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Child

“Others each have a purpose
  I alone am ignorant and uncouth, a rustic
  I’m different
  I adore the Mother’s nurture”
    ~ Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, chapter 20

Years of battle
For sacred space and sacred ground
Made this the first place I’ve thought of as home
Since I was five
A home worth defending
Meant to be shared
Means as a grown man
I’d know who I’d share it with
By birthright by blueprint by settings
Built into these human genes
Conditioned by environment
Or based on my idea whose time could be passing
That attractiveness is objective

I’ve always been free to come on to her
Exactly because she could hardly invite competition
As it was in the beginning when I saw
That’s how we’re a match
Since I’m the troublesome bothersome burdensome weirdo
Who gave up on the women who raise
Sparks
Those too-desirable sylphs
Why try for one
Who’d only ignore me
Laugh at me
Or mess with my head again
And I’m already too strange
To look for a man
Since if I do
The rest of the world will mess with my head
More than ever
Already I’m branded with a “kick me” sign
Everyone can see
Like any homeless wretch
Afraid of the women of his own tribe
Your standard outcast
In a world of standards
Everyone can agree I mustn’t reach for the heights
Of a standard strong independent American dream
Who glances invitingly from rags
On standard newsstands ‘round the globe
At the standard huddled masses awed by her beauty
And the standard nonstudly local guys computing away
Standard lives that’d be the more frustrated
If we couldn’t bring her up clothed or otherwise
On our standard screens any time

What I’ve always wanted
Subconsciously
Is a child
And that’s what I’ve found
None too soon
Is need for touch not great
As need for passion
Need for humanity
Over the years
Thank God she’s raised me
Unlike those who claimed to
Rather as I begin to realize messed with my head
As the paradox is garbage in garbage out
Who knows whether even a beautiful soul
Thoroughly enough deprived
Would be monster or monk

Now we head off the mountain
Visit the shore
She can’t walk on sand
Without spraining an ankle
As if someone holds it in place while she roves
She can’t ride a bumpy road
Without spine and neck going out
Requiring costly office visits for adjustments
She can’t spend
An evening with company
Without a night with no sleep at all
Enough of those in a row and there’s trouble
Back in the kitchen
I take over knife duty
She can’t chop carrots
Without injuring a wrist
We don’t eat in restaurants
Without applying kinesiology
To every prospect on the menu
She can’t eat fried processed or spicy food
Without stomach pain
We don’t board a plane
Without my asking her over and over
How her sleep’s been
She can’t board after insomnia
Certainly not to visit the kinsfolk
Who allegedly raised me
Without requiring a hysterical special landing
Once airborne
And the ward with its antipsychotics
To mess with her head again
Once back on the ground
We visit the gynecologist
Who upon first inspection speaks
“You’re menopausal, right?”
Then looks at her chart
Notices her age
Raises an eyebrow
Says nothing more for awhile
These injuries take time
Lengthy passages
Where’s full recovery
As every hurt’s excruciating
As every ache’s interminable
As every trouble’s horrific
As every expert’s imaging shows naught
As cause of the twisting and writhing
Of being torn from roots now long distant
For whose sake
For who else could’ve stayed
The quiet unceasing agony
Of one American misfit’s isolation
As change happens

If I’d been asked
Whether anyone had ever considered me sexy
I would’ve responded with a sidewise look
And if pressed to answer would’ve said
“What do you mean
  Just look at me”
The guy even a mother couldn’t love
Three years ago finding time on his hands
Set to writing
There was nothing else to do
What could there be but revelation
Through verse after verse
Inspired by the past
By the muse
Of first love
Abandoned much longer than
Three years ago
Or the fifteen more years
We two explorers might’ve passed
As somebody else’s idea
Of exemplary couple

Sometimes she’s my child
Sometimes I’m her grandson
My grandmother having been the only adult
By the time I’d become adult
To whom I’d bonded
To be torn away
Removed by miles then equivalent death
In our appearance
In effect
In confusion
More often we’re puppies
This human world was never for us
Was it

How strange to realize
All these years into strictest monogamy
That I might’ve been attractive
All along
That I might’ve been lovable
All around
How strange
All the results
Of that discovery
All rhyme and no reason
How she becomes literally increasingly childlike
All from me being the only one around
So inseparably close we are and intermingled
All the while
As change happens

