We chose to add distance
to see what was essential between us,
and let the rest fall away, packing material
discarded into the recycle bin.
Consciously uncoupling, we barely talked for weeks.
It hurt at first, because I did not understand,
for some time I thought it was the end,
I flailed around like the skunk on my porch did once
backing into cacti then picking out thorns,
sharpening words to methodically
talk you back into the comfortable patterns
until I felt the truth of my body
that I needed this as much as you
that too much closeness had robbed me of my power
and diminished the electricity
tamed it, turned it into routines of dinner,
walking your dog, going to events, watching movies.
All those things are lovely, things I want
but not at the cost of the torrent of sparks
that opens now each time you come to me
the blast furnace door lifting
molten metal rushing out, heat between us
your skin against mine, your hands touching
the places you find both familiar and strange at once,
pulling me into you, looking at me as best you can,
eyelids fluttering in the winds of our connection;
our needs are the same, and become real,
a root connection, and also belly, and heart.
Six months ago I thought we were as deep as it could be;
I knew nothing; it is beyond my being left of the slash
or you the right, my surrendered one;
all modes merge into simply us,
I grow more and more translucent
power channeled through me
into heat under your fingertips
and your radiance shining through me
into the rest of my life, my other lovers,
my work, this poem, dear friends, everything new.
I have filled my life until now with pretension and bullshit
trying to be someone I am not, someone others
might find worthy, someone interesting
or at least not massively vanilla;
I ask myself, what has this gotten me?
failed marriages, relationships that have no real presence,
The result has certainly overreached the cost
I have lots of experiences of disconnection and loss,
well, fuck that, all I want now is to really be here,
in my body, in my heart, connected with whoever I am around
roots in the earth, sprouting amazing flowers
the deep red Autumn-blooming species tulips I have
still in my garden from 30 years ago
or the sticky burs from the weeds,
I am flower and bur, weed and cultivated plant.
I have had amazing sex and boring sex,
deep love and surface infatuations,
dearest friends and people who pretended to be.
From every time, every person, something is left.
The quality of each connection
is more on whether I am there than whether they are.
No love is ever lost or pointless.
As a child I was told ‘Honesty
is the best policy”, but really,
it’s the only way possible for me to be with you now,
exposing all of the pains I have carried for decades,
both of us doing that, letting it slide away into nothing
owning who we are, flawed, knowing
that we can still hurt each other despite intentions,
and still, each time we connect now
is like the first time, the joy spiraling out,
no more routine or expectation
letting go of what might be, of plans
or what I thought I desired for the future
my thoughts dissolving into vapor, floating away
into this moment, and the next, and the next.
You seldom make puns, but you called
our first sex after the time apart our ‘re-entry’,
with all the images that conjures erotically, but also
the spaceship coming back to ground,
flaming in the atmosphere, radio contact
momentarily lost, those journeying in it
alone but not alone, as it is in the isolated
calm and peace of my bed, the quiet
I have cultivated in my house for my lovers
in which I am immersed as I write this;
in front of me, in the window shelf,
is the lavender ceramic pot holding one of my orchids
the pot open for air and water to pass through,
nourishing what is inside without constraining it,
holding closely but lightly, the way, my beloved,
I will hold you when next we meet,
the way I hold your life now in mine.