Someone Wrong at Exactly the Right Time

She was a track star, a straight “A” student, and she did everything right. So right, in fact, that she yearned to do wrong; to be wild, to let go, to grow up.

I, apparently, was someone wrong at exactly the right time. Suspended from school for fighting and cutting classes, talking back to the teachers, saying whatever I thought or felt. I had started a process of giving up on what I had believed in, a process which was to last more than a decade; but I was seventeen, and I didn’t care.

So, we ended up together: for almost a year and half, even into college. She held onto me for that while as a way of showing she wasn’t just going to read off of the family script anymore. And I wore her like a prize: look, you all said I was nobody, but she’s with me.

We poured almost every drop of nascent passion we had into each other. I say ‘almost’ because, it turns out, we each had someone on the side. She had a boy from another school she saw at track meets. I had a girl who took piano from my old teacher. And so it went, until she ended it because she’d met someone else.

That was more than thirty-five years ago, and she’s still with that same “someone else”. I bounced around from girl to girl, then woman to woman, trying to find someone else who fit my maladapted behavior. Still, for years, I thought about her. It wasn’t that she was the most passionate love I’d ever had, although she was more-or-less the first. It was that she made feel like a better person, while she felt like a worse one — which was what she was after, at the time. Her fundamental decency, however, she could never really overcome with me, nor did I want her to.

But even though I was only a step for her on the road to who she wanted to be, she saw something in me; and even after a breakup, and all the heartache that entailed, she left me with a gift: the realization that I could, after all, be with somebody, and both of us enjoy it. We were not meant to spend our lives together, but I learned a lot from her and our interaction; eventually, we both realized (although she much sooner) that running from who we were was never going to change who we were.

So I have my memories of her; I see her, thoughtful, sitting down by the water’s edge, dreaming of something, something she had yet to find, but that she did find. And I also realize, that I loved her, not just for what she did for me, but because I took delight in her, and wanted her to be happy even after we split.

For love is like any other type of activity, we only get better at it by doing it.

Tell Me Again

Tell me again of all the days to come,
Of how you’ll be my partner through it all.
My eyes aren’t working right, my hands are numb;
The story’s at an end, here, in this hall,
And I am left with dreams I’ve held so long
That letting go of them, though right, seems wrong.

Tell me again you’ll never, never change;
Tell me the lies I must have longed to hear.
There are announcements, but the voice seems strange,
As down the passageway you disappear,
And I am left to grief and to despair —
Another feeling you and I won’t share.

Instead, I guess, I’ll tell myself again:
I made what-never-was what-should-have-been

{ one last }

At coffee time, we shared one last.

Our year, a minute over fast,

Was done, and I was off and gone,

With suitcase packed, and grin hitched on.

 

I rose, banal goodbye to say,

But she rose first, and turned away.

You’ll find love soon again? she asked.

Why bother?

I can’t make one

Last

Alas

They went back to their favorite place
Because of her appeals,
She dressed up in his favorite dress,
And wore his favorite heels

There’s moon and magic in the air
That soon the truth reveals:
Alas, she cannot make him feel
What he no longer
Feels

It Doesn’t Matter Anymore

It doesn’t matter anymore,
The “she” that once was everything;
It doesn’t matter anymore:
It’s time for what the new days bring.

It doesn’t matter anymore:
The plans, the dreams, the arguments;
It doesn’t matter anymore:
For she is gone, to all intents.

It doesn’t matter anymore,
The words that don’t add up to jack;
It doesn’t matter anymore:
There is no point in looking back —

It doesn’t matter anymore,
But I’m still grieving, I confess:
For she does not care anymore,
And I do not care any

Less

By A Summer Lake

By a summer lake, on a haunted day,
They watched their love just drift away;

Neath a cloudy sky, with a bursting heart,
The whole doomed thing just fell apart

In a sheltered cove,
In a better time,
They’d known the taste
Of love and wine

In a miracle
Of community,
That melted with
Impunity

By a summer lake, on a lonely day,
The war was lost with one last fray —

And though love be free, neath the cloudy skies,
The learned it always, always claims
A price