For Bobby

15 Feb

When I first started writing as a third grade girl in a constant Shakespeare trance, I wrote about love. Obviously. I wrote decadent, horrible rhyming poetry about knights in shining armour who would rescue me from the monotony that threatened a third grade girl. I scrawled poems about a love that would catch me like a tidal wave and sweep me away. I was, after all, a little girl who grew up watching Disney movies and Grease where big love happened. Not only did big love happen, but it was usually threatened by some tragic circumstance. Perhaps it was class that separated the lovers, one destined for riches and the other, doomed to rags. Maybe it was something supernatural that parted the two soul mates like a spell that induced an unexplainable prolonged coma. No matter what, the star-crossed lovers were able to overcome them and then…live happily ever after. Except for in the tragic case of Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare knew his shit. Sometimes love just doesn’t pan out, and while these real life ill-fated love affairs don’t usually end in a physical death, they do end, and it’s the death of something.

I avoided love poetry like the plague once I hit my teenage years. This genre was much too flowery for a hard-core punk rocker with a mohawk. I stopped believing in fairy tales somewhere between my first one night stand and the first line of cocaine that met my nose. Which all happened in my thirteenth year of living so my romantic fantasies were laid to rest in an early grave. May they rest in peace. I resigned myself to a long period of angst infested poetry, which was also an era that I dare not boast about.

Sometimes, you just can’t bloody escape writing about this elusive thing, love. A poem gnawed at me after the end of my first love and I ignored the nibbles on my ribcage as the words struggled to free themselves. Then I fell in love again, something that I really didn’t see coming but I’m blessed that I did. It’s alive and real and it just….is. However, I still had this poem of past experience haunting my showers and the minutes before I fell asleep. The opening lines following me to class, trailing behind me as I strolled the streets, it was a stalker poem.

I wrote it. I didn’t want to turn him into a poem. He deserves more than to be trapped in some lines that will never do his spirit justice.

Here it is, the love poem of an ending of love that had to escape me.

* * *

I dreamt that I was carrying you on my back

your rippled muscles, emaciated.

Your arms and legs, now awkward appendages.

Flesh draped on frail bones.

You looked nothing like the you I know.

* * *

I held you.

* * *

By principle of mass reduction

you should have weighed less,

but you became heavier with each footstep

until holding you

became unbearable

I was trying to take us to a place

where we could be together.

To another plane of reality,

that wasn’t   so    real.

Where circumstances couldn’t dictate

our budding loves future fate.

Where the numerous errors in judgement you made

as a lost teenager

didn’t land you behind bars for more than a decade.

* * *

I’ll admit that,

I know not, what it must be like to be on the receiving end of my letters.

Where they find their way to you,

by way of your prisoners number.

I haven’t the slightest clue how hard you fight

to keep whatever light you have in you kept alive.

I don’t know how many times your hope has been resurrected in cell walls

nor how many times it has died.

I only know that our paths intersected.

You broke me open gently.

Opening me to a world of possibility.

Showed me I was worth loving,

even when the rails were blazing

and I lay under the train car pile up.

Crippled. Broken. Weary.

* * *

In this next decade, our hearts could write volumes.

I could write you odes, and you could write me sonnets.

We could safely bare our souls and give each other lines derived from something honest.

Something real…

or as real as it can be

With out a physical manifestation

With out being within close proximity of the others location.

I told you once, that words…. are all that I have

that as a writer, my truest self was expressed on page.

So each letter exchanged, brought more of me to you and more of you to I .

A few weeks later I tore into a well-travelled envelope to read your reply.

You said that if words were all that I have, then you could be content with my all

because in between pages and post stamps you had my everything

and you did.

* * *

I so naively wanted to believe,

that only words lifted from pages could appease

my need to love…. and to be loved.

I wanted to stand firmly on the old adage that love knows no bounds

and hold us up until you are once again free.

We could write each other anthologies for each passing month,

but I finally had to admit,

that words,

words are not enough.

* * *

I told you once,

that I am of the Dane Zaa tribe.

I come from a line of dreamers.

Indigenous people who travelled in their sleep,

crossing boundaries between here and heaven.

Maybe one day,

my dreams could take me to you.

They finally did.

I found myself struggling to carry you any further,

my knees buckling under a weight they’ve never known.

I fell, and I let you go.

It    wasn’t    the    dream    we   were    waiting   for.

Two young lovers separated by walls, bars, and laws

that our hearts wanted to obliterate.

We slumbered on beds made on seconds that were not linear,

where we could scale the decade in between us,

our love could sing lullabies to our loneliness,

and extinguish our need for physical touch.

This kind of love is what we wanted to dream of.

What I wanted to dream of.

When I woke up,

I knew I couldn’t pass the decade,

the best of me spent on pages.

I knew that my love, wasn’t the kind of love that could make it.

I’m sorry, for not being strong enough to hold onto that which cannot be held.

I’m sorry.  I needed to say this even if you will never hear this poem.

I’m sorry, that my love couldn’t survive on words alone.

*************************

It’s funny how it all works out. If not for Bobby, I wouldn’t know that I was capable of love, of letting walls down, of being myself.

Signed and Sealed with love,

Helen K

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