So…because a few have asked about this poem I shared the other day, I decided to answer as much as I’m comfortable with. Why not?
The poem (shared again below in full) was something I wrote a while back but I found it interesting that I still ponder and worry and struggle with the same things. So what was it about? Who was it about? What does it mean? Those were the questions I was asked. And I’ll do my best to answer, within reason.
I had a long-lasting relationship that was headed only one place: marriage. And it follows the same-old problem I still often face, doing things I’m supposed to do rather than maybe what I want to do. Will that ever change? Or is that just who I am?
In this particular case, I was madly in love. We had a long-lasting, passionate relationship. Sometimes I wonder about that word “passionate” and its connotations. They aren’t all positive. Yes. I want to lead a life of passion but with passion can also come turmoil and heartbreak, highs and lows, ups and downs, break-ups and make-ups, and happiness and sadness.
And so was the case with this relationship. It was a never-ending circus of emotions. And I remember the day I realized that if I didn’t end it, that if I kept at it, in this co-dependent, emotionally destructive situation, my life would not be one filled with peace or true happiness, but a life of constant battles. In short, it was an unhealthy relationship that lasted far too long.
The poem tries to encapsulate that day of epiphany, that day I knew at once the person I wanted him to be and the person he truly was, that day I couldn’t continue to draw him into my ideal but had to accept the truth, that day I couldn’t follow my strict Catholic background and go through with something that I knew would only be destructive in the end but instead do the most painful thing I needed to do. And I really did write it on a park bench! So as you reread it, perhaps it will make a little more sense to you. Romance. Passion. Relationships. Sex. And ultimately break up.
But honestly, I want the poem to mean to you whatever it did when you read it. It is yours now because I shared it (which I don’t often do). It has been taken out of my hands and now given to you. Make it what you want and what it isn’t. It is yours. Find your story in it. That’s what happens the minute our words unfold to be shared. I must give up what it meant to me. Otherwise, there is no point in sharing our writing, and believe me, there is much that will never be seen by any eyes but my own!
Contrived on a grainy park bench
with a pen in my hand
and the sun on my face,
I drew you effortlessly
as I looked at St. Patrick’s across the street
through the cracks of light between the oak trees
and wondered if I’d marry you in it
you fervently against the coarse wood of the pew in front of everyone who had fantasized
about what we had done with our clothes off in the hot heat of that summer
like a neo-classical ballet against the glassy reflection of the lake where we swam.
I saw you light a cigarette against the figment of my heart,
black and smoky stains,
muted with the opalescent colors of my imagination.
I sat there
and crossed and uncrossed my long, sunburnt legs,
sore from the exhaustion of being good and behaved and trained.
The clouds rolled across the cerulean sky with steely vigilance
to hide the ephemeral happiness of anything remotely squeezed out
from the heightened cry of the birds.
And my loneliness was heard in the deepest hollow of the dirt.