Fear of the Future

I used to be terrified of dying alone.    But now, I have fears of extinguishing hope.

I’m afraid of tracking dirt across your life.  Because I’ve been places and done things and had the indecency to write a lot of it down.  And for the longest time I was proud of this growing ledger of clever anecdotes and stories and jokes to tell my friends over drinks… but upon meeting you, I wish I had an eraser rather than a history.  I wish I had a blank page empire, rather this long and harrowing tapestry.  But if every black eye and bad choice was what it took to end up with someone as great as you, then I wouldn’t change a thing.

I’m afraid of your parents, and the heavy silhouette they’ve imagined for your Happily Ever After.  From your first baby steps, to your satin graduation caps they’ve been imagining a man deserving of every moment of your glowing laughter.  And when they meet me I’m scared I’ll never measure’ to everything they’ve had in mind.  But I’m determined to show them just who I am, and exactly what my intentions are for you.  Which is to make you happy as frequently and as deeply as I can for as long as I can.  And to buy you cats.  And hello kitty things.  And possibly one day in the future, a genetically engineered hello kitty cat.

 

Bump it with:

The Mother Loom

Every time I try to write about you, it tumble-crumples down and out as one big cliche’.   These heavy hackneyed words that someone else has mouthed and slurred– and I hate it.  Because to me this is the most uncommon-and-uncouth uncut-diamond-in-the-rough Prometheus discovers fire for only the third time in his life.  And I hate the way everything I say feels like something someone else already said…

But then,
I think:

Maybe this is my inclusion into the great union of poets, all those pining’ rhyming fools striving to twist the written word to confess their undying love.   Each leaping from the shoulders of their predecessors, screaming “what I feel in my breast is original and unique!” but all unknowingly-sewing from the same machine, spouting one single woven fabric from the Mother Loom that ultimately all these iterations spill forth… some indelible swelling well-spring beneath humanity that is coursing and bubbling and brimming to the top with those same fathomless words whispered by so many, reverberating and echoing against the halls of mankind until they resonate in one voice, in one singular symphony, the words– I love you.

Because I do.

Neither first, nor last but somewhere smack dab in the great sea of humanity, are these blinking twinkling moments– of Me and You.

Bump it with:

Shelf Life

So many of my stories begin with a ticking clock.  A temporary fling, swiftly burning to the ground, and I try to see how long I can keep the coursing kerosene running in our pumping veins.

But with you, with you there is no shelf-life.  There is no clumsy, fumbling for the ripcord to escape-eject.  And this slow and steady upward traject’ory has me scared.  Because I never want to see you in hindsight.  I never want to write the epitaph to this story.  You don’t get some clever nickname and a few strung together paragraphs of how I made it all blow to hell.  No, I want you until I’m old and gray and they drop me into a deep hole and shovel the earth in after me.  Because now that I’ve found you I don’t plan on spending another day on this Earth without you.

And the tools of my trade, the adventures and the games…  One by one they fell down into the dirt along the wayside of where I was.  Discarded willingly, like baby teeth falling from my mouth with something more permanent sprouting up just below the gum line.  And I haven’t felt this way in a long time.  And you’re more frightening than any blazing flame to light my face… because with you… I never want to put you out.  With a hasty breath or a clumsy miss step.  And I am not proud of where I’ve been but if it took all that wander’ing to bring me here then the journey was worth it.  All I can hope now is that I deserve this.

Bump it with:

Sidewalker

I’ve resigned myself to dying alone.  I realize that you, My Future Wife may just be just some idea I’ve imagined in my head… a flickering shadow I’ve pursued through this vast and winding maze until I’ve been’ inexorably lost.  With neither breadcrumbs nor chalk-marks to find my way back, there is no direction but one foot ahead the last.  

What, ho?  There is such a long way to – go.    

And this long walk is penance for a lifetime of broken hearts and battered doors’ from rapacious knuckles and hasty steps across scuffed floors.  My hard heels clicking on the cobblestones with my collar pulled high, past all the healthy hearth-lit homes with candlelight’ dancing in windows– places where I could’ve been.  

It’s not the chill that kills me, it’s not knowing whether the weather is ever going to change.  Wondering, if I’ll ever get out of this rain.  

What, ho?  There is such a long way to – go.

Bump it with:

The Last One Found

I go into this new year, with hope.  

I  believe that life is getting better, that my best adventures are still ahead of me, and this journey is just beginning.   I believe the love I’ve shared were all just precursors to something greater.  And I will count my scars and be grateful someone cared enough to go that deep.  I hope that I will find you soon.  Because I’ve been living my whole life to be in love.   I know, that’s a stupid thing to say but before I could remember wanting to be a lawyer, or a writer, or anything in between… I remember wanting to have someone.  I’ve been on an endless game of hide-and-seek’ and all the other kids have all been found and are already eating their cake.  I’m the only one left wandering the halls and looking under stairs…  but if I’m still here then it means you’re still looking.  With those bright eyes– come find me.  

