Strange, just one call from a friend and fellow writer could send me into the archives of my love for wife. Actually, it sent me into the whole of my writing archives, a mostly depressing journey of unfulfilled language and longing. My friend was exploring the possibility of self-publishing his sci-fi novel through one of those ebook converter sites that promised to list your book on the major online stores. He asked, out companionship of struggling writers, if I would do the same with some of my writing. It was, after all, free. My first thought, of course, was online riches from ebook sales, as I, again, am a struggling writer. I would be discovered and then book deals and Oprah. Yes, I succumbed to the contemporary habit of narcissism.
The next hour had me reviewing my old writings to see what would sell. I looked over half finished novels, essays, and short stories. I then stumbled across the love poems to my wife, Lace. They glittered like yellowing high school yearbooks as I paused over them. They chronicled the stages of our life together: from our first meeting, to our tentative steps towards vows and even our recent struggles with the cranial reconstruction of our baby son. They created a house of memeory out my words of love. The poems brought me back to when my wife and I started our story. I remembered those spikes in my spirit at first seeing her, as well as our rumbles and fights from finding out how to share space and dialog with each other. What started as a whim of editing for future fortune, ended in my appreciating my wife and our shared life.
The Return of Our FutureIn our beginning there was a September light
in your hair. Your sea-blue clothes make
the earth green again. Life becomes animated once
more. I notice even in Los Angeles how many animals,
feral dogs, and wildcats move around me. I will play
carefully with your eyes. I don’t want to fall
into the games that kills love off. You are here
in the first week of our meetings. A place in words
makes us aware of each other in freedom. Dancing
on Friday night gives us the awe of the possibility
of one in two. The music unclutters and opens us up
to the creation coming from our future. Returning
to knowing the simple in the complex calls us; we see
the divine again, delighting in our new love’s key.
So, after review the writing I kept in closet and had only shown my wife, I felt the need to share my discovery. I knew the dangers of putting out love poems. To say you write and read love poems is akin to shouting God at a convention of Gnu Atheists, an invitation to charges of being a flippant idiot, gullible buffoon, and butt of the greatest joke.
People, holding their nose, and scatter at you faux pas. Love poems have this certain reputation in modern America. To admit to writing love poems goes against our lingua franca, irony. Yet, I felt them as I wrote them and I feel them as I read them. Could I come out of the closet with my poems? Would it end any chance of a serious writing career? Yes, I know I listed Oprah, above, but that would be more forgivable than admitting to love poems. Oprah seems productive and love poems not.
If I were to put these out to the world, I would have to abandon my dreams of riches? Of respect? Yet, as I relived those nine years with my wife through these poems, I felt an uncontrollable urge to share. Maybe, it was out of vanity. Maybe, it was out of some selfish need to claim attention. But, I don’t think so. It ran deeper. The drive came out a sense of discovery about the truth of being and love.
The Taste of Ancient FruitYes, I appreciate that love is a spoiled lie.
For our postmodern world, irony must rule.
We, sharper than love, are way, way too cool
for that romantic dream. We ought say goodbye.
Yet, surveying the geography of your hips,
the slight rise and fall of your oasis landscape,
I am ignited by the charm of polished palm dates.
Like the Song of Songs, I sing of pomegranate lips.
Your soul moves me to inhale your breath.
The kindness you show to our infant son,
The wonder of your love’s truth makes us young.
Oh, I want our shared life to transcends death.
Love, love, how I bellow through the dark night?
Time expands moments like a child’s flying kite.
I also thought about the poems for where they led us later in marriage. We entered the room. Our thirteen-month old-son dressed in hospital blue gown and plumb from the surgeon’s knife, a blueberry of confusion. Hours before, I held him and then let him go to a group of masked men and women. Drugs and scalpel waited for him. Lace and I had to endure seven hours of waiting, holding each other and talking about his surgery and then not talking about it. Our first dance together on a warm Pasadena night had led to this moment. Love poems sung my heart we all I had was words to comfort my wife and help my son.
