LOVE AFTER LOVE (Derek Walcott)
“The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,
and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. (emphasis added)“
Hello again my dear friends. I wanted to introduce you to one of my favorite poems, “Love After Love”, by Derek Walcott. It has been a long time since we last communicated and in the last 4 years, I have been busy greeting myself at my own front door, over and over again.
Truly greeting yourself, and deciding to love the deeps depths of your physical being and all the colors of your soul, is not easy. If it were, there wouldn’t be so many self-help books and Instagram quotes about it. A few years ago I was dealing with a lot of personal struggles and when I came across this poem, it inspired me to really love myself, really love my life and somehow obtain a level of happiness that I wasn’t sure even existed. I didn’t know how to even start. I saw this poem as an internal goal that I would probably never come close to achieving but something I still hoped for.
The timing was never “the right time” to fully feast on my life. I thought I needed to grow professionally, build on my life goals, strengthen my close relationships, work on a healthier body, and learn to forgive past pains. Don’t make the same mistake I did, as I have spent years waiting for the right time to fully embrace myself, my life, my love, and my happiness. It took me creating life and finally experiencing unconditional love for another being to realize that it was possible to have that same unconditional love for myself. Me, loving myself unconditionally, is still a project I am working on but the time has come where I can finally greet myself with elation. I feel more beautiful, more vibrant, more alive, more significant than I have ever felt before. After years of always hungering for more, today I am feasting on my life.
If you are waiting for the right time, I challenge you to greet yourself every morning, as sometimes the minutes in-between each sunrise can minimize your strengths, make you question your values, re-examine your relationships…still feast on your life. Know that you can continue to grow professionally, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally while loving yourself without any conditions and limits. Welcome both the changes and constants in your life. Praise yourself like you would your best friend. Forgive yourself like you would a close family member, who would never apologize for any wrongdoing, but you forgive anyways. Little by little, time after time, take back the pieces of your heart, whether you had given them to an unappreciating lover, unapologetic relationship, unfulfilling job, materialism, or a higher presence that left you empty. Return the pieces of your heart to yourself, for you are most deserving of your unconditional love. And one day, I hope you greet yourself with elation and feast on your life until your heart is full.
For some people “will you marry me”
Is not a virgin term that escapes from their lips.
It serves to be only the tip
Of the matter that leads to disaster
And they wonder why, you wonder if
“I love you” is just a script
That seems so easily to drip from their lips.
For some people there is no “one and only”
Forever only you will hold me
Forever and always is just a trick tease
That speeds up your heartbeat
And then passes by
Just like a quick breeze.
And they wonder why, you wonder if
This love for you will also soon cease.
There is that reality that before you
There was her.
There was laughing and kissing
That had his toes curling
And ears ringing
And it was her name he was singing
With praises so high.
Her shadow follows your every move
From the way you cook to the way you clean
To the words you say and
How your actions may seem
To be like hers
Or maybe nothing like hers
If it suits his mood.
This may be a good or bad thing
Depending on memories it may allude
Like the times he missed her so much
He could have cried
Or the way her hair fell in waves
Before it dried into
The strands of joy that would caress his face
In the same bed
That he invites you to share with him.
And in the quiet moments
I get to thinking
And all the ways he used to love her, sinks in
To my brain, my heart
And I can’t stop, once I start.
He used to kiss her lips with a fever
Erased all doubt from her mind
And made her a believer
Of his words, his touches…
And the ring on her finger
A memory that still lingers
In the box that I found near the bed
Leftovers from two people unwed.
And he wonders why, I wonder if
An ending between us could occur
When I don’t have to look far to see
That before me, there was her.
The following words were forwarded to me by one of my best friends. Unfortunately, I don’t know who the original author is, so I can’t give credit where credit is due, but it seems like someone read my mind and decided to write out my thoughts for me. Everyone goes through a period in their lives, where they hold on to things…whether it’s a past love, past pain, past memories, past happiness… And everyone goes through another period in their lives, where they are trying to let go. Some people succeed and some people never really do… So this is for everyone out there still learning to let go and I hope it gives you that extra strength. Speaking from personal experience…letting go, really is the best gift you can give yourself. I haven’t looked back since and I can honestly say, this is the happiest I have been in a very long time!
Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of fear.
She let go of judgments.
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
… She let go of the committee of indecision within her.
