Take Responsibility

Lately I have had in my head to write a few blogs. So here goes.

 

A life lesson hard-learned and still very much in progress

 

Don’t assign responsibility for your emotions to other people. I think there is this idea that our partner is supposed to make us happy. I think it also satisfies something within our own vanity if we believe that we have the power to make another person happy.

 

Why it doesn’t work/create balanced healthy relationships

 

It is a tremendous burden to place on another person. For whatever reason people believe that once they are mentally healthy/spiritually enlightened/in the right relationship they won’t have to deal with the so-called “unpleasant” emotions anymore. All previous traumas and wounds will be cured. They’ll achieve a near constant state of zen-like euphoria/tranquility. Emotions themselves are completely natural and necessary, they make life fuller/richer, and they are great teachers (we learn compassion through suffering). Emotions can’t be cured. There really isn’t a good or bad emotion, it is all in our response to the emotions. Are we able to express ourselves constructively when we are in a downward emotional spiral? Are we able to harness the energy from those so-called negative emotions in productive ways? Are we able to sit with our emotions whatever they are and experience them fully? Are we able to drop the story-lines, the hypotheticals, the what-if scenarios and remain open and curious to what is actually happening around us? Do we listen to our intuition or do we seek absolute truths and confirmations? Probably not all of the time and that’s okay. It is okay to be human!

 

When you believe your emotions are external/caused by other people then you seek out external remedies/solutions. Any relief we get from these external remedies is temporary at best and can lead to various addictions and unbalanced relationships. You feel lonely so you text your crush for the 15th time. Your cute, funny, sweet, whiny, passive aggressive texts have nothing to do with spending quality time with this person they are for you and about you. You want to feel better and you have determined that the way to feel better is by obtaining validation from your crush. Even if your crush responds to you with humor/kindness/compassion/sensitivity and is able to provide you a moment of relief/distraction you will quickly find that the feeling of loneliness returns and just like with any addictive behavior you will require increasingly high doses of validation in order to numb your sense of loneliness. Only you don’t just feel loneliness anymore. You also feel guilt/shame/hopelessness/worthlessness. If your crush does not respond favorably you are also likely to feel humiliated/resentful and altogether unworthy of love. Meanwhile your crush could be left feeling drained/taken for granted/guilty etc. 

 

A partner who has been given this burden/responsibility will invariably come to see your negative emotions as a failure on their part. You are sad which means they have failed you. They feel guilty. In time they will start to resent your negative moods altogether and your negative moods will almost certainly send them into a downward emotional spiral. They will find it difficult to listen to you when you need to talk about emotionally-charged topics because they are too busy trying to fix/solve the issue and fix/solve their perceived inadequacies. Your sadness will almost become a betrayal to them. They will start to feel that you are ungrateful because they have been bending over backwards to please you. If you yourself find that you get angry with your partner when they are in a bad mood even without provocation then guess what you are operating under the illusion that you are somehow magically in charge of their emotions. You are taking their moods personally. You are making their moods about you! It’s not about you! How can you ever express compassion to another person if you make everything about you?! If you are shielding them from responsibility for their actions then you might even be depriving them of valuable life lessons. We develop confidence by facing opposition there is no other way.

 

A relationship like this can’t be balanced because these types of relationship really diminish respect on both sides of the equation over time.

 

Relationships absolutely enrich our lives. Humans are social creatures. We have a need for connection. There is nothing wrong with that and there is nothing wrong with curling up in someone’s arms and having a good cry. There is also nothing wrong with being that lap/shoulder. It can be a very beautiful thing. When you shift your mind set from being responsible for your partner’s feelings/happiness to being responsible for your own feelings/happiness you will find you are able to give more generously, to experience and express gratitude/love more fully, to be more authentic with your partner etc. Also you will start to be more curious about who your partner is/is becoming as a person. All too often we have this arrogance/pride that we know our partner what they think/feel/need/will do/say in any situation and we build this very limiting construct of the person that doesn’t really allow them much space to grow/breathe/be. It is scary to think of someone changing/growing if you have given them control of your happiness you know? Teach people how you want to be treated by loving yourself first!

Universe

No one can love you

from the depths

that I can love you.

No one can know you

the way that I know

because I have seen

inside of you like a dream.

I can feel your tears

whether or not they fall

in every part of my being.

I’ll go on choosing you

even if it takes lifetimes

for my heart to reach you.

I have a will of my own

and a soul full of miracles.

Together we will ascend

like feathers in the wind.

