Wednesday, December 23, 2009

if you forget me

i want you to know
one thing.

you know how this is:
if i look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if i touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
i shall stop loving you little by little.

if suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for i shall already have forgotten you.

if you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where i have roots,
that on that day
at that hour
i shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine

-pablo neruda

Saturday, December 5, 2009

awaiting resurrection in rain

I was reminded tonight of how driving in a snowstorm on a pitch black night down a street with no lights and your high-beams on can make you feel like you're falling. Is it a latent suicidal urge that keeps you from pulling over? Like how Milan Kundera suggests vertigo is not the fear of falling, but rather jumping? You can only see a few feet ahead of you, the illuminated flakes whipping towards you is enough to prompt an epileptic fit, but you persist. I'm always amazed that I continue to drive when I feel so unsafe, but even more so, I am amazed at the assholes who come blazing up behind you going 20 over the speed limit, and then ride your ass like there's something wrong with you. I want bad things to happen to these people.

I mean, I suppose I don't actually want bad things to happen to these people, but in the moment I get mad enough to wish it upon them, usually taking the form of a few mumbled curse words and a good old fashioned tap of the breaks.

I don't get angry very often, but I will admit I am prone to some serious road rage (what did George Carlin say about anyone going slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster is a maniac... smart man; RIP). I learned the virtue of patience by necessity at an early age. And since then I have learned that patience and kindness are some of the more important things in life. It can be all you have to offer anybody that truly means anything it all.

I fear that these qualities are too often mistaken for naivete.

Take elementary school; how the quiet, nice kid was the easiest target, and therefore the one facing the most shit. I felt for those kids in school... it didn't stop me from teasing along, I'm sorry to say, but I've remembered those moments heading into adulthood. And now, I see the same game, it's not as transparent as it was in grade school, but it's there in essence. The weak-hearted being strong-willed (to steal a phrase from Ani Difranco). And the strong-hearted seeming weak. It's all backwards. What does It say about the meek inheriting the kingdom of God? I guess that bit is glazed over by the fist-pounders.

And here's where it really get's tricky. Because, like the maniac driver, I would love to give these people a piece of my mind. But would I then be abandoning something imperative? Where's the line of righteous indignation?

I don't have an answer for that. It's a line I've never been able to make out. Most of the time I continue to smile, and stare in bewilderment.

There are people out there who are going to make you feel like shit for trying to be good. The easy ones to deal with are the ones who are blatant in their methods. These are the ones that you can see coming a mile away. Their transgressions don't hurt too much. Astounding in their ignorance, but otherwise negligible. But there are other ones; ones that will smile to your face, who will wear the guise so well that it takes you a while to see them for who they are. These are the worst kind. Those who save their enmity for private ears.

I just hope they know that kindness is not the same as naivete, that they aren't fooling anyone, except maybe themselves, and maybe not even then.

I'd love to come right out and tell these kinds of people to fuck off. Sometimes I slip up and I do. But, really, when it comes down to it, it's much easier to do that. It is so much easier to hate than it is to love.

So where is the line of righteous indignation? Maybe it's a private place. Maybe it's something internal, where you have to realize that you'll be damned if anybody ever makes you feel stupid for loving. (see: You are what you love, not what loves you)

And in the end, I believe, that's the only thing that is ever going to make you feel good. I was furious with the maniac behind me tonight. Furious as I pulled over to the side of the road at too-high a speed and nearly slid off the road completely because he/she was riding too close. Furious as their horn rang out as they sped by. Furious as I turned around on the dark road and headed back. Furious up until I got out and asked that guy sitting by his car on the side of the road with his hood up and hazard lights on if he needed any help.

I'm not suggesting I'm some sort of saint for stopping to lend somebody jumper cables in the middle of the night. But that simple act of kindness brought things back into balance for me. I realized that this is the kind of person I want to be. And so I just shook his hand, and sort of smiled when he said "you wouldn't believe how many assholes have just driven by."