Janelle, I write this to you not knowing if you will ever read it. It may never be appropriate, I think it could be selfish to expose you to the intensity of my love in the wrong circumstances. I write it because I have the natural desire to express my emotions, and I am in love with you. My love for you is like one of those annoying trick candles you’d give to a punkass nine year-old. I blow it out, you blow it out, we both blow it out, the little fuck just keeps burning. It’s been over seven years now.
I hope that if you ever do read this, you appreciate the courage of it, even if fails to touch you. I will not demand anything from you, but I want you to understand my heart enough to respect it.
There is a noble beauty in calmly enduring the pain of desire.
The shape of your lips lingers at the edge of my imagination
as I yolk my mind to the plow and pull.
Your eyes glow like evening seas,
sparkling with mirthful certainty from the intimate chamber of my heart
as I haul it across the day.
You wrap my past and future around your body and sit
at the foot of my bed where I lay
loving you as far as I can see, watching you love,
beautiful and pouring in morning,
sharp and joyous in your twilight.
My heart is a watershed. Emotion is water and I am a bird.
Ice slices my numb breast on abstract peaks,
where cold winds gut the clouds on stone truth,
humanity vanishing into insignificance in the ticking cradle of the universe below.
Where emotion freezes solid as instinct,
glaciers of faith and feeling far too massive to move with conscious leverage,
monoliths too heavy to lift with questions,
grinding down the mountains,
carving out who I am,
the heat of life,
the friction of time,
forces who coax cold,
whispering, softly, consistently
to let go,
and it drops,
it splatters down through the high hills and alpine meadows,
washing clean rocky ravines of resolution, feeding creativity far below,
sweat trickling down the forehead of a life in labor.
It is cool across my toes
as it flows through forests of relationships,
clear in quiet lakes, were friendships grow on the banks like orchards
tart and true lemons, crisp frank apples, light joyous cherries, sweet tender peaches
slow heavy oaks drinking into the loyalty of the earth,
roots sinking into the foundation of who I am,
a ring of trust for each hurricane survived
too mighty to uproot in my darkest tempest.
It clings to my skin,
tangled in the jungle air,
glowing in the gasping, moaning eye of the moon
where the face of man peels from animal flesh
the energy of prehistory humming
impulsively in my fangs and nose,
twitching electrically under skin, on nerve
flickering jaggedly through warm muscle
impatient along lines of violent potential,
dripping with fucking, fighting, howling in the dark.
It stings against my neck,
gathering in my hair,
scaled with hard honor and steady breath,
as I stand on the high tundra of my mind,
watching the jungles burn.
It sticks in my mouth,
oozes thick through my veins
as I stumble across vast deserts of apathy.
Where the sun burns without passion,
Death walks alone, without Pain.
Grinning, arms spread open and awake
his thin bones cast the only shadows
in the shimming heat,
wider than war,
cool as silence.
The wind never stops,
a conductor leading a choir of sand,
through a leaping stinging song,
slow sweeping gestures of hissing erosion,
gnawing skin like an eraser.
On either side, forests grow and rivers flow.
I follow water to land’s end and the sea has your name.
Without any image associated, your bare name sizzles on my page.
It pounces into moments of idle thought, playful as a kitten,
and echoes in my mind like thunder in a valley.
I struggle to elucidate with poetry
the way your name illustrates perfectly to me
the complementary themes of your beauty,
the crude pixels of words strain clumsily
at the intricate melody of memories,
a seven year cord of emotion,
wound thick with devotion,
taunt between recollection and imagination
intimately woven into two smooth syllables.
The jazz in two simple sounds somehow embodies the complexity
of your strong spirit as I know it,
the purple spunk in your personality
the flair of creativity,
distinguishing your intoxicating charisma,
defining an energetically unique nature to your character
a childish curiosity and mischievous sense of humor,
a fresh, essential flavor which kicks in your favor
a wit too quick to savor which I’ve admired without waver
regardless of the simplicity of your path.
They are an invocation of your graceful femininity,
the tender loyalty you give your family,
the serene simplicity and calm humility
of how you intended to spend your life,
the generosity with which you share your beauty,
an essence of kind mystery, of gently playful reserve,
the patience of your attention as given
to students, children, animals,
and besotted souls such as mine,
the warm joy you find in the simple cycles
of seasons and holidays
the smile I remember on your face,
while cradling a spider in your hand,
tossed away for a squeamish set of twins,
a fine thread of grace laced through the fabric of what you do
and who you are,
you are too easy to love…
My feet press into the flesh of the living night
standing in cool surf, watching it come.