I want to lie down

in your arms.

I want to lie down

against your naked body

and fall asleep to the sound

of your breath

like a whisper in a shell.

I want your hands

to rearrange everything

inside of me.

I know you feel the same

because I feel you.

I can feel your dreams

slipping into me

and your lips

laying invisible blueprints

over my skin.

You are the only one

who can find me.

The only one who can see

what lies behind the stars 

and if you want

you can bury your secrets

in me like a key inside a stone.

I am your home.

Give me your hand,

the cards you hold

close to your vest.

The two and the three.

Together we could be

everything.

Together we are

the universe.

Wolf

I am shedding scars
so that my heart will open
without cracking.
If only you knew
the depth of my love.
I want to write confessions
down the length of your spine
using only the tip of my tongue.
You are the only one
who understands me.
You are the one
in whom my instincts gather,
and when your migration
is through I hope that you
will occupy me all the way.

I am turning the stars into thread
so that I can stitch fire
into the palms of my outstretched hands.
I want to make miracles with you.
I want you to take me as an instrument
between the threshold of your lips
and force your breath into me.

Tell me that you are the wolf
tugging down the moon,
Tell me that you are the man
peering back at me
through the veil of my dreams.
Tell me that this obsession
runs both ways.

Wordle #191

wordle-20200524-large

I wear masks six feet thick.

I wear masks while running

in a meretricious wheel.

My heart goes in circles

and my head along with it.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

I wear masks that don’t quite fit

because deep down

I am still fucking human.

 

I am two eyes blinking

earnestly in a crowded room.

I am a pair of worn out shoes

tumbling in a metal drum.

Boom. Boom. Boom.

Sometimes I dabble 

in aeromancy.

Replicating my replications

like a hamster blind

with the need to conceive.

I am nothing new.

I am entirely different.

 

The clock reads 11:11.

My smokey, Chesire-grin

hesitates from the shadows.

Ours is a desire

that never sleeps.

We dream and gather.

My synapses go

boom, boom, boom

whenever you enter me.

I could get lost in you.

You make me feel so deep.

 

I see past

your birch-skin facade

and your beautiful foliage.

I see beyond

your virtues and your failings.

I see the better part

of myself in you.

Outside of my window

the sun is a stiletto stabbing 

at the corners of my eyes.

I am wide awake

and your voice

is in my head

soft as satin.

Sunday Writing Prompt “Uncontrollable Nonsense”

Oscar Wilde

Wearing nothing
but sunshine
and a fistful
of cygne feathers
I pour rainbows
into ten golden cups
and if you are
thirsty you have only
to drink of me.

I am bleeding
into your arms,
wrap me tighter.
I am wounded
by your wounds,
by your endless knowing,
by your polite denial.
We open into each other
like bodies of water.
When you are lying awake
I scatter my prayers
across your pillow.
The thunder in my head
a chorus of hallelujahs.
Love me in your dreams
at least.

Wearing nothing
but moonlight
and a paper mache halo
I am sewing sleeves
into the shadows
and if you like
you can hide out
for a little while.
I will wait
even if it takes
a lifetime.

I am but a penny
in the sea of you.
Do you wish for me
as I wish for you?
Do you remember
when I threaded my soul
through your oblong gaze?
If it lessens your fear
I will paint windows
into the stone-grey sky
so you can come and go
as you will,
so you can steal me
like a voyeur
into the hungry night.

Fingertips touching
we dance to the sound
of our hearts breaking apart.
Wearing nothing
but your beautiful,
upturned mouth
I am speaking in tongues.
Everything translates to you.
Everything translates to fire.

Stolen 3 (again)

“Just look at the state of you…you’re absolutely filthy…” I looked but aside from a few flecks of dirt underneath my fingernails there was nothing about my current state that warranted my mother’s accusation.

At eight years old I was perfectly capable of giving myself a bath but I was no longer human in my mother’s eyes. I could tell by the ferocity of the steam that the water was too hot. My mother was generally a mild-mannered woman but parties made her hysterical. She loved nothing better than to plan events but she was unable to enjoy them knowing that in those few hours all of her efforts at perfection would be nullified. I climbed into the bath of my own accord knowing that my mother was too frail to lift me. I said nothing. I cried a little to myself but I was careful not to make a sound. She scrubbed my boiled flesh without sympathy but I knew that she did not hurt me intentionally.