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons.
Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry, she just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice.
She didn’t read a book on how to let go.
She just let go.
She let go of all the memories that held her back.
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward.
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations
about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go. She didn’t journal about it.
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer.
She made no public announcement.
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope.
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter.
She didn’t utter one word.
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened.
There was no applause or congratulations.
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing.
Like a leaf falling from a tree, she just let go.
There was no effort.
There was no struggle. It wasn’t good. It wasn’t bad.
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be.
A small smile came over her face.
A light breeze blew through her.
And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.
Here’s to giving ourselves the gift of letting go…
She was the wind beneath my wings
Before I even knew how to fly.
She kept my feet on the ground
And my eyes toward the sky.
If I have touched your life in any way
I just want you to know,
You have my mother to thank,
For I am but her shadow.
She taught me how to love
And some say, I have her laugh.
Every step forward I took,
I took on her behalf.
Everything I do, I do it for her
Because she gave her life to me.
She gave up her country, her family, her friends
So that I could know, what it meant to be free.
The fear of persecution,
I will never have to know.
For bearing the burden for me,
She is the greatest of heroes.
I may grow up and change the world,
Degrees may decorate my walls,
I may witness beauty few have seen,
And travel to more places than I can recall.
But the joy of loving my mother
Will be the greatest of these things
Because without her sacrifice,
My life would not have wings.
(c) 2012 ksoranna
Personal Note: Other mothers may be great, and wonderful, and loving…but my mother is one of a kind. She left her family, her friends, and her country at the tender age of 15 and joined a resistance movement against the Communist Party. Against all odds and with the help of God’s grace she survived and escaped from starvation, a jungle terrain, enemy capture, and civil warfare to bring me into this world. On foot, she traveled from Vietnam to Thailand and from there, to the Philippines, where we were finally given refugee status by the United States. Thousands shared our journey, but we were part of the only 200 something, who made it.
Scientist used to say that it should have been impossible for a bee to fly and until recently, the bee’s success was a mystery. But the saying goes, that a bee never knew that it wasn’t supposed to fly, so it flew anyways. Like the bee, I never knew the “impossible” because my mother showed me that the “impossible” does not exist. I came to the United States as a refugee, without even a birth certificate to my name. I didn’t even know a word of English when I started Elementary School. I grew up on the lower socio-economic side of town by parents who worked multiple jobs, knew very little English and did not have a high school education. Statistically speaking, I should not have made it very far in life, but my family never believed in statistics…so I graduated high school with honors, became the second Montagnard female to graduate from a four year university and went on to law school. I am currently working in the legal field and serve as an advocate for a non-profit organization that speaks out on human rights issues. Every success I have had, was because my mother believed in me.
Happy Mother’s Day to my mother and all the other mothers out there. May you also serve as the wind beneath someone’s wings, so that they in turn can become heroes and have the potential to some day change the world.
Hotel room stirrings
Sprung on by chocolate dreams
And a muscadine high.
Lips on mine
Before I even realize
Butterfly kisses melt into
Birthday wishes and
Walls crumble as
On buttons, zippers, and
My eyes linger on the view
That readies my body on cue.
My waves crash against the shore
Meeting the hardness of your core.
My goal, to release your energy
Into milky, white dreams set free.
(c) 2012 Ksoranna
Today at 5:30 pm, Keenan M. Gorham, a good friend and fellow poet passed away after a long battle with illness. I know he is in a better place now and no longer suffering. He shed so much light and laughter to others, with his beautiful smile, demeanor, and his words. He was a constant presence in the poetry world and hosted many spoken word events in the North Carolina area. Even after his death, his words and acts of kindness will forever live on. This is one of the few poems that I have of his and I wanted to share it with others. Enjoy!