The “Ja” rises from the sea,
reaches for the constellations,
curls in the feline arc of playful intelligence.
The exotic stretch of the “J” purrs gracefully,
into the release, “aah”
smooth, spunky and sweet
a fresh berry hanging like hope in suspended provocation
the mid-stride instant of weightless momentum,
when sprinting through tall grass
springing over the low fences of my defenses
Gliding into my soul without resistance
The “nelle” whispers over the veins of my feet and pours off my ankles,
washes over a thick tongue in your unique accent
the texture of feminine tenderness
I watch it, feeling the sound touch down
a rushing, purring whispering ghost of sensation
reverberating through the flesh of my soul
echoing in the empty chambers of my heart which wait,
reserved for memories which may never come.
It can scream with urgency of an eagle,
crack and roar with a tsunami of power,
but tonight your name laps gently where I stand at the shore of my mind
watching the waves rolling in from the horizon
bearing a message from the stars.
You are my love.
I will not write of your physical loveliness.
I imagine with direct inspiration,
I could write an anthology of poetry on your body alone.
I could find the sublime in any given curve of you
in the texture and tone or flaw or bone,
you know I believe you are the most beautiful woman in the world,
the most fucking beautiful creature in the known universe,
I’ve told you why, what I see,
but everyone knows the cliche of beauty and the beholder.
Could it be, you are just a beautiful creature who I love more?
Why do I love you so?
I have met some extraordinarily beautiful, intelligent women in my life,
even spent months, years getting to know them
and none of them came close to making me feel like you do.
I knew a Vietnamese girl for hours a day and months on end.
She was decent from royalty, every line of her face showed it,
regal cheekbones supporting large almond eyes,
a defined jaw line drawn even to a sharp chin,
a nose as straight as her teeth,
her lips as full as the rest of her was light,
lithe and graceful, she was tri-lingual,
with a blackbelt in Taekwondo.
she graduated from the honors biochemistry program,
feared, respected and loved
as one of the most accomplished undergraduate researchers it had ever seen.
She is currently planning to get her M.D. Ph.D.
She is absolutely vivacious, voracious, constantly animated,
always thinking, talking, working at 700 miles an hour,
always ready for a slow-motion karate fight,
she has hiked across asia,
and she is deep, I know
we spent hours trying to explain to each other how our minds worked,
she is likely the most energetically brilliant person I’ve ever known,
a ninety pound, one woman army
and she wanted me
she made that clear
But I never fell for her.
And what of the grad student working in my lab now?
She is a natural princess,
perfectly accustomed to being the most beautiful woman in the building,
rarely even bothering to wear make-up.
If she were 4 inches taller she could be a super model, but instead she is perfect.
Her vibrant blue elfin eyes glow beneath straight eyebrows,
every angle of her face gracefully feminine beyond any standard
Her cheekbones, jaw line, temptingly lush lips….
Her body is a rare, metabolically perplexing mix of
slender waist and arms, delicate ankles and hands,
a long, elegant neck, perfectly proportioned hips,
athletically defined legs, toned runners ass
and beasts than seem too full to be true on her slight frame.
Perhaps even more remarkable than her physical gifts is the way she handles them
With no effort, she is given all the positive attention she could ever possibly need
something that can easily corrupt a person into being cold, nasty, apathetic to affection
but she isn’t,
she’s calm and kind.
I see her almost everyday,
she is my stripper career coach, my homosexual relations consultant
I been to church with her, I’ve run a half-marathon with her
I’ve even slept in the same bed as her,
and though I kept my back to her like the drunken gentleman I am
She pressed her back against me and squirmed until I fell asleep
I never rolled over and I haven’t fallen for her
I could write at least three more examples of absolutely gorgeous, intelligent women who have taken clear interest in me. Maybe I would have failed to build a relationship with any of them, because I am clumsy, simple and naive in the ways of love, but they failed to capture my imagination in the first place. Why? Why you?
Perhaps I am just a fool,
stubbornly seeking love and meaning in all the wrong places,
running scared from a reality where I wasted my youth in unrequited romance,
unable or unwilling to accept that love is simply not spiritual, merely biological,
and I only exacerbate my condition with this poetic elucidation.
Perhaps I’m not in love with you, perhaps I barely know you,
and I will never again know you as well as I once did.
Perhaps it is not the essence of you which I love, but products of that essence
and the image of your spirit, your soul which echos through my mind
is drifting farther and farther from the reality of who you are
warped upon reflective planes of self-defining emotions
trapped in a self-reinforcing feedback loop,
memories gradually, inevitably stained
by the sticky passion on my fingers
to someone who never was.
