Abuse, Agape, Alienation, Attached Love, Authenticity, Bad Ideas, Being True To Yourself, Cultural Traits, Culture, Death, Emotional Dependency, Ethics, Human Nature, Ideas, Infatuation, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Marysa, Morality, Morals, New Love, Oppression, Passion, People, Poetry, Possessiveness, Relationships, Romantic Love, Society, Spiritual Alienation, Spirituality, Tara Lynn, Terese, Teresums, The Spanish Woman, Truth, Unconditional Love, Wisdom

A Death in the Spring

This poem is dedicated to Majel Campbell, an admired and esteemed friend, and to Terese Bozdas and Marysa Storm, who were its graceful muses. The poem can be thought of as a true, novella-length story of a young woman’s betrayal and murder by a false man who she believed loved her. I was myself a nearby witness to the events recounted in the poem, but powerless to alter or prevent the triumph of evil.

The two core themes of the poem are the nature of love and the nature of evil.

◊◊◊

“An amazing journey of love, evil, truth and wisdom.” — Teresums

“I’m blown away!! Such an epic, beautiful poem, yet so sad! Truly among your best!”  — Scott

(About a 47 minute read. A break or two is recommended.)

“We all have a Monster within; the difference is in degree, not in kind.”

Douglas Preston

“The gods within you that you do not recognize and acknowledge do not wither and die. They become your demons.”

— Joseph Campbell (paraphrased)

“Good is the opposite of bad, but good is not the opposite of evil.
The opposite of evil is love.
In the absence of love, evil grows and thrives.”

— Paul Sunstone

“See the truth in the falsehood of my words.
See the falsehood in the truth of my words.”

— Jiddu Krishnamurti

l. The Alchemist

An alchemist. She was an alchemist, Traveler.
Beneath the warmth of her sun
Beneath the lightness of her breeze,
Beneath her cloudless blue eyes,
Beneath her bold and fearless Spring,
Beneath it all she was an alchemist.
In her depths, in her nature, she was an alchemist.

An alchemist I told my true name.
Unbidden by her, I surrendered
My true name.

I fated myself, Traveler, when I told her my true name.
I fated myself.

It was then, only after I had placed my fate in her hands
That I saw she was an alchemist.
An alchemist skilled in the use of strange fires and poisons.
An alchemist skilled in the use of estranging heats and spoils.
An alchemist who now cupped my life in her hands.

Stealthily at first, stealthily,
She worked her estranging craft.

She cracked the bonds holding my world to me.
She cracked the bonds of my life.
She cracked all the bonds.

I lost my wife.
I lost every friend.
I lost the whole of my family.

I lost all but a remnant of my money.
I lost my company and all I had worked for.
I lost my house and my home.

I lost my goals and my dreams.
I lost my path, my course, my way .
I lost my sense of direction.

I lost every feeling I had of safety.
I lost every belief I had in certainty.

I lost all I had ever seen that I thought was myself .
I lost all I had ever seen that I thought was me.

And then she took
the final distillate of her alchemy,
The last remnant of me.

She took the remnant
And she flung it

Flung it
A thousand miles to the West.
Flung it a thousand miles to the West.

And she liberated me.

She cracked from me the sludge.
She fractured out the slime.
She distilled me from the gunk
I had mucked up my life with.

She cracked out
The lies that I had believed.
The lies that I had clung to.
The lies that I had bonded to.
The lies that I had welded to myself.

The lies that were the foundations of my world,
The foundations that until she had come

I saw not were lies and I had believed were truths.
She cracked out, she cracked out the lies.

She freed me
She freed me from the delusions I called “the world”.

She freed me from the delusions I called “my life”.
She freed me from the delusions  I called “me”.
She freed me from the delusions I called “love”.
She freed me from the delusions I called “my true name”.
She cracked out my delusions..

She freed me.
She liberated me.

She flung me far
She flung me far away from the toxic sludge
And the poisonous muck I had called “life”,
That I had called “me”.

She liberated me, Traveler.

But I was then naked,
And without a home.

All of that,
All of it,
Is not her, Cartographer,
It is not her.

Your words speak only
Of what she was to you.
Your words speak only of what she meant to you.
Your words speak only of your thoughts of her.
Your words speak only of your feelings for her.
Your words speak only of you.

Speak now, Cartographer, of her.
Show me now your map of her.

You cannot show me her, she is gone.
You cannot show me her terrain, her terrain is gone.

But show me now your map of her, Cartographer.
Show me now your map.

Who was she?

But my map will be imperfect, Traveler.
All maps are imperfect.
My map will be flawed.

Your map need only be approximate, Cartographer.
I do not expect perfection, only your honest best.

Who was she?

She was an uncommon love, a rare love.
She was a rare and Great Love.
She was my love, Traveler.

Your love for her was not her, Cartographer.

Who was she?

II. A Bold and Fearless Spring

i.

It is curious to me, Traveler, how Tara
Could disappear right in front of people’s eyes.
It is curious to me how she could be invisible to them.
Tara!

I cannot recall when I was last surprised by my invisibility
I have since youth known of it, and I have since youth accepted it.
I am a man most would describe as “blending in with the crowd”.
That is true. But it is just a truth, I do not take it as a judgment, Traveler.
I feel myself no more, nor no less, for the fact of it.

My passion is for observing people.
My blending in is my duck blind,
And people are my ducks.
I am by nature born to observe.
I am by nature blessed to be a duck blind.

People, Traveler, are my continents. My brave new worlds.
I am a cartographer, but a cartographer of people.

“Each friend represents a world in us,
A world possibly not born until they arrive,
And it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

I do not seek allies in those I meet,
I do not seek twins in those I meet.
I do not seek similarities,
And shun differences.