NEVER BEFORE (RAW EMOTIONS…)
I told her she was taboo to me
tattooed her name on the edges of my tongue
as a constant reminder of what deep love tastes like
allowed her to be an impediment in my speech
slurr’d stumbles of compliments I’d give
careful not to voice what wasn’t felt
heavy stained versed ink enabling me to breath her beautifully
w/ design in and out like aspirated mantras
leaving lungs sated fluidly of profound messages to remember
exhaling her name through windpipes openly like Avatar dreams
pied piping peculiar parables of possibilities to play out
when we’d play into the Devil’s flute of temptation
for lusting of her be the sweetest melody heard
and longing the fairest vice given
b/c wanting of her burns like fiery Hell in my loins
she knows this
leaving indelible imprints of
permanent passion marks on my heart I still seem to enjoy remebrance
she’s learned to win me over
brand affection on the core of me
so I’ll beat of existence as the flow of her closeness runs through me w/ intentions
permitting myself to pull her closer than intuition in
tell her to use me like bold & italicized truth so I can stand out within
what she thinks of
assure that crying will not be evident
I’ll hold her like the hands of time and cradle her future in my arms
give her stability of a Nova star
so she’ll shine brighter than anything I could ever imagine for
insert worth in her days to be valuable in mine
learn to set free of what worries her when all else tries her
kiss her after I see tears fall like forgiveness from pedals of Dahlias
never before seeing her mature more attractively
witnessing her smile blossoming brighter than a nude son
showing me the vulnerability of her warm ways
appreciate how important her presence be in my life like faith
for it is more than just admiring who she is
but of what she has to offer
being my right side when wrong
my write hand when alone I’m left
like my sanity in spells of troubled darkness
sense in the midst of uncertainty
sigh of constructive reflection
the backbone of my weakness
foundation of my purpose
my 12th rib of evolution to completion
just my reason for being who I am
I swear she seems to be the world to me
and if that be the case
if dying assured me of being with her forever
bury me years ago just to be eternally grateful now
w/ everything she’s done for me
fulfilling me w/ genuine promises of her words as if be Towdah
together nothing separating a sharing of vocal vows
when we whisper emotions like smoke signals
signifying this will always be
so if this is love I’m feeling
I don’t want it to be taken away
and to her, to never walk a way from
not knowing if I’ll ever have anything more to speak of as wonderful as she
nor taste whiffs of happiness as I call for her name
nor mine from her willowy lips
she makes me feel more than complete
so I need her
in my life constantly like days needing night to fall back on
I hope she knows I just love being in her presence
like a rainbow to a storm
giving me something to enjoy colorfully when life seems bleak
a guardian to my destiny
wings to my flight
call to my anointing
faith to my sight
she is the embodiment of what I wish for
the epitome of perfection
the woman who for the first time in a long time
I feel deeply in love with
like never before!
(C)2010 K. Gorham
Sex is like a drug
That some use in place of love.
Addicted to the night
When only sex can make it right.
That initial touch,
That high you crave so much
From fingers yet unknown
Undress breasts, still unshown.
Kisses fast and incomplete
Breath catching in defeat
Heartbeat racing, loud and clear
Hormones ready, in high gear.
Fingers search for that spot
A few flicks here, make you hot.
Lips working, tongue thick
Wetness dripping with every lick.
Sex hard as a rock
Impatiently he knocks
On your wet door
Entering the only cure.
That aching throb inside…
Your cravings pacified
Addiction… for now, satisfied.
What if…two simple words
That have haunted me
Like a shadow
Clinging to cobwebs
I cleaned out long ago.
In the back of my mind,
You never left, always there
Reminded by dimpled smiles
Of strangers unaware,
Of their resemblance to you
In the way that they walked
Or in your favorite color, blue.
I can still hear your laughter
Carried by the breeze.
Still remember “Because of You”
Played on piano keys
With the same fingers
That traced my face,
Tucked my hair behind my ears
And expertly removed lace.
I can still feel you
At night, you enter my dreams.
You waited for me to come to you
Like in blockbuster movie scenes
Where the girl always gets the guy
And it’s never too late
And love always wins
No matter how much they tempt fate.
But I am not an actress
And time has moved fast like
The tide stealing sand from the shore
This emptiness I saved for you,
I can no longer ignore.
Memories of your love
Still capture me,
Like the moon, I’m caught
Inside your gravity.
Please, release me,
Set me free
From shadowy cobwebs
That still haunt me.
Oh how I feel so free,
I could fly, I could sing,
I could dance to Mordor
And bring back Frodo’s ring.
I am coming for you!
I envision your beautiful smile,
The way your laugh lines crease
And your dimples show.
The way you throw your head back with laughter;
Your joy had me at “hello.”
I can’t wait to run into your arms
Sewn with muscle, enhanced by lifting
Built for strength, yet softened by kissing.
I will tell you