Perhaps I only love the idea of you,
and it is only gross naivety that allows me to maintain the illusion.
Perhaps the gritty mechanics of relationships grind away any depth of passion
such that even if I did have a chance with you
I couldn’t make you happy.
Perhaps, not only is it not “meant to be”
there is no “meant to be”
there is only me
making a fundamentally poor decision
to let love and imagination run free.
I am intimately aware of the probability of that possibility, but I don’t fucking care,
I choose to believe something else.
You know for what I wish with every shooting star
for every coin dropped, and candle extinguished,
it is the only wish I have made in many years.
“Very sweet”, you said,
not particularly interested, justifiably not
for it wasn’t particularly interesting
but it aroused in me an absurd curiosity,
a question with such outlandish naiveté concentrated into it’s brevity,
I find laughably it childish to even ask,
a question who’s existence utterly defies my understanding of the universe,
THE ridiculous question of my crazy life,
one which I could not rationally entertain for five fucking seconds
yet which persists…
darting in the deep shadows under absolute impossibility
protected by mystery, sustained in untestability
a question scaled in slippery magic which
somehow allows it to elude the crushing grip of reason
A last, daring survivor of the faith of youth
of purity, spirituality and true love
holding tightly to more fragile form of truth…
The question is simple,
when I close my tired eyes and wish with my whole heart, my humble soul,
“Janelle, be happy, I love you, please be happy….”
…Do you feel it?
The first ones did not echo.
I remember the feeling,
sending heat and light out into an void,
infinite, indifferent, helpless, hopeless…
but the feeling changed.
Wether by word or will,
I was gradually submerged under the inescapable sensation
that they were going somewhere.
Maybe I made that sensation
a spontaneous creation of my vivid imagination,
Maybe, like stars in heaven, our living souls exist in vast communal space
so enormous that it is not immediately clear anything else is around
but with a little practice and concentration
I was touching something.
Maybe it was this “God” fella.
Or maybe you have felt it,
not knowing what it was
where it came from
just an inexplicable warmth
a flush of emotion
without tag or label or price.
Maybe angels on my contract sweeten your dreams.
I don’t know where wishful thinking ends, only where it begins,
I believe wishes and prayers are concentrated projections of love,
and I feel connected to you
it’s impossible to know exactly where love comes from or exactly where it goes,
but when I clench my heart
tight around the way you make me feel,
I am certain I feel it flowing.
It is the only extraordinary thing I believe in.
I can’t explain it, and I don’t know if it explains much
but it explains how I love you like fairytales,
I love you like faith.
The tides roll over me and I dream.
Awareness recedes where you presses against it with
overwhelming intensity of sensation,
the scent of honey and laughter,
firm flesh and soft smooth skin,
breasts and lips and the hollow of the neck glowing in the certainty of youth,
heavy with it’s history,
the way hair and breath pool on my chest.
My skin whispers, wet with the memories of dreams,
where you rule under the water and drag me in,
down with darkness,
fingers and toes,
eyes and elbows and I wrap your slender frame
with all the purity and reality I can muster in a dream
and let my love roar like a furnace,
as if, by sheer intensity of passion and clarity of vision,
I could make you feel it,
I could silently, invisibly open a portal of emotion across a thousand miles
as if I could cast a lightning bolt through the loving flesh of God
and hit you like an answered prayer,
wake you up in the middle of the night
with a flush on you cheeks
a warm ache in your chest
a tingle on your lips….
When I awake, love and beauty cry with the pain of one another,
tones which echo against my bones and swim the rivers of my veins,
curl flaming over my ribs and pour smoking over my tongue where I hold deep,
claws clenching into my transient being,
the wild abandon of unconscious imagination sliding inexorably
towards the dull stillness of memory.
It don’t take much,
to awake an aching awareness of your absence
I meditate to tame my mind and I yet teeter
precarious on the present, any instant
wandering in memory or fantasizing of the future
could easily send me plunging into longing for your presence.
The sheer weight of desire sends long cracks zagging through my sanity
I trace them with nervous fingers, muttering
speculating how crazy I must be
to continue to love you like I do.
It is a maniac sickness,
a dangerous passion which hold the rest of me hostage
I suffer in awe, stockholm syndrome for my stupid heart
despite the vast joys and dense pleasures it has cost me with it’s idiocy
and the mounting evidence that it shall never be full-filled,
my love is stoked for the long burn, sizzling patiently
flaring intermittently, rumbling ominously
ready to drag me to my knees and wring me about like a ragdoll in whitewater
harsh and swift an unmeasurably powerful.
