L’amour de ce qui n’est pas vrai

D. H. Lawrence said, “The cruelest thing a man can do to a woman is to portray her as perfection.”  This is so true.  Nothing wrecks a relationship faster than putting your significant other on a pedestal of impossible expectations.  For sooner rather than later, the pedestal will wobble… then topple (thank you Deborah Kerr).  Though you may believe you are honoring your beloved by believing in their unalloyed perfection, you are actually taking away their freedom to be human–to make mistakes, to show their weaknesses, to be real.  You will surely be disappointed, and that disappointment will flow into every facet of the relationship.  But C.S. Lewis offers all you lovers out there some hope: “This is one of the miracles of love: It gives a power of seeing through its own enchantments and yet not being disenchanted.”  Love is not about believing your beloved to be flawless.  Rather, it is seeing those flaws, acknowledging them, and loving with the same ardor and affection as before.  That is the delight of true love.  You can be yourself (and allow your significant other to be his or herself) without fear of abandonment or scorn.  And that seems like a priceless treasure to me.

Advertisements

The Boy Magician

There is a young boy in the alley

playing in the gutter

his dirty hands grip a stick

broken off a tree who knows where

there are no trees here in the city

and he writes nonsense in street-mud

then taps out a certain beat

varying with each made-up word he writes

He is a mystical scribe

writing secrets to the earth

and tapping a beat to send them off

dancing, vibrant, and alive

Curious, I watch him

wishing I knew his arcane language

and the special rhythm of his game

So I sit at my desk with my pen,

a poor substitute for the boy magician’s wand,

writing nonsense

and tapping out a rhythm

in hopes that I will find the secret

of bringing words to life

Just thinking out loud

I have often admired those women in my life who exude confidence.  But I came to the realization today that many of those who I believe have self-confidence probably don’t.  A lot of those women who seem confident to me are the ones with perfect bodies and faces, dazzling intellects, thriving social lives, etc.  Does it require confidence if you’re already the ideal?  How much real confidence does it take to be comfortable in your own skin if you’re gorgeous? If your beauty, mind, or friends were suddenly gone, would the “confidence” remain?  Aren’t the truly confident ones those women who see their flaws glaring at them in the mirror and choose to disregard them?  To live joyful and gracious lives in spite of not measuring up to our outrageous expectations?  Maybe the confident ones are those who struggle every morning to love themselves, and again choose that today, they will love and not give in to self-loathing.  And though it hovers always on the fringes of their psyche, poised to attack at the next opportunity, they will fight the sinking feeling of inadequacy, one moment at a time.

Auschwitz

Auschwitz Concentration Camp, Poland

I walk beneath the black iron gateway

Arbeit Macht Frei

Work Makes Us Free

And cold anger settles like mercury in my gut

Horror perches on my shoulder

whispers in my ear

as I walk the death-paths of millions

And I peep into the long low houses

that absolutely no one called home

Finally, I immerse myself into the hell of the gas chamber

I stand near the wall while the guides drone on

in casual tones about what happened here

I can’t blame them

How could they let themselves feel the grief

on every tour, quarter past the hour

But to my left, I hear a low mutter

“Mein Gott…”

I want to see the man beside me

to know that he suffers as I do

but I can’t take my eyes off the scratches in the wall

Nails dragging down the unyielding metal

No one heeding the cry, “Mein Gott!”

When I step out of that room

[They didn’t step out]

The sun is shining

Breaking through the clouds with perseverance

Was this the freedom they earned?

Clawing, screaming, gasping

into the sunny sky

Carried along as black smoke on the wind

Laugh

Notre Dame, Paris, FranceI laugh now, all the time

I laugh and hide and laugh out loud

Then stop and wonder why I do it

I remember kneeling in the still stark beauty of the cathedral

and I didn’t laugh then

but my soul laughed

with resounding, glorious, heaven-scented vigor

And tears made silver tracks down my cheeks

While the burning incense made clouds to hide the face of God

Questions

I put two fingers to the side of my neck

and feel the doubts and questions pulsing there

at times, low and fluttering,

then throbbing and desperate to escape

And when I open my mouth

the questions rise like tentative birds

whose cage doors have been unlatched

And I speak them, hoping desperately

to find someone else with…not with answers

I don’t even ask that much

but someone else with questions

tentative like mine

burning somewhere in her throat

Good night

“But the night sat lightly upon the sea and the land.  There was no weight of darkness; there were no shadows.  The white light of the moon had fallen upon the world like the mystery and the softness of sleep.”

–Kate Chopin, The Awakening