Dear Charlotte…

The exchanges of words built by a love so sublime

of two people placed and locked in quondam time;

love seemingly capturing you both by such surprise,

caught by shock …Suddenly!… I can only surmise.

In any other time and place, under another circumstance…

If things were even a bit different…what a splendid dance!

Yet had that been the case,

would you now be in my space?

Would you then be speaking to me of this difficulty?

Unknowingly provoking profound emotional faculty!

Had it just been so run of the mill—

falling in love and having your fill—

would you catch so many gazing eyes,

asking their human hearts to recognize

the difficulty of the complexity of being

human, one to one, supple hearts beating?


This story that I read, of you two,

renders the concept of Love anew.

Love is not bound by signed contract and written pledge,

or bound tightly by the unyielding thread of its selvedge.

Love refuses cessation in its fervent active liquidity,

flowing where it will and can with liquid rapidity—

never stopping, never ceasing,

always growing, always increasing.

(Like a mother bearing into life not one child but two

her love did not split and halve but doubled and grew.)

Love is more than a choice, and seizes us sudden,

ignoring our blind-eyes and claims of “forbidden!”

There is no way that Love as a force can be hemmed in,

not even by vows uttered within marriage’s fencing-in.

Through you two I see that love renders us utterly human,

unable to control and choose where love anchors in union.


There’s so little that I get to know

of the depth of the dialogue, the low

of frustration of burgeoning isolation

in the small distance of separation

existing between two bodies of flesh,

never to mingle, never to mesh.

The ache of desire streaming out from your heart,

taking what you had—could get—but still, the smart

of the pain of that ever very small distance

erecting profound walls enforcing resistance…

But again, there’s so little I can know about

what happened in the times not written out…

did the ethic of love you two crafted and wrote down

keep in place—holding—when you were out of town?

Please forgive my audacity of this intrusive interrogation;

it’s not mine to voyeuristically solve the remnant equation.


I know more the emotional trials and tribulations he went through,

but little I’m given of the extent of what his decisions did to you.

The idea, his mostly, dropped as from divine lip,

and into it assumed you would simply fit and slip.

Dictums masquerading as choices for your consent…

Never minding the environment of potential discontent?

The threat of loss, of heart broken, his presence never again held…

reduced apparent selections to one, options were withheld.

When in love one does what one has to do to stay near

to the one whom one loves and considers so dear.

How often did your heart secretly confess in the middle of the night

that none of this was the way it should be, that you should take flight?

Did you ever script a “Dear Karl” letter only to tear it from piece to piece?

Did you muster courage for “Goodbye” but stumbled over the first griece?

Love’s great venomous bite renders hearts, minds, and bodies paralyzed,

forcing yield to the warm toxin flowing causing action to be unrealized.


Navigating the path you walked—trying again and again to make the best

of a situation that shouldn’t have been but yet it was…the distinctest—

was never going to be without great discomfort for all three hearts involved.

(She Loved him, he loved her and Loved you, you Loved him, nothing solved.)

Not to mention the tension and frustration existing between Nelly and you,

even in times of relative ease and tranquility, the triangle would never do.

My modern eyes gaze upon her situation and swear she should have just

left him, packed up, moved, walked on claiming new ground to readjust

and be with one who could love her in the way she so deserved

rather than sit and watch him keep his love only for you reserved.

But it is unfair of me to cast such an out of context gaze and sling

my hypothetical expectations for a woman of whom I know nothing.

I wonder about those momentary quiet times between you and her,

how often you saw—deep within—the pain she had to quietly endure.

You were the chosen one, the desired, the beloved,

and she the left, the deserted, haunted with unloved.


So many roam the earth swept by the wind of love’s door reclose’

even those wedded and coupled feel that lonely and cold repose.

But you had that true love, the stuff of wishes and prayers, dream and desire

The kind of love that ignites all the senses, sets the entire body ablaze like fire.

You were never his worst mistake, his regret, and never his shame;

you were his joy, his pleasure and love, in substance and in name.

The two of you stumbled into something of profound transcendence

the divine substance poured out through Love’s supreme eminence.

The ease you moved about each other, the fluidity of words

spilled forth, the vibrant energy between each body towards

the other, and the depth of comfort with each other you both found

is the divine knot of love’s string tying hearts together forever bound.

Even if these meager lines are styled so simplistically,

organized and written to you, Charlotte, anachronistically,

I want to (wish to?) say thank you for your humble witness

to Love’s rupture drawing us in to its radical subversiveness.


Inspired by Christiane Tietz’s biography, Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict.

There’s a Structure.

There’s a structure;

It exists it’s on its own.

It exists. Trust me.

It exists.

I wish you could see…

…The pain inside me.

