The Phoenix Seeks

One was too saintly, the other mystifyingly, overly wanton
but, the muse that had once stood in front of him,
caused him the great distress of having to choose between them.
He couldn’t have loathed her more for that.
She was the appointed trajectory change, The Annointed,
ready to absorb all pain,
swallowing every shot of poison he threw on her.
His game changer.
She’d fulfilled her divine role, took it all, and then she cried & cursed, screamed & writhed until her strength of purpose coiled it all up and she hurled it to the Universe-
trusting its claim to render the collection into harmless stardust.
And then she burned him….
She left him
She left…
The deepest of profane-worthy infractions: the disease of desertion, the unholy crime of abandonment. That’s why he set his world on fire…
She left.
Him.
If he’d really wanted the Saint, he’d have got ordained and lived on his knees. He’d have played at prayerful loving until he could run for privacy to vomit out the inevitable gut-full of banal-blended depression.
If he’d really wanted Devil Baby, he’d have dug into the part of ratbag with a heart of gold for much longer than 190 days of tortuous – love to love & hate you, Baby Girl.
He hungers for the one who wasn’t a saint, but had an army of them for back-up…. that one just near enough to demons to be inspired without getting sucked into their seediness.
He’d forgot the bargain to hold muses indefinitely; ignored it entirely.
Unsuitable for the narrative of his design, and yet…
He poured gasoline all over his world to regain that searing desire and relief that only she’d ever drawn from him.
He imagined himself a Phoenix, but he’ll never leave the flames. He will never know the cooling of the ashes as they heal and repair. He will never rise anew.
He burns… forever,
but not nearly so much as for
more of her.

RL

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/saintly/

Cupid’s Fraudballs – Deep Love Times 1,001

So, not every love story resembles the Harlequin Romance model or the Dr. Phil / Oprah recommendations of ‘healthy’, nor are they as far off the chain as the trailer park trashy gymnastics  of the Jerry Springer couplings either.

Sometimes they’re the stuff of mythical proportions. Heady. Messy. Legendary – Taylor and Burton, Bacall and Bogart, Hepburn and Tracy – all grown from impossible drama seeds planted within the largest of human persona.

They’re the masters of the double black diamond slopes of emotional mountain ranges – INTENSE and tender, RAGING and nurturing, DANGEROUS and comforting …. Mythical Gods come to life, breathtaking to behold, and dizzily staggering to live with.

Not all are destined for fame or the full theatre; some of these lesser-sized immortals are merely just around the cul-de-sac circles, seemingly average neighbours, but just as fiery, and we knew two of them…


K&P Style
He will say she was unforgiving,
She will say he was unbearably untrustworthy.
He will say she is relentless wariness,
And she will say he mercilessly pushes her over limits.
He will say she is insanely focused on rules,
She will say his demands are cruel humiliations.
He will say she refuses to understand him,
She will say, seeking true empathy from him is like talking to the dead.
He will say she is every appalling name in the book,
And she will say, she loathes that he is only either angel or demon.
He seeks her adoring maternal nurturing,
She begs him to stand tall as a real & loyal hero.
She will say he burned down their home,
He will say she lit the match.
He will admit how awful he is,
She will concede that she aches for his good days.
He will say, he despises needing her this much,
She will say, she hates that she will never love another as deeply.
He will trim his beard for her,
She will grow her hair long for him.
He will kiss her neck,
She will take his hand in hers.
He will hold her face,
She will lean her head on his back.
He can be calmed only by living with the ordinary, the banal,
She can be safe only within strength without edges.
Their light has been, will be, entwined for eternity,
They will say goodbye,  1,001 times… or more.

…………………………………………………………………

Marianne Williamson said: “Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.”

I’d add forgiveness does not mean having to keep anyone in your life. It means getting to your own genuine peace after exiting the dark.

Happy Love Day, to all.  Here’s to the  ups and downs and twists in life, regardless of the degrees, that steer us to our strengths, and hopefully, to our best love.

RL  

No Surrender

I am very honored to have this post featured on The Poetry Daily, February 15, 2016

Posting Fireworks That Burn

Actions Prove who people areI’ve been flummoxed for a while by how some writers, especially those married or committed, seem to get away with amazing levels of sexual flirtation in their communications seemingly without consequence.  I’m not talking about defined sex blogs, I’m referring to those based on life in general, photography, poetry, travel, etc.

Of course, I only assumed no misunderstandings because we can‘t be sure what happens behind closed post doors, so I decided to chat with some bloggers about it. This was no kind of social, scientific, double blind testing to come up with any definitive delineation of appropriateness. I just wanted to check out what’s behind it.

What started out as group speculation about lines of propriety in public comments quickly escalated into a near bloodbath on fidelity beliefs.

The varying opinions on ease with sexual overtones or statements blew us all away to an unexpected level of discomfort, hence the heat – decidedly non-sexual.   The vehemence in favor of free-for-all comments by three of my conversationalists made me question my convictions somewhat.

