romance

Coming Home

"Coming home to someone is many things. It is a literal action, an abstract idea, a physical feeling. It is more than the sound of the key turning in the door and the voice that calls from the porch. It is a choice, a promise, a declaration. It is a return, not as a person to a place, but as oneself to another. It is one individual saying to another: ‘You are the one I choose’."

~ source unknown

Worse or Better

"The Bed Song": from Amanda Palmer & The Grand Theft Orchestra's album, 'Theatre Is Evil,' get the track FOR FREE / NAME YOUR PRICE at AmandaPalmer.net: http://bit.ly/AFPshop

video script/concept written by amanda palmer. 
directed by Michael McQuilken http://www.qmotionpictures.com
produced by Jennifer Harrison Newman. Filmed on location at the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College on August 22-24, 2012 as part of a Live Arts Bard residency. 

You Are Not Made Of Metaphors

The Type
by Sarah Key

 

Everyone needs a place. It shouldn't be inside of someone else. ~ Richard Siken

 

If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at,
you can let them look at you. But do not mistake eyes for hands.

Or windows.
Or mirrors.

Let them see what a woman looks like.
They may not have ever seen one before.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch,
you can let them touch you.

Sometimes it is not you they are reaching for.
Sometimes it is a bottle. A door. A sandwich. A Pulitzer. Another woman.

But their hands found you first. Do not mistake yourself for a guardian.
Or a muse. Or a promise. Or a victim. Or a snack.

You are a woman. Skin and bones. Veins and nerves. Hair and sweat.
You are not made of metaphors. Not apologies. Not excuses.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to hold,
you can let them hold you.

All day they practice keeping their bodies upright--
even after all this evolving, it still feels unnatural, still strains the muscles,

holds firm the arms and spine. Only some men will want to learn
what it feels like to curl themselves into a question mark around you,

admit they do not have the answers
they thought they would have by now;

some men will want to hold you like The Answer.
You are not The Answer.

You are not the problem. You are not the poem
or the punchline or the riddle or the joke.

Woman. If you grow up the type men want to love,
You can let them love you.

Being loved is not the same thing as loving.
When you fall in love, it is discovering the ocean

after years of puddle jumping. It is realizing you have hands.
It is reaching for the tightrope when the crowds have all gone home.

Do not spend time wondering if you are the type of woman
men will hurt. If he leaves you with a car alarm heart, you learn to sing along.

It is hard to stop loving the ocean. Even after it has left you gasping, salty.
Forgive yourself for the decisions you have made, the ones you still call

mistakes when you tuck them in at night. And know this:
Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours.

Let the statues crumble.
You have always been the place.

You are a woman who can build it yourself.
You were born to build.

Everyone needs a place. It shouldn't be inside of someone else. -Richard Siken

If you grow up the type of woman men want to look at,
you can let them look at you. But do not mistake eyes for hands.

Or windows.
Or mirrors.

Let them see what a woman looks like.
They may not have ever seen one before.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to touch,
you can let them touch you.

Sometimes it is not you they are reaching for.
Sometimes it is a bottle. A door. A sandwich. A Pulitzer. Another woman.

But their hands found you first. Do not mistake yourself for a guardian.
Or a muse. Or a promise. Or a victim. Or a snack.

You are a woman. Skin and bones. Veins and nerves. Hair and sweat.
You are not made of metaphors. Not apologies. Not excuses.

If you grow up the type of woman men want to hold,
you can let them hold you.

All day they practice keeping their bodies upright--
even after all this evolving, it still feels unnatural, still strains the muscles,

holds firm the arms and spine. Only some men will want to learn
what it feels like to curl themselves into a question mark around you,

admit they do not have the answers
they thought they would have by now;

some men will want to hold you like The Answer.
You are not The Answer.

You are not the problem. You are not the poem
or the punchline or the riddle or the joke.

Woman. If you grow up the type men want to love,
You can let them love you.

Being loved is not the same thing as loving.
When you fall in love, it is discovering the ocean

after years of puddle jumping. It is realizing you have hands.
It is reaching for the tightrope when the crowds have all gone home.