…The structure…

The Structure is a number

A number is a symbol; which

Represents a substance;

And Substance provides for need.

But…

I am me

What provision meets need?

A substance clear and thick?

Something against you can kick?

A challenge and a crisis?

(What rhymes with crisis?)

Won’t anyone take the time to see…

What’s slowly consuming me?

Substance as a weapon

Used to abuse and to shame;

Stealing your reputation and your name.

The very thing that smiles as you kneel

Naked in the disgrace you feel.

I’ll never forget that look,

You never fucking forsook.

Substance as nothing and absence.

That silence and that smirk,

That “I’m-not-seeing-this” look.

Brings the most violent blow

Rendering substance to flow.

I cringe at your name and your mention

Just the mere thought is mental detention.

Take this for what it’s worth

There’s a structure, it exists.

On its own, it definitely exists.

Trust me, it exists, I wish you’d understand;

You’re nothing but a pawn in its capable hand.

There’s a structure; it exists on its very own;

It exists. I know you see it; to you it’s known.

Insecurity

This beast knows no limits.

it can penetrate anything and

From anywhere. Debilitating.

Everything is fine and then none of it is.

Here I am

there I am

There I went

Here it is

Ravaging over my mind and my body

Doing what it wants with me; no regard…

Tossing and turning me about with control;

Mind burdened with plaguing toxic thoughts. Deadly

It becomes something beyond me.

Demanding, yearning, reaching,…striving.

Caught in the trap of itself, over and over…

Pulled in to its vortex, the black-hole consuming me.

Relentlessness is this scene, in this place all just is.

Then in the quiet there is this:

The differentiation of quiet.

All is in this indefinable infinite space

In this place there is and there is not.

Insecurity knows no siblings; knows no friends.

The sentence of doom falls heavy on this fragile

Being of flesh and bone lacking the will to fight.

Too exhausted to fight against this reality of mine,

Which is this beast, the reality of insecurity.

It haunts me and cloaks me, like some medical

reprotective procedure, a reverse circumcision…

Insecurity; youareitsanditisyours.

 

 

 

 

 

The Big Engine Who Thought She Could Not

There was once a big engine that could, so she thought.

Until, one day, she decided she definitely could not.

Her eyes traveled along the track up the great, big hill.

The daunting task engulfed her; steam puffs went still.

She grit her teeth and tried to gather from inside,

But the biggest problem was that her fire had died.

All alone on her track and without support to be found,

Her momentum slowed, then her wheels made no sound.

They stopped rolling forward; they went completely dead on the track.

All the work and the fight had worn her thin; she felt her morale slack.

An incredible exhaustion seized upon her tired frame fast

Until she started rolling backward, her forward-part last.

Anxious panic set in. What should I do? Where should even I start?

The bend was nearing, so she gripped the track with all her heart.

She caught herself in time before hitting the deadly, sharp turn;

But, man, did that friction between wheel and rail begin to burn.

She held still and began to regain her steely, metal composure,

When something caught her eye down below the steep shoulder.

Up the steep climb a small engine came huffing,

Wheels slowly turning and steam clouds puffing.

The small engine stopped to take a quick needed breather,

And the bigger engine turned so she could clearly see her.

Then their eyes met and locked together in knowing;

The smaller was following where the bigger was going.

“You shouldn’t proceed…” the big one said. “This path is quite frightful.”

The smaller smiled and replied, “But I hear the view is quite delightful.”

“Plus,” the small train started then stopped and then continued to speak,

“I never knew an engine built like us could even consider going to the peak;

Then I watched you start climbing higher and higher!”

Silence fell; the big engine felt something stir inside her.

The little one to the big spoke again, words fast embolding;

The big one leaned in toward the little she was beholding.

“And it’s not just me who has been inspired by your acts…”

Just then more chugging was heard below on the tracks.

More engines were weaving and wending up the treacherous mountainside.

She watched these little trains climb, inspired by how they worked and tried.

“I’ve been at this all wrong….” The thought began to grow in her mind.

“I’ve been looking for help from the side and ahead and not from behind.”

Her gaze returned to the tracks she was desperately clinging upon,

“Maybe…” she thought to herself. “Maybe for them I can climb on?

Even if it’s only an inch or two farther that I can offer,

It’ll be one less inch or two they will have to fight for.

She closed her eyes and gathered up her remaining bits of strength.

“For them…” She grit her teeth, bore down, and powered a length.

“For her…” and she went forward…covering more distance!

What had begun to stir was a full-fledged fire in an instance!

And on the train chugged and huffed,

Engine strong and steam clouds puffed.

There once was a big engine that gave into thinking that she could not;

Until one day a smaller engine reminded her she could, so she fought.

