
I still I do not understand
The wine I do not understand
I do not understand

Old Poem, Written Age 18

[I wrote this in a friend’s yearbook; with some editing, it is herein changed now into a poem. – Owen]

About these years we spent together…

I’m sorry about throwing rocks
At your window 5am on a Saturday,
Particularly when I found out
You lived next door…

I’m glad we got to go
To Disneyworld together,
If for no other reason than
Just to hear you call
The Hall of Presidents
“A bunch of dummies”…

I’ll miss catching you
Staring off into space in
The library; thinking
Some boy had broken your heart,
But finding out that you
Were “still depressed
About the Lakers – 76ers series”…

We’ve known each other since
Fifth grade, and I believe
You can go anywhere,
Do anything, and
Be anyone you want;
But, wherever you go,
Let me know, so
I’m not out there at 5am,
Throwing rocks at
The wrong house

— Owen

Arkansas Ride

Why am I so lost, why have
I driven here?
What was it I thought
That I would find?

Where is there another who
Can understand?
How is it my curse
Is my own mind?

Every day the body breaks,
The heart grows numb;
Every night, I only long
For sleep,

Every month, another kind of
Parody
Of what life’s supposed to be,
With love to keep —

So I turn the lock, and
Open up the door,
So I throw my suitcase on
The bed,

So I know, it doesn’t matter
Where I go,
When everything inside of me

Is dead

P.J.

Because I knew her young
  and she died young,
  I find her all the time,
  just as she was back then
  when I go searching
  for some meaning in
  the story of my past.

She was not a girlfriend
  nor was she a secret crush:
  she was a friend,
  and friends, sometimes
  make bigger impacts on us than
  a mere listing of circumstance
  might indicate.

If I could catalog
  every interaction we ever had,
  I’m not sure it would be more
  than forty —
  I knew her sister better, who
  was closer to my age —
  but I remember so many of the conversations,
  remember what we talked about,
  how it felt to talk about those things:
  it all adds up to a lot more
  than our relationship would seem
  to justify, under normal circumstances.

Who out there has friends like this?

There are no ‘normal circumstances’,
  there’s just life as it is;
  weird, wonderful, tragic, and magical.

She was in her twenties when she died,
  and that was three decades ago,
  but she continues on in my thoughts,
  because she was amazing and wondrous,
  and because both the joy and sorrow of her spirit
  still live, inside me

  as she does

What She’s Like

She considers herself an average girl,
Who’s led a sort of mundane life:
This model-scientist-dancer-preacher
Who I happen to call my wife —

She was an entrepreneur for years;
She’s a volunteer when she sees a need:
She’s been a mother, a grandmother now,
And there’s not enough hours for her to read

All the books that we have, or she wants to have.
She’s curious and inquisitive;
She defends anyone who is ganged up on,
And knows, and believes, what it is to forgive —

She loves to move and she loves to laugh,
And she always gives comfort to those who mourn:
She as wonder-filled as the sea and the sky,
And’s had love in her heart since the day she was born —

She loves to come up with a better idea;
She lives to watch dramas that come from Korea,
She worries about the strange man that she wed,
But after a day, when it’s all done and said,

She closes the eyes on that beautiful face
Having made the world, my world, a much better place;
And I think, every morning, as I move the cover,
I can never quite say just how deeply

I love her

It Takes Practice

Everyone knows
If you want to get good at something,
It takes practice.

All of us teens
Wanted to be good at kissing.
So we needed to practice

Finding someone
To practice with, however,
Proved difficult

The girls I knew appeared to have
These things called ‘standards’,
And I was, clearly, substandard —

But I eventually got over it
Or some few lowered their standards
Or both

At any rate, kissing
Is like everything else:
You’ve never done it until you do it

The first girl who I kissed
More than once was
Looking for a practice partner as well

So we met places, in my car or
At her house and
Practiced

At some point, we realized that
We didn’t particularly like each other
All that much, so that was that

(Now, at this point, I realize
  Other people have stories like this about
  Practicing more advanced forms
  Of physical intimacy at the same age,
  But I do not.
  This was my actual life.)

I went on from there to have
My first real date, my first real love,
And so on

Learning, as I went, that are
At least one hundred other things
As important in a relationship

And that also take practice

unveilings (7)

one last month together, she
felt guilty for her feelings, so
in some odd way, she tried to
make it up to me

i was selfish, so i
took her up on her assuagement,
too her up on empty bits of
what was closeness

the hardest thing in life
is knowing what you do
just may not matter;
what you do is not enough
when it can’t be
enough

so we were very intimate
right up until the day
i helped her move,
one last unveiling of
the foolishness
that makes up

what we do

unveilings (6)

summer, things are changing, things
are different. she is distant, and
preoccupied. i ask her if she is ok,
she says she is. but then she also says
she isn’t.

i don’t know what it might be, but
my mind goes to the worst, as i wait
for her to say

and she does say

 
that there’s someone else

unveilings (5)

dressing up, she spoke to me and said,
“what did you do the whole time you were sick?”

“I didn’t do much,” I said.
“I was pretty depressed, and
saw little value in going forward as
a damaged sort of man.”

“damaged?”

“yeah, i had lost significant
brain capacity from seizures, and
everything had slowed down for me,
mentally. being quick was always
kind of who i was, and it felt like,
i wasn’t… anyone anymore.”

she looked at me, through the
darkened room,
so lovely in her black dress, just…
waiting

“i’ve never really talked about
that time. it’s very hard to
relive, hard to come to grips with.
but, it’s what happened.”

“how did you get out of it?
the depression?”

“medicine. therapy. friends.
family. faith. activity.
one minute at a time.”

we gazed at each other for
about forty silent seconds

“this seems like a strange
topic to be getting into before
a date…”

“not really. it’s a big deal to a girl
when the guy she’s falling for is…
real with her.”

“my reality, huh.
i never saw it as having..
value, i guess”