Through the sunlight on another woman’s hair, I fell in love with you again. I heard a soft sound like a flute – sharp breath passing over a tiny hole – and remembered the feeling of holding you in my arms when we were both young, that feeling of holding on to everything I would ever need.
In the swaying of another woman’s wrist, I fell in love with you again. So slight. So light. It swung so freely, as if a stiff breeze could start it flapping uncontrollably, but I understood, in some strange way, the hidden strength inside the long slender fingers trailing beneath it.
Words, to a writer
Colors, to a painter
Melody, to a musician
All are mirrors of a lover’s smile
Echoes of the sounds you made when I was still in you
There is something inside of you that is not inside of most people. Even though I know that words will never exist for that something, I can’t keep myself from trying to find them.
It creates a strange and beautiful light. It glows. It is the rhythm and the melody behind a song no voice can sing, no instrument can play. It cannot be experienced with any of the five senses but is only more real because of that.
It animates every movement, so that your body curls and bends in ways that no other body ever has or will. But this is no mere animation. It is just as intense when you are in a deep sleep, curled in a ball, breathing loud and hard, with all the muscles of your face gone slack.
In my strongest moments it is fuel for a fire that will never go out.
In my weakest moments it overwhelms me.
Left at home
Locked in a chest,
That scoundrel love
Has grasped me again.
Fifth son of Japanese Emperor Temmu
Acting Prime Minister from 705 until his death in 715
For a lot of people, this season is not the jolly one that it is supposed to be. Songs and movies that give comfort and joy to many, pull a decidedly nasty trigger for others. It is no coincidence that suicide rates rise during the holidays.
The days are as short as they get in the northern hemisphere and the darkness at the end of each one gets longer. It gets so cold at this time of year that our bones shiver and teeth chatter. Nature throws some of her worst at us and the way our society responds – with parties and gifts and time off from work – has the opposite of its intended effect on many of the ones it is trying to comfort.
This is a season of reflection. I think of family and friends who have died or drifted away. Luck and institutional advantages have offered me a life filled with joys big and small, so most of my memories are happy ones that help me get through these short, cold days but some people would just as soon forget all the ghosts of Christmas past.
Christmas is the season of love, the kind of love that exists in its purest form in every religion, moral philosophy, and agency that works to get food to the hungry and justice to the abused. And when justice is not possible, that pure love gives compassion and hope.
You don’t need to have a picture-perfect holiday, or find the greatest gift, or pretend that you’re jolly at the holiday parties. You do need to know that there are people in the world, even if they don’t know you, who are thinking about you in the midst of their holiday hoopla, and are hoping that you make it through this season stronger for your fight against the Christmas trigger.
The second song I played at an open mic recently is one of my favorite originals of the past few years. Musically, it’s a simple progression that’s made a little fresher by putting a capo on the 10th fret so that the guitar almost sounds like a mandolin. Lyrically, each verse repeats the first line at the end with a little bit of a twist caused by the lines in between.
I love you so bad it hurts
with a kind of pain that I don’t mind at all
I love you so bad it hurts
I love you so much I don’t
have anything left for anyone else
I love you so much I don’t
I love you so much I can’t
drink enough so I can forget
the way your love burns like a lit cigarette
but I love you so much I’ll never regret
that I love you so much I can’t
I’ve loved you so long I can’t see
all the way back to the morning before
my love came knocking around at your door
and I might as well just admit that I’m yours
’cause I’ve loved you so long I can’t see
The specter of certain death raises its head again but this time it’s as a punch line. We can share a laugh with nothing more than eye contact now. How could something as heartless as time perform such a sweet service?
The best of us have flaws while the worst carry the seeds of redemption, waiting for sunshine and moisture to set them free.
Even if the day comes when there is no place in your life for me
and that could happen
(let’s not fool ourselves)
I can’t imagine a day when there’s not enough emptiness in me to fit you.
Against all odds and evidence
All you need is love
I still believe, impossibly, the best is yet to come
All the fractures, strains, and breaks are as valuable as privilege
as precious as the prejudice of
knowing without seeing
flinching without being hit
crying with nothing to cry for
talking with nothing to say
losing good money to a machine
or an instrument that doesn’t play
This is the time when the evidence cracks
and the blood that is flowing belongs to us all
and belongs to nobody
and belongs to the people who haven’t been born yet
who will know prejudice against us