An Exercise in Pathos

 

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You leaving me
has thrown all of the dusty
corners of my house into
sharp relief,
and shown up the many blank spaces
where people I loved used to be;

you filled them, you see.

Down the endless corridors of my days
and nights,
I will hear echoes of you
on repeat and rewind
with: “I hope you’re not too broken,”
playing constantly.

The laughter that came so easily
to my lips
has faded with the last of the summer vintage,
and the city I once owned
holds the ghosts of our memories
of two lonely souls
colliding;
I stay home a lot, now.

I’ve put away the gifts of love
you gave me,
perhaps one day I will have the
courage
to look at them;
but not this minute, next year, or even within
the next lifetime.

Except for the multi-hued angora scarf
in muted purple, blue, and red;
don’t tell anybody,
but I wrap it around my aching heart
and whisper: “He loved me when he gave this to me”.

It’s not your fault, you simply left,
but you took someone I need back;
the girl I used to be.

© 2014, MR

A Passionate Affair: Day 1, Meeting

A series of poems for Chris

park

Photographer: Vladimir Nikulin

A walk in the park.

The day flirts

with the coming of dark.

It’s as if I’ve known you forever;

rain trails silver fingers

over flesh.

Night gathers two

(I and you)

between plush, warm folds.

The old wooden bed

bearing witness

as it has a thousand and one sighs

before,

to lovers loving,

exploring

exciting;

for the very first time.

© 1997, MR

Forgiveness

forgiveness

 

It’s been some time since my ex and I communicated, mainly because I put a no contact period in place, oh and then there’s the small yet undeniable fact that he doesn’t want to see me again, at least, that’s what I got from his last email to me where he pretty much told me to sod off, lol.

NC has been helpful to me, in that it’s curbed my obsessive need to keep connected to him – very difficult after three years of no-holds barred sharing, and loving him.  I realize I lost control of myself in the end, and the situation, and it was especially apparent in the final couple of weeks.  The humiliation I put both of us through – well, it’s devastating to think back, and remember how I cried, begged, threw myself at him, and generally acted like a crazy woman!  Every abandonment issue I’ve ever had rushed to the fore when I thought about losing him, and I just went nuts!

That’s not love, that’s co-dependency of the worst kind.  That’s not love, it’s relationship/love addiction, and I was deeply afraid of losing my fix.  That’s not love; it’s the outpouring of every damaging issue I’ve held tight beneath my outer facade of being a strong woman.

I’ve been tormented ever since our break-up, wishing I could turn back time, and handle things differently.  Not to stop us breaking up, because I realize now that it would’ve been inevitable – just as he told me, we were two different people wanting different things.  If I could turn back time, I would’ve respected his decision, and walked away with my dignity intact, and possibly saved our friendship.  Now, I’m not sure we could even have a friendship – I feel so bruised from this all, so deeply hurt and fractured, that I doubt I could even look at him again without feeling splintered.  At the end, he was so cold and resolute, so intent on getting me out of his life, that even now, it makes my stomach roil over how much he must despise me.

I am hoping he remembers over the three years we were together, that I wasn’t this mad, desperate woman I became at the end.  I hope he would remember I have a great sense of humor, compassion, gentleness, and that there is poetry in my soul.  I hope he would remember I valued and respected him, as a person, and a human being, and as the smartest man I ever knew.  I hope he remembers I am thankful for all that I experienced with him.

The city I live in is a small city.  Undoubtedly, I will see him again.  Perhaps we will  have this conversation one day, about forgiveness.

But even more important than seeking forgiveness from him, is according forgiveness to myself.  I really am the type to obsess and self-punish whenever I, or sometimes others, made a mistake.  I realize I’ve been doing this since childhood.  Whenever my parents abandoned me, whenever my father beat me, whenever someone I loved turned their back on me – I would take on all the blame, and flagellate myself until there was nothing left of myself but bloody strips.  To move on in my life, I must forgive myself for the wrong I did to not only him, but myself.  I lost myself completely, and it’s only since this enforced no contact that I realize just how much I lost myself in him, our relationship, my expectations, his expectations, and this daydream I was constantly in, thinking I’d found the ultimate love and happiness.

The truth is, happiness is inside me, and if someone comes along to enhance my life with what he/she has, all the better!  But it’s completely wrong to look to another to spur happiness in our lives.