I seek continents, Traveler, I seek new worlds.
I seek continents and worlds to map,
Like Anaïs Nin before me, I seek worlds to explore and map.

I was born an observer and blessed to be overlooked,
Blessed to be ordinary. It is no mystery I am a blind.

But Tara! Tara Lynn! How could they not see Tara Lynn!
How could her whole world not see Tara?

With Tara it was a fully-loaded mystery!
A fully-loaded mystery how anyone on earth could overlook Tara,
Let alone everyone in her world in one way or another,
From her family to her friends, even to her lovers.

ii.

Of course, Tara was visible to everyone in some ways.
Of course there were ways she was visible,
But they were the lesser ways.

Traveler, no one could overlook her physical beauty.
No one.

She had light hair
That flowed a golden, graceful wave
Down her back.
Her mother said there were six colors
In Tara’s hair.
Six shades in her blonde hair.

Tara had a child’s eyes.
A child’s clear eyes.
She had unclouded eyes,
Open and trusting eyes.
Fearless blue eyes.

I knew her in her Spring, Traveler.
She was younger than me, and in her Spring.
I knew her in her bold and fearless Spring.

It was my Summer then.
In was in my Summer, I knew Tara.
Today, my Fall is gone,
And my winter is half run,
But I knew Tara in the days of my Summer’s sun.

She was uncommonly beautiful
And gracefully proportioned
In both face and body.
She was young, fit, taunt, and sound.

No one could overlook her physical beauty, Traveler,
And no one could overlook her lightness of spirit.
No one.

Tara knew the sun.
She first befriended the sun,
Then she stole its laughter.

She knew how to laugh
As light of heart as the sun dancing
Across ripples of water.

She made light the hours.
She made light the days.
She made light the hearts.
She made light the thoughts.
She made light the burdens.
She made light the lives,
Of everyone.

No one could overlook her lightness, Traveler.
No one.

Yet, the greater things of  Tara — those were invisible,
Invisible to almost everyone.
Invisible even to her family, to her friends, even to her lovers.

To so many, Tara was a soft girl, a gentle girl,
A nice girl, a pleasant girl, a sweet girl,
A bit distracted, a bit spacey, a bit shallow, a bit superficial.

To so many, there was not much more to be seen than that, Traveler.
To so many, there was not reason to look much closer at Tara than that.
To the many who seek allies, to the many who seek twins
There was not much more to Tara than her gentle, pleasant sweetness.

iii.

People were Tara’s passion,
Perhaps her only passion,
But it was a true one.
Tara saw people passionately.
Perhaps you could say she was in love with them.

Sports, politics, religion, and everything else but people
Were almost beyond her eyes to see, and her ears to hear.
Yet, she was intimately tapped, wired, grounded, rooted
In the day to day going-ons of people.

Tara put down her roots in the day to day going-ons of people.

Tara lived in trailer park.
The park she had grown up in.
It was not one of the better ones.
Hers matched the stereotype for parks
As closely as your two hands
Mostly match each other.

She had not six breaths interest in inhaling celebrity gossip.
Or anything or any person much beyond her park.

But Tara knew all about her neighbors. The people real to her.
The people that she herself could see, could hear, could touch.
The people she herself was in communion with.
She knew them in detail, intimate detail.  She knew their lives.

Not much went on in Tara’s park that Tara wasn’t aware of.
She saw almost everything the park had for her to see.

No raw words or ways
No crudity, no callousness,
No crookedness,
No wickedness
No ugliness at all,
Could ever flinch her face,
Let alone could surprise her,
Let alone could shock her.

Tara had seen it all by an age
When so many girls are dreaming
Of their future happiness with princes and with unicorns.
Tara was no more trivially innocent at twelve
Than I was at twenty-four.

iv.

Traveler, have you seen how the innocence of sparrows
Is nothing like the innocence of eagles?

Eagles and sparrows live very different lives,
And so naturally value different kinds of innocence.

Sparrows by their nature think of innocence
Mostly as the ignorance of sex and criminality.
They live close to the ground in hedges and in thickets,
And they have little need to see much further
Into innocence than sex and criminality.

Sparrows think of life in terms of thickets and of hedges,
But eagles think of life in terms of horizons.

To a sparrow innocence is ignorance of the things it considers bad.
To an eagle innocence is freedom from judging things.
To an eagle innocence is freedom from judging.

It is not the natural concern of sparrows, Traveler,
It is not their natural concern
To peer well into the depths
Of judgment and of judging.
But to peer well, Traveler, to peer well
Is to see how judging adulterates one’s vision,
Distorts ones vision, and sometimes even blinds.

Sparrows have little use for seeing to horizons.
Hedges and thickets are life for sparrows.
And nothing is wrong with that.
Nothing is wrong with the life of sparrows.

But eagles must see sharp to far horizons
By their nature, eagles must see sharp
Or die as eagles.

v.

Tara was anything but trivially innocent, Traveler,
Innocent in the manner in which sparrows see innocence.
Rather she had the innocence of eagles,
She had eyes that saw sharp, but without judging what they saw.

Tara’s mind seemed to all appearances dispassionate.
Her mind appeared remarkably free of the distortions
Commonly imposed on insight and understanding
By our judging, by our judgements.

Her mind came across as just as capable
Of clean resolution and focus as a telescopic mirror.

It was not a trait you would expect to find in anyone
Anymore than you would expect to see ball lightening.
Even during a storm, ball lightening is rare.
Even among the wisest of us, dispassion is rare.

People so little expect judge-less dispassion from each other,
They seldom if ever see it even when it’s there; and when they do,
They misjudge it, believing they see shallowness and superficiality.

Whatever stories, news, gossips, dramas
Tara heard or saw in her trailer park each day,
She somehow transmuted.