Do not spend time wondering if you are the type of woman
men will hurt. If he leaves you with a car alarm heart, you learn to sing along.

It is hard to stop loving the ocean. Even after it has left you gasping, salty.
Forgive yourself for the decisions you have made, the ones you still call

mistakes when you tuck them in at night. And know this:
Know you are the type of woman who is searching for a place to call yours.

Let the statues crumble.
You have always been the place.

You are a woman who can build it yourself.
You were born to build.

In Our House

May 2, 2013

We Two
by Paul Éluard, from Last Love Poems of Paul Eluard 

We two take each other by the hand
We believe everywhere in our house
Under the soft tree under the black sky
Beneath the roofs at the edge of the fire
In the empty street in broad daylight
In the wandering eyes of the crowd
By the side of the foolish and wise
Among the grown-ups and children
Love’s not mysterious at all
We are the evidence ourselves
In our house lovers believe.

What It Means To Love You After You Are Dead

From Letters of Note, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012:

In June of 1945, Arline Feynman — high-school sweetheart and wife of the hugely influential physicist, Richard Feynman — passed away after succumbing to tuberculosis. She was 25-years-old. 16 months later, in October of 1946, Richard wrote his late wife the following love letter and sealed it in an envelope. It remained unopened until after his death in 1988. 

(Source: Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman)

October 17, 1946

D’Arline,

I adore you, sweetheart. 

I know how much you like to hear that — but I don't only write it because you like it — I write it because it makes me warm all over inside to write it to you. 

It is such a terribly long time since I last wrote to you — almost two years but I know you'll excuse me because you understand how I am, stubborn and realistic; and I thought there was no sense to writing. 

But now I know my darling wife that it is right to do what I have delayed in doing, and that I have done so much in the past. I want to tell you I love you. I want to love you. I always will love you.

I find it hard to understand in my mind what it means to love you after you are dead — but I still want to comfort and take care of you — and I want you to love me and care for me. I want to have problems to discuss with you — I want to do little projects with you. I never thought until just now that we can do that. What should we do. We started to learn to make clothes together — or learn Chinese — or getting a movie projector. Can't I do something now? No. I am alone without you and you were the "idea-woman" and general instigator of all our wild adventures.

When you were sick you worried because you could not give me something that you wanted to and thought I needed. You needn’t have worried. Just as I told you then there was no real need because I loved you in so many ways so much. And now it is clearly even more true — you can give me nothing now yet I love you so that you stand in my way of loving anyone else — but I want you to stand there. You, dead, are so much better than anyone else alive.

I know you will assure me that I am foolish and that you want me to have full happiness and don't want to be in my way. I'll bet you are surprised that I don't even have a girlfriend (except you, sweetheart) after two years. But you can't help it, darling, nor can I — I don't understand it, for I have met many girls and very nice ones and I don't want to remain alone — but in two or three meetings they all seem ashes. You only are left to me. You are real.

My darling wife, I do adore you. 

I love my wife. My wife is dead.

Rich.

PS Please excuse my not mailing this — but I don't know your new address.

Pre-order the Letters of Note book, out May 2013. 

The Myth of Spontaneity

Excerpt from "The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship," by Esther Perel, TED Talks, Feb. 2013:

Marriage was an economic institution in which you were given a partnership for life in terms of children and social status and succession and companionship. But now we want our partner to still give us all these things, but in addition I want you to be my best friend and my trusted confidant and my passionate lover to boot, and we live twice as long. (Laughter) So we come to one person, and we basically are asking them to give us what once an entire village used to provide: Give me belonging, give me identity, give me continuity, but give me transcendence and mystery and awe all in one. Give me comfort, give me edge. Give me novelty, give me familiarity. Give me predictability, give me surprise. And we think it's a given, and toys and lingerie are going to save us with that...

