Answered Prayers

 

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Going below (love aquatic)

 

 

The simplicity of

One hand inside another

Hyper-awareness of her hair

Hanging just above my chest

The tiniest of sounds

Breathed out through dry lips

The concentration of purpose

 

If this moment is all there is

If the next ends the world

Then it was perfect

Like cathedrals of dew in the morning grass

Otters playing sexy games in a crystal stream

A dragonfly hovering stationary just long enough to catch the light

Perfect forever because that’s how long each moment lasts

 

We send our coda into eternity

With the only language in which we’re fluent

The language of fingertips and trailing kisses and

Hot breath at our ears

That slippery instant

Where fully submerged

You remember you can breath

 

The slipping of the porpoise through the currents

The hard pounding of the waves against the rocks

We are all ocean born creatures when the tide begins to rise

Though we’ve taught ourselves to walk on the land

We always lay down in the waters of our desires

Dive deep into the mystery

To discover again who we might be.

 

 

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2016

 

 

 

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71. Hold on to me

 

Said you’d take me for a little dance
If you had a little time on your hands
Well all I do is push and shove
Just to get a little piece of your love
I want it all or nothin’ at all
I want it all or nothin’ at all

Springsteen, All or nothin’ at all

 

Clingy

Now there’s an interesting word with, for most, a purely negative connotation. But I’d argue there’s context to be considered. We’ve probably all been in relationships where the other was unbearably smothering, where their dependence upon us became like a cloying, choking cloud of asphyxiating gas. Or maybe – God help us – we’ve been that other person.

In men, this often manifests as paranoid suspicions and inappropriate jealousy. That kind of unhealthy dependence can become dangerous – even violent. In women, clinginess can often present as a stiflingly intense attentiveness, a need to do (and be) absolutely everything for their partner.

That second sort really doesn’t sound so bad compared to the first but, in both cases, the real issue arises from an acute imbalance. To put it frankly, one party loves the other more than they feel they are loved. This is when the cling becomes unbearable to the one who feels the least.

Basically, the one in the more powerful position has to endure the doubts and insecurities of the less regarded half of the relationship. In the end, it becomes intolerable for both parties.

I have certainly experienced this sort of relationship. I even wrote a song about it at the time (no, I don’t randomly write songs about my love life, I was in a band in those days). When we went in to record a demo, I decided to call it I Don’t Need You. Much of it revolved around that clinginess which so vexed me back then (we’re talking twenty odd years ago).

But here’s the thing, if there is no imbalance, if both parties are equally in love, the cling factor really feels very different. Both Jersey and I can feel incredibly clingy at times; it’s a consequence of being so much apart. The difference is when either of us is being that way, the other kind of loves being the recipient. I’d have never believed that possible until this.

When there’s no desperation behind it, no sense that the other might be slipping away, cling morphs into something else, something actually quite positive; even bonding. At least, this has been our experience.

In a sense, I’m almost ashamed I wrote that song. There’s not a lot of empathy there. It’s pretty cold really, I can actually hear the contempt in my voice.

I’ve thankfully matured a lot since my band days, learned that life is never quite as we imagine it. There are so many ways we can slide towards becoming an arsehole without ever intending to. What always saves us, in the end, is love. Real love unfucks the world and turns insensitive young musicians into older, wiser, (and sometimes, clingier) partners.

 

©2016

Shout it out loud

 

 

Unforgivable

 

 

Let me bore you

With more words about

Just how much

She really means to me

 

Please allow me

Eyes to the heavens

My obsessive need

To shout from the rooftops

 

Resistance is futile

The doors are now locked

You pays your money

And you takes your choice

 

I do understand

Your growing reticence

Out stayed my welcome

Now it’s become awkward

 

I crave your indulgence

Just one more time

Not the last time of course

You all understand that right?

 

Did I mention how much I love her?

 

 

 

 

©2016

70. Ride the line of balance

 

And I’m all alone, I’m all alone
And kid you better get the picture
And I’m on my own, I’m on my own
And I can’t go home

Springsteen, 10th Avenue Freeze-out

 

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I’m slowly settling back into my second life. It was my only life once but I’ve left those days far behind. Jersey girl’s world is my real life now, there I am a part of a greater whole. In NJ, I am husband, lover, father-figure and have the love and respect of the people in her life.