Somehow, Tara’s mind processed all she heard or saw
By thoroughly cleansing it of judgements and judging,
Outputting only factual information, only cold data.
She spoke of things without offering a hint, a clue, a suggestion
Of either approval or disapproval for anything.

Light passing through the facets of a diamond
Comes out with a colder, purer cast.
Tara had a bit of the diamond in her.

Tara’s voice was musical,
Far from a monotone. Her voice
Was always warm and gentle.

Whatever she spoke of,
She spoke of in the same voice,
Her musical, warm, and gentle voice.

But Tara would speak
In her musical, warm, gentle voice,
Of good and bad without ever taking sides.

She could say anything
In the same dispassionate voice.

“James got Rachel roses last night
From the gas station.”

“Scott got Julia pregnant, but he no longer
Likes her. He’s saying the baby isn’t his.”

“Kelly stole the petty cash his boss kept
Because his boss wouldn’t give him enough hours.”

“Andy raped his little sis last Saturday.
She told Kelly before she ran away.
No one knows where.”

Tara could see anything without flinching,
Without recoiling, without the least hint
Of turning away from it in repulsion, disgust,
Or condemnation. She could see anything
Without turning away.

She saw most everything
Because she wouldn’t turn away.

I thought an acetylene torch burnt at six thousand degrees
With greater impurity than the innocence in Tara’s voice.

To the sparrows, that was Tara’s flaw,
Her superficiality, her shallowness.

To the eagles, that was Tara’s kinship,
Her insight, her understanding.

vi.

I know of only one exception
Only one time Tara expressed judgment.

I no longer fully recall how I prompted her,
Just I said something condemning of child abuse.

She recalled dispassionately, as dispassionately as ever
How a 14 year old friend of hers with two sisters,
Both younger than her friend, had been serially raped
By their mother’s boyfriend.

Her story was horrifying in its details, Traveler,
And would have provoked
Any crowd to riot with judgement.
It would have broken a whole dam’s worth
Of emphatic judging in any sizable gathering.
And the judging would have roared like Niagara Falls.

Yet, Tara’s account was purely factual,
Perfectly innocent, perfectly without judgment
Until she uttered two singular final sentences.

“She was the funniest girl in our school
Before it all happened. Afterwards
She got real quiet and wouldn’t speak
To anyone before she dropped out.”

My attention immediately cocked in surprise.
“Was that judging in her voice?”
I thought it might be. A faint clue, a hint
In her voice of something not entirely factual.
But if it was judgment, it was judgment whispered.

Yet, there seemed a further clue.
Tara had paused, appearing to reflect,
Before her concluding two sentences.

That was new.
Tara didn’t come across as a reflective person.
She came across as a camera.
She came across as the living embodiment
Of the fabled “objective journalist”.
She came across as a perfect mirror.
A telescopic mirror.

vii.

I suspect Tara on some level judged,
Judged just like the rest of us what she saw and heard.

It seems to me impossible
For a human to become conscious of something
Without judging it.

Judgment appears intrinsic to human awareness.
What we consciously perceive, we judge.

So, for theoretical reasons, if no other reasons,
I suspect Tara judged.
Judged, but somehow muted her judgments.
Somehow muted them.

Perhaps Tara’s love for people
Moved her to mute, dismiss her judgments.
Perhaps she instantly shrugged them off as irrelevant
Because she loved people more than her judgements of them.

viii.

Of course, judging is sometimes necessary, Traveler,
It is sometimes absolutely necessary to living in our world.
Sometimes it is necessary and warranted. Well-warranted.

The trick is to know when it is necessary and warranted,
And when it is not necessary and is unwarranted.

For when judging is not necessary and is unwarranted
It is all but always just as problematic as a cat
Seeking strokes and attention by climbing
On the keyboard you are trying to use,
Use to write something with a deadline
Six minutes from now.

Most of us end up stroking the cat, you know.

We overdo judging.
We judge without reason to judge.
We judge without need to judge.

You see it all the time
In everything you see it.
But perhaps it glares, glares
When you see unnecessary judging in lovers.

How very often lovers become lawyers to each other.
How very often in their disagreements
They turn battling lawyers and judges.
How very often they seek to resolve differences
By reflexively arguing right and wrong.

Yet most disputes and differences
Are more profoundly mended
By discovery, insight, and understanding,
Than by dividing who is right

From who is wrong.

Most disputes are mended better by understanding
Than by splitting lovers apart
Into which one has done good, and which one has done bad.

Youth can place unquestioning faith in judgment,
It can take on faith that judging is the path to insight.

We are most likely to see judging
As a form of understanding
When we are in our younger years.

Youth is naturally concerned with “getting it right”.
Youth naturally wants to hone judging
To a sharp and accurate razor
That it then mistakes for realism.

Youth thinks dissecting things with a razor
Cutting things to pieces, to parts,
Is more profound than seeing things whole.
Youth for all its insightful judgments
Is blind to the simple difference
Between a dissected frog and a living frog.

But it’s the same with age.
With few exceptions age is no different from youth.
The judging is never muted by most of us.
Long after we grow feeble of body
Our judging still roars with the vigor of youth.

But sometimes, sometimes, a few humans learn to grind true their lenses.
Sometimes, a few humans become Spinoza, the lens-grinder:

“I have made a ceaseless effort not to ridicule,
Not to bewail, not to scorn human actions,
But to understand them.”

He was more than a lens-grinder, Spinoza.
He was a cartographer too.  He mapped the world as he saw it.
A good cartographer must have lenses
That can see to far horizons.
That can resolve whole continents.
That can focus whole worlds.

III.  When Evil Roared

i.

Tara was a mirror in which I came to see myself.