Erotic couples...understand that passion waxes and wanes. It's pretty much like the moon. It has intermittent eclipses. But what they know is they know how to resurrect it. They know how to bring it back, and they know how to bring it back because they have demystified one big myth, which is the myth of spontaneity, which is that it's just going to fall from heaven while you're folding the laundry like a deus ex machina, and in fact they understand that whatever is going to just happen in a long-term relationship already has.

Committed sex is premeditated sex. It's willful. It's intentional. It's focus and presence." 

Because

Matthew Olzmann from Art X Detroit on Vimeo.

Mountain Dew Commercial Disguised as a Love Poem
by Matthew Olzmann, from Rattle #31, Summer 2009

Here’s what I’ve got, the reasons why our marriage
might work: Because you wear pink but write poems
about bullets and gravestones. Because you yell
at your keys when you lose them, and laugh,
loudly, at your own jokes. Because you can hold a pistol,
gut a pig. Because you memorize songs, even commercials
from thirty years back and sing them when vacuuming.
You have soft hands. Because when we moved, the contents
of what you packed were written inside the boxes.
Because you think swans are overrated.
Because you drove me to the train station. You drove me
to Minneapolis. You drove me to Providence.
Because you underline everything you read, and circle
the things you think are important, and put stars next
to the things you think I should think are important,
and write notes in the margins about all the people
you’re mad at and my name almost never appears there.
Because you make that pork recipe you found
in the Frida Kahlo Cookbook. Because when you read
that essay about Rilke, you underlined the whole thing
except the part where Rilke says love means to deny the self
and to be consumed in flames. Because when the lights
are off, the curtains drawn, and an additional sheet is nailed
over the windows, you still believe someone outside
can see you. And one day five summers ago,
when you couldn’t put gas in your car, when your fridge
was so empty—not even leftovers or condiments—
there was a single twenty-ounce bottle of Mountain Dew,
which you paid for with your last damn dime
because you once overheard me say that I liked it.

[Thanks, Jonathan Carroll!]

It isn't Just Me

If We Were Honest
by Albert Goldbarth, from Third Coast (Spring 2005)
[listen]

When I tell you that cultural ritual is an artifice
composed of simultaneous social-dynamic complexity vectors acting in …anthropometric units,
I’m thinking of sex. I mean it.
We all are. It isn’t just me. Or when I say
the war, or the god, or the list with the juice and the cereal…
sex. What is it the psycho-experts are claiming?—every ten seconds?
When I tell you that I’m thinking of sex,

I’m thinking of death. Its worm is always
in my eye, its sour and dirt-blown web is always
a catch in my throat. It was always a wen
releasing a small electrical jolt to the brain
of Napoleon, Alexander, Attila. It was funereally
in the black, black ink of the Brontes;
why should I be any different? Why can’t we

be honest?—every poem is “Sex.” (Or “Death.”)
If we were honest, half of our poems would be about
the making of poems, the conference on the making of poems,
the resume of poems successfully made…you know, the way
that half of the time is actually spent. And did
ten seconds pass just now? If so, then
sex. (If so, then death.) Not too long after

the Dolphin first made port in Tahiti, it was discovered
the crew were trading its nails
for dalliances with the pliant and welcoming
women of that island—“to such a great extent, the ship
was in danger of being pulled apart.”
Inside the cradling waves of moonlight
on those waters…smiling…consummating…human

nails into smooth, bamboo-brown human grain…
how did they know, how could they foresee, that
my mother would die from her own lungs
shaping hundreds of obstinate fists in her chest,
my father would die with his own blood turning
into a useless negative of itself?
And yet they must have known, they must have seen the lesson,

they were trying to deny it with the drive of such
combustive, zealous engines! This is my topic
tonight, and how the craft of poetry and the role
of the postmodern in a society of gender-defined relationship roles is yes a bare
…knee like a beacon,
like a skull beneath the face-skin, and a question
from the audience on a quasi-political sense is yes in my mind, yes in yours, yes
sex and death—the one thing.

