Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Bad poetry

how I wish I could have given you
a song without myself
dropped it into your soul as a bird between two mountains
bathing in the moment of tremor in your eyes

this noise, white noise, ecstasy in which to lose
the poetry of an empty room
how easy to be where no-one says goodbye

--fragment of crappy poem written in college, about which an ex-boyfriend said, "That line about 'the bird between two mountains' Has It--the rest is terrible." The only thing was, I'd lifted the "bird between two mountains" schtick from the title of a Georgia O'Keefe print on the wall in front of me, and thus I thought of it as cheating.

The sentiment is still valid, if klunkily expressed. The poem was, of course, as most of my poems then were, about some dude upon whom I had an unreciprocated crush. I had enough wisdom to know that if a crush is unreciprocated, it's best not to push it (see "If I could only stay asleep," below). I still wanted to give him something, but was hampered by living in a flawed vessel--me. As I recall, I left him a funny note along with some money I owed him for an art project we collaborated on. It gave the dictionary definition of the word "sport," complete with all the more esoteric, social and biological meanings of the word, and concluded, "Thanks for being such a sport." I ran into him once afterward; his eyes lit up with what seemed to be genuine pleasure at seeing me, but I was way late for work and hurried on.

So go look up "sport" in the dictionary, if you want to know.

Things this week have been difficult. C. and I need couples therapy, if we are to remain a couple at all, for a Big Huge Issue which will pretty much torpedo the relationship in nothing flat, if nothing else happens. C. of course is highly resistant to couples therapy, so we are at an impasse. I have considered:

-moving to Maine, crashing with my sister's in-laws and starting another massage therapy practice from scratch;

-going back to Mexico, although it's getting more expensive every day and most of my friends there have moved elsewhere;

-shutting up shop and signing up for the first temp agency which will have me;

-taking out another whopping student loan and going for another useless graduate degree;

-going to South America, what the hell, I have a couple of friends roaming around there, though I'm not at all sure where they are;

-killing myself.

None of these options are particularly practicable. I'm stuck with what I got. C. seems pretty hip on "maintaining the friendship, whatever happens," and I've nodded and listened sagely and so far refrained from saying, "Are you a COMPLETE IDIOT? That's NOT POSSIBLE." You don't have a heavy-duty, up-all-night-talking-and-snuggling-and-making-out kind of love affair, you don't have this state of affairs last for over a year, you don't go into business together, you don't walk all round your community holding hands and looking starry-eyed till the most cynical playboys are staring after you in awe, and then say, "Well, that didn't quite work out. Let's still be best friends." People don't DO that. At least I don't. C. thinks that when I point out this obvious fact, I'm "holding a gun to his head." Whatever.

I have been discreetly researching good couple's therapists, so that if and when C. realizes that he is, indeed, a complete idiot and is about to lose the love of his life, I can whip the phone number out of my wallet and book us for Monday at 3 PM. I have been setting up an account on ebay, and signing up for PayPal, so that I can start trying to unload cumbersome possessions and turning them into cold hard cash with which to run away. I plan to start researching small business loans, so that I can move shop elsewhere and not have to temp for a living. I should probably incorporate, so that if the sucky economy continues for the next five years, the corporation can go gracefully bankrupt and I'll still have enough capital to escape to South America.

It's hard to know what to do with yourself when you feel like a flawed vessel--like the person you want just doesn't want you, not in the package you're in. This is why women go bulimic by the hundreds of thousands. Somehow, men seem to be mostly immune to the feeling. I've never known an ugly guy who seemed truly aware that he was ugly--they just think all women must be frigid bitches for not wanting to have sex with them.

I know this isn't about me at all, but it doesn't help much. It doesn't change things. When you're closely connected with someone, their problems become your problems; their blocks become obstacles to your freedom. A good friend recently said, "Relationships aren't for people to achieve happiness; they are so we can become more conscious." Consciousness is painful and we want to run away. Ergo bourbon, tequila, oversleeping, going to the woods and not returning phone calls.

Usually when I feel like this I ought to go to Course in Miracles meetings and don't. The last one I went to really annoyed me and I didn't go back--everybody in the room but me got connected with the inner oneness of everything, and got all touchy-feely and blissed out, and I sort of went along with it, and even did some break-dancing to entertain them. But later all I could think about was a bunch of ugly guys putting their hands all over me, and stopped thinking of CIM meetings as safe havens. Probably I should go back and bitch them out, to test the validity of their epiphanies. They might even like it.

However, this evening good ol' David Duvall on WQXR quoted Alan Watts at the end of "Reflections from the Keyboard," and so CIM got through to me anyway. The quote was something to the effect of, "We forget that the past and the future are abstract concepts, and the only thing that exists for us is the eternal present." Presently I am on the couch with cats and computer, and the air-conditioning is on, and WXQR is playing something modern and dissonant, which I quite like. I can deal with that.


Liz said...

That's not such a terrible poem. I like it, actually. Lately I am feeling into the artlessness of the dashed-off poem that doesn't try to do everything and wrap up all of reality and language into one terribly meaningful package. Your poem has the shy baroque evanescent quality that I associate with your work in general. I highly value style and emotional content in a poem - it has both. Just as sketches have artistic value and beauty - this is a sketch.

Bob said...

I just wanted to say that I knew a good-looking man to be bulimic, and I knew an unattractive man to think himself ugly.

FYI, Dwain lives in Augusta. He has a shop there.