Curves

I hold the curve of your face in the curve
Of my hands.
My course skin against yours young;
Yang’s coarse to soft yin,
Yin’s aged bronze to yang’s nascent tin.

I hold the curve of your face in the curve
Of my hands,
And I explore the unchartered territory of your eyes;
Wisdom searches among youthful vivacity,
Sorrow and regret met by innocence and tenacity.

I hold the curve of your face in the curve
Of my hands,
Look at me: I pray you never know the pain I do;
Energetic eyes bounce back, they sparkle and prance,
The eyes that know too much slow the dance.

I hold the curve of your face in the curve
Of my hands,
I know you’ll hide pain deep, away, and aside;
I’ve witnessed other teens who sit at my tables and chairs
Making me false promises of being aloof and without cares.

I hold the curve of your face in the curve
Of my hands,
Your face reflects to me what I hope: contentment;
A smile to cover the fear and confusion
Able to create, cause, and confirm the illusion.

I hold the curve of your face in the curve
Of my hands,
I never want to let you have your own suffering;
But what is the journey without the dark side of life,
How would wisdom ever be formed without the fire of strife?

I hold the curve of your face in the curve
Of my hands,
One more caressing moment before death pulls me completely in;
Fingers weak and frail, merely bones skin covered,
Recall the first day you they held and tenderly, nimbly mothered.

You hold the curve of her face in the curve
Of your hands,
Your course skin against hers young;
Yang’s coarse to soft yin,
Yin’s aged bronze to yang’s nascent tin.

Into the Abyss

Poem by William Brien

The following poetry was sent to me by someone I know to be very in touch with the underbelly of human existence, the crisis of self, the pull of the darkness that threatens. These things in their rich darkness are beautiful, for it’s here, paradoxically, where we experience life, the vibrancy of our heart’s beat, the reality of existence. Threatened by the gulf of unknown and lured to release into that which calls to us but of that which we cannot see the bottom, here is life abundant. But he says it better than I do. I give you Albert Warner and his poem: Into the Abyss. Enjoy.

Into the Abyss

To be, or not to be, that is the question [1]

I stare at a sharp corner
With precise blind vision,
Tracing the broad rigid line
Then the two U-shaped humps
Which ride along the letter’s origin.
Magnificent tsunamis reach an eerie calm.
Distant shapes become blurred puddles,
Then swallow each other,
Part into a dark cone of vision,
Hiding their insignificance behind black shadows,
Leaving only pointy corners and laborious curves in perception.

The world evades us because it becomes itself again [2]

Comforting words pass through me as a hand swipes through air,
Compassionate embraces as a knife through warm butter.
Laughter no different than breath,
Smiles the same as frowns.
Red veins creep like vines
In already tired eyes.
Names appear not as old comrades,
But bundles of sharp-sided letters
With exhausting round lumps.

When you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes into you [3]

I hold not hope,
I feel not passion,
I see not reason.
I am not dead,
I am not alive.
I am naught.

 

Intertwined

Our legs are intertwined Your right leg drapes heavy over my upper left inner thigh There is no movement It just rests as you sleep a deep peaceful sleep Skin to skin thigh to thigh like it was meant to be there since the beginning of time as if these two were created for each other I rest on my back experiencing the weight of your leg resting across mine Love Gratitude Thankfulness emotions that overcome my mind I turn I roll over bringing my right leg parallel to my left My thighs press  together in symphony with gravity not resisting with fight not pressing with intentionality just turning and rolling and resting my thigh on top of yours on top of mine In the process I feel your weight press against me more I pause and take in the wonderful sensation Union You and me intertwined My arm sleepily shifts with me and extends beyond me to embrace you You are fast asleep on my left arm pressed up against my breast and my right sweeps to grasp your back and pull you closer to me Closer to me than you already are if that is possible Your forehead meets my lips as I bring my head down to kiss you and I pause and inhale you You are the smell that I have fallen in love with the moment you first came into my world I am grateful for you So grateful I didn’t expect you I didn’t see you becoming intertwined with me but you did and here we are in my bed draped mutually across each other intertwined mutually with each other like lovers Lovers of the truest meaning of the word lovers Lovers Sensual sensual in the safest sense of the word sensual Skin touching skin Comfort and safety Freedom thus mutuality There is no fear here The love I feel for you is real love I love you and would lay my life down for you I let my lips linger over you enjoying this silent moment this moment you don’t know about This moment you are unaware of where I can love you with no reciprocal action Just love you from the bottom of me to the top of me toward the bottom of you to the top of you Love The warmth of your body radiates over mine as I have you in my embrace You stir I subtly and slowly pull back to give you space intending not to wake you up Lest I lose this moment forever I gently and slowly lean in one more time for one more kiss and risk letting relaxed fingertips of my right hand run gently, lovingly, and sensually over your hair all the way to the nape of your neck I smile I love you I steal one more kiss I love you I roll away and lay upon my back to let sleep take me over once again.

