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Peace and Other Stories

Fragments of a Formerly Active Sex Life

Love Poem to Penelope
by Julian X  /  poetry  /  27 Aug 2007

Love, what a glorious thing

         to have sacked Troy for

    to have died for, O my Juliet

           Shakespeare knew this, warned of this

       this desperation, this desert, is this love?

                                   yes, comes the whisper, yes

  do not forsake your deserts, dear lovers

                     climates change, deserts are irrigated every day

     when the soul becomes a desert, it struggles to survive

  cherish your deserts

            it's when something makes a desert of you that you know it counts

that which you love hurts you the most, for its thorns are most pronounced

                  love amplifies, magnifies, grows things into monstrous proportions

  we drink poison for love                      we do not drink poison for hate

   but what, my beautiful lover, do you want from life?

 a smorgasbord of happiness, the boredom of bliss?

                        not in this life

       life is struggle and stories are conflicts

    we do not build utopia except on the bones of the dead

                 we do not build literature except on the shattering of such bones

                 how many died to build the Sistine Chapel?  The pyramids?

  and does it even matter

              we do not avoid the woods because spiders lurk

we do not avoid building because our hands and backs and shoulders ache

       we are caught in a glorious thing and it is bigger than ourselves

                                   such glorious things call for sacrifices, they test the soul

            sometimes we flee and fail and hide

                   but for those who have seen a glorious thing, this cannot satisfy

    it's what you regret that kills, not what you suffer

                               even omelets

       when the armies approach, it's the flinching not the cutting that kills

          it's the running not the fighting you regret

  it's the not building that haunts you on your deathbed,

not the pain of the mason

              hearts get ragged like hands

       it's when Lord Jim fails to leap that his life is meaningless

     O, there are consolation prizes

the little structures where a cathedral might have stood

    they don't win unless you quit

                there are the comforts of something less dangerous, less intense

                    the world rewards those who run from suffering

                                       but the soul rewards those who do not flinch

it's not the money a job provides but the lack of the dream that kills the soul

it's not the marriage of convenience but the lack of a true love that haunts

    it's the absence of the love of one's life, not the pain it would have taken

                                   it's the surrender to life, not the pain of building dreams

                   and these things do not heal

                                                they don't stop hurting until death

 O, but death, staring at death makes us realize, makes us stop our stupidity

               it's life we fear, not death, it's life

        and it's the pain of not living that death brings

     the skull on the mantle, this reminds us not only of our physical death

                    it speaks to us in hushed, bony whispers

                                          of what we didn't do

                             of the living death that fear brings

               this, my dear, is hell

            pain, when righteous, is nothing compared to the glory

          the pain of birthing art, of birthing love, of birthing the fantastic

                                         nothing compared to the real pain

                                   of life           without


       this love is bigger than both of us

   you might as well fight the waves that pound stronger than any sex

              that tear you over like the wind

       this love is bigger than both of us

  the gods know how I have tried to fight the waves

                                    to make of myself an island, autonomous and strong

                  that is helplessness, that is weakness

      and I cannot praise a cloistered virtue

                                                 this is no love poem of possession

of a young lover starved for eros blind

             this is the love of the ancients, the well of happiness

         and we are old                       and crave the new

                          the new that makes us forget like Lethe

                  and leaves us as shades

              it is not death we fear but life

     some time ago we began to build our cathedral

wherein we placed our love

                     and I, having seen such cathedrals topple so many times

                                        I could not believe it would hold

                                it all ends in tears, I'd say

                                                                       because all of them had

           because to build such a thing, to invest yourself so unquestionably

                                                  and see it topple

                           O, how you labored at that cathedral

                                     and how I undermined it

                      but it wouldn't fall no matter how I fought

            and when you left, still it stood

                               its design glorious, its contours beautiful, but unfinished

                    and I thought I had been right

and I hated you for abandoning it rather than myself for undermining

  but it wouldn't fall

                       and we had our compromises, our little shacks

                 and the comforts of those little roofs were sore reminders

                                               some days, we could just enjoy those comforts

             but through the window, that cathedral loomed

                                                        so beautiful, so unfinished

                              its promise so magnificent

                                                                          and we were ever in its shadows

                       O how we felt the pain of building

                                             so much that shacks seemed good alternatives

 and still it looms


       how many times you told me that it was your fantasy

            how much it was our home even when

we surrounded ourselves by wooden boards

                                           and how much I thought I preferred those boards

                 and how much you feared I would build on another cathedral

                    and how stupid, how very stupid we were

       this love is bigger than both of us

                                       and now you have a shack

                                and I'm sick of them

                                                               of these peasant disguises

           I'm sick of being a nomad when I know where my home is

                                           and when that home is so beautiful, so wonderful