Here in this colder world, I have a job, friends, and of course my son. It is enough to keep me from despair but it lacks the singular element around which my existence revolves – her. Without my Jersey, I am a fraction of my true self because, first and foremost, I am hers.

I think I have established here within these posts what qualities represent true love to me. They are nonetheless worth reiterating as they are the supports around which this blog is built. For love to be true, I would propose, certain elements need to be present. I’m going to offer them here in the form of questions.

  • Does being with this person allow you to be completely true to who you are?
  • Are you a better version of yourself with them than you have been with others?
  • Do you trust them without question?
  • Does being with them make you feel fulfilled, respected, understood?
  • Is your empathy fully engaged?

For my part, I could no longer countenance a relationship where even one of these elements were missing. In fact, I can now no longer imagine any relationship but this one. We have both known from the beginning that this is the last person we will ever love. That is a very new experience for me, totally unique in my lifetime.

That’s what makes this second life so difficult to endure. I feel so complete when I’m with her and so stripped down without her. The life I live here feels like a glorified holding pattern. I love spending time with my boy but he is a very busy young man these days and there just aren’t that many opportunities to spend a lot of time together (cue cats in the cradle).

My life is mostly work and writing (with a good deal of skyping of course) and that’s fine but I’ve seen what life is like on the other side and I desperately want that back. Patience is considered a virtue but I’m tired of being virtuous. I need to be where she is.

Reading back over this post, I can taste the desperation in every word. The fact that I’m writing this at all indicates that the strain is beginning to get to me. I’ll stop now before I begin to sound like a miserable old git because the truth is, I’m actually very happy. I may be thousands of miles from the woman I love and who loves me but the fact that I have her in my life makes it impossible to be unhappy.

The truth is, once a love like this comes into your life, loneliness – real bone-deep loneliness – is no longer part of your world. Just knowing that there is someone out there that can make you feel this way is all it takes to never truly feel lonely again.

Impatient, yes – but not lonely, never that.

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Words and images are my own.

©2016

Gave it a name

 

 

 

Conversation with a cynic

 

Tell me again

That life is cruel

This life that brought her to me

 

Tell me the world

Is too unfair

This place that gave birth to her

 

I cannot see the injustice

Try as I might

In a world where love is possible

 

Teach me

 

Show me I’ve been wrong

That just the possibility is

Not worth all the pyres of bigotry and hate

 

And if you do convince me

Kill me next breath

Don’t leave me here in your cold world.

 

 

©2016

But that’s enough about me…

 

Everybody needs a place to rest
Everybody wants to have a home
Don’t make no difference what nobody says
Ain’t nobody like to be alone

Springsteen, Hungry Heart

I’d like to pause for a moment in all this unrelenting self-indulgence, to acknowledge a few of the amazing bloggers I’ve encountered since I launched Runaway American Dream. Having the opportunity to write and be read is incredibly satisfying but equally satisfying is the chance to read and experience others’ (generally far superior) efforts.

I had no idea just how richly diverse the blogging community really was. I’ve encountered some truly talented and creative people here in Blogland and I just want to give a little shout-out to some of my favourites. I emphasise these are just some of my favourites, there are so many.

First cab off the rank is the amazing Tosha from Everything I Never Told You . Tosha Michelle is one of the most unbelievably skilled and prolific poets I’ve encountered, well, anywhere really. Her poems are like arrows shot from her heart to yours. I’ve yet to read a piece from this remarkable talent that I didn’t relate to completely. Here is an example of her powers that I found particularly moving and here’s another for good measure.

Next, we go from the sublime to the (intentionally) ridiculous. Brian at Bonnywood Manor/Crusty Pie is frickin’ hilarious. I don’t know where he came up with the idea to do a blog that was almost entirely based on creating absurdist narratives around old Hollywood era photographs, but it was a warped piece of genius. Any time I need a laugh, Brian is generally my first port of call. Peace. Tranquillity. Insanity…. Indeed.

I can already see I’m going to have to do another one of these. There are so many great blogs out there.

Yeah, another blogger is a great read. Based in one of my favourite towns, Philadelphia, this is one of those observational blogs that lead you on a journey you had no idea you wanted to take. I don’t remember ever reading a thing on this site that was anything but thoroughly enjoyable; far from just another blogger.

