Advice, Alienation From Self, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Coffee Shop Folks, Jackie, Love, Lovers, People, Poetry, Quality of Life, Relationships

Does Someone Love You Now?

(About a 4 minute read)

Do you remember now those decades ago
On the porch of the Oak House?

The evening you wrapped us in a thin blanket
Elbow to elbow in solidarity
Against the October chill?

We listened to the coyotes calling to the late sun
And waited for the night
And waited for the comet
That hung above the San Luis Valley that year.

You were a girl then. Seventeen and sick with worry
The boys would never want you —
Want you enough to stick with you
Beyond the sex you gave them,
Want you enough that the love you felt
Would ever be returned.

I was forty-three — and twenty-six were the years between us,
The years you reached across to ask me in earnest:

“What must I become,
What must I turn myself into
To earn a boy’s love?”

That afternoon on a bed of moss and stone
You had fallen asleep next to me
In the shallow water of the Upper Pool.

Small bubbles formed on your pubic hair like silver jewels,
Sun and shadows raced and swirled across your satin skin,
Something older than the gods spoke
In your graceful curves, spoke in an ancient tongue
Of your youth and your fertility

And I could not believe
Anyone so beautiful

And I could not believe
Anyone

Could feel so alone.

Do you remember now those decades ago, Jackie,
When you bravely reached across the years between us,

When you broke open your heart,
When in the growing dusk
You called off your guards,
And in the gloom
Surrendered your proud walls,
In order to reveal to me naked and honest
Your desires and your fears?

Do you remember now your lips were trembling,
Trembling as you spoke,
And not from the cold?

You were seventeen years old
But a hundred years tired that night,

Tired and worn,

Chased down,
Cornered and numb

From how the boys would lie and use you cruel,
From how they had taken the least,
Ignored the rest,
And left the best of you behind.

You spoke of a hollow chest,
You spoke of an emptiness,
You spoke of a twilight
Through which winds of loneliness twisted and wailed
By night and by day.

And you spoke of a growing hatred,
An exhausting hatred for yourself,
A quicksand sucking you down.

You were so sure no boy could love you
Ever

Unless you could become an alchemist

And with estranging fires and poisons
Turn the lead you thought you were
Into the gold you thought you must become.

Tonight I wonder what you have become
In the cauldron of the two decades
That have passed since I told you,
Urged you, that night on the porch
Not to hide yourself beneath a mask,
Not even a mask of gold.

I all but begged you to be true to yourself —

True so someone could love you for who you are.
True so that someone
Could love you Jackie
For who you are.

I ached that night for you to make my words
Your path and your road, your light and your guiding star.
I ached that night for my words to nourish you.
I ached for my words to encourage and to heal.

Did you grasp my advice?
Did you discover the meanings
That ran like a subterranean river
Beneath my words?

Did you see the truth
That I tried to point you to?

Were you able to turn the words
I spoke into something real?

Have you had the guts
To be yourself?

Tonight I wonder, Jackie,

Does someone love you now for who you are?

Or do you wear tonight a mask of gold

And the winds still twist and howl
Through the emptiness of your heart?

Art, Coffee Shop Folks, Harriet, Paintings, People, Portraits, Visual Arts

“Harriet II”

Harriet II
Harriet II. Acrylic on canvas (2019)

This is one of my most recent full-frontal mechanized assaults on the noble and esteemed science of aesthetics. The portrait is of Harriet, who I met when she was 15 (and I was 40), and who I watched grow up into a self-confident and remarkable person.

At the time I met her, Harriet went by the nickname “Grey”, which had been given to her because — as she would say — she was “half Polish and half West African”. That is, half-white and half-black, hence grey — and hence one reason for the greys in the painting.

Amanda, God, God(s), Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Quality of Life, Religion, Sacred, Sex, Spirituality

Is Sex Sacred?

SUMMARY: The statement “Sex is sacred” can have two meanings and thus two very different answers, depending on which meaning you go with.

(About a 5 minute read)

I was recently shocked and delighted when an attractive young woman I talk with about once every week or two at the local coffee shop suggested to me I’d be “fun to get in bed with”.

That is, I was shocked because Amanda is nearly 35 years my junior, and I was delighted because not many attractive 20 somethings have in recent years professed any such interest in me, despite that I typically spend some time each week standing beside the interstate exit ramp with a cardboard sign reading, “Experienced Sex Tutor.  Free Lessons!”.

