Poem: Love in the Present Tense

I dozed; I woke from an uncomfortable slumber
to realize I can't remember the last time I felt loved.

The joy that I feel for our union
is the joy that I feel over my own feelings for you.
It's never been joy over the things you do to lift me up,
or to help me heal, or to make me whole.

Those are tasks I have to take on myself
though I still dream of being rescued.
I know if I am, it won't be by you.

I understand all too well
that love in the present tense
has nothing to do with romance.

It seems, in my experience,
that it's about tolerance
and obedience.

And it's not just here at home--
I see that in all the couples I've known.

You stuff down your feelings,
you placate your partner,
you tell the lies
to get through the day.

I say I'm okay when I'm clearly not.
I say I'm over it when I'm still grieving.
I say I love only you
when over time I'm learning
that I have to love me too.

We will lash out, and we will
either transform or wither.
We will bend and grow,
or break and disintegrate.

If you leave...
You say I'll move on and love another.
I say I'll stay single for a good long while.
My reasons are deeper than you know.
You were the only one who was worth this pain;
worth this heavy chunk of life that's now gone.

I am old now, damaged and cynical--
and I'd break love if it hadn't broken me first.

Poem: To Change the Course I Chose to Take

New Poem: Paint