Usually, love stories only concentrate of the launching; the middle parts with nights of worry as well as nights of joy seldom make the cut. Yet, that is when love is most real and not deluded by fantasy. During the operation they found a tumor on third nerve of his eye. They repaired the problem that brought us to the hospital, but now new ones emerged, no rhyming couplet of closure. My son’s story, our story continued. We had to endure hundreds of variations of others telling us that children are resilient, as if a pulled tooth, the opening of his skull or divorce are just bumps in the road to adulthood. They, of course, are lies of either convenience or self-comfort. Resilience resides with the whole family. His story is also still in the middle. What will his future be? I have no idea. We are still in the middle, still searching for the words to give it life. We knock on the street searching for an honest word, a poetic word.
The Gift of My WifeTo Lace for all she is and will be even as our son recovery from his surgery… to Lace for the love she reveals …to Lace because she is ….
Is it best to look at our baby’s future
through a telescope, microscope, or through
mere observation? He plays
with his toy top. “I am that I am”
A bush called to a fugitive in the ancient desert.
The divine answered a question, but will the divine
answer our worry? Time moves like a toddler’s
crawl, moving faster with practice. Surgery
stalled his development, and yet, again,
He unfolds under his mother’s care.
Gardener with a seed needs soil, sun
and hope for good growing conditions,
Love boils under pressure. Our baby’s eye
heals slowly. Lace’s gaze
searches his cornea for signs of drying. Laughing
at his latest discovery, his smiling at strangers
in restaurants, he learns words and he goes down
an unknown trail. Will he regain sight?
Life, busy, goes from firing an uncaring
Doctor, the worst and most common kind,
to finding ways to keep moisture
In his eye, to fighting his rubbing of his eye.
These are the measure of love. Unaware
Of the ending, the turning of the pages
Continues and keeps us within the middle.
Days come and go. Lace searches for movement
of his damaged eye. The tumor, though
Gone, still affects his future. The doctors
Push and pulled it off the third nerve,
Making it dormant. Will vision return?
The stunned nerve has fixed his eye,
Always looking straight and seeing nothing.
We search time, always looking
And seeing a dim presence. His joy
Of being held, of being lifted, of just being
colors his day as fear does ours.
Seen and seeing, he brings us back.
Lace continues to caress him, and heal
him in the cradle of her arms.
Then, as if …, I am struck by love
For my son, for my wife, for life,
For joy, for all of the tears shed,
For doctors good and bad, for the time,
Now and in the future, for the times of learning
Words, his, his mother and mine, for all
The moments I will forget and remember
Because of my son’s health problems,
Despite…on top off…beyond …
No, no, and no, an
Yes, yes and yes
for ... an image of love
I chose to make my love poems available, despite knowing one sale, not counting friends and family, would be a miracle. Like a thirteen year old under the influence of a rushing first crush, I wanted to proclaim my love for my wife, and my son and my life. It is my yes to life. Their success, much like love, is with making them available to be read and not with finding riches.
Passions and Impressions after Few MonthsDrinking up your words, I find naked
Meaning in our last eight month, in your still voice.
I praise love for your opening onto my life.
I, again, taste our first kiss—holding—mingling
in the night air. Filled with my emptiness,
We contemplate, and listen for a word.
You lay your hand on my shoulder—less
quiet, your hand pats the living tissue. Herding
my fears to a place where hand sweep clears
the soil. Love, the divine comes into us and we
part the soil to place our seed. Insight
as to how to clear our past’s dirt, makes us sing.
How to honor our beginnings? A mystery
need not need a solution, it simply grows.
Our attitude toward love poems, I have speculated at thee AM philosophizing session, reveals our attitude toward love. Love poems as well as love seem sugary, sweet and ultimately disconnected to serious living. Love poems bring to mind “roses are red” and similar silliness. Love, a game of clichéd romance movies, seems unlikely to regain its former status. Yet, it has become for me, not a bulkhead against the waves of life, not a silly dream, but a sifter through which experience passes through. Our son has recovered but his eyesight is still in question. My wife still worries for his future. I continue to write love poems. Strange, my own words happened remind me as if they grew into a their own life apart from me. Life happens in a mixture of joy,