Vows

Matt & Daron, February 7, 2003

Daron's Vows

Matt —

Being born into this world is a mystery. There is no way for us to take credit for even one of the infinite number of steps that lead to the initial spark of our lives. Our lives are our gifts to us and I want to be wide awake for mine. I want to live it fully and honestly.

I did not go searching for you. You were a complete surprise. If I had known that such a phenomenon as Matt White existed, I would have set out to find you. You were like a pond hidden in the mountains of New Mexico that I accidentally happened upon — your surface completely still, your water crystal clear, the sun shining in the clear blue sky above you. Breathtaking. I continue to be amazed by the endless discoveries I've made in you.

How lucky are those who have been given a glimpse of the brightly colored fish living inside you. But I am the luckiest of all, having learned that contained in your depths is a treasure chest overflowing with riches and magic beyond my wildest dreams. I will never tire of swimming in you as long as I live. 

Considering what stood between where we were when we first met in February 1993 and where we are these ten years later, I am profoundly humbled by the impossibility of our union which I know is sacred and which is now being recognized as civil.

It is in awe of these miracles of life and love which are so easily taken for granted, that I enter into this vow of commitment to you by the choices I make every day. By practicing paying attention to the holiness hidden in each moment — in private and in public, in pleasure and suffering, alone and together — may our love continue its slow, unrepeatable blooming.

Matt's Vows

Daron —

I join you as my partner for life.

I vow to love you, honor you, respect you, and cherish our union. 

I seek to live each day with you in search of wisdom, truth, compassion, and peace. 

I promise to love you, comfort you, and encourage you through all of life's joys and sorrows.

Our union is made in love and will sustain us in our lives together. 

Closing Blessing

May we be free from internal and external harm.
May we have calm, clear minds.
May we be physically healthy, strong, and vital. 
May we share our experiences of love, joy, wonder, peace, and wisdom, in this life together, just as it is. 
And may the love we have for each other quietly ripple out of our home and into the world.

For What Binds Us
by Jane Hirshfield

There are names for what binds us:
strong forces, weak forces.
Look around, you can see them:
the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
nails rusting into the places they join,
joints dovetailed on their own weight.
The way things stay so solidly
wherever they've been set down—
and gravity, scientists say, is weak. 

And see how the flesh grows back
across a wound, with a great vehemence,
more strong
than the simple, untested surface before.
There's a name for it on horses,
when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh, 

as all flesh,
is proud of its wounds, wears them
as honors given out after battle,
small triumphs pinned to the chest— 

And when two people have loved each other
see how it is like a
scar between their bodies,
stronger, darker, and proud;
how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
that nothing can tear or mend.

From Joy to Joy to Joy

for Aaron & Michelle

michelle-aaron

From Blossoms
by Li-Young Lee, from Rose 

From blossoms comes
this brown paper bag of peaches
we bought from the boy
at the bend in the road where we turned toward  
signs painted PEACHES.

From laden boughs, from hands,
from sweet fellowship in the bins,
comes nectar at the roadside, succulent
peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,
comes the familiar dust of summer, dust we eat.

O, to take what we love inside,
to carry within us an orchard, to eat
not only the skin, but the shade,
not only the sugar, but the days, to hold
the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into  
the round jubilance of peach.

There are days we live
as if death were nowhere
in the background; from joy
to joy to joy, from wing to wing,
from blossom to blossom to
impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

Remembering Life Together

"Danny Perasa and his wife, Annie, came to StoryCorps to recount their twenty-seven-year romance. As they remember their life together from their first date to Danny's final days with terminal cancer, these remarkable Brooklynites personify the eloquence, grace, and poetry that can be found in the voices of everyday people when we take the time to listen."

~ StoryCorps

Your Crooked Heart

From Flagstaff Snow Days by Dōshin Owen.

As I Walked Out One Evening
by W.H. Auden

As I walked out one evening,
Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
'Love has no ending.

'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
And the salmon sing in the street,

'I'll love you till the ocean
Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
Like geese about the sky.

'The years shall run like rabbits,
For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
And coughs when you would kiss.

'In headaches and in worry
Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
To-morrow or to-day.

