Monday, April 09, 2007

I tried to write a poem about my divorce.

The WHY. Everyone always wanted to know the why. And I think better in metaphors, and the one that started this poem is the metaphor that I came back to every single time I tried to understand why my marriage failed.

So here it is, and it is a wayback poem. I'm not terribly happy with this one - but I haven't tried to revise it in a while.

Divers (written 7/2/03 - revised on 7/16/03 and hasn't been touched since)


A cool night
spanning years at a time
in a minute

we were chin-up from the water’s surface
taking great gasping gulps of crisp frigid air

I can still see you smile at me
falling short of full lungs in your exultation
and those great blue eyes full of sweetness and hope

I had no hope to return to you.

I sucked the night sky
dry of oxygen.

I couldn't see anything

no land
no clear view of the water below
or what swam down there

And I guess I never take real deep breaths anymore
I don’t think I’m meant to go down that far.

That was a free dive
Into uncharted territory

And as soon as I headed down
With my big wet hand clutched tightly in yours
And my big wet heart....

Going down with all your hopes riding shotgun,

I realized
There isn’t enough air
To live through this.

And you might as well have been
A bleeding diver in a great white’s path
Poised for a destruction
Astonishing in violence and speed.

Down several fathoms
Farther than rational thought:


we were dying.

You held me so tightly
like you thought I was drowning
like you alone could save me.

We were dead weight
Trailing loosely into abysmal currents
And I was hyperventilating
Choking desperately with asthmatic lungs

lack of air
of breath.

So I reached down
To the diver’s knife at my belt

I cut you free of me

And the flood of bubbles
From your shocked and shattered face
Breaks my heart a thousand times a second
Every time I think of it

Every single time I think of it.

You spiraled up like a shot from an underwater flare
Kicking feebly
trying to reach down and grab me

Like you thought you could save me
Like you thought I needed saving

I dove out of your grasp
into the dark and murky depths below
where I have some idea
of what to expect
prowling around me.

I am not prone to drowning.
But you were.

You would have died and stayed at my side

And it would have been dangerous, as frailty always is.

I washed up on the shore,
long after this battle gasped its last and let go

I stayed there
striking the rocks on a cyclic tidal rhythm

Just to make sure you got out.

I need you to know that I would have gone back in
To the depth of a realm I fear more than anything else

To get you
bring you to safety.

But one of the things I’ve learned
in all these esoteric, watery lessons,
is you can help someone only so much
then they’ve got to plunge in
fight for themselves.

So you have to WANT to walk out of that water.

I am still here
Standing now on the shore
I’m leaving,
you know that
But I walk slowly
eye toward the sea
In case you call me
like you need my help.

But don’t fuck around
And call me just to swim
Because you will eventually drown
And there is nothing that I can do about it.

You know I’m like an angler fish

You don’t get what you see
You get what I give you

and I’m short on that
just now.

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