Continue reading “Is Sex Sacred?”

Adolescence, Adolescent Sexuality, Attachment, Authenticity, Being True To Yourself, Coffee Shop Folks, Coffee Shop Stories, Family, Fatherless Children, Fatherless Daughters, Fatherless Girls, Friends, Human Nature, Jackie, Jerks, Judgementalism, Life, Living, Love, Lovers, Mental and Emotional Health, Obsession, People, Quality of Life, Relationships, Sarah, Self, Self Identity, Self Image, Self-determination, Self-Knowledge, Sex, Sexuality, Society

All the Young Women

SUMMARY: I take a look at the women I met some years ago in Colorado Springs, and then draw a few conclusions about the challenges they faced at that time in their lives.

(About a 8 minute read)

People are often more predictable than life itself.  I can often predict, with surprising accuracy, what a long-term friend will do in almost any situation, but my life has taught me that it can be considerably more difficult to predict where I will be in a year or two.

I certainly did not expect when I came to Colorado that I would soon know — at least casually — about 200 young men and women twenty years younger than me, nor that about two dozen of them would befriend me.

Yet that’s what happened — largely as a direct consequence of my choosing to frequent a coffee shop that both served the cheapest cup in town and was the hang out of hundreds of local high school students.  Since it was also the oldest and most established coffee shop in town, it was also the hang out of everyone else — from the mayor and some city council members to several homeless people.

Continue reading “All the Young Women”

Danielle, Love, Miscellaneous, People, Poetry, Sex, Sexuality

She Wore a Top Hat and Little Else

(About a 3 minute read)

“Whip it out”, she said.
“No, your wallet”, she said.
“This is a coffee shop, Paul,
Not a brothel.”

“Of course I knew what you meant.
I’m not dumb, Danielle.” I said,
Trying to cover up my mistake. “I was um…
Performing a little street theater, you see.”

“Emphasis on ‘little’, Paul.”

I decided it was time to change the subject.
“What’s your favorite funeral home joke’,
I hastily asked, batting my lashes fetchingly.

“Thinking of retiring, Paul? That’s something
The whole shop could get behind,
An old man like you.”

“Ok, I owe you one. It was an innocent mistake
Anyone could make, but I owe you one.”

“You can take me to a strip club Thursday at six.”

“But…”

“You can take me to a strip club Thursday at six.”

“But…”

“Or I tell everyone.”

Thursday at six rolled around like an appointment
With a bloodthirsty Mafia boss
That I wasn’t hankering to meet.

Danielle showed up dressed causally
But conservatively, in sheer lace lingerie,
A top hat, with a cane:
Conservatively for the clubs, that is.

“I want to blend in”, she explained.

“Good thinking”, I said, “No one will notice you.
Me, I’ll just be drinking heavily,
Pretending I don’t see you either.”

She got in free, no cover charge.
I had to pay 15 standard fee,
Plus $200 deposit because the overly-muscled
Idiot guarding the door remembered me
From the night I got drunk and some dancer’s
G-string inexplicably got stuck in my teeth.

The first act was pathetic, a newbie
Who pandered to the crowd by pretending
To juggle carrots in the nude
While walking around the stage
Chanting “Cha-cha Cha-cha”.

The second act wasn’t much better.
A slender blonde laid on her side,
Repeatedly raising and dropping her leg
While looking a mix between angry
And infinitely bored.

“This is what it’s all about?
This is what turns you men on?
You want I should juggle carrots for you?”

“Hardly”, I said, “Maybe it’ll get better.”
But I didn’t believe it would.
Time to take myself up on my offer
To start drinking heavily.

But then some natural born artist
Took the stage and danced her sexuality.
The two who followed were the same.

On the drive back, I asked
What she thought of it all.

“Liberating!”

When we got to my place
She abruptly unzipped me
With not so much as a “by your leave”,
But with a dexterous wack of her cane.

“That could have gone very wrong.”

“Yes”, She agreed. “But there’s not much
Down there it could have hit.”

Our eyes danced for each other,
Found what they were looking for,
Then rested briefly eye to eye.
Suddenly
We plunged for the bed simultaneously
Laughing like kids on Christmas morning.
The bed bounced us into each other’s arms.