I’ve stopped crying 24/7.  I’ve stopped waking myself up with the sound of my own crying.  I’ve stopped being a zombie, capable only of turning over in my bed to cry on the other pillow.  I’ve stopped hating myself for him leaving.

I have not returned to work yet.  I couldn’t function and so I took a lot of sick leave off.  Thankfully, work has been very supportive.

I take my meds every day like a good mental patient, lol.

I huddle in my apartment, and I feel like a total useless loser because Bear does everything, cooks and cleans and shops and props me up and showers me with love and affection.

I avoid looking at my phone.

I spend a lot of time on two sites: exaholics.com and baggagereclaim.co.uk  Both have been instrumental for me understanding what happened in my relationship, and what I need to do to recover, and how my childhood issues bled over into my relationships.

 

The other thing I’ve been ruminating on is forgiving my parents.  My mother, long cold in her grave, and my pedophile father.  It’s not so much for their sakes – my father is still alive, and there’s been not one word of apology from him, but more for my benefit.  I really want to let this go once I finish therapy, and all the painful processing.  I’ve held on to every damaging memory, and every hurtful thing ever said to me by my family.  I’ve received, and believed, every derogatory comment, just as if it was the truth.  But no, I had no control over these people, nor was I responsible for their issues, or their pain.  I was just a child – they failed me, and in the end I failed myself by allowing their sickness to define my life, and my later relationships.

Like I say, it’s something I am contemplating. My first priority is to myself, reconnecting with myself, forgiving myself, and loving myself.

 

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Last Word

I guess you got the last word,

I have years to regret the hurt,

we gave one another

with the contempt ex-lovers

so easily do.

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I thought I was so smart,

parrying each verbal thrust,

but in the end

it’s me who paid

by losing you.

© 2014, MR

The Ubar of the Skies

(Based on the most misogynistic book titles I’ve ever read, John Norman’s Gor series).

Tarn  - giant bird

Goad - taser-like weapon

Ubar – overlord

 

Bird

He soars above the Voltai mountains

the rocky crags his home,

his wings unfurl and ride the gyre;

over vale and cliff he roams.

His resplendent blue-black feathers,

cruel brilliance of his eyes.

The men who hunt with bow and spear

call him Ubar of the Skies!

The deadly hook of blood-stained beak

to peel and tear sweet flesh.

His steel-shod talons grip the prize

strikes fear in the stoutest breast!

For war and stealth the tarn was bred,

affixed to perch with chains.

The tarn goad struck him savagely

as he screamed in rage and pain!

And there he learned to fear the goad

as each time poised in flight;

the chain would reel him back again

his black eyes blazing bright!

In polished mounds were strewn,

the bones of prideful men.

They sought to mount the fierce tarn,

their flesh the beast did rend.

One man dared to conquer

- a humble guard of Kar.

The whistle sang between his lips

- the tarn screeched from afar.

A rush of wind and snapping sound

a great winged shadow sliced the clouds

the war tarn spiralled down and round

- the Ubar of the Skies!

His talons struck the tarn cot roof

his vicious eyes gleam’d bold

his monstrous beak opened wide

- the guard held fast with goad.

Man and beast regarded well

across the smooth expanse,

the guard held crest and vaulted up

thighs clenched upon its back.

The tarn shook its mighty head

the air rent with its cries

a sudden flurry, it launched straight up

its wings blading the sky.

Man and tarn grappled long

across the sky they flew

the great hawk spun and bucked in flight

- the guard held fast and true.

The grudging yield of tarn to man

the reins wrapped round his calloused hand

as the tarn swiftly rode the winds

and flew to his commands.

For years they traveled gliding swift,

the land rolled far beneath

their shadows black against the sun,

wild and proud and free!

They flew through storm and siege and war

constant brothers to the call,

of strife and bloodshed cleaved by sword

till death would cast its ghastly pall.

One day locked in combat high

an arrow pierced the armored chest,

the guard slumped aft, reins dangled loose;

his eyes glazed blank with death..

The tarn shrieked once, and mad with grief

he leaped upon the other!

He carried high the struggling foe

and tore the man asunder!

To Kar, he bore his heavy load,

wings beating slow, a mournful sound.

They cut his Master from his back

and lowered him gently to the ground.