Finally, If you have the travel bug but just can’t seem to get off the couch (testify), may I humbly recommend Where to Next?  Blogger Peggy is a native Nebraskan (so top marks on the Springsteen-o-meter there) but she currently lives in Canberra, Australia with her husband Poor John. Now Canberra just happens to be where I grew up, so of course, I follow Peggy’s posts religiously.

Did I mention that Peggy and John spend an inordinate amount of time travelling the globe and blogging their incredible experiences for all the armchair travellers among us? No? Well, I can’t be expected to remember everything. I’ve only had one coffee this morning. They also take great photos, so what are you waiting for? The world awaits.

Honourable mentions

Music Enthusiast (really great stuff from true enthusiast, Jim), I lost My Lens Cap (I love good photography and there’s plenty to love here), Elusive Trope (another great poet and photographer), My Pirate Chambers (Really great poetry with edge).

 

More to follow.

69. Romance the dumb into talking

 

Well, she wrote me a letter
Said she couldn’t live without me no more
Listen, mister, can’t you see I got to get back
To my baby once-a more
Anyway, yeah!

 The Box Tops, The letter

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In all of human history, it has only been possible to have a relationship exactly like ours, within the last few years. Jersey girl and I are artefacts of a very specific time. The internet in some form has existed since the early seventies and the personal computer since the eighties but, in a format in any way useful to lovers such as we, only really this past couple of decades. Skype and Facebook are very much the new kids on the block both having only been around for a handful of years.

Jersey and I were only able to become aware of each other’s existences because the High-Speed Internet also existed and we both lived in countries where people have ready access to it. We were only able to get to know each other because of the sudden prevalence of social media and, again because we lived in countries where such media is not yet heavily censored.

Skype has allowed us to maintain a ‘gaze into your eyes’ relationship over the many long months of physical separation. This, more than anything, has enabled our love to flourish. And none of it, not even the original internet, existed in the year I was born (men were still wearing hats the year I was born).

We literally owe our existence as a couple to digital technology (and jet engine technology of course). I’m writing this on my way to my job here in Melbourne but I can take my phone out of my pocket and call Jersey girl from this train just like any other commuter. It’s just that Jersey is on the other side of the world rather than back at the place where I actually, you know, live. I remember what it was like as recently as the early eighties to make an overseas call. Conversations were stilted as hell due to the three-second delay along the cables. And the cost per minute was astronomical.

Today I regularly call Jersey girl just to let her know I’m thinking of her. How quickly we have all assimilated the miracles of the past few decades; adapted to this new normal. I recall I used to hear about people marrying partners they’d met online and think, oh my god that’s so weird. Now I am one of those weirdos, but I’m far from alone. Millions of people now fall in love this way. It has almost become a cliché. I still get that look occasionally when I tell our story to someone new but nowhere near as often as you might think.

And, though, it may seem crazy to some to even contemplate such an obstacle-strewn life, there are historical precedents of even less convenient long distance loves than ours. Not including the obvious, Abelard and Heloise,  I can think of at least two written accounts (though, frustratingly I can now find no trace of either online*) of long distance love carried out entirely by letter at a time when the horse or sailing ship were the preferred (indeed only) methods of delivery. Think about that.

And in at least one case, the lovers involved had not met before falling in love (like Jersey girl and me) and indeed, never did meet (thankfully, unlike us). My mind reels at the thought of the interminable wait between each communication. Literally, months would pass between perfumed missives (I’m simply assuming the perfume part).

There’s a discipline and a commitment to such a love that just wouldn’t flourish in this faster pace, shorter attention span world. I doubt anybody in these modern times has that sort of patience.

And in those earlier days, people were frequently struck down by deadly illnesses that seemed to come out of nowhere (but which in fact arose from appalling hygiene and dreadful civil engineering – shit in the streets, blood on the sheets). So the next letter you received could be the one telling you that your beloved had died of diphtheria four months earlier.

I cannot imagine the courage and fortitude required to endure such a life. And people are amazed by our story!

*Has anyone else noticed that google seems to be dumbing down lately?

 

Oh, and you probably won’t be surprised to hear that we both love the Griffin and Sabine books.

 

Words and image are my own.

©2016