She seeks support
We hate leaving each other alone
On the mountain
For any stretch
From a trip to the store
To the hospital
Or to distant loved ones
Who might also love us both
If this lone mountaineer runs into trouble
While she’s not there to catch on
Who’d notice
Who’d care
Just this is known
She feels my pain
Stands it no longer
Both in romantic frustration
Now truth’s known
She’s not my passion
And how then can I be hers
Though she was never craving
Those long ardent kisses
Like I always have
Neither their strength nor their endurance are hers
Only the feeling of disconnect
At the core of reality
That’s home

Whoever intuited that falling in love
Happens in stages
First the complete gift of a heart
Then a realization
That the other feels the same
Might not have realized the pain
Of separating those events by decades
While life’s flowed onward
As I fall for the first time
No time no space no change happens
But the pain all over me
Like writing on a forehead
Like the sign that was there
Before middle age
Before I was home
Before the realization
Isn’t she intuitive
Isn’t she woman
Isn’t she magic
Who looks within
Asking how could she not have realized
How it was in the beginning
Answering of course she did
What a troublesome bothersome burdensome child
That’s all I ever was
That’s how we’re a match
That’s how she takes her guilt trips
To the mental ward

We share visions
We share invented words phrases baby talk
We share dreams ideas closet space
Why not share lovers
Who don’t see her as a child
When everyone in her existing family does
Even her nephew calls her Nyashka
Meaning cute little sweetie
Probably by now her great niece does too
Whose fault
That she was overprotected babied coddled while she
Never grew up
That I was neglected rejected invalidated while I
Never grew up
That I was the result of a sin
Which my canine hearing
Bequeathed by intersteller travelers perhaps curious
About my eventual maundering observations
Tells me may have never repeated
Since had it been I would’ve heard the evidence
Even through my deadbolted bedroom door

She’ll no longer be a child
Nor grandmother nor puppy
It’s too harmful
We’re too close
She’s too sensitive magically responsive
The princess perched above the pea
In this case would conform herself
To underlying bedded anomaly
Aware of it all the while
Embracing it
Believing it’s all about
No one else
Only her magic
Could’ve arranged this much confusion
A witch to cast spells but how
A penalty to pay but how
A heavy cross to bear to torture to mark a grave
Reminding the spirit
To remain buried beneath
To refrain from haunting the main drag an unrequited love might pass but how
She’ll no longer be a child
What she’ll be
I dread to speculate
Where’s the need
As change happens

Being woman
Being aware
Being intuitive
She wavers on a cusp of blame
Am I at fault for nondisclosure
Not knowing I was attractive or lovable
So consummating a relationship with someone
Who seemed not too mismatched
For an abandoned homeless freak
Who recognized in her too
Someone far from home
Or is she at fault for not noticing
My eyes for the other women rather than her
My imaginings about them
Walks on the beach in the cool evening
Laughing at the weather
Strong lips bonding in long kisses
Whole relationships playing out in my mind
Shall she condemn me for being creepy
Or herself for being needy
Enough to look past whoever lit the sparks
Enough to act the part of childlike cutie
Enough to not notice I was on the cusp of falling
Not for her
Enough to become more and more
Not what her body says she is
But a part she plays

On one side of the precipice lies anger
At me at my libido at my imagination
At a whole young adulthood wasted
At years separated from loving family
By oceans by lifestyles by more and more special needs
Yet she knows there’s no use blaming me
I was at least naïve as she
And needn’t point out my waste of young adulthood
No less than hers
She might trump me with distance from family
That could raise a child
How could one do better on one’s own
But we still have each other
The dearest of friends

Why not ask that this cup be taken
Instead of taking on all the Russian Jewish guilt
For who knows how many generations
Of a Pennsylvania Dutch family
In its untouchable perversity
Leaving her forsaken
Leaving her worthless
Leaving her sleepless
Leaving her at a loss for sanity
Get rid of it
Say in triangular symmetry
If our first loves are truly past
She could as with Bunin take a lesbian lover
Who I find attractive
Is attracted to her
For those
Who don’t get over love
Yet can channel its flow
What choice frustration
Along the range
From denial of gratification
To martyrdom
Acceptance of crucifixion
Making an unclear statement or not
About sexual passion or orientation
Or make sure
To bring about a next generation
Out of menopausal symptoms or not
That never knew the taint or stigma
Of desire
Thwarted by conditioning
Ingrained by parents
Abused as children or not
Frightened by God
Tormented by hellfire
To this day
Because they too accept the blame or not
It’s a matter of relationships and caring
Let them be free
And let me
And most of all let her
Grow up
Grow healthy and capable
Grow a new life
Together
And more together
And more

Thanks always returns

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