'Into many a green valley
Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
And the diver's brilliant bow.

'O plunge your hands in water,
Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
And wonder what you've missed.

'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
A lane to the land of the dead.

'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
And Jill goes down on her back.

'O look, look in the mirror?
O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
Although you cannot bless.

'O stand, stand at the window
As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
With your crooked heart.'

It was late, late in the evening,
The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
And the deep river ran on.

Love and Creativity

Excerpt from “Does Falling in Love Make Us More Creative?” by Nira Liberman and Oren Shapira, Scientific American: Mind Matters (September 29, 2009):

Why does the act of falling in love—or at least thinking about love—lead to such a spur of creative productivity?

Bright Star (Ben Wishaw and Abbie Cornish)

One possibility is that when we’re in love we actually think differently. This romantic hypothesis was recently tested by the psychologists Jens Förster, Kai Epstude, and Amina Özelsel at the University of Amsterdam. The researchers found that love really does alter our thoughts, and that this profound emotion affects us in a way that is different than simply thinking about sex.

Bright Star (Ben Wishaw)

The clever experiments demonstrated that love makes us think differently in that it triggers global processing, which in turn promotes creative thinking and interferes with analytic thinking. Thinking about sex, however, has the opposite effect: it triggers local processing, which in turn promotes analytic thinking and interferes with creativity.

Bright Star (Abbie Cornish)

Why does love make us think more globally? The researchers suggest that romantic love induces a long-term perspective, whereas sexual desire induces a short-term perspective. This is because love typically entails wishes and goals of prolonged attachment with a person, whereas sexual desire is typically focused on engaging in sexual activities in the "here and now". Consistent with this idea, when the researchers asked people to imagine a romantic date or a casual sex encounter, they found that those who imagined dates imagined them as occurring farther into the future than those who imagined casual sex.

Bright Star (Abbie Cornish and Ben Wishaw)

According to construal level theory (CLT), thinking about events that are farther into the future or past—or any kind psychological distancing (such as considering things or people that are physically farther away, or considering remote, unlikely alternatives to reality) triggers a more global processing style. In other words, psychological distancing makes us see the forest rather than the individual trees.

More…

The Temptation of Adam

by Josh Ritter, from The Historical Conquests

If this was the Cold War we could keep each other warm
I said on the first occasion that I met Marie
We were crawling through the hatch that was the missile silo door
And I don't think that she really thought that much of me

I never had to learn to love her like I learned to love the Bomb
She just came along and started to ignore me
As we waited for the Big One
I started singing her my songs
And I think she started feeling something for me

We passed the time with crosswords that she thought to bring inside
What five letters spell "apocalypse" she asked me
I won her over saying "W.W.I.I.I."
We smiled and we both knew that she'd misjudged me

Oh Marie it was so easy to fall in love with you
It felt almost like a home of sorts or something
And you would keep the warhead missile silo good as new
And I watched you with my thumb above the button

Then one night you found me in my army issue cot
And you told me of your flash of inspiration
You said fusion was the broken heart that's lonely's only thought
And all night long you drove me wild with your equations

Oh Marie do you remember all the time we used to take
We'd make our love and then ransack the rations
I think about you leaving now and the avalanche cascades
And my eyes get washed away in chain reactions

Oh Marie if you would stay then we could stick pins in the map
Of all the places where you thought that love would be found
But I would only need one pin to show where my love's at
In a top secret location three hundred feet under the ground

We could hold each other close and stay up every night
Looking up into the dark like it's the night sky
And pretend this giant missile is an old oak tree instead
And carve our name in hearts into the warhead

Oh Marie there's something tells me things just won't work out above
That our love would live a half-life on the surface
So at night while you are sleeping
I hold you closer just because
As our time grows short I get a little nervous

So I think about the Big One, W.W.I.I.I.
Would we ever really care the world had ended
You could hold me here forever like you're holding me tonight
I think about that great big red button and I'm tempted


See also: "The Bright Side of the World's Annihilation," by Stephen Thompson, NPR, Sep. 4, 2011