I do not mean she and I shared much in common.
Not that kind of mirror.
We were as different in most ways as cars and banjos.

But to be with Tara was to look into a mirror,
A mirror that revealed me to myself.

It was as if her silence forced me to hear everything.
Her silence on whatever judgements she did or did not make.
That silence was like being in a sound-proof room.
A room so dead of noise your own breathing in and out
Sounds like ocean waves rolling back and forth on a beach.

Somehow in the silence of her judgments
My own judgments became obvious.
So often, glaringly obvious.

And not just, not merely, my judgements.
All my thoughts and feelings stared back at me
From Tara’s mirror.
Sometimes even glared at me.

But especially the judgments

The more I knew her, the more I saw myself
Reflected in Tara’s mirror,
Heard myself in Tara’s silence.
Found myself.

ii.

There was no single epiphany.
No sudden instant when I saw it all at once.
So satori, no kensho, no moment of moksha.

It came upon me slowly, gradually instead.
Stealthily, to be accurate.
I would have run for my life had I seen it coming.

Unbidden, Tara’s camera had caught my self, my true self,
Caught my true self in its view finder,
And was slowly focusing, resolving, the truth of me.

In the end, I saw nothing like Tara’s
Own innocence emerging, resolving, when I saw myself.
Saw myself without blurs, without distortions.

I heard nothing like Tara’s own innocence
When I finally heard myself in her silence.
Heard myself without my lies.

I saw an impossible truth.
A truth that could not be.
I heard an impossible roaring.
A roaring that could not be.

Loud, in Tara’s silence,
I heard the roar of evil.

Sharp, in Tara’s mirror,
I saw evil loom large and before me.

iii.

In my Summer, Tara’s sun
Split the darkness where I had hidden from myself.
Split the darkness to reveal me to myself,
In my Summer, in the year of Tara’s sun.

IV.  The Importance of Maps

i.

Sometimes maps, false maps, can hide truth
In a darkness even greater than judging.

And the worse maps,
By far the most traitorous maps,
The maps that destine so many travelers
To dead-ends in suffering and sorrow,
The worse maps,
Always have some truth to them.

Like bait on a fishhook
The most lethal maps
Always have some truth to them.

ii.

Nine of every twelve truths
The world teaches you
Are junk truths.

Truths that teach no more about the sun
Than its pale reflection in the moon.

Truths that teach no more about the fire
Than its smoke.

Truths deceptively
Compounded with toxic lies.
Junk truths.

The unwholesome, but tasty junk foods of truth.
A minimum of vitamins and minerals, a minimum of nutrition,
Compounded with fats and carbs,
Fats and carbs, and even more alien things.

Tasty, attractive, well packaged, well-marketed junk truths.

Most of the truths the world offers you as your guides in life
Are traitorous junk truths.

iii.

Insightful people speak of education
As the key to unlocking the doors of life.
And there is truth in that.

But education is even more about maps.
Maps and the skills to make use of maps.
To say education is a key to doors
Mentions the skills
But forgets the maps.

Most of us are at best educated to be locksmiths.
So few of us are educated to be cartographers.

Ideas, if they are not idle, are maps.
They are guides by which we navigate our world
Whether they are accurate or not,
Whether they speak truth or lies,
Ideas are guides.

Only wholesome maps, only accurate, excellent maps
Can crack out the toxins from junk food.

VI. Step by Fated Step

i.

She phoned me at home on Christmas Eve.
Her boyfriend had been missing for some days.
She had friends. Some close, some further away.
But she turned to me.

She turned to me in trust,
The sole reliable elder in her world.
She turned to me
As people have always at times turned to elders.

That’s how it began.
In hindsight, her evening had come.

ii.

It seems to me now that it came
Like some kind of fast moving ball.
Some extraordinary energetic ball,
Thrown hard into a small room.

The ball careened from wall to wall,
From floor to ceiling,
More times than I can now recall.

It moved so fast and changed directions
So suddenly that I’ll wager even many well experienced people
Would have deemed each change in the ball’s course
Unpredictable.

And perhaps they would have that about right.
I myself lack eyes to fathom the depths of it.

Was the ball moving according
To the inviolate laws of physics?
Was its every direction wholly predictable?

Or were there stranger, less predictable causes
Afoot in those days and determining Tara’s fate?
Were there weirder things afoot?

Even a moment before the phone rang on Christmas Eve,
I would have told you physics, only physics rules
Such balls. That physics rules every ball.

Yet while I was actual witness to the careening
I sometimes thought some of the directions
Were all too improbable and weird.

But such thoughts are too strange to believe.

Whatever the final truth, whatever it is or was,
It is too deep for me. It is too far.

The most I know is the ball was thrown
When Tara’s boyfriend decided
To shack up with another women for a few days
Just before Christmas.
His present to himself, perhaps.

I once asked Sammy, “Why?”
“I don’t know. I’ve asked myself that same question.
A million times I’ve asked myself ‘why’.
I don’t know why. I never will.”

So many details, so many rebounds and ricochets
I have forgotten now. I would not attempt
To make for you a cold shopping list of them anyway.
What does each and every detail matter now?
So many rebounds and ricochets.
And now and then, something weird.

iii.

Tara kept me informed of everything.
Though-out every day while we were working
She kept me informed of everything.

Then she began to add evening updates.

I worked Monday to Monday,
And I always worked late.

She took to phoning me
Around nine in the evening.
Monday to Monday.

By late January,
She had me hardwired to the going-ons.

All the going-ons
All the time.
Every trailer park tragedy
Reported step by fated step.

By March, I could have told you
The count of the sparrows
That had fallen that day
In Shadow Wood Trailer Park.

Including her own fall.
By March, I could have told you her own fluttering fall
Step by fated step, flutter by fated flutter.