“Don’t throw me away…” I whispered underneath the terry cloth towel. I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to hear me but presumably she did. She hugged me for a long time and it seemed to me the towel around my shoulders grew wetter. She didn’t make any promises but I felt reasonably certain that if she ever did it wouldn’t be entirely of her own volition.

I ate my oatmeal alone that morning. My father left early and my mother wouldn’t eat again for several days having been forced to eat a few mouthfuls of cake at the party. As soon as my mother began her chores I would go into the garden and retrieve my treasure. I had until lunch time to discover the location of the door but I did not need it because I already knew.

I rarely went into the basement. I wasn’t sure if the sterility of the space made it any less scary but it was at least inhospitable to vermin. I stood for a long time in front of the door debating whether or not I should open it. I knew the room inside had to be large because there was a good deal of unaccounted for space. I tried to remember if I’d ever been inside but it seemed unlikely given the volume of my restrictions. This was my father’s room. A room that he disappeared into for hours at a time. He hadn’t been down here for nearly two months.

My father was a surgeon and therefore like my mother in regards to hygiene and housekeeping. I unlocked the door and stepped inside. The room was full of bookshelves lined with medical texts. There was a desk much like the one my father had in his upstairs office and a chair that was identical. There was a journal on top of the desk that looked exactly like the one he’d given me for my birthday, a plain leather-bound volume with no lock. Inside of the journal my father had sketched, in excruciating detail, the internal structures of the human body. There were other sketches, close ups that made me feel incomprehensibly squeamish but I could not understand their content. None of the drawings had faces. I supposed the faces were irrelevant. None of the entries were of a personal nature and although there were a number of notations accompanying each meticulously rendered image they were of a purely scientific and impersonal character.

There was no surgical equipment or specimen jars. There were no pickled body parts or metal tables with restraints. I was both relieved and disappointed. I opened every drawer in my father’s desk. They were filled with identical journals, the sketches and notations meant very little to me but I studied them carefully just the same. I perused the bookshelves taking out books at random but they were similar in content to my father’s personal notebooks. I knew the proper names for the bones but only just and I often forgot the bones of the face. I did not yet know the names of all the muscles. I knew the basic function of the organs but very little of their failings.

I opened a large chest, inside were bones labeled in my father’s tight, Gothic script. I picked up the skull. I understood that it was real but I wasn’t frightened. Flesh was what made corpses scary, decomposition. These bones were all clean and only vaguely human to my mind. They seemed to belong to the same person as there were no duplicates and only one identification number on the lid of the chest. The chest beside it was different. The bones were smaller. I did not know if the bones were from a woman or an adolescent. The chest beside that one had a set of intact bones. The full skeleton of an infant. I did not dare remove them lest they come apart in my hands. The disproportionately large cranium seemed nearly as large as the skull in the first case, I was not sure that it belonged to the same body but my father did not make mistakes. There seemed to be other anomalies in the head but I could not identify the source of the deviations. The eye orbits were too narrow for the organs they were meant to contain. The arms were only rudimentary. Though only a small fleshless creature I found it repulsive, not even pitiable, just repulsive. The first two chests had been marked with numbers but this skeleton had a name “Elizabeth”. I closed the chest, heart writhing I glanced at the final chest but could not bring myself to open it.

 

Stolen 2 (again)

I had an inkling as to the location of the door but I would have to wait until my father was at work to begin my investigation. I left the library using an alternate exit to avoid confrontation. I would have to hide the key when time afforded but at the moment I had no alternative but to rejoin the celebration.

Dinner was painful. I watched my mother cut her food into progressively smaller pieces. She rearranged her food, now thoroughly dimensionless, into careful piles. She created illusions of absence. She ate nothing but air. My mother did most of the talking. She talked on behalf of everyone. I could feel her voice tearing at the back of my throat every time I opened my mouth. I could feel her eyes in my skull, like two hooks. ‘Shut up. Shut up. You’ll ruin everything.’ She spoke to me with her hands. She tugged my sleeve under the table. I spoke only when addressed. I spoke in monosyllables and euphemisms. After dinner there was a short recess. I spent my recess in the shadow of my classmates. “Your mother is very thin. Is she sick?” One of the girls remarked off-handedly. “Oh no, she just can’t put on weight. She has a high…” I trailed off a high what? What was I meant to say? The girl waited impatiently. “Standard…” I had heard the words high and standard linked frequently in conversation.

“Well alright then…” The girl shrugged. She didn’t care enough to press me. I searched my mind in vain for the word.

