Abuse, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Ethics, Kindness, Life, Love, Lovers, Morals, Obligations to Society, Poetry, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sexuality, Spirituality, Tomoko, Values

A Life Littered With Kindnesses

(About a 3 minute read)

For a while I thought you loved me
As much as I loved you.
By when I figured out the truth,
I’d been carried along by currents
Stronger than the both of us
Fifteen hundred miles to the West,
And I could no longer resent
Your lack of love, nor wish for it.

You wrote 54 letters to me that year
Begging me to return to our home,
And each one a bit crazier than the last.

But by then I was free of the cages
You had once made for me
And I was littering my life with kindnesses
While at the same time trying to efface
All other tracks of my passing.

I wanted to get a small cottage
Up in Manitou among mountains with rooms
That were not trued to a square,
With a garden to tend out back,
And then become a ghost to everyone,
Invisible in broad daylight,
Harming no one, you see.

When I was young the girls bored me,
Except for their beautiful bodies,
They bored me — I foolishly compared
Them to Einstein and Locke,
To Nietzsche and Feynman,
Found them wanting in their appreciation
For a good first order propositional calculus.
Then wondered why I felt lonely at nights,
And even lonelier in their presence during the day.
I’m not like that now.

The young women take me aside these days,
Ask me what the boys want,
Saying they’ll do anything to please the boys —
“Just tell me what I must become to them.”

Then I tell them in six ways
And repeat it twelve times:
“Be true to yourself”,
“Be true to yourself”,
“Be true to yourself”,
And if you can, if it’s “you”,
Litter the boys with kindnesses
That you toss out, throw away,
Expecting nothing in return.

They don’t know and I don’t tell them,
I learned that from you.
But by subtraction, so to speak.
Kindness was the last thing
You ever showed
Without soon sending along a bill for it
That you never thought was paid gracefully
Or on time.

If I could I’d take the young women and men
Into my care, teach them the arts of love.
How to treat each other with dignity and respect,
How to encourage each other to be authentic,
How to give each other room to grow,
And how not to cling, not to possess,
Not to own.

I didn’t make it to Manitou
But I have my cottage now,
And I’m not quite invisible,
But I don’t harm many these days.

You don’t write to me now,
And I suspect you’re dead
Having killed yourself
Like you promised you would
In your last letter to me
If I did not return on time.

You who despite it all
Were a true love of mine.

6 thoughts on “A Life Littered With Kindnesses”

      1. That is interesting. I was emotionally manipulated by my ex, not abused. I forgive him… I want the best for him… But I’m not sure if I would say I still love him. What I feel for him might be closer to pity than anything.


      2. Understandable. In my case, I felt no pity for her. Rather concern about how she’d manage. I mean, she was so obviously dysfunction in certain ways.

        Then too, I knew both that she’d been abused as a child, and that she quietly thought of herself as a basket case. I suspect that helped.

        One note of caution though, what I felt for her was love, not dependency. By the time I left her, I was no longer emotionally dependent on her at all.


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