Things go rather poorly, I have to admit. I've painted myself into a corner where everything I see, in my day-to-day world, is yet another sullen pebble of disappointment to add to the heaping mountains of such pebbles, great silent cairns crowding my field of vision.

I've made some mistakes recently, oversights, evidences of my collapsing sense of discipline, my increasingly rudderless and listless disposition. I'm isolating and insulating myself, retreating to my books and my piles of laundry.

Giving the matter some thought, I have to admit that I'm deeply angry and humiliated with myself, for having made myself vulnerable (again) for the sake of a long-term relationship (what else?) that ended six weeks ago. It is deeply disappointing, and distressing, to admit that I needed someone, who could not be there for me as I needed her, and consequently I no doubt did not give her what she needed.

In all honesty, this relationship was already beginning to end many months ago. And things with her are fine and civil enough post break-up. I doubt we will stay close, which is of some sadness to me, but at this stage, I'm having difficulty keeping what friendships I do have, much less do I have the energy to cultivate a troubled one.

What decimates me is how conscientiously I tried, how hard I worked, at not letting myself get in my own way, being open to vulnerability, intimacy, all the authentic and true stuff--I called it as I could see it, I was by no means perfect, but I certainly did the best I knew how to do, and still my own neuroses and blind spots, my own muddled emotional confusion and those unwieldy, massive, looming structural complexes of shame and anger and guilt that I can't seem to untangle, all these things succeeded in bringing down what had been the healthiest relationship I'd had in a long time.

Of course, she'd had her side of this, too, none of us can ever claim to be utterly innocent anymore. But what I'm saying is that I can see how my own shit alone is more than enough to break my own back. And under that kind of baggage, how can I possibly retain the levelheadedness, the clarity of heart and mind necessary to be loving and good and generous and present, as seems to be all too necessary? I am perplexed. Cue: "Beast of Burden," The Rolling Stones.

At more than a few weddings (which I am, as you might expect, very loathe to attend) (it's the acres of forced emotions, the manufactured preciousness, the desperate, cloying, emotionally manipulative and manufactured tenor of strained and meaningless ritual, I know I sound pretentious but that's what it reads like to me), I've heard it mentioned as a throwaway cliche, that "these two are so lucky to've found each other." And while I applaud the sentiment, if I accept the premise, then I must accept that, by the very terms of the statement, the rest of us are more likely doomed not to find each other, whomever that other may be.

In this circumstance, I must accept that, whether I'm prepared to or not, these are the terms I've been given. Now, given how brutally expensive (emotionally, physically, financially) emotional intimacy is for me, is it reasonable to continue to make myself vulnerable, chasing the chimera of a fortunate, unlikely mutual discovery? This is not meant to be cynical. This is an honest question. Cue: "What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?", cover by Diana Ross and the Supremes.

Like any other human, of course I hunger for companionship. Sex. Solidarity. Perhaps a family. A true and authentic connection with a compeer. But in the course of evolution, the continuous accrual of experience and weak wisdom, it has been revealed to me (in my capacity as a mangy, half-mad, bitterly ascetic Hebrew prophet) that it might just be more than I have the ability to create, for myself and for someone else.

Here and now, it was proven that it is beyond my ability, in this moment, to stay healthy enough for myself in my inner life and for another in a relationship at the same time. It's the actual demonstration of this inability of mine that has me brooding and taciturn, wounded and scared and vaguely betrayed (again like a Hebrew prophet).

I can accept the possibility that this may change, at some point in the future. But to do so, I have to give voice to the possibility that it may not change, ever, and that all possibilities, ranged with every gradation in between, lay before me, desolate and gorgeous like the body of an absent lover.




I wish to be a river god.

Jealous of daughters, water, sources, my pride. Fabulous horns twisting through my dripping hair.

It would suit me well: lazy, somnambulant ebb, my surroundings roughly etched with evidence of my glacial progress, and a temper that ruins, overwhelms, inundates, erases. My watery eyes already wander through men, women and gods. I am already inexorably driven, like rainwater searching for the sea.

And then I could say that my bed is rich with the silt of my memory of you. I'd gather myself in pools of hungry stillness, quietly sifting the pebbles of your devotion. On my broad shoulders I'd carry away farmhouses, thinking only to lift the weight of your heart from mine. At night my breath will mist whispering your name among the trees.

I'll fan out into the mountains, I'll seep through the coarse soil, I'll brim under the taproots, cresting the feeble riverbanks, beading sweat on your skin, tracing your footprints in glistening bathwater. Because I am water in your hands, I am the clear, fragile stillness held by your cup, I am the trace of wet carrying the salt from your eyes, I lightly cradle your body on my falling tide, I am sweetness welling at your lips.

I wish to be a river god, captive of passion, tempted by hard, unyielding earth, chained to my course by divine decree. If I were all of these things, you would hear hoofbeats in my voice, and the crack of smooth rocks driven in the channel, the stirring of reeds in standing water. And then you might listen.