Tag Archives: love

Causality

3 Jan

Causality

It’s an odd place to live in

the universe

when you’ve got causalities like

making brownies ’cause your toes were numb

or deciding you’re going to live

because you’re going to die.

We learn to love hurt

because love hurts

and it’s more painful

when you hurt love.

We try not to,

but that’s not the way causality works.

Not when good intentions pave the road to hell

or maybe just divorce,

since we’re not really sure

we aren’t just giving ourselves hell anyway.

You can have pain from nonexistent things.

There are phantom limbs, after all.

Why not all those other extensions?

– for Patrick

A Car And A Cute Old Man

9 Dec

Today, I met a cute old man. He was not by default cute because he was old. I have met a lot of old men, and many, many of them are not cute. A lot of them are crotchety fuckers.

But this old man, he was cute. He barely had any hair left, just a brush of white and wiry remnants as his eyebrows, and a U around his head. His skin has the yellow tinge of an elderly Philippino. He could have been stern, if his mouth puckered more. But it didn’t. He was not stern. He was not intimidating. He was like a really old uncle, maybe a grandfather. Something non-threatening. The sort of old relative that would call you dear and not mean it demeaningly.

Oh, I met him because he was my Lyft driver.

So I got into the car, and we made chit chat as is opening procedure for taking a Lyft. I asked how long he’d been driving, he told me he’d been up since 6 am. I commented on how early that was, and he mentions, nonchalant, that he’s hoping to make enough fare to head home early and take his wife out to a nice dinner.

Okay, this dude is like seventy. That’s already frickin’ adorable.

So I try not to making squeeing noises out loud and merely respond how that’s sweet. I ask how long he’s been married. He answers – 44 years.

Holy. fuck.

I ask how they met. He tells me that they both worked in the same government agency, back in the Philippines. “We met in the office and… that’s how it all got started.” His voice winked, even if he did not.

He launches into his whole story. He tells me how he and his wife, they worked at this agency for 25 years, but before they retired, his wife wanted to pursue her real profession for a while. They moved to Chicago and “were trapped there in the snow” for twenty years, so she could be a chemist.

Finally retiring, they moved to Florida. He tells me how, having saved up a fair amount, they gave their remaining assets in the Philippines to their daughter, which he pronounces further endearingly as duo-ter. But… he stumbles over himself, for a few seconds. He’d started to explain how he has a daughter, but… the stumbling and backpedalling came to a stop, and he tells me, “I had a son, but I lost him when he was nineteen.”

I don’t want to ask what lost means.

My driver, he pushes on and tells me about his duo-ter, now 44 (my innuendo-center starts cheering internally and wink-wink-nudge-nudging the man), lives in Okinawa with her eight-year-old son. She’s serving as a pediatrician in the air force – they paid for her school, she works for them the same amount of years. She’s got two left.

My mind immediately starts praying that Okinawa stays quiet for the next two years.

The old man’s talk meanders back to him and his wife. He tells me how they tired of Florida’s weather, so they moved to Los Vegas instead. It was cheaper there, anyway. They rented a three-bedroom house for just $700 a month. My roommates and I are renting a three-bedroom apartment for more than that.

But… the old man, his voice becomes closed and quiet, “Los Vegas was my downfall. I had never gambled before in my life. But I got myself stuck at the slot machines. I lost all our savings. I… I squandered everything.”

I can hear the shame in his voice. I would not have been surprised if he’d started to cry.

“But I told my wife,” he goes on, “I told my wife, it’s not too late, I can earn it back. Well, not all of it, but some, enough…” He spends several more minutes reciting a litany of “I did a bad thing” and “I needed to make it better” and “I was contrite, so I could do it.”

They moved out to Santa Clarita. He started driving for Lyft. That is why he is a driver, to try one car ride at a time to rebuild the life he intended for his wife – and himself – to have. To make good on his statement that he is contrite. He tells me how sorry he is for what he did, how grateful he is that his wife is with them. “I think she still loves me,” he said in a small voice. “I love her very much.”

We reach my street, and as we pull up to my curb, he turns to me and with a somehow beaming face tells me enthusiastically, “I hope all your ventures are successful!”

I tell him that I hope he has a nice dinner with his wife.

Missing

29 Sep
Missing

There was a time

when you and me

were a single word,

and all I heard

in the beating, fluttering earth

was the breath

of you next to me,

when my curves fit yours

because that was home.

My body’s lonely now,

now that you and me

are two different words

and I can’t hear you anywhere

in this silence,

because I don’t remember what it felt like

to hold your hand anymore,

because you decided that anymore,

you didn’t want to hold me.

Poem: Dark One

14 Jul

Dark One

I worry I am too much chaos. You stand there, in your sweet and indeterminable beauty, and you think I am frail because you see me cower. But I am only crouching, trying to hide from you my soul as it glowers.

I am a stormy soul, oh light one. I worry I might obliterate you if we were to crash together.

Insanity so easily swallows up naked possibility.

I’m worried we would go insane, if I tried to swallow you.

But you are so tempting, you over there with your soft breezes and gentle kisses blown at me with a wave. Your fingers chide my suspicion so cheerfully.

I am fearful to wave back; I do not trust my darkened sensibilities. They can so quickly snuff a greeting so bright as yours.

Ah, but you might taste so sweet, as I devoured you…

And the end of what you promised – well, death need not always be a wretched case.

But would it be so easy for me to say that then as I watched you limp away, wounded?

Poem: The Anger of a Lamppost

8 Jul

Love’s a terrible thing
when you’ve been reduced to a scheduling item –
the emotional equivalent of a lamppost,
lovely and terribly convenient to have around,
but not exactly a high emotional investment.
Sometimes you don’t even notice
when the bulb’s gone out.
And then the stretch of putting it off and putting it off,
always meaning to attend to the deadness in your room,
but so much a second thought
that such a nonessential scheduling item
stays dead,
for months,
until finally you know you’ll never put a bulb back
and say fuck it,
then throw it in the trash
so you can get a different, shinier lamppost.
I did not like being that scheduling item.
My bulb left broken for much too long,
even though you kept saying that one day,
things would be brighter.

Stubborn Is

7 Jun

Stubborn Is

Stubborn is going to the beach on a cloudy day,

eating burnt toast or cold eggs that crunch.

Stubborn is doing dishes in scalding water,

grabbing for the soap even as your hands flinch.

Stubborn is staring back at opaque eyes.

Stubborn is pounding a deadened heart.

Stubborn is fighting the battle you’ve already lost.

And stubborn is going on,

refusing to press the off button.

Or stubborn is pressing the off button,

refusing to go on.

You are a ghost, you see.

31 May

 

You Are A Ghost, You See

You are a ghost, you see.

You haunt me not so much

in the traces of your life littered

among the foundation of mine,

the trinkets and bestowals of a love

I once thought was true.

No; your memory is nothing so easy

as those leftover tangibles I can hide in a box.

It is the phantom of you, that I cannot abide;

the ephemera of your mannerisms

that now color mine;

the cadence of your voice that carries on in my conversation,

because the pattern of my words had learned to follow along.

It is the beating and the rhythm,

the hand gestures,

the faces,

the little movements of my existence that had come to keep pace

with yours.

You haunt me in my very viscera,

the way that my tendons line together

and the circles my joints make when they move.

People, we come to mirror the thing that’s most before our eyes.

And even though you are now gone

I cannot rid myself of your reflection.

You are a ghost, you see,

and I am your phantom.