The tarn drooped his mighty head

and nuzzled close, his only friend.

His wings fanned out and up he climbed

never to be seen again.

A rush of wind and snapping sound

a great winged shadow sliced the clouds

the war tarn spiralled up and round

- the Ubar of the Skies!

© 2009, MR

 

 

Turning a Corner

Yesterday was a wonderful day!  I reconnected with an old friend I haven’t spoken to in quite a while because we’ve been estranged.  It hurt since we are old friends, we travelled abroad together, and I worked for her in the past.  We fell out due to business animosity, none of my doing, but things grew uncomfortable between us. Finally, we stopped speaking to one another.   I have missed her friendship, and she has missed mine as well.  Now that we are free of the business, we met and related to one another as we used to in days of old.

She knew that my ex and I had split.  She was horrified to learn I was on 3 different types of meds, and I was not coping well.  She said: “That isn’t you – what’s going on?”   I admitted that I had lost myself in this relationship completely, and I had lost my dignity and self-respect, my motivation; my very core.  “Who am I?”  I said to her tearfully.  “This has shattered me!  I don’t know who I am any more!”

She nodded in agreement.  “I guess it was going to happen no matter who you were with.  Whether it was __________, or Bear, or whomever you were involved with.  You haven’t dealt with your demons till now.  It’s a hard journey you’ve chosen to go on, but an amazing one!  You are beginning to discover who you really are without the crutch of the ex, and in dealing with, and letting go of the hurt of your past, I’m sure it will be even more of a revelation about who you are once you don’t allow the ghosts of your past to define your life.  Confront it, put it all in its proper place, then move forward and be the amazing and talented person that you are without the baggage!”

Holy shit, I’d forgotten how insightful she could be, when she stood still long enough!  This woman is like a hurricane!

She said to me: “I’ve seen him; he’s with a different woman every time.”  I waited for the waves of pain to recede as I struggled to control myself.  She looked at me.  “Babe, he wasn’t for you.  He’s a nice guy, but I knew he wasn’t for you every time I saw you together.  The thing is that you got used to sitting in a chair, then the chair was pulled out from under you, and because your life was about him, and Bear, now that you’re not in a relationship with either, your security is gone, at least with him; yep, I’m not surprised you are struggling.  But remember, you were amazing before you met him.  He may have enhanced your life, but he certainly isn’t responsible for your loving spirit, your creativity, your talent, your strength – you already had all that in you!”

I admitted to her that I felt anxious being out on the street, around the public, and that I couldn’t handle work, and I’d just been in a terrible dark place moping around at home, hence the anti-anxiety pills because I couldn’t cope going out the front door without them.

“Are you kidding me?”  She said disbelievingly.  “Cut it out!  First thing you’re going to do is you’re going to wean yourself off the meds.  And secondly, I’m booking you in for gigs and events at my place.  Come back to life, and do it now!”

I began to make excuses; I wasn’t ready, he’d destroyed me, she didn’t understand -

“Shut.  Up.”  At this point we were at her bar, and she motioned for the Events diary to her employee.  She flipped over the pages.  “You ready for this?  In May, after the Comedy Festival, you’re going to be running Open Mic Night once a month.  I also have a dancer lined up to gig with you at one of the Burlesque shows.  The Open Mic Uke Night you created we can do here once a month.  And your poetry?  Get ready to share it with the world, because you’re going to perform at the next Poetry Slam!”

I grimaced.  When she was in this mood, there was no stopping her!

“Get your shit together, here are the dates,” she handed me a piece of paper.   “I expect a lot from you that I know from experience, you will deliver.  Oh, and don’t worry, we’re going to find you another chair!  But this time, we’re going  to make sure you know how to sit on it properly, and fold it away when you’re not using it!  Stay focused, and remember it’s just a chair, and don’t get carried away thinking it’s a fucking throne!”

I laughed all the way home, and even the hurt of knowing my ex was with other women wasn’t as extreme as I thought it would be.  It was now a faint throb tucked away in my heart – a hurt I knew I could cope with.  Strangely, knowing he was out there, finding his happiness, being his authentic self, truly allowed me to accept the end of us as I never had before.  I felt lighter, more positive.  Hopeful, and excited for the future.  I was already starting to make a checklist in my head for the things I needed to prepare for.

Good friends who loved me no matter what.  I am blessed to have them!

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