                            so much bigger than both of us

    and I know I'm sick of not living there

                                        and that it means more than me or you

   and that, whatever blisters on our hands, it feels better than any shack

and my pain comes not from its incompleteness

but those signs of undermining

                half-hearted undermining for which it remains so stable, so right

                      and I'm waiting here for you


        we both know we're too old to build such cathedrals new

                   that we look for impersonators of each other to do so with

               and I know that madness lies not in waiting in this beloved giant

                                             not in returning to something so powerful

            but in fighting the waves

                                        and living in shacks

                            when most have nothing so perfect or wonderful as this

       this love is bigger than both of us

                        how I could write a love poem of youthful virility

                                             how young and in love I feel around you

                                how I look at you and all my scars disappear

                                        how you're the love of my life

                                                    how you're the most beautiful woman I know

    and how this place, my life, are lonely and full of drafts without you

                                                 how your eyes make me see such wonder

                                      how your arms make me feel such peace

                              how your body excites me to frenzy

                                              and your breasts to dreams

                             how your hips long to be touched

                                             and your sweat to be smelled

                            how your smile has more beauty than anything I know

                                              and your lips remind me of bliss

                         how your scent on my covers lulls me to softest sleep

                                         and your absence horrifies like a gap in the heart

                                 how your sympathy dwarfs my pains

                                           and the love in your eyes makes me whole

                         O how these things roll in my heart

                      how your pleasure thrills me

and how much I'd do to keep the real hurt from your eyes

                                   how your simple and enthusiastic "I really like this"

                                                makes hell tolerable

                             and how much, how much

                                                                                   I love you

                   and always loved you more than I knew what to do with

                                         and feared losing your love so much that I did

                                 and how much a fool I played

                                                    and how I sat there waiting for the Big Thing

                                        yearning for acceptance or wealth or love

                                               when what I yearned for was right beside me

                                   making up things to want

                                                                         when you were there all along

               and so I sit, no more able to fight this than the ocean

                               than I can ignore the awesomeness of our love

                          no more able to pass this by than ignore the pyramids

       this love is bigger than both of us

                      the hollow life without you never took

                                  the hating you and wanting to hurt you never took

                              no matter how hard I tried

                  the gods have put this in me

                                          and we still talk through it all

                                                      and you still came to see me

                                                                 and you did so again

                            and we still can't go three days without talking

and know what to do with ourselves without each other

                   most loves can't survive what we've been through

                                and there's this damn cathedral we've never forgotten

                                                                                never stopped admiring

                and all the pain of our trials means nothing compared to this

       this love is bigger than both of us

                            this is no love poem of young blindness, of fickle fate

                          this is no love poem of immature love, of new attraction

                      no, this is no love poem that ignores the suffering of past trials

         this is one of the fact that our love is stronger than all of that

         this is one of mature love, of trusting love fermented as all strong love

though you feel so new

            though each face or motion of yours is unique and never seen before

                                   no, this is a love poem of simple acknowledgement

                   see, there's this cathedral in the corner

                        this damn giant cathedral we've tried to ignore in the corner

                  no, I cannot praise a cloistered virtue

                                                           a love untested is not love

                            a success without struggle reaps but false happiness

                                      this is no love poem of perfection, of transient illusions

                                              no love poem of seduction

                                                                  though our sex could be really hot

                                              no love poem of fickle attraction or ignored pain

                                                 this is a love poem of love stronger than that

                                                                       of love tried like Odysseus

            overwhelming our attempts to kill it and stronger for them

 of the fact that none of that matters lying next to you, looking in your eyes

              of the fact that your smile dwarfs it all

                                                                                                 even this

                                                  this is the poetry of love

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CLOSE / Parnassiad:
Short Poems
Marketing Genius
Mr. Jones and Me
Dissemination: Penetration (Insemination)
“The South is a Story That Doesn’t Know It’s a Story Telling Stories”
Fuck Me in the Morning
Improper Usage
Sappho’s Frag. 31
And Still He Stands upon the Railroad Track
Quoth the Sadomasochist
CXXI in seq.
Buk's Bucks
Love Poem to Penelope
Mental Landscape, Virtually Conceived