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”

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?

Abuse, Alienation, Alienation From Self, Authenticity, Authoritarianism, Bad Ideas, Being True To Yourself, Capitalism, Class War, Consumerism, Cultural Traits, Culture, Free Spirit, Freedom, Freedom and Liberty, Fundamentalism, Human Nature, Ideologies, Jackie, Liars Lies and Lying, Life, People

And the Coyotes Yearned in the Night

(About a 4 minute read)

I have risen in the night
To see Mount Elbert on fire
With the white-blue light
Of the moon to turn it
Into a distant ghost.

It seemed in the peace
Of that night
Wisdom became visible, tangible,
And beautiful;
Passion for life became life itself,
And our audacious authenticity
Became the sole Truth,
More real than the true gods.

But I know that we are apes
Equidistant
From the wisdom of the bonobo
And the foolishness of chimps.

I have risen in the day
To see your self and spirit
Defeated and yoked
By the obscene demand
Of your being forced
To make a living
On the rich man’s terms.
Your authenticity is dead

Though you haven’t eyes to see the fact,
Your authenticity is dead.

You have bought the lie, my brother.
You have bought the lie, my sister.
That you cannot be yourself.

Now even your holy desire
To lie with each other’s bodies
Is sold back to you twisted,
Perverted by the merchants
Of fashion and entertainment.

By the merchants
Who are the new Shakespeares,
The new Goethes, the Rilkes,
The Einsteins, the Darwins,
The Sidharthas, the Lao-Tzus.
The sages have become prostitutes.

Even Jesus has been weaponized.
The fundamentalists
Have crucified him again,
Enslaved his ghost
To their corrupt and unholy ends.
So that now the one who came
That you might live
Has become your pallbearer,
The gravedigger who
Each day buries
Your authenticity afresh.

They tell you not to be true
To you yourself and to love,
“It’s a world-destroying sin —
Your moral duty is to go along.”

Everything good in this world
That your humanity can touch
Sooner or later is turned
By the people for whom power
Means more than truth itself.

Turned, and twisted, and perverted.
Raped, debased, and oppressed.
Sold back to you as organic,
As natural, as the truth at last revealed —
But by the painted maws of diseased whores
That you call your leaders
And your friendly billionaires.

And you, my friend, believe them —
That’s what I don’t understand.
It’s a mystery how you always believe
The old and ancient lies are never lies.

Once up among mountains
On an evening when a comet
Hung in the bejeweled sky,
And the coyotes called
(Yearning voices in the night),
I sat naked with Jackie,
My honest nude body touching
Her honest nude body
As we sat side by side.

She was seventeen that year.

Troubled with the challenges
Of any young life.
She asked for clarity and guidance
From a much older man.

I told her be herself.
In six ways and seven times,
I told her be herself.

And the coyotes yearned in the night.
The coyotes cried out to her that night.
A comet hung in the sky.

Attached Love, Coffee Shop Folks, Courtship, Erotic Love, Happiness, Infatuation, Jackie, Love, Lovers, Marriage, New Love, Quality of Life, Relationships, Romantic Love, Sexuality

Should You be Friends Before You Become Lovers?

(About a 3 minute read)

“I’m here, sir, to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage.”

“Do you like her, boy?”

“Sir, I love her more than I love anything else in the world!”

“I didn’t ask if you loved her, I asked if you liked her. Love is wonderful, but love isn’t enough by itself to get you though the arguments and tough times any husband and wife will have.”

(An old movie, the title of which I’ve forgotten.)​

There was a comet in the sky that fall, and ostensibly, Jackie and I had come out on the porch at dusk to sit under a blanket and watch it. But Jackie soon began talking about “boys”.

She was 17 that year, and though she hadn’t much experience of boys, she went into great detail about her relationships with them. It took her two hours to cover the topic, and she wrapped things up with a simple question, “What do I have to do to keep a boy? I’ll do anything you tell me to do. I’ll change myself in any way. But tell me what I have to do.”

I suggested she was looking at it the wrong way. It might not be best for her to think about changing herself to suit boys, but rather best for her to be true to herself. The boys who really loved her for who she was would appreciate that. She politely thanked me and we wandered off our separate ways.

About ten months later, Jackie stopped me on the street one day to tell me my advice had not made immediate sense to her. But she had thought about it, and over the past month or so, it had begun to click.

I think Jackie had a point. It can be hard to fully understand what it means to be true to oneself, and even more so, see the importance of that in our sexual relationships with people. But my advice didn’t really go far enough.

Had I been thinking that night of the comet, I would have gone on to suggest to Jackie that she pick her lovers from among her friends. That is, that she become friends with someone before becoming a lover to them, when at all possible.

Now, tons of folks might disagree with me there. They tell me they don’t want to do that because they’re scared of “ruining a good friendship”. Normally, I’d respect that, but in this case, I think that’s crazy talk. You can’t ruin a good friendship by becoming lovers. You can only reveal or unmask a “good” friendship for what it really is — a bad friendship. Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s your choice whether you want to risk that.

Beyond that, befriending someone before becoming their lover is perhaps the best way to get to intimately know who they are as a person before you get so involved with them that it becomes hard to extricate yourself from the relationship, should that be wise to do.

Moreover, it’s much easier to see who someone is when you are not sexually passionate about them. But perhaps the best reason to pick your lovers from among your friends is that love is seldom if ever enough on which to base a committed, long term relationship.

It’s not just that, soon enough, giddy-headed romantic love wears off. Romantic love is usually replaced by a deeper bond. It’s that friendship is insurance of a more comprehensive relationship than love. You can love someone without actually liking them, but when that happens, your relationship tends to come down to little more than sex. Friendship guards against that.

Of course,  plenty of couples come together as lovers before they develop friendships for each other.  I’m not arguing that folks should absolutely forgo any romantic relationships unless they’re friends first.  But I do believe there are advantages to first being friends.

So, ideally speaking, should you be friends with someone before you become lovers?