By March, I had foresight to see Tara’s fate.

VII. The Powers Within Us

The powers within us that we deny become our demons.
We would be fools to deny the feelings and emotions of love.
Yet, we would be equal fools to make them our focus.
We would be equal fools to become enthralled by them.

VII. Love is a Lens

I have myopic eyes, Traveler.
I see only what looms large and before me.
Even of love, I see only what looms large and before me.
But I see this.  This much I see:

Most of us are taught to think of love as an emotion,
As a feeling that can run just as strong
And just as deep as the mouth of the Amazon.

The feeling of love. The emotion of love.
That is what the world maps for us as love.

That is the product of love.
That is the result of love.
That is the biochemistry of love.
That is the smoke of love.
That is the junk map of love.

Love is much more a lens.
It is a way of looking.
It is a way of seeing.
It is a way of turning
Towards someone,
Someone you would see.

Love is a way of turning towards
Someone you would commune with.
Someone you would loom large and before you
So that communion with them becomes possible.

Love is a lens that sees the truth.
The truest lens there is.
The one lens that sees
Beyond the smoke of our own distorting egos,
Beyond the smoke of our own obscuring selves.
The one lens that truly sees through the smoke.

The one lens that sees all the way,
That sees the full distance
To someone else.

The one lens that reveals the fire.
The one lens that looms someone large and close enough
That communion with them becomes possible.

Love is our world’s only true communion,
There is no other communion with our world,
And the products of love are not the communion of love.

That is all it would be honest and true to myself to say.

All that I myself have seen with my own eyes.
Seen so well and sharp I myself cannot honestly doubt it.
Even if the whole world doubts it,
Even if the whole world is right and I am wrong,
I myself cannot authentically doubt it.
That is all I can say about love.

If love is more or other than that, Traveler,
Love lies beyond my own eyes to see.

VIII.  A Sparrow’s Fall from Communion with Her World

So many sparrows fell that Spring
In Shadow Wood.
But I suppose the sparrows were always falling
In Shadow Wood.
Simply the news of them had never reached me before.

It was like some furiously juggling god
Had taken on myriads too many balls
And was dropping them like rain from a thundercloud.

Furiously moving balls,
Flung hard in all directions by a furiously spinning god,
And some balls inevitably colliding with each other.

Chris was one of the Shadow Wood balls.
One of the balls flung furiously hard into life.
Child-raped by his step-father,
Cast off by his sperm donor,
Indifferently neglected by his mother,
Sexually seduced at 15 by his own aunt,
And subjected growing up to innumerable
Other hard bounces and sharp ricochets,
Life loomed large and before Chris
As an endless night that most of us
Would be incapable of imagining the darkness of.

Chris grew up in the black between the stars.
In the black where at any moment
Hungry monsters might come out of nowhere.

To Chris, life tore apart
As easily as sheets of toilet paper,
And was worth just about as much.
Nothing in his life was ever certain.
Nothing in his life was ever secure.
Nothing in his life could be built on.
Nothing in his life could be hoped for.

He was understandably warped and weft by his life.
His heart and mind both were twisted yarn
Dyed black with self-centering and selfish pain.
Screaming in self-centering and selfish pain.

Chris’s life had fully loaded him with anger.
Anger and false maps about where to go with his anger.
Chris’s life had fully loaded him with hatred.
Hatred and false maps about where to go with his hatred.
Chris’s life had fully loaded him with fear.
Fear and false maps about where to go with his fear.

Chris was fully loaded by his life.
Chris was not his own artist, not even his own cartographer.
He was not his own creation in any significant way,
And Tara was the best thing he’d ever seen.
The only thing in his life that made Chris feel real.
The only thing in his life that Chris could imagine
Might be the fabled sun of myth and legend.
Tara was only thing in his life that made Chris feel real,
Feel real and affirmed,
Affirmed to be worth more than sewer shit.

Chris was loaded. Fully loaded.
But not loaded for more than a rapidly fading taste of love.
But not loaded for more than a fleeting glance at love.
Chris was not loaded for enduring love.

He was fully loaded to live a life
Of anger, hatred, and fear.
But not a passionate life.
But not a loving life.

Beneath the mere uproars and turmoils
Of his angers, his hatreds, his fears,
Chris was passionless, unloving, dead.

Only Tara had ever made him feel passionate, awake, and alive.
In the end, Chris would only have a taste of what life can be
Before he would fuck it all up.

v.

Tara rebounded to Chris.
Her ball was moving fast.
She rebounded to him even before her heart
Had quit bleeding, let alone had mended.
She rebounded to him in the deafening
Clamor and commotion of her wounded heart.

vi.

In a sense, Tara knew
In a sense, she knew what she was getting into.
The same sense in which some of us know —
Or do not really know — of evolution.

“Evolution”
“Darwin”
“Finches”
“Random chance”
“Natural selection”
“Genes”
“Genetic drift”

To so many of us those are just dots.
Dots that someone has told us are on a map
A map somewhere, a map we have never seen.
A map no one has shown us.

If someone were to show many of us a map
With those dots on it
We would have no way of knowing
Whether we were seeing a true map
Or a false one.  We would need to guess.

“Love”
“Infatuation”
“Emotional Dependency”
“Friendship”
“Possessiveness”
“Boyfriend”
“Maturity”
“Jealousy”
“Marriage”
“Abuse”

Tara would have made an
Objective journalist.

But she was no map-maker,
She was no cartographer.

All of her maps were crude approximations at very best.
And altogether they amounted
To less than a patchwork crazy quilt
She had stitched together herself more or less randomly.

In a sense, Tara knew
What she was getting into.

Chris told her all the large dots,
All the important events in his life.
Tara had all the important dots and many others too.

