reblogged: when it is all new, a letter to hilary, by Preston Yancey

Preston Yancey is one of those people who give me hope that being mildly lost at twenty-something is alright, and this trying to cobble together some sense of life, this doing the best I can with the continuous now that I have, this often tedious shuffling toward Jerusalem, is all worthwhile, and that there is joy in this land of in-between, and that we can create something of beauty along the way. Preston Yancey is also one of those people who make me sort of bubble with envy, because my writing isn’t as sharpened and well-oiled, and that my words cannot divide sinews and tendons. Not yet. After going through my customary crush on competent, eloquent, and ever-so-quirky boys such as Preston Yancey, I am very glad that he has found someone who makes him inexplicably happy. 

WHEN IT IS ALL NEW, A LETTER TO HILARY

July 25, 2013

Lake Gaston Sunset. Photo credit: Jackson Rollins

Lake Gaston Sunset. Photo credit: Jackson Rollins

 In what seems like another world now, with so much space between, Hilary and I used to pass digital letters back and forth to each other on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I smile at those days, smile half, over the way I was falling in love with her after every tumbled word without quite realising it at the time. Retrospect is a powerful thing. We now mark a series of new letters, back and forth, Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can read Hil’s letter that I’m responding to here.

Dear Hil,

I debated about this letter, which has something to do with the reason why it took me so long to write it. (We won’t talk about how I didn’t write you one last week, because as you know I was in your kitchen making you a birthday dinner, among other things, so I’m holding firm on not being guilted for missing a letter, even if it was the second time it’s happened in the year of these exchanges.)

I debated because you and I care a lot about protecting our story, about preserving the intimacy of us and the love we have, about keeping the online at a distance from that and giving only what is truly beneficial and, often, even then holding out. There are some things that once they have been spoken are no longer, and so much of us and our story is hidden in the thin places of self and space and time–it seems injustice to try to root it.

But today I want to pull back the curtain a bit, bring out a bit of that story for the sake of others. We talk often about how we don’t want other people to hear the story of us–meeting online, letter exchanges, flying across oceans and crying in airports–and think of it as the ideal, as the thing that they wish they could have, because every story of love is its own sort of extraordinary that really only the two people right in the tangled midst of it can understand. This is not that. This is not an attempt to loudly convince anyone of the love or the uniqueness or the wonder of it, but a sort of promise to those who have not found that sort of love yet.

You went running in prayer that day because you had read the draft of the third chapter of my memoir and you ached to have been in the story at that point. It was full of memories that would never be quite yours, would be shared but only in the after and experienced only in retelling. You felt the sting of not being rooted with me yet, as I had felt the sting writing it out and marvelling at the chaos and uncertainty that it all was, in a field with another girl who wasn’t you and could never be you, trying to make a bastard love blossom that would fade as quickly as it had been imagined. I told you that night on Skype that you were there and not there, that when I wrote those words with the honesty I could bring to the page they only flowed that way because you were there with me, somehow, in the magic of retrospect and reweaving.

It’s not the same, I know. It’s not the same as having been there or having haphazardly journeyed it alongside. Never mind the dreams we conjure with one another about what would have happened had we met then somewhere on the east side, with your red wine and my bourbon in an old bar that still had a coat room with a clerk that could be tipped well. Never mind all that, because the sting of being there but not being there is real and is not, I know, unique to us.

So what is the point of this? Pulling back the curtain enough? It is a promise to you and to those still waiting, that there is newness with you that is not like anything else. To hold you is to have never held someone before. To kiss you is to have never before been kissed. To brush our hands together or lean into you or take coffee from your hand in the midmorning at your kitchen table where we are at home in a still point of our own fabrication, that is to have never before known touch, pressure, or gift before.

Memory plays us like fools, pretends that we have a hold of it when what we have is a farce of our own design. But love makes us fools in a brave way, teaches to overcome memory’s trick with the firmness of words, vows, that are spoken in those gestures long before they are said aloud–in the hair elastic I wear around my left wrist, in the way you tilt your head when you look at me, in the crystal sugar bowl and the slice of lime.

I wanted to put somewhere public something of a promise to those who wonder if it can all be, truly, wonderful. I wanted to tell them that it can. You simply have to realise the wonderful comes not in the loudness of a story but in the quietness of it, in the way that you thought you knew so perfectly and so truly exactly what it felt like to be seen, to be kissed, to be loved, until one morning in the midst of the ordinary a woman looks at you from across the room and you realise what poetry must be, what it is to feel the vault of the earth in tilt, what it is to fall in love over and over again until you believe that you could still time if you only hold your breath just long enough.

Because it is all new. And it keeps being new.