I need to note that only one blogger agreed to let me quote him publicly. The rest didn’t want to drive this particular conversation to their own blogs.  Fair enough.  I guess.

I also state upfront that in the end, this is really all about personal heart stuff and we all have our own idea of what’s acceptable, but what’s reasonable or not for the average commitment?

We read through various post’s reader comments that included compliments on general beauty, the sexiness of physical traits to outright statements of being turned on by one another.

Some posts were deliberately provocative – selfies of semi-nudes, bathing/shower shots, etc., so we couldn’t really be surprised when comments outside of “nice pic” came in. However, some writers pointedly invited that attention, by baiting replies with: “Do I turn you on”? or “Does this invite squeals of delight or make you think squeaky bed springs”? Even so, in all cases, there’s no actual requirement to reply with one’s level of arousal, right?

To my mind, if you’re both single and clear about the play, enjoy, but if not is that really cool?   Would I want to read my guy either answering in the affirmative or drawing out that chat in any way?  Not in this lifetime, nor the last five or the five to come.

That opinion wasn’t unanimous though.  One of us was adamant that because it was a public comment, it clearly wasn’t meant to be a reflection of any deception or cheating.  Interesting, but would his love interest get that point?

Another concurred, saying that as long as it was all in the open, it’s just harmless flirtation that required no further input, end of story, and this was where the emotional temperatures started to rise a little.  (Full-disclosure, one of these opinions is from an ex).

I wondered if that sense of freedom included publishing a post of intimate or suggestive admiration to or by a married/committed person. Interestingly, we had unanimity in declaring that was over the line and merited cautious stepping off.

Next, we moved onto our definitely non-single writers who admitted they shared more than writing tips in email and Skype conversations with their online flirtations. They easily engaged in detailing various intimate aspects of their relationship’s communication, emotional, and sexual issues.  I know it wasn’t only my jaw that dropped.

Maybe it’s because I’m old(ish), but I can’t quite see how physical distance really justifies these behaviors.  Has the ‘new reach out and touch someone’ technology made it OK to share this kind of intimacy because you’re not really touching?  Apparently it does for some. 

A writer who doesn’t agree with that, but did agree to let me name him and air his views is Ned HIckson,  a popular humorist & journalist and a resoundingly committed married man.  Ned has a wide readership that includes many admiring women that he responds to daily in comments.

He says it’s always possible to mess up, but he follows some personal guidelines to sort it out. To start, he avoids complimenting or zeroing in on any woman’s specific or intimate physical attributes and he “would never, ever comment on how ‘hot’ a woman is, or that she ‘turns me on’ or even jokingly suggest sleeping together”.

He said, “Whenever I leave a comment, I ask myself two simple questions: How would this make my wife feel and if my wife wrote this to someone, how would it make ME feel?  If the buzzer sounds with either one, it’s deleted. I generally never need to get that far, but there have certainly been some situations when I was caught up in a comment stream that I had to gut-check myself simply because, though I have a “naughty” side and am a sexual person, I feel it’s something that needs to be saved for my wife”.

You have to think if any behavior is hurtful to your significant other, there better be a pretty significant reason for doing it.  If not, why would you even be with someone apparently that incompatible?

These contentions in the world of writing sort of flung me all over the emotional grid about my own expectations, but I didn’t come away with any new beliefs and I can’t say anyone else’s views were changed about their own approaches either.

I do know though, that publicly or privately, I’ll remain damned clear about respecting my relationships and of others; most definitely, I’d expect the same from my partner.

RL

Here’s a great guide to supplement your gut checks on whether or not your online convos are appropriate:  When Does Flirting Become Cheating? 9 Red Flags

Related post:

Love you, Miss you… Not Really…   …“Readers are not just recipients of thoughts, they are real people who believe in words, who respect words, and yes, mostly they realize the power of words. They know words matter”.

Songs of Small Town Mothers and Daughters

Once in a while, my mother plays for me an old country song called, “Idol of the Band”.  One of the chorus lines speaks to a brief bittersweet period of shining glory for a young woman from humble beginnings.

sheet music with red rose sepiaWe always have a little laugh with it, but within the mirth is a little wistfulness too. I think that song reminds my mother of a funny moment or two from the bad old days. I share those feelings, but I also feel traces of poignancy that can’t quite be defined.  They are flashes of the heartstrings that join us more by fate than by our blood.

I’d heard forever that I am my mother’s daughter.  I look a lot like her, and I put her temperament on display now and then, but that was the absolute limit to the comparisons that I was determined to live out.  I loved her, but I had every reason not to repeat every aspect of her life.

My mother was that young small town girl that did not dream of escape to the bright lights of the big city.  Maybe she’d become a nurse, maybe even a nun, but in the end she longed only for a simple life of family, and hearth and home in the same little town. As it always is, it was about a boy.

