Going through some old files, looking for something. What I find is this - some passages I had written the night of your memorial, and the day after it. I'd forgotten now, who was there, what was said, who I was. I'm afraid of the things I have forgotten, the things that would be so useful and important now. I feel like I'm at a crossroads, though a long and slow one: there are important and powerful, real and true things back there in all those words, all those things that happened and were felt. I live without them now. Until they come back, circling back sometimes. What did I write for me, and is it important to go back and look? Or am I supposed to walk on from it, to hear what gets written now.
This poem here below, I had forgotten. Joan read it at your memorial; I read this in my notes. This is where I am these days, this is where I live - the knife sharp and dull, and a long clenched fist unfurling.
To Have Without Holding
Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open,
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.
to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.
to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and
again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
air, to love consciously,
I can't do it, you say it's killing
me, but you
thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail,
a helium balloon
bright bachelor's button blue and bobbing
on the cold and
hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.