 

Bump it with:

The Bridge of Closed Doors

I’ve closed doors that can never be reopened, and on the other side are the unborn ghosts of a lifetime together; big house, big dogs, children, and laughter.   But I know, She goes on to find someone better, to grow old with someone who can cherish her in a way I could never.  And in a way, I did that, with a graceful bow and a sidestep through the curtain, and I’m certain I’ll never be at this point again.  And it’s just as well.  Sad smile, exit left.  Chin up.  No regrets.  

I pull down each closed door and stack them one upon the other on the floor.  Each one raises me higher and takes me a bit further– planks for me to walk, out over uncharted seas in an an ever growing arc of my history, of who I was leading to who I could be.  But eventually it’s no longer one more step’  over the restless black abyss, until we plummet to our death… no it was that last moment until our long lonely walks– intersect.  And our feet are steady, and the wood holds fast.  A bridge.  Abridged. We meet– at last.

Bump it with:

Letters to my Future Wife: The things that cross my mind at 2am

I hope, your life is full of friends and laughter.  I hope there’s someone beside you who can make you smile.  And if someone’s in your bed, I hope he’s a tiny gentleman– because I’ve been, less than.  I seem to be awash in a sea of in-congruent shapes, each one more obtuse and mismatched than the last as they dance across my feet and press themselves against my breast.   I find myself disappearing halfway through conversations of first impressions, daydreaming through coffee and pleasantries, and losing interest over half-empty bar glasses.

I keep my eyes open and my heart racing just in case, this practice of patience has got me tripping in my laces before I even start.  Honestly I can’t take this waiting.  I’m ready to be a stooped old man holding your hand as we argue about cabbages or the ages of our grandchildren.  I’m ready to buy lamps, and dishware, and put down roots.  I’m ready for you.  

But in truth, I’m not ready for anything.  I’m a boxer who’s just finished nine rounds of someone else’s fight.  Seven and two and it’s a wonder I’m still standing, with not a single blow landing but the self destruction percussion of my heart.  And I want you to be neither resting stool, nor bed for mending.  No you deserve me in the morning when I’m first waking, not when I’m returning breaking from a beating and still mourning in the shaking wake of my mistakes.  You deserve the very best, but he’s not here right now and if you could leave a message, or a voice mail or a text, and he’ll be right around the corner, once the coroner declares him dead.  

I saw him in the mirror just the other day.  He smiled and made a face as if to say, eventually these wounds heal.  Eventually we rest our head in a place called home.  But for now, I walk alone.  

Because beginnings matter,
if it’s a proper ending we’re after.

And I am.

So until then.  

Bump it with:

The Cheat Sheet

Bump it with:

Sometimes I wish we had blueprints as to how other people work.  So much time is wasted fighting and miss-communicating.  I’m trying to figure out who I am and what I need as far as compatibility in a partner.  This is my cheat sheet for you.  To explain my vices and my neurosis and all the little ticks that comprise me as a human being:

– It’s important to me that you think I’m smart.  I will use a grandiose agglomeration of  superfluous vocabulary until you tell me I’m smart.

– I’m jealous.  Like jealous of your dentist because he gets to see you smile.  And don’t even get me started on your gynecologist.

– I hate every single one of your ex-boyfriends and anybody who has seen you naked. Please don’t put me face to face with them because you guys are “still friends”  The world is full of friends.  Guys you’ve fucked are not your friends.  Also, I’m willing to Jettison any “still friends” I may have clinging about, for you.

– I live in my imagination.  It’s a beautiful place that will spring forth poetry and rainbows and all that awesome stuff when things are good.  I will also hang myself in the darkest corner of my mind if left to my own devices.  If I don’t hear from you for a few days I assume the worst: terrorists, rapists, or somehow you’ve gotten amnesia and have forgotten all about me.  Usually all three.

– I’m needy, like a small anxious dog that shakes and tears up the furniture when you go out to buy groceries.  Like that small dog, I will run in circles and jump on you the moment you come home.  Strangely enough, to everybody but my immediate family I can come across as distant and aloof.  If I’ve allowed this level of neurosis to spill out into our lives where I need you, like a clingy barnacle on your ass, it means I truly trust you and you’re an important part of my life.

– I listen.  I’m always listening, even when you think I’m not.  That ramen place you mentioned in passing you wanted to try, I’ll take you to eat on our next date night.  That thing you said you thought was cool when we were browsing at the mall, I’ll buy it for you for your birthday months later.  But I listen to everything.  So things like your weaknesses or your fears, there’s a good chance I will use it against you in a fight somewhere down the road.  My mouth is always a hair trigger and my brain is the slow arm of a train stop; The caution bells and whistles are going off, but my mouth has already fired the shot across the tracks and there’s no taking it back.

– You can always diffuse my anger with a hug.  Or showing me some boob.  You can end just about any fight this way.

– If I go storming out the door, I’m really just hoping you’ll chase me and do the hug thing.  Or the boob thing.  Maybe not the boob thing if we’re outside.

– I get grumpy when I’m hungry.  My mood can often be medicated with small amounts of food.  Maybe always carry snacks in your purse?  I’ll even eat raisins if I’m hungry enough.