But when she placed the dots
On her crazy quilt to make some sense of them,
The only sense she could make of them
Was that Chris truly loved her.
Loved her true.

vii.

Most people fall in love before they notice
They have fallen in love.

Love can be a dance we don’t know we’re in.
But unless we have the wisdom or the guidance
To know how to keep dancing,
The dance soon ends.

At first,
Chris did love Tara.
At first,
Chris loved Tara.

Most false loves do not begin false.
Most false loves begin true.

Most false loves begin as gentle Springs,
That turn too quickly into humid, infested Summers.

So many of us lack the wisdom,
Lack the wisdom or the guidance
For enduring love.

Love all too often,
All too needlessly
And all too tragically
Dead-ends
Precisely where junk maps say it begins.
Precisely on the day we first notice we are in love.
Precisely on the day we first notice the pleasures of love.
Precisely on the day we make the happy discovery
That we feel the pleasures of love.

So soon. So soon
We begin navel-gazing our feelings, our emotions.
Navel-gazing the smoke and not the fire.
Navel-gazing the moon and not the sun.
Turning away from our love
Turning to look at ourselves.

Never should we risk turning the feelings and emotions
Of love into demons by denying them, condemning them,
Refusing to acknowledge them, refusing to accept them.
But never should we become careless of our feelings
And and in our carelessness become enthralled, enslaved to them.

Love begins the turn to bondage,
Love begins the turn to possessiveness,
Love begins the turn to love/hate,
Love begins the turn to infatuation
Love begins the turn to emotional dependency,
Love begins the turn to sorrow,
Love begins the turn
On the day
We look at our navels with the eyes of Narcissus
To become fascinated, trapped, enthralled, enslaved
By what we see.

No one maps for you the subtle danger of navel-gazing.
No one maps for you the lethal folly of navel-gazing.
No one maps for you the selfishness of navel-gazing.
No one maps for you the true path to enduring love.

But the world is not trying to harm you.
The world is not intending to harm you.
The world is not intending to mislead you.
The world only wants you to feel good.
The world only wants you to deeply enjoy,
To profoundly enjoy the pleasures of love.
It does not know navel-gazing those pleasures comes at a price.

The world is blind to the road it maps for you.
The world believes it is handing you the map to love.
But the world is blind and hands you the map to Narcissus,
Unshakably convinced it’s sent you down the right road.
Unshakably convinced it’s done you right.
Unshakably convinced it’s done you good.

viii.

The powers within us that we deny become our demons.
The products of love must be acknowledged.
The feelings and emotions of love must be accepted.
Accepted, but focused in perspective.

The products of love must be acknowledged,
But not made the main focus, a goal or purpose of love.

The focus of enduring love is the light of the sun,
And not merely and only its reflection in the moon.

The focus of enduring love is communion,
And not merely and only the smoke of communion.

ix.

Was there some chance, some possibility Chris
Could have sustained his initial, true love for Tara?

Perhaps only hope and hope alone
Would answer “yes”.

For hope too can be a lens.
Hope can be a lens that looms large the impossible
Sometimes making it loom so large and before us,
The impossible seems possible.

Only hope and hope alone says Chris
Could have sustained his love of Tara.

IX.  The Last Communion

i.

So few of us travel long
Before witnessing
Someone walking blind towards a cliff.

Sometimes it is someone we love.
Sometimes we can do something about it.
Do something to turn them from the cliff.
Sometimes we can give them maps
To turn them from the cliff.

But sometimes we can do nothing
To turn them from the cliff.

And so we watch.
Watch what we cannot prevent.

We watch, refusing to harden ourselves
Against what we know is coming.
We watch, refusing to brace ourselves
Against what we know is coming.

We refuse to turn away
Because we refuse to voluntarily
Break communion with someone we love.

Sometimes the greater love is shown
Not by dying for someone.

Sometimes the greater love is shown
By refusing to turn away in faithless fear and horror,
Shown by refusing to break communion with them
Until communion is broken of itself with their death.

ii.

Someone you love
Walks off a cliff.

Someone you love,
Loomed large and before you by love,
Walks off a cliff.

The astute ones hint to the others,
You have gone numb.

A thousand suns have implode
Into darkness.

The gravity of a thousand imploded suns
Holds you crushed inside yourself.

You have become a black hole
No bigger than a pinhead.

The astute ones say
You have gone numb.

The others wonder
When you’ll snap out of it.

They have faith
You’ll snap out of it.

The faith born of ignorance.
The faith not born of love.

IX. The Promised One

i.

It is easy to judge Chris.
It is easy to see the evil in Chris,
See the evil and quickly look away from it.

It is easy to recoil from the appalling horror of evil.
The horror that can in and by itself defeat some people.
Recoil from the offense and pain of that which is
So ugly that we sometimes feel violated
Just to look at the thing.

And most of us do exactly that.
When we see someone like Chris,
We do just exactly that.
We recoil and quickly turn our eyes away.

It is a reflex, like gagging on some bitter drink.

We judge, we look at our judgments,
And by so intently focusing on our judgments,
We look away from Chris.

Perhaps at best, we look at how the evil in Chris
Makes us feel. We look at our deeply felt horror,
And then that becomes how we look away.

We almost always look away from evil.
We almost always fail to see it sharp and in focus.

ii..

Chris thought he loved Tara
Well past when he loved her true.

He navel-gazed his feelings,
Saw his feelings growing stronger,
And thought his love must be growing stronger too.

Were not his feelings real? Were not they proof of love?
Were not they love itself? How strong they were!
How could the Amazon of emotion that he felt for Tara,
How could that mighty river not be the truest love?

In Tara, Chris saw the true love of his life.
His fated woman, his soulmate, his Great Love.