 

 

Many Strands

My hair is long, curly, and thick.

I grab a curl, a lock, and

Twirl it around my finger.

There are many strands.

I feel its weight and density.

I wrap it around my finger a few times.

I pull it back a bit—to get a

Better look at the individual

Strands wrapped around

My finger—

“A part of me,” I think.

I pull the hair toward me,

And I sniff:

Residual Chanel #5 lingers,

It’s the end of the day.

The brown, black, red mingle

Twisted on my finger.

This hair has grown

On my head since the

Beginning. From the moment

I could grow hair.

The hair I touch, though trimmed

And cut over all these years,

Is part of the same hair

That was present when I was born;

One continuous stream of me.

The strands wrapped around

My finger…

Cause me pause.

I think for a moment.

I remember. I feel. I cry.

And the tears fall from my

Pressed lids

Passing through my eyelashes

Onto my cheeks—

The wet washes through

The light powder I just applied,

Dragging along the mascara,

Leaving a trace of black behind.

(I’d say there’s a “tear’s trace”

But that colloquialism is taxed.)

Reflexively, I pull my

My hand toward the rolling tear.

And it’s caught–

As was every tear

Prior to that one

In and by the strands of my hair

Twirled around my finger.

Every tear over these

Decades. Caught.

Caught and comforted

In the bed of my spindled hairs

Wrapped around my finger.

The individual strands of hair

Intertwined around my finger

Hold the turmoil and sorrow of

All the decades past.

The tears that have been

Shed, caught and absorbed

In the strands of my hair.

Each strand holds a key to

My life; each strand holds a

Secret worth keeping.

All of the strands intertwined

Together create a rich yet

Shallow resting ground for

The Pain and sorrow

That I’ve seen and known.

This hair, this beautiful

Hair has become the final

Resting place for so much

Sadness. Yet, all these strands

Have combined to form my

Story: the Good, Bad, and the Ugly.

My hair is long, curly, and thick.

There are many strands.

I grab a curl, a lock, and

Twirl it around my finger.

 

 

 

 

Tell Me

Tell me this isn’t all there is.

(I fear that it is.)

Tell me there’s something beyond this.

(I fear there isn’t.)

 

Tell me to take heart.

(For I feel it grow weary.)

Tell me there’s a reason to go on.

(My energy wanes.)

 

Tell me my life is precious.

(I need to remember why.)

Tell me my life hasn’t been worthless.

(I can’t silence that voice anymore.)

 

Tell me with sweet silence.

(The cacophony in my head.)

Tell me with lavish love.

(My hearts floods with fear.)

 

Tell me Jesus loves me.

(My doubt stomps about.)

Tell me Christ longs to hold me.

(I long for that sweet embrace.)

 

Tell me there will be answers.

(The questions rage.)

Tell me it’s not all for naught.

(This darkness looms.)

 

Tell me…

(I bow my head.)

Just tell me…

(Words fail me but tears don’t.)

Please, just tell me…

(Please.)

 

 

 

 

 

This Him in Her Arms

It is dark in the room,

She closes her eyes.

Not to block out light;

There is none.

It is dark in the room.

 

She closes her eyes

And lets herself be pulled away

By the rhythmic rocking

Of the rocking chair.

She closes her eyes.

 

…and lets herself be pulled away.

The sensation of her feet pressing

Against and releasing from the ground

…press and release…

And lets herself be pulled away.

 

The sensation of her feet pressing

And she is reminded that she is

Still here and still connected;

She breathes and lives.

…the sensation of her feet pressing.

 

And she is reminded that she is…

She is not alone when he squirms

Against her breast and settles.

He is here with her.

And she is reminded that she is.

 

She is not alone when he squirms

And her heart against the pressing darkness

Beats and thumps, flaunting its truculent posture.

She loves him.

She is not alone when he squirms.

 

And her heart against the pressing darkness…

It willfully ignores the prior years of pain

That caused her to shut down and push

Them all away,

And her heart against the pressing darkness…

 

It willfully ignores the prior years of pain,

Each beat and thump pushes aside

The fears she has always feared and the

Rejection that threatened.

It willfully ignores the prior years of pain.

 

Each beat and thump pushes aside

Herself for this one, this him in her arms.

She pulls him closer to her; her head bows.

She kisses him.

…Each beat and thump pushes aside.

 

Herself for this one, this him in her arms…

As in labor, she vows now again: mine for this one.

For the first time she knows what it feels like

To love.

Herself for this one, this him in her arms.