//

When I entered the kitchen I could tell by my mother’s expression that she had noted, if only just, my presence. Her hand alighted on my shoulder like a frightened bird and she took, what I imagined was, the last breath of the evening. I had prepared an excuse for my unexpected intrusion but it proved unnecessary.

“There you are Eli! Come now it’s time to cut the cake…” She maneuvered me toward the large banquet table in the center of the dining hall. She had tears in her voice.

There were three cakes, one vanilla, one strawberry, and one chocolate presented precisely in that order. It had been determined, after much consideration, that vanilla was my favorite. Strawberry suggested vanity. Chocolate suggested avarice. Vanilla was prudent and therefore the only acceptable choice, I would not even be permitted to sample the other flavors.  If it really was that easy to alter a man’s nature then why hadn’t my parents taken more care with their own diets? Why did my father drink? Why did my mother refuse to eat?

My mother pressed the handle of the knife into my outstretched hand, but she was not permitted to guide the blade. I watched her take her seat, her knitted brows drawing out the terror in her smile. For this occasion I was permitted to sit at the head of the table, a designation I neither deserved nor desired. The guests, which existed purely for their own benefit, appeared sewn into their chairs. I stood motionless above the cake. The cake might well have been a body of flesh and blood and I might well have been a recruit in service to an unprincipled war. I swallowed but the lump in my throat could not be dislodged. “Well don’t just stand there Elijah.” My father barked. I slid the blade shakily through the cake. When it was my mother’s turn, I watched her delicately shave away a slice. Paper-thin. Borderline transparent.

///

I buried the key beneath my mother’s favorite rose bush. She was in the kitchen, embroiled in a war which offered no hope of formal resolution. She would scrub each dish until her fingers were raw from heat and persistence. Once clean she would drop them into the trash one by one, like the shells of discarded eggs. No one dared intercept her pathos and no one dared name it but the cause was obvious. My father retired to his study, drink in hand, he would not speak again until breakfast.

I had been careful not to kneel in the dirt and with my sleeves rolled up past the elbows I believed myself impervious to filth. Against my naked forearms the air was as sharp as a briefly applied cigarette. Not for an external chill but such was the shock of my violation. I had wanted for very little in my short life and had asked for far less but this key held the culmination of all those secret leanings. I patted the earth carefully knowing that my mother would detect the slightest disturbance. If she were for some reason vexed by the sight of the topsoil she might extract the entire plant. The thought that she could kill something she loved to appease her illness frightened me and though I’d never voiced my fear I often worried that my own eccentricities might invite a similar fate.

Stolen 1 (again)

(This is a story I started writing some months ago. I posted several sections. I am working on it again trying to flesh it out. Trying to make sense of it all.)

The abyss exists within each of us, though it is perhaps more commonly referred to as ego. I is hungry. I is the reason that absence is so heavy. Some would make of their absences a grave, others would fill them by whatever means necessary. I am guilty of both. It is true what they say about regret. I regret most the atrophy of my heart through omission. I should have been more honest with my feelings, a man can’t live on justifications alone.

 

All memories are subject to embellishment and decay. Do not expect my story to adhere to chronology as you may be given to understand it. I write as though insane, I write as my memories surface. Do not take my words for truth. My words reflect only my interpretation of events. There are those that would silence me/challenge me but they are dead now. Literally. Figuratively. My wounds are deep, my judgments biased. What I am about to tell you won’t make any sense and if it does make sense then you have my deepest condolences.

//

My 8th birthday was more facade than celebration. A bit of posturing for my mother’s sake, as she had so little else besides. The children from my class were all invited but it was not for my company that they came. They came because their parents willed it. My father was a respected member of the community. He wasn’t simply a doctor, he was the only doctor for miles. He was an unpleasant man behind closed doors but faced with an audience he was intolerable. I knew the jest of his portrayal. My father held society in the highest contempt. He played the game but only because it forced others to acknowledge his superiority. I understood, to some degree, his false participation. I was accustomed to it but I did not care for either version and feared them both equally.

 

My social ineptitude was considered a betrayal to my parents who took great pains to secure their reputation. They spared me public humiliation but this omission in discipline was not out of consideration for my blighted ego. They simply did not want to draw attention to their own failings.

 

My classmates did not attempt to engage me in play during the party or afterwards. They saw me only as a repository for gifts. Their gifts were impersonal and superfluous. I opened them with a smile so tight that I felt my jaw would weld itself shut from friction. I did not seek their friendship. I was content to speculate at their games and the conversations of the adults meandering mindlessly around the room but all the while I was alone.