My heart’s unquenchable thirst drowns my mind,
thoughts of you affect such intense physical sensations in my chest
that sufficient nervousness about anything draws you to mind
and my love for your has bent double
the scale against which all other emotions are measured.
I love you like crazy.
I’m chasing tones of thought and feeling which have too high of resolution for words to describe, always humming, dancing just beyond the reach of my conscious mind.
Just a little deeper… just a little higher….
I’m not sure if I have the capacity as a poet to convey how much I really love you. Words, if woven correctly, are powerful magic, but there is a limit. There are some pictures that cannot be painted with words, some subtleties of sensation that cannot be simulated. You can’t learn to unicycle from a book. You can’t have something conveyed to you by words that you haven’t experienced at least in part yourself. I wish I could write my heart out exactly, with all it’s little eddies and back currents, riptides and maelstroms, seasons and colors in vivid life here on this page but there would always be mist in the cracks, chances taken against the inherent inaccuracy of interpretation.
I try, but my love for you is too big for my words to texture,
too deep to pour out on a few pieces of paper,
too loud for me to ignore,
too long to fit in my life.
Remember that Janelle,
no matter how much love I give to you,
no matter what you do with it,
there is more.
I don’t want to create this poem, I just want to release it.
I want genius to come up behind me and seize my heart,
bathe in my blood and fly from my fingers,
and say “I love you” radiantly, classically,
with subtleties I myself do not understand,
a way in which the beauty is obvious yet the meaning follows
I want it to crash like a wave.
I want it to surge, fraying into the tempest of responsibly,
leaning on aching flesh, curling, white, terrible and wind whipped,
like fate and like a child’s hair,
falling like a bomb,
like a bison herd, like a dropped heart,
smashing back in,
like breath, like memory and justice,
and hissing under your skin like sex and war, like breaking bones and art and being alive.
I want it to crush you.
I have doubts.
I remind myself, “there is no courage without vulnerability,”
because I am scared.
I am scared because I am human, and my love for you seems greater than myself.
I am scared that I will fail it.
I am scared that it will fail you, and you won’t care.
I know I feel veins of steel in my mind.
One of my masters said of me,
“From one to ten, where the average person would submit at five, Seth takes nine and a half.”
I know the strange music the starts up when a soul strains towards the limits of it’s body
I’ve been gasping, limping, crying, choked out and beat down,
but physical discomfort is a brief annoyance to the long ache of emotion.
I have stood inside maelstroms of pain and fear,
walked naked into certain rejection,
persevered through the pounding rain of unrelenting failure,
and even now, I write mindful of the reality that you do not love me,
and the probability I will face either having wasted the entire spring of my life to unrequited passion
or wasting the rest of it out of loyalty to the “beauty in calm endurance of the flames of desire.”
I have waded after my heart through marches of depression years wide and thick enough to drown a lesser spirit, and I follow it still.
I am no stranger to pain,
it is a small toll for being true to myself and I endure it as stoically as I am able,
but I want you to know I am human.
I want you to know,
though I may be prone to extremes of passion,
and seem deep, strange and complicated
I am a simple soul.
I remember the sweet smile of my grandma
the wonder in her voice when she would tuck me in
telling me wonderful stories straight from her imagination.
“Well fiddly-dum and fiddly-dee
we shall see what we shall see”
were the magic words of her leprechaun
as he would swish his wand
in a triumphant swoosh
setting all right in the bayou
sending me off to a warm night of boyish dreams
with a kiss of the cheek.
I remember the tears in her eyes
many summers later
when she came out to me
where I sat on the porch wondering
if I would ever experience the romance I yearned for
and made me promise I would be happy.
I remember how tiny she felt in my arm when I last saw her
frail as a bird.
I remember the tears in my mother’s eyes
at the thought of me in uniform
not of pride, but fear
fear that she would lose me in a war she didn’t believe in
fear she would never be a grandmother
I remember the way my father would play Ghostriders in the Sky
the way his voice leapt and swung
across song or story
and now the pride in his voice when he tells me
he believes I can do anything.
I miss my childhood,
I miss all the friends that have faded from my life, Jeff and Kelsey, Carly, to name a few…
I miss you, and I get lonely every night.
I am strong but I am human,
and I’m scared.
I often wonder whence my love for you comes,
I don’t know.