Her dreams were devastatingly reshaped when step one of her plan led her into the arms of that handsome young man who soon became an abuser who drank too much.  Step two in the unintended reality was giving life to me, and then pulling me along on the path to their hell.

By the time she left him, I’d already learned a lifetime of what not to be. There was no doubt that meant being everything my parents weren’t.  What I had no way of knowing then was how deeply the sins of the father and mother had already been woven into the fabric of my future.

Like my mother, I was mostly raised in small towns or a very insular sensibility within a city. Maybe partly because of that I grew up craving the promise of anything but simplicity.  I was going to be one of those bright lights in the city. I intended to be the people I saw on TV or read about in books about success.  I used the same success examples my mother did, but unlike novels of romance, I was not going to depend on a man, or have babies anytime soon.

I was desperately eager to be in that new life.  Desperation was probably mistaken for boldness and so, at almost sixteen I went off in search of those bright lights. I hugged my mother goodbye.  She armed me with a little money, those lessons well learned, and a crock pot.

The years to follow were harder than I could ever have imagined. I began them by piling on loads of makeup and lying about my age to be able to work long days analogous to slave labor. When the realization grew that I could be stuck there forever, I added night school to the schedule.  It took years, but eventually I got my business titles.

I succeeded at school, I succeeded in work, and I succeeded in social status.  I was nothing like my mother’s life.

Not until I was.  Not until I realized that there was just one thing missing for me, and I would wholly embrace the answer to that, and it would gut everything I’d worked for, including part of the spirit that had carried me away from small town nightmares.

I fell madly in love.  He said that I was the smartest, most beautiful woman he’d ever known.  He asked, “What can I do to make your life happier”?  He said, “I promise, I will take care of you”.

He eased the deep thread of emptiness so common in the fabrics of my kind of past. It was really an unraveling, but I’d grown used to pretending that strand of vulnerability didn’t exist anyway. That was a necessary evil to confirm how much more ahead of my mother I was.  So, I ignored the red flags that waved and I said, yes.  Just like my mother did.

He swept me off my feet and back into hell.

It was a little over three years before I was able climb out.  By then, almost all of my relationships with friends and family had deteriorated, along with all the other areas of my life.  The only miracle within the madness was that I didn’t have children with him.  Not that we didn’t try.

I moved from the immediate brutality of that time, but it turned out I wasn’t completely out of those woods yet. I was always a bit of a slow learner for anything that required my heart to assess what was not in my best interests, especially where love was concerned.

I hadn’t learned yet that honest trust for anyone else can only come from honest esteem for self.  I still had to learn what that looked like. I still had to learn that betrayal hides in plain sight for the unwitting, and sometimes it’s disguised as your best friends and your closest confidants.

It would take another turn on that shaky dance floor before I could really see under the masks. This second teacher was far more subtle, but just as oppressive with his demand to control.   That three year dance was a constant and chaotic struggle to change him/them, but it was clear that this one was about accepting that all the changes needed were mine.  I accepted finally that it wasn’t my job to love someone enough to become a better person or to make them be better people.

Time moves every story along, and it became more of my friend this round.  My bright future lay tarnished on the ground, but I was finished with the idea of gleam anyway. The only choice I could face was to go back to the beginning.  A revisit to that place that gives you the so called strengths you depend on to survive, but really are old scars that need to be opened in order to be properly closed.  I was taught that healing me was part of healing the whole of humanity, but it was the only part that I was, or could be, responsible for.

I reworked how I defined success and my revised ideals created the roads to more meaningful ways. I learned to accept that healing is never really over, but the lessons begin to bloom more in joy than the scrapes of sorrow.  I worked my way to a life that is different, quieter, but true; to one that matters.  Just like my mother did.

And every now and then, we sing together the words of an old country song that plays to our fated heartstrings and we smile at the notes that we more than survived.

RL

This story was partially published as a guest post for JT Weaver.net in September 2013. Revised May 15, 2014

 

 

Cocoon – A Repost of Blogger Dennis Cardiff

Aside

I decided to send out a fellow blogger’s post this week. It is  by Dennis Cardiff  who writes regularly about his daily visits with the homeless in his city on his blog “Gotta Find A Home”. This post is from his poetic site. It’s a short beautiful poem about transformation. Although you will know he is speaking about his daily visits, I couldn’t help thinking that it speaks to a great deal of us from many paths. I hope you enjoy it.

 Reblogged from Dennis Cardiff:

Click to visit the original post

Over the past years
we’ve sat together
sharing a blanket
on the sidewalk.
You wrapped
in your cocoon.

I’ve observed,
as your spirit
(once battered
and cowering in fear)
emerged brave
and purposeful.

Gradually,
layer after layer,
your past fell away,
until now
your true beauty
shines forth.

I’ve grown with you,
learned from you,
opened my heart,
cried with you,
been comforted.

I celebrate with you
your transformation,
and (in friendship)
proudly accompany you
in your reincarnation
as a butterfly.

butterfly blue