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Dark

“Heaven and hell, freedom and bondage:
  These are only invention.
  What can they matter to me,
  Since I’m awareness itself?”
    ~ Ashtavakra Gita, Chapter 2, canto 20

1

“You sound like a poet and I like surprises so I thought, ‘why not’”
Was the opening line of the letter that came, one of the several I got
In response to my personal ad. So I made the connection; we went on a date.
Thus started a rather unique (mis-?) adventure for two people, spirit, and fate.
She taught me a game where we’d say what we thought then check for any belief
That was limiting; this is a game for two players if neither has a beef
From calling out preconceived notions. She took me downtown to get some books
And handed me Rajneesh and Krishnamurti, A Course In Miracles,
Bartholomew — these are the best way to heaven that doesn’t come in pills,
Said she. So I read them; we went to the meetings of those who love these texts
And discussed them at length. To know them even better she paid high respects.
The LSD trip she took with one such guy she recorded just for me.
On playback we found insights not as profound as we had thought they’d be.
She then laid off the mind-altering stuff besides cigs and ecstasy,
Getting in focus by proofing my work for my class in philosophy.
Her knowledge of Kant and Idealists was striking: she helped me get an A.
So in celebration I asked her to dinner, thinking we’d get away.
The waiter escorted us right past one table: my cousin and his wife,
Both fundamentalists, sat there amazed. Would I go through my life
With a hippy girl close and all roots sort of far? I thought I might as well.
The reason we parted had nothing to do with all that. It’s sad to tell.
She was madly in love with a magazine editor. She thought it was fun
To call him at home, make him fight with his wife, and darken all their sun.
Their restraining order meant little to her until a summons came.
Conceding to go to the courthouse with her, as if I was her flame,
Just wasn’t enough. She kept making those calls; her heart was stuck on him.
If I were to suggest that she leave it alone, what right had I but slim?
Our trip out to Asheville did little to help. We mostly talked of cars
As we drove down the road; she lived right in the moment, and not among the stars.
Those mountain shops with their odd books and their trinkets, and their gemstones too,
Spoke low to her heart, but in vain, for she couldn’t forget you know who.
People in tune will learn each other’s thoughts, and so we both saw why
She spent so much time with a young nerd like me yet phoned her married guy.
Back at the courthouse a dude was called forward for being near the spot
In a warehouse where cops had stormed in and had busted some group smoking pot.
When asked if he knew what the smell of pot was, the dude stood up and told
The court, without missing a beat, “Your honor, I’m thirty-three years old.”
She and I looked at each other; I thought: are you boomers all alike?
To break every limit for no useful reason is luxury. Just strike
Away stupid laws about natural substances, if you’d all agree.
Instead your point’s made, if it’s made at all, once you have a record or three.
The trouble is, you’ve dragged me into your darkness, now that you want me
To tell the court I was there with you that last time. You need perjury
And won’t let me rest until I do it for you. Don’t you see why I’m scared?
Lying takes practice, like any fine art form, so even if I cared
To tell the court I saw you made no such call, they sure could find me out
Easily through cross-exam and the like. I have no practice to flout
But telling the truth. You might say I have limits, if that’s how you feel.
They won’t be convinced I was with you that night. So sorry. That’s the deal.
She pressed me, regardless, until a last phone call when I said this must end;
“You have your true love, with his sweet wife, and I can’t even be your friend,
  Or you’ll force me into yet more of this nonsense, so please leave me alone.”
I told her goodbye but there were two more messages, once I’d left the phone.
The first of them came in a book that she mailed me: so I won’t forget,
This book has the title Remember Your Essence, and she wrote thanks in it.
The other appeared in the personal ads that week. ‘Twas was quite a sight.
It simply read: “All right, you’re right. You’re right you’re right you’re right
You’re right you’re right you’re right you’re right you’re right.”


2

In truth I was wrong, and she was the correct one among us in most ways,
Like the way I was really a well-practiced liar: my self-deception plays
A crucial component of all of part one: had I been true as she
I’d have made love’s demands and said “Don’t call the old guy; spend that time with me;
The two of us can be together forever if you’d let him be.”
The opposite happened because of my doubts. Too bad I couldn’t see
Old limiting concepts gripped me in my darkness: though we had worked through
My cold, lonely past, its abuses and letdowns; my self-image too,
Until the cold night when I’d taken her hand the first time — there’d be no other.
That’s when she shared with me just how she felt: she saw me as a brother.
Yet though I’d still cringe when I looked in the mirror, I broke less of a sweat
When spending an evening alone with a knockout like her. This I regret:
We never delved into the way that I always gave others all the rope
They needed to bind themselves, hands and feet, onto visions of no hope.
When someone as open as she gets proposals made with true respect,
Then what’s there to stop her from happy acceptance? Limits all defect.
I still think it’s best to let intimates live whichever way they choose,
But if they are bound, am I then not obliged to help to turn them loose
Or at least let them know that they’ve got themselves tied up for naught? Why not say
The truth, or at least what I think is the truth? It could be there’s no way
To know the truth, which I could freely admit then leave things as they are.
Our acts either work or they don’t. When they don’t, that’s when we’ve gone as far
As we can. Who’d be blamed had I taken a shot? As it was, she was right.
She was right she was right she was right she was right she was right she was right she was right.

Thanks always returns

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