– My formative high school years were shaped by “emo” music.  To this day I still think of myself as a poet or a writer, or someone with a creative muse.  Accordingly, my heart will break loudly and violently.  I’m a martyr with a megaphone.  Do not be alarmed.

– I can make you fall in love with my words.  I will also cut you to the bitter bone with those same words, spoken in reverse.  I’m trying to figure out how to do just the one without the other, but they seem to be two sides to the same coin.

– I’m allowed to talk crap about my family.  You’re not allowed to talk crap about my family.

– Having your parents like me, is a very close second to how much you like me.  I’ve grown up all my life with an extended family that got along, mainly because my parents were both proactive in keeping their respective in-laws happy.  I’m very close to my parents, but I never complain to them about relationships because it will color the way they see their daughter-in-law.  It matters so much to me that your parents like me.  Don’t make me choose between their opinion of me, and your opinion of me.  I can beg for your forgiveness– I can’t beg for theirs.

– When I’m happy, I see the world in hues and shades and soft edges.  When we fight, or when I feel threatened, my world shifts to stark black and white distinctions.  If you quit me, if you quit us– you become my enemy.  I think this stems from feeling powerless as a child, and my need to divide my world into “good” and “bad” people.    Everybody inherently has both good and evil within them, but my mind will quickly forget one side or the other in order to create some emotional distance.

– I hate space.  Not in the astronomical or astrological sense, but in the measure of distance and lack of closeness.  I used to ignore my ex for weeks on end when I was angry with her.  I realize now that was quite possibly one of the cruelest things I could do; to leave her in limbo just waiting for a response from me.  I will never do that to you.

– I’ve dated a full roster of beautiful and brilliant women.  Don’t feel threatened by them, it just means you’re in good company and I have good taste.  I’ve made numerous foolhardy mistakes with all of them, but to me it’s not history– but practice.  Those girls were the hours of training until I was truly deserving enough to meet you.

– If I’m showing you this list, it means I like you.  It means I see a future with you.  It means I want you to know me, and I want you to fit me.  I’ll do my best to fit you too.

Bump it with:

Letters to my future Wife: Through the view-finder

In this moment, we are strangers.  You, are just an idea in my head: blurry and out of focus, far off and in the distance.  And I would run without sleep or rest’ from here until the moment our lives meet and intersect– if I could see you or if it meant’ I could be with you any quicker.  

But in this moment, we are strangers.  Your name has never graced my lips, we have yet to share our first kiss.  I’ve yet to brush the hair from your eyes, I’ve yet to make you breakfast in bed.  Ahead of us, are nights where we fall asleep next to each other like two Twix in a wrapper, and I wake entangled and enthralled with your face inches from mine.  Ahead of us, are a thousand little talks, where I’m smitten by your clever words and turn of phrase.    Ahead of us are passionate nights, and sun soaked days.   Ahead of us, are a million four-legged-steps, hand in hand as we traverse sandy beaches, and shopping malls, salsa two-step while I step on you with my two left’  “oops sorry” and slow-dance through weddings, and parties, and banquet halls.  Ahead of us is our first home purchase, and me rubbing your swollen stomach every day before the birth of our first kid.

Ahead of us are trials and tribulations, like when I compare you to your mother, though you know I love her and I say things without thinking sometimes.  Because you know that this mouth of mine runs afoul with the taste of foot’ every now and again, but I make up for it’ in the long view– I’m good for you, for every moment when you needed me I was there, with the right words at the right time, and the right arms and the right life — and before the lights go out I’m forgiven and we’re living in linen and in love.

But in this moment, we are strangers.  And I can’t wait to meet you.  But it seems I’m going to have to.

Or maybe, just maybe… I already have.

Letters to my future Wife: The Man I Will Be

I started writing this on a crumpled napkin in my car, sitting in the parking lot after work:

I realized the failings of this past relationship were my fault.  I was not strong enough to ask for what I needed, and to leave when she could not provide it.  So we fought, hungry and angry making demands only to be met with disappointment.  We loved each other so much, but were too blind to see how bad we were together.

I deserve someone who doesn’t cheat on me.  I deserve someone who is proud to have me as their boyfriend.  I deserve someone who will not ignore me when I am in need. I deserve someone who will not throw me away so casually: someone whose love outweighs her anger.  I deserve someone that carries in their heart, Me at my best, and forgives the me at my worst.  I deserve love.  Real love.

And in return, I promise you, whoever you are:

I will be the kind of man you want your father to meet, and the kind of man you want your sons to grow up to be.  I will be the kind of man who provides for his family not just by working, but by cooking, and by being an equal partner in the household.   I will be a man strong enough to protect you, but gentle enough to hold you.  I will be a man who reads to our children every night, a man who goes to every play, every game, every recital, and takes off from work to chaperone field trips.  I will be the type of man who treats your parents as if they were my own.  I will be a man who admits to my mistakes, and apologizes when I know I’m wrong.  I will put your feelings before mine, because I know you’re doing the same for me.  I will tell you everything, my fears, my worst mistakes, so you may know me, and so you may love me entirely.

I am not that man yet.  Not even remotely close.  But when I get there… just you wait.  I will earn the rest of your life, and you—the rest of mine.