The kind of love the gods themselves
Owed to everyone at least once in their lives,
Including to Chris.
The Good News was, the gods owed one even to him.

The Promised One had come into Chris’s life.
The One the gods owed even Chis had come.

It just had to be true.
Chris had read it himself on the back of cereal boxes.
He had seen the map of it printed on boxes, and everywhere else.
Tara must be — just had to be — Chris’s fated one.
It had to be true.

iii.

Of course, Chris now had a mountain to climb.
A mountain he had not even one true clue,
Not even one accurate inkling of how to tackle.
He had no ropes, no picks, no pinions, no climbing shoes.
And he had no map. No true and accurate map.

For anyone, any one of us,
Love is a high mountain to ascend.
For Chris love was Everest.
Everest in winter,
Everest clothed in slippery ice.

His maps for loving Tara
Were poisonous distillations,
Lethal concentrates,
Of his life experiences.

And those concentrates were not even pure.
They were polluted by the usual popular lies of his culture,
Then mixed with the mostly incompetent views
of his mostly inexperienced and incompetent peers.

“If you’re not a little jealous, you’re not in love.”

“The stronger your feelings, the truer your love.”

“If you love someone, you will die for them.”

“Lovers need no boundaries, no borders between them.”

“If you love someone, you will never look at another.”

“You will only have one Great Love in your life.
Your life is over if you lose her.”

“Love is blind.”

“Love is all you need. All you need to love true and well.”

“The longer love lasts,
The truer love is.
Quantity is quality when it comes to love.”

“If you truly love someone, you’ll love them to death.”

The whole of Chris’s life, everything he’d learned in life,
Had done nothing to prepare him to love Tara,
And everything to help him fuck it up.

iv.

Tara did not go willing into her evening.
She was pushed down choking to her death by Chris.

Chris thought Tara belonged to him.
He thought he owned her.
He thought he could possess her.

Chris had heard it was his right to possess Tara.
The world told him he had rights to Tara.
The world had told him she was his property.

Had not she herself said it?
Had not she herself sworn she was his?
Had not she herself sworn to love Chris forever?

His property, if he could defend it from all others.
His property, if he could enforce his rights to it.
To “it”.

Tara did not go willing into her evening.
She was clipped, corralled, and caged by Chris.
Just like he had been taught,
Chris intentionally, cunningly, almost systematically,
Clipped, corralled, and caged Tara.

Chris choked, suffocated her to death,
And called it what his maps
Told him to call it. “Love”.

v.

I would compose to Tara.
Write poems to her.
I have forgotten all of them now,
All but a fragment of one.
A shard of it remains.

“Tara Lynn the boys have sold you
All their promises and their lies
And soon I’ll see the hardness
In your eyes.

“Tara Lynn the boys have taken your very least
And left your best behind.
Soon I’ll see the hardness in your eyes.”

I doubt Tara understood my poems
Any better than the advice I offered
To her in more conventional ways.
I think she listened to it all,
I think she tried to understand.
I think that was about as far
As it went.

If my words had wisdom in them,
That wisdom was taken by the confusing winds
Blowing through Tara’s heart and mind that Spring,
Taken by the winds before she could hear the wisdom.

Maps are hard to open and learn in the midst of a gale.

vi.

Tara faded into her evening.
She faded from me, from of all of us.
All of us who worked with her.

She was once a sun.
A sun that lightened hours,
Lightened days,
Lightened hearts,
Lightened minds.
Then she faded,
Faded into the cage of Chris’s night.
Faded into the possessive cage
Of Chris’s night.

The transmutation
Was raw and visible.
Almost everything went.
The laughter.
The lightness.
The openness.
The friendliness.
The honesty.
The bravery.

The only remnant that held out for a while was her dispassion.
But in the end, Chris tutored her in how
To judge.
And judge harshly.

Chris had found an eagle,
Turned it into a sparrow,
Caged it from its flock.
Then taught it not to sing,
And called it “love”.

VIII. The Pleasure Bank

Tara died in every which way but one.
The only one that matters to the law.
She was left legally alive.

So often does evil escape the law
On a mere technicality.

Chris in his infinitely deep
And infinitely strong
Amazonian love for Tara,
Left her legally alive.

He left her like a vampire
Might leave a victim cocooned
But alive, technically alive,
In order to have the lovely convenience
Of a blood bank.

Chris discarded, threw away, everything of Tara
He did not actually need for his pleasure, for his love.

Her truest thoughts and feelings.
Her deepest dreams and ambitions.
Her soul, her spirit, her self.
Her vision for herself,
Her freedom, her free spirit.
Whatever you want to call those things,
Call those things about us
That the sages tell us to be true to.
That all the sages tell us to be true to.
Chris threw them away.

He threw them away indifferently.
He threw them away with profane indifference.
He threw them away unaware of what he was discarding.
Tara, the real Tara, was largely invisible to him.
Chris had eyes only for his feelings and emotions.
Tara in Chris’s eyes was just a thin bit of idle smoke
To be waved away so he could see himself all the much better.

In our world
Are things which we make invisible to us
That should be seen.

In our world
Are things which should never be violated
That are violated.

IX. Tara Lynn

Love sometimes is
Too softly spoken
To be heard
Above the wind

Hearts sometimes are
Too softly broken
To be heard
Tara Lynn

Love sometimes is
Like a dance
We don’t think
We’re in

Hearts sometimes
Dance apart
Tara Lynn.

X. The Beast of a Thousand Masks

i.

In my Summer, Tara’s sun
Split the darkness where I had hidden from myself.
Split the darkness to reveal me to myself,
In my Summer, in the year of Tara’s sun.

I am run half my winter now.
But the image I saw in Tara’s mirror
Is still vivid and prominent.
It still looms large and before me.

ii.