Love,

P

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reblogged: When you think your love story is boring

original post by Lisa-Jo Baker, 22 July 2013. 

“My love life will never be satisfactory until someone runs through an airport to stop me from getting on a flight.” ~Teenager post of the week via the Huffington Post.

He drove us all home 18 hours over two days.

Three kids and hundreds of miles and potty breaks and princess pull-ups, the car covered in the markers I’d bought for window art. Turns out the soft beige ceiling of a mini van makes a perfect canvas. Rainbow swirls color the door panels and there are goldfish crackers crushed so deep into the seats that they will likely be there come next summer and this same road trip all the way to Northern Michigan and the lake that his family have been coming to for decades.

He’s never run through an airport for me.

Three times he’s held my hands, my shaking legs, my head, my heart as I’ve bared down and groaned a baby into being. He has run for ice chips and doctors and night shifts and laid himself low to help me hold on through the hard rock and roll and push and pull of labor and I’ve never drowned holding onto his hand.

There is a rumor, an urban myth, a fiction, a fantasy, a black and white screen cliché that love looks like the mad, romantic dash through airports for a last chance at a flailing kiss.

And then the credits roll.

And the lights come on.

And we must go back to our real lives where we forget that love really lives.

When you think your love story is boring via lisajobaker.com

I threw up so hard and fast and often one night in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania that I couldn’t stand come morning. He moved over and out and gave me the bed. He went out for crackers and soda and mind numbing games to keep the three kids occupied and away from mom.

I looked in the mirror and there was nothing romantic looking back at me, but around the wrinkles in my eyes, the parched, white cheeks, there was the deep romance of being loved beyond how I looked.

He’s never run through an airport for me.

He’s gone out for milk at 10pm, he’s held our children through bouts of stomach viruses and told me there is nothing about his kids that disgusts him. He’s carried us on his shoulders when we were too tired or too sad or too done to keep doing the every day ins and outs that make up a life.

He’s unloaded a hundred loads of laundry and put the dishes away.

He lays down his life and it looks like so many ordinary moments stitched together into the testimony of a good man who comes home to his family in the old minivan, the one with the broken air conditioning.

It undoes me every time to look around and find him there, having my back in the day to day and the late night into late night and then next year again.

He’s run a thousand times around the sun with me and we hold hands and touch feet at night between the covers even when we’re wretched and fighting we’re always fighting our way back to each other.

He’s never run through an airport for me.

He runs on snatched sleep and kids tucked into his shoulder on both sides of the bed.

He is patient and kind.

He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

And we come running to him. When the battered white minivan pulls into the driveway his children trip over themselves, their abandoned Crocs and the pool bag to be the first to open the door and spill out their day into the hands of the man who can catch them.

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He’s never run through an airport for me.

This ordinary unremarkable love walks slowly every day alongside. One step, one day, one T-ball practice at a time.

One permission slip signed, one Lunchable, one school play, one art project, one Lego box, one more night time cup of water delivered at a time.

This ordinary love that wakes up with bad breath and crease marks on its cheeks and is the daily bread that sustains across time zones and countries and cultures and the exhaustion of trying to figure out how to be a parent and a grown up and somebody’s forever.

And this is a love life – to live life each small, sometimes unbearably tedious moment – together.

To trip over old jokes and misunderstandings. To catch our runaway tongues and tempers and gift them into the hands of the person who was gifted to us.

He lets me warm my ice cold feet between his legs and the covers at night.

He has never run through an airport for me.

This is love with the lights on and eyes wide open. This is the brave love, the scared love, the sacred boring, the holy ordinary over sinks of dirty dishes and that one cupboard in the kitchen with the broken hinge.

reblogged: The Beautiful Due, featuring David Robert Jones

John Blase has the most unique About section in his blog, The Beautiful Due. he is exhibiting his fellow poets’ work in The Common Good series. this particular poem by David “Davey” Robert Jones struck and stuck with me.

Machu Pichu, photo credit Melana Tysowski. But if she didn’t take it, then it’s probably from Tumblr and I probably have premature neuron atrophy.

An Ancient World

An ancient world moves
inside of you,
rocks me seasonal,
spins me solstice.
The heft of your sigh
                        beside me,
                               before me,
                                    within me;
my melody pulse measured in
your wind-song symphony;
your lips’ purse like
tectonic cataclysm poised
to wreck-erode my hold
of who I think you might be.
My only truth is,
my only certainty rests in,
your eternal mystery.
And just as your magma cools to form me into
cascading granite mountain ranges,
as I imagine you will fade into the obscurity of midnight dark,
your light pours over me,
a tide-summoning, lunar force:
I realize that you are, too,
in the strength of the incandescent,
moon-rock orb above me.