“Could you take the g-string out of your teeth.”

“It cost me two hundred.” I said.
“And there’s still plenty of chew in it yet.
I’m not ready to lose it just yet.”

Belief, Ethics, Goals, Harriet, Human Nature, Late Night Thoughts, Life, Love, Lovers, Morality, Morals, Mysticism, New Love, People, Purpose, Romantic Love, Self, Self-determination, Spirituality, Truth

Late Night Thoughts: Harriet in Love, Good and Bad/Evil, Spiritual Goals, and More (August 24, 2018)

(About a 3 minute read)

I once had an extraordinary young friend, Harriet, whom I have written about here. She was clearly a genius, as well as a rather decent enough person in general, but when she was in her late teens or early twenties, she harbored a rather peculiar notion about love.

Harriet saw but one love — or kind of love — between sex partners as true.  That is, she believed giggly romantic love was the only true love for such couples.

Continue reading “Late Night Thoughts: Harriet in Love, Good and Bad/Evil, Spiritual Goals, and More (August 24, 2018)”

Alienation, Alienation From Self, Bad Ideas, Free Spirit, Human Nature, Jackie, Josh, Law, Life, Love, Lovers, Morality, Obligations to Society, Oppression, People, Sex, Sexuality, Society, Spirituality, Values, Wisdom

“He Kept the Law and Saved the World for You, Praise be!”

(About a 3 minute read)

Josh was lean as a wolf that fall
And strong as a hawk’s wings.
That October when the comet
Hung over the San Luis in the night.

And the coyotes called out in the night.
The coyotes yearned in the night.

Jackie heard the coyotes call
And wanted Josh but didn’t know
At seventeen how to overcome
Her ancient fears (born before the first gods)
For the sake of her ancient desires.

(Fire and ice
Ice on fire
Which will win?)

Jackie, then Josh, asked your advice
Back when you didn’t like
Giving advice.
Too much responsibility,
Too little wisdom to know
Which way to turn a young life.

Someone else that summer
Offered herself to you.
She was as young as Jackie.
As beautiful as Josh.

You pretended not to notice.
And she pretended not to care.
You stayed friends that way.

Josh was lean, but you listened to her.
Josh was strong, but you felt her.
And (let’s get honest here)
She sensed you knew how to love a woman
So that she cared to be loved,
Cared to share her bed with you.
That’s why she turned to you.
But you didn’t see it then.

(How long we must live
Before we see anything!
We’re always half in our graves,
At least half in our graves
Before we know life at all.)

(And why didn’t you see it?
It’s not like you at forty
Were one of those boys,
Those boys, those “pick-up artists”,
Who know more about how to get fucked,
Than they know how to fuck.
You cared for her. She cared for you.)

Today you would have accepted her.
Your fire has rekindled now,
Now it burns green again.
You’re wiser now, less a fool,
And the blood of outlaws
Burns in your veins.

Love moves according
To its own laws.
According to laws
Born when the universe
Was new.

You can try
To put chains on it,
And cage it, tame it,
Make it acceptable
As a garden plant.

(That’s what they do, you know.
Across the world they do it:
They play the alchemist:
With strange heats and poisons
They turn gold into lead,
But call it lead into gold.
Those guardians of morality.
Those liars.)

But love is a weed
And will always grow wild.

A weed with thorns
It will have its revenge
If you try to pluck it.

Deny it and deny life.
Die years before you’re dead.

The busybodies will praise
You for how you sacrificed
To keep their civilization
From crumbling to the sea.

(Yeah they will. They really will.)

I hear their eulogies already.
Their ironic eulogies for you
That they’ll roar from their pulpit
(“Roar” by putting a moral spin on things.)
So even the dead may hear
How Jackie and Josh were lawful
And so were you.
And so were you.

Somewhere the coyotes call.
The savage coyotes call out
In the night to something
Inside you that’s no longer
Yours and is gone anyway.

But you did save civilization.

For you and the girl didn’t fuck.

Let this be your eulogy then:

“He denied love,
He kept the law,
Saved us all,
By not fucking,
By not confusing
Good with Evil.
Not mixing
Youth and age.”

Let that be carved in stone.
It’s enough to make a dead man proud,
And pride is more ethical than love.

Right?