“There is a pleasure in the pathless woods;
There is a rapture on the lonely shore;
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and the music in its roar:
I love not man the less, but Nature more…”
~ Lord Byron
This is the eleventh.
Read the first, Things I would like to do with you in the Woods.
Read the second, Things I would like to do with you this Evening.
Read the third, Things I would like to Remember about our day in Vermont.
Read the fourth, Things I would like to do with you in Time.
Read the fifth, Things I Would Like to do with You Before I Lose You.
Read the sixth, Things I would like to hear when you are Confused.
Read the seventh, Things I would like to say to you without you Knowing.
Read the eighth, Things I would like to do with you when you visit my Home.
Read the ninth, Things I would like for us to know before we Fall in Love.
In the wake of your vanishing from my country a season has taken hold, and another will soon take its place. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve.
I would like to miss you, when I think of you. I would like to feel sad, and bitter, and that angst shall warm my hollowed-out heart as this season grows colder.
What a life I lead, where you for whom I feel something like the fire that burns in the heart of love walks boldly into my living room and tells my friends of your love for another. And my guests applaud, not knowing of my feelings. And I retreat upstairs to the sound of my breaking heart, cracking further. I have been stupid to feel—I get the message, you could not put it more clearly.
I will not join the birds in their whistling outside your faraway sunny window, tomorrow morning.
I would like to grow a little cold inside: not so cold that beautiful ice with patterns in it has begun to form around the edges, not Winter’s cold, not yet. Just wet, damp, the kind of Fall cold that sneaks up into the heart and chills it. And I would like a second blanket, and my handmedown maroon Pendleton sweater, and tea in a big mug I made myself.
But the morning comes. After showering, I wrap a towel and I dry in the echoes of the summer’s hot sun on my balcony where, each day, I see the mountains a little more, again: the leaves are all parting, falling, drying.
And though this now early Autumn sun is still hot…my skin and hair are wet and soon I am goosebumped. I read a hot-tub-wrinkled business book while I sun dry. My half-hound stands, shakes, walks from sunny patch to shade. In an hour his itinerary will call for him to stand, shake, and walk to a shady patch.
This is how I am without you, now.
I stand in my kitchen, leaning against the sink, for an hour, my eyes seeing memories.
But you are gone
I have not lost you, however
You are not one of a long line of those I have given up
For I never had you,
The beginnings of Love had me,
My sullen, stupid heart
was had, yet again
I am lost to you and without you and you are lost to me:
safe in your City,
safe in your Country
safe with another Heart
safe on the other end of your Phone Number,
…and now I would like to go to a cabin alone up on a hill above a stream and pretend to be old.
I would like to grow a red beard, it has already started, and the red sideburns will curl as they do. I shall wear a warm hat over my matted hair. And when I bicycle back down to the twinkling town, this white Winter, I would like to go to bars alone and laugh too thickly and convince random friends of friends of my joy. There he goes, he is happy, he is popular…they will think of me no more. They do not care. I am like a favorite old cafe that people like to use, but if it closes, folks mutter and move on.
I do not think well, anymore. I do not think of anything, much: I am too full of unconditional feeling. The feeling we call Sadness. It is cold but not freezing. I would like to enjoy fun all the more, without savoring it, like an emptied glass against another Winter night. This is the time when smarter men drown in drink, but I like to sip good scotch, and in the morning an Americano. Both are the color of lacquered wood and both taste like a kiss—a brief moment of dreams.
And yes this is all you have been to my sadness.
A match for me to burn myself up against.
And now I have that much less hope and that much less fear and this is good, this season of increasing cold.
A moment of truth and caring and a soft moment when my life opened like a frightened fucking flower as my heart felt fire and then, gone, like the unsavored scotch. So I order another, and lean against the bar and I do not watch my friends in love.
And I do not pity my sadness, for it is my friend and I do not pity my friends.
I do not run from our encounter, for it is too late to run. I can already feel the red circle growing beneath my jacket and my sweater, staining my wrinkled cotton dress shirt. I can feel the warm blood, I am shot through with Cupid’s arrow. It is too late to run.
I would not like to blame you: you briefly gave my days so much and I thank you for opening me.
I would like to have worn armor, but I did not: it weighs me down on the battlefield. You would have liked it if I had worn armor, so you could joust at my heart longer: a foolish red heart deflated by a callous, careless cut. Instead I wore a robe, and I tied on two swords—one of them this pen—and for a time I dazzled you with my gifts as I gazed at the reflection of your face in the stream. But you do not want my heart: you wanted to read my words, and go home with steel.
“…They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald
My hope died, my fear gone cold. Perhaps I will reawaken next Spring or the Spring after that. Perhaps I will never flower for another. In any case I live on, and on, and…And it is Winter that is coming soon.
I would like to wear the armor of my Mountain and Forest clans against this Winter: I like thick wool redwarm shirts. I would like to find this old shirt and buy it, or buy it new now in a small shop where it was delivered from an old warehouse in an old town in this young country where it was made in an old way. And I would like wear a grandfather’s cardigan with a big collar to keep my neck warm. I would like to wear a bold tweed jacket over it, I would like to wear dark jeans every day, and buck wingtips, and drink tea out of a big glass jar.
And I will go to the capitol of the Forest. And my mother will visit my mountain valley. And I will go to to the Hipstercity and I will go to Black and White City, and to the Café City, but I will not yet go to the Fog City. I will go to a troubled Holy Land, and to All Light or All Dark City, and to the Red Roof City, and to the capitol of my country, but not to my mother’s country.
And when it is warmer, next Spring, I would like to invite my beautiful friends to take their clothes off but keep some on, and we will spend all day at the swimming hole.
But Spring is so far away. And so for now we will pick our favorite pumpkin and bicycle down hills and layer up and layer down and we are all so busy, there is no room for love, but it happens anyways when you sit in a café and look at the lengthening shadows against the sunny wall across the street. And we will find a silver bar that serves food and do our work there, nights, and bike home over the snow.
I would like to have loved you, but I never found your rock bottom. You never let me.