The roots of me are misty and mysterious
and strain with speculative fingers, breathless, wide-eyed as I may
the deep shady spaces eludes definite understanding
I don’t know what’s happening down there.
I know what comes out of it
trunks of the vines that spread throughout me
along branches of the fundamental forces of who I am
and who’s flowers I nurture as the most precious beauty I contain
My courage rises from it,
a pillar, an anchor, a sword.
My creativity springs from it
A garden, a melody, a curiosity.
My love of beauty and excellence,
a circling beast, ravenous for the sublime,
snarling disdainfully at the scent of mediocrity.
My drive for growth and development,
watching me with the concerned eyes of a child,
shifting my priorities with the slow might of a million ants.
It is also the source of my love for you.
I don’t know what branches off what.
The words I would think to say to you shift and sing in the wind between us,
the love doesn’t. The sky can not lift the sea.
I want to illuminate you, inspire you, invigorate you, comfort you, challenge you, satisfy you and hear you speak easily in the soft, tender tones of a love. I want to be a living invocation of your desire, your faith in love and whatever magic survives in you. I want to be your best friend, your most trusted confidant, your most loyal fan. I know I’m not anywhere close to being those things to you, and I have no idea how to get there. I know I am not the most charming creature, in many ways I am numb and crude and clumsy, but my intensions are pure and I am exceptionally tenacious. I wish I knew exactly what to say and do to truly, deeply resonate with you. I wish I knew how to press all your buttons, where to tickle you, where to caress you… but I don’t. What I do know is that if we ever do share love and our lives, I want it to be founded on something open and genuine, trust, honesty and mutual faith, and I know how to be honest. So that’s my strategy, I will be open and honest with you about how I feel, I will get to know you as well as you will allow, and I am going work, with all the energy and passion I can muster, to grow into a man you admire, and are proud of. I think I have said most of this to you before. It’s worth repeating because people say things they doesn’t mean, things they regret later.
I truly love you.
If you can learn to love without attachment, the world is yours.
Love comes from somewhere else.
I dreamt of you
walking by a construction site
were you also worked
and you commiserated with me against yourself
then I dreamt of a bowl of fruit
fresh apples and pears and strawberries
dewy and sharp, cool
I took a piece and underneath
thawing, slowly unfurling
long tired legs, sleepy fangs of the spider
her aunts emerging from the yawning darkness
gesturing terrible violent questions
a foot or more towards
where I stood ensnared
In my dream last night I awoke to a phone full of missed calls and text messages
most from a screaming mad princess
a few from a monster
I have written a thousand poems and now I am high.
Don’t break things. Avoid cocaine.
Lives move in curious trajectories
difficult to feel the tail at times
difficult to predict what I am becoming
There is a familiar pressure in the center of my mind
a mere matter of tickling out the trout
the act of poetry is to release inspiration
It wells from beneath the foamy surface of the conscious mind
foreign from the nations of dreams living under the water
vampiric citizens darting through the shadowy spaces
where roots of personality stir in the subtle currents
drinking fossilized oil of fundamental impulses
Creation, destruction, exploration.
It wells deep and it’s important to find it there
where it’s pure and strong,
untainted by the all the dead ideas and failures that lay rotting in memory
oozing the black grog insecurities survive on.
undiluted by the thin milk dribbling from the nipples of expectation’s in-house vending machine
unsterilized by the eyes of the white agents of reason
methodically measuring the magic from mystery through bright blue light
where one transient seed of emotion,
one delicate flake of truth,
one sublime instant of understanding may swiftly blossom into crystalline lattice of densely emoting imaginary,
a powerful machinery of flowing phrases guiding you gently through meaning’s mazes
lazily lifting you though silky soliloquies of seamless self expression,
dragging you harshly through fetid marshes of fetal suicides,
gnashing cliche’d delusions of self perception between teeth of introspection beyond your range of thought,
Crushing you in jaws flexing cold questions against a silent skull of irrefutability
digesting you in the bellies of epiphanies rimless and eternal to your mortal stature.
swallowing itself whole before your gasping eyes
Dissolving into an fragmented echo, pregnant insanities degrading into flimsy inanities,
unraveling to reveal the clinking bones of joke, flesh roiled away
larger, swifter, darker than humor could capture in the narrow net of it’s instant
twisting back into the poet by the depth of it’s awareness
and stopping itself
like an ouroboros
like homonuclear zero-quantum coherence.
Better a fool than a coward.
I love my life, I just wish it was over.
Shuffling on to that cold, distant nirvana.
In the high tundra of my mind, watching the jungles burn.