Evil is the beast of a thousand masks.
The beast of lies.
The beast of darkness.
The beast of fear.
The beast of hatred.
The beast of anger.
The beast of ugliness.
The beast of cunning.
The beast of scheming.
The beast of death.

Evil is the beast of a thousand masks.
The foresighted beast.
The planning beast.
The map-making beast.
The skillful beast.
The protecting beast.
The defending beast.
The yearning beast.
The motivating beast.
The purposeful beast.
The practical beast.
The useful beast.

Evil is the beast of a thousand masks
Who beneath every mask is the same beast.

iii.

Evil is the beast that only grows stronger when attacked.
Evil is the beast that only grows stronger when condemned.
Evil is the beast that only grows stronger when denied.
Evil is the beast that only grows stronger when hidden.

Evil is the beast so ugly it turns away from itself,
And in turning away from itself, denies itself,
And in denying itself, grows stronger and thrives.

Evil is the beast that cannot be purged,
That cannot die, except to die with us.

iv.

Evil is the beast fools give free reign.
Evil is the beast wiser fools learn to tame.

To look, to look and too see evil through the lens of love,
Is to tame evil.

If there be another way to tame evil, then it is to tame it
Through wisdom.

Yet, I think wisdom and love might be but separate masks
For the same thing.

To know one is to know the other.

v.

Evil is the beast of a thousand masks.
The lonely beast. The beast that howls with loneliness.

The beast that seeks possession, rather than communion.
The beast for whom no communion is possible.

The beast that denies love,
And in denying love shuns communion.

The beast that is the true opposite of love.
The beast that in the absence of love, grows and thrives untamed.

vi.

Perhaps the truest mask of evil is its mask as the Eternal Fool.
The Fool within us all.
The Fool who seeks possession believing possession is communion.
The Fool who is ever smart enough to get itself into troubles
That it is then not smart enough to get itself out of.
The Eternal Fool. The Eternally Tragic Fool.
Our Tragic Flaw.

But even “The Eternal Fool” is no more than yet another mask in the end.
Those who would see its true nature must look beyond all of its masks,
And look directly at its terrain.

XI. A Map of Love and Evil

Traveler, I offer you shadows of Love and Evil.
Perhaps you find in the shadows a map.
A map as imperfect as its maker.

Thus the question is now put before you,
Will you look at the terrain, or will you turn away?

I myself know no better than this, Traveler:
Had not love once loomed a woman so large and before me
That I could commune with her,
I would have been unable to see the terrain of this map.

Perhaps, then, only love can loom the terrain of love and evil
So large and before us that the terrain can be seen.

This map is yours now, Traveler, do with it what you will,
Do nothing or do anything. Use it or discard it.
This map is yours.

6 thoughts on “A Death in the Spring”

  1. Such an amazing poem Paul. An amazing journey of love, evil, truth and wisdom. I am grateful to have taken part in such a journey.

    It’s amazing how you slowly realised your demons through the light of Tara, how that must have felt i’ve no idea. To gaze at this mirror, this white light.

    How you so deeply and slowly faced your demons by gazing at at Tara, your mirror, shone by a beam of white non-judgemental light is something I can only guess how you felt.

    This poem has convinced me that evil is the absence of love, and that they are opposites to one another. Not mere goodness and evil, but love and evil. Love is the greatest gift of all, the wisdom that shields against evil concepts like possession. Love is accepting all of a person.

    I have felt this love fleetingly. Altruistic love. It is freeing, true love, like an epiphany. If it were to last longer, i would feel the deep wisdom of universal love. If there are people who perpetually feel such a divine love, which i do believe there are, they are the wisest of all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so kindly for the reflection you put into your comment, Teresums. It ,means a lot to me that the poem got you thinking about these things. I would say you got the essentials out of it. You “got” the poem.

      How did I feel? Shock first, followed by acceptance. You see something, you either reject what’s right in front of you (and only a madman would do that) or you are forced, compelled to resign yourself to it, to accept it.

      I did something foolish though. I didn’t fully accept it. Not fully. I should have said, “Very well, this is a fact of life. No how do I tame this beast?” But instead, I for the longest time rejected that part of life. The beast that is rejected only grows stronger.

      You MUST quit trying to reject the beast. That’s my advice to anyone. Seek instead to tame it through loving someone — and/or loving the world.

      Now I have an important question for you.. You state, “there are people who perpetually feel such a divine love”. May I ask precisely how you know that to be true? How you know that some people always feel “divine love”

      Here’s all I myself absolutely do know: Some people feel unconditional love now and then. Maybe some feel it all the time. But for reasons too large to get into here, I won’t explain in this response why I heavily doubt anyone feels unconditional love constantly.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As a religious person, i do believe its possible that there are people who feel an altrustic universal love all the time, although very extremely rare. I understand if this isn’t a satisfactory reply. 🙂

        I feel like fighting the beast is like fighting anger. It doesn’t work and only makes it stronger. In fact anger is just another face of this “beast”.

        Like

      2. I’ve decided to change my response to be more grounded toward you. I have a “hunch” that people like that exist. For me to know these people exist i must first be consistently in their presence. However, i still do believe they exist. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. “I still do believe they exist”. I can take that two ways. First, “I have faith they exist”. Second, “I hypothesize they exist”. Here’s the crucial difference between the two: In the first case, you are telling me you have decided to become closed-minded about it. In the second case, you have decided to become open-minded and exploratory about it.

        I’m curious now which one you have resolved to be. Open minded? Closed minded?

        Please Note Well: It’s your choice. It’s not a choice I can make for you. Since it is not a choice I can make for you, let’s you and I be true adults about it and not judge you for which one of those two things you pick. Ok! 😀

        Like

I'd love to hear from you. Comments make my day.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s