 

The room was not dressed for my benefit. There were decorations but they might as well have been stars. They hung fragile and out of reach. My mother too was like a star. Beautiful. Distant. Dead. Her cold fingers dug into my arm as she paraded me around the room. Every now and then she stopped to tidy my hair or to straighten my clothes. “Oh Eli please don’t wrinkle your suit.”. “Keep your hands out of your hair…you’ll ruin it.”. “Why are your hands sticky? The candy is for the guests. I hope no one saw you eating. Please tell me you were discreet?” Her eyes burned the top of my forehead. My mother went to great pains to avoid my eye contact.

“No one saw me Mummy.” I lied. Even had I been able to define discreet, the concept of discretion was beyond my comprehension.

“Well thank God for that…dinner will be served at 19:00 please try to be patient.” I nodded. My stomach growled. My mother blanched and then gathered herself together. “When we are finished greeting the guests I’ll give you an apple. If you promise to stay out of the way.” She started to tug my arm but I remained fixed. My face began to contort. I wanted to cry. None of the guests had shown the slightest interest or consideration for me. Wasn’t this my party? Wasn’t I meant to feel special? What I felt in actuality was shame. Shame for getting in the way. Shame at the notion that my party would be ruined if I was “seen” by the guests after its official commencement. I thought for a long time with my face screwed up. I didn’t cry. My features relaxed. My mother took a breath so deep it looked like she was having a seizure.

“You won’t even know I am here.” My smile wobbled a little before falling.

“That’s a good boy…” My mom shoved me in front of the next visitor. I shook his hand as I had been taught but I had to look to my mother for the words. I had forgotten what it was I was supposed to say. My mother mouthed the words to me. I decided to ad lib. “My name is Elijah.” I leaned in, the old man stooped. “I’m not supposed to be here.” I told him matter-of-factly. The man pushed a gift into my hands. “I won’t tell anyone that I’ve seen you then.” He assured me in confidence. He greeted my mother coldly and something in his coldness warmed my heart.

 

I do not know when I retreated to the library but it was not conscious insubordination as so little of what I did at that age was premeditated. To be the guest of honor in a room full of strangers was a loneliness more imposing to me than my own volitional exile. I took out a leather-bound volume at random. I had my own books but I had read them all and worn them bare in repetition. The library was locked, save for when we had company, and this had been my only occasion to enter for several months. During parties I often came in secret but to come here during my own party, where my attendance was mandatory/albeit pointlessly passive, went beyond risk. Taking a seat I opened the book in the middle expecting to find only words as my father did not care for fanciful stories. What I found instead was a compartment and in that compartment there was a large, brass key in a style that was faintly familiar. I placed the key in my trouser pocket and closed the book returning it hastily to the shelf. I could not risk being discovered, to be discovered now would deprive me of a singular opportunity. I was going to have an adventure, there could be no better gift. The sound of footsteps set me blindly into motion.

Mad with Love

We are closer than skin.
I lie in bed and let you
sink into me by the breath.
Everything I feel belongs to us.
I worship myself to worship you.
We are a sky’s worth of stars.
We are fated, sacred, infinite.
Tell me you’re mad with love.

Face down I bite
into my pillow
as if it were
a forbidden fruit,
as if I could find
an answer
in each strangled repetition
of your name.
I am mad with love.

We are deeper than blood.
I gather your heart around me
as if it were made of pure air.
Hips writhing
I claw at the sheets
suffocating beneath
impressions of you.
There is nothing
lonely about your ache,
your weight, your soul
pressing against
my existential boundaries.
Tell me you’re mad with love.

We are more obdurate than bone.
Knuckle-deep inside myself
I am climaxing
to the conjured image
of your made-for-sin mouth.
I lick my fingers clean
and imagine
that it is your tongue
translating the taste.
I grind myself
senseless against
the mattress.
It feels too much.
You feel too much.
I am mad with love.

Heart to Heart

I’m watching your lips move

as you struggle to speak

and your voice is so quiet it hurts.

Your words melt like the sun

behind a vacillating horizon.

Face to face I settle

flush against you

and your embrace fits

so perfectly it hurts.

If only we could remain

long after the sun

penetrates our bones.

Our bodies are full

of heartbeats and scars

so deep they hurt.

The morning steals

but the nights

give and give.

Call me moonstruck.

Covet me asylum.

Kiss me so hard it hurts.