Remember 081019

When you miss a person

Remember a time

She made you laugh.

Not the times

She made you cry.

 

That will make it easier

To forgive her

For the times she made you cry.

 

Then you will desire

To heal the wounds

Left neglected for so long.

 

And if the time has passed

For healing wounds,

You will remember her warmly

Because you did share

Love

And peace

And happiness.

 

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Life Ends

Life ends,

My friend,

That is its nature.

 

It is what makes it

So tragic

And so beautiful.

 


Terry

I had a friend, let’s call him Terry, who was in love with, let’s call her Sally, who was in love with…well, not Terry. She wasn’t in love with anybody but the point here is that she wasn’t in love with Terry.

This made Terry quite, quite sad which led him to think of ending it all. But Terry was a Catholic and a good one at that which led him to the conclusion that he could not commit suicide.  Now Terry was very industrious and came up with a plan, if he couldn’t kill himself maybe he could just be killed by accident.

He took to driving through red lights at top speed at night but unluckily for him, no one was coming in from a perpendicular direction when he was scofflawing. He decided to up his game. He filled a sock with quarters and went walking around Harlem at two in the morning with money hanging out of his pockets.  He got into some rough scrapes but always managed to get home alive.

During this time, New York had a serial killer on the loose who used to shoot young lovers while they were parked in secluded places. Vigilante groups were organized to whack the Son of Sam.  But they needed some bait.  Terry volunteered to take a girl, unbeknownst to her, of course to the out-of-the-way spots where the vigilantes were lying in wait.  Luckily or unluckily (because I am very confused by all this), for Terry and the girl, Mr. Berkowitz was always in another part of the apple and Terry never got to show his civic duty to the general public.

The point of all this is that Terry, as misguided as he was, was just trying to make Sally love him. But actual self-sacrifice couldn’t make Sally love him.  Nothing that he could have possibly done could ever change that.  Even Sally couldn’t make herself love a guy she just didn’t love. Love is not a switch you can turn on and off. Although if someone would invent one, I am sure he would make a fortune.

We love who we love as improbable and ridiculous as that sounds. That is why in literature, when parents object to their children’s love affairs it usually ends in tragedy. Parents would be best off keeping out of their kids business.  To be truthful, after the kids let their hormones run amuck, they are usually on to another person quite quickly.  I mean was Romeo such a catch?  Every week he was drooling over someone else. And Juliet was a headstrong little brat.  If she couldn’t see what a loser Romeo was, then maybe they deserved each other. Good riddance!

It took Terry twenty years to realize that Sally was never going to love him in the way he wanted. Twenty years he imprisoned himself in a purgatory that he created. We all are in prisons of our own design formed when our dreams are contrary to our reality. We don’t accept the truths that are obvious and we rationalize reasons why it can’t be the way it is. Each brick we lovingly place until the walls are too high to escape from. And then we sit alone, wondering why the world is such a terrible place.


Complicated

Life is not complicated.

It is either yes or no,

Stay or go.

 

Do you love him?

Do you want him?

Can you live without him?

 

All three can be answered

With yes or no.

No explanation required.

No validation needed.

 

Feelings will be hurt.

And hearts will be broken.

As ashes fill the air

From burning bridges.

 

But simple questions

Call for simple answers

Spoken honestly

To the ones you leave behind.

 


For W.B. 061019

Thank you, Maude.

Without the despair

That your coldness

Has given me,

I would not have written

The words I’ve written.

 

I would have remained

A happy unknown

Bathing in the warmth

Of your crooked smile

Your beautiful, beautiful crooked smile.

 

Without your detachment

Our hands would have never parted

An embrace forever locked

Like lovers clasped in a tender tangle

Looking to eternity.

 

You have given me many words

But I would exchange

Them all

For the happiness

You would have given me

With your company.

 


I Could

When I think of all the time

I spent alone

Because of you,

I can kick myself.

 

Time I spent thinking

You would come back to me.

You would see the error of your ways.

You would trust me

And forgive yourself.

 

But you didn’t.

And never will.

You have moved on

Not dealing with the pain

Of the past

But moving on to

A different metaphorical future

In a different literal location.

 

When I think of all the time

I have wasted in vain hope,

Thinking that something about me

Was worth the effort,

I could scream.

 

This one is all on me.

I couldn’t let go of

Your head resting on my shoulder,

A whisper telling me to go but begging me to stay,

The forever question in a darkened room.

 

I couldn’t let go

Long after it was gone

Couldn’t, can’t, won’t

Long after we were done

When I think of all the time

I have wasted,

I could laugh

If only, I could laugh.

 


The Soldier Memorial Day 2016

As he lay dying,

He didn’t think of his country.

He thought of his mother

And the tears she would shed

As she buried her only son.

She always told him

Take care of yourself, Albert.

Come home

To people that love you.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the rhetoric of politicians.

He did not think that God wanted this war.

 

He thought of his girlfriend

The girl he loved since sixth grade

But only got up the nerve

To ask her out a year ago.

 

He thought of her smile

That was often followed by giddy laughter

In response to something silly he did.

He thought of her deep brown eyes

That would make the rest of the world melt away

And made his heart both weak and strong.

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the minimum wage.

He did not think of bathrooms or wedding cakes.

 

He thought of his kid brother

Barely in his teens and

Already getting into trouble.

Who will teach him life’s lessons,

While playing basketball

On the court set up in their driveway?

Who will keep him in line,

While giving him space to grow?

 

He did not think of the country he was giving his life for.

He did not think of the racism or the crime in the streets.

He did not think of the hatred of the stranger in the land of liberty.

 

He thought of many things.

He thought of the people he loved,

Their words, their smiles, their laughter.

And then he thought no more.

 

And we, whom he died for,

Think of bathrooms and wedding cakes.

And listen to the venomous rhetoric of our politicians.

And moan that the weather did not cooperate for our barbecue.

And haggle at car dealerships with salesmen

As they look for their next customer.

 

We, whom he died for, hardly ever

Think of the soldiers

Whose last moments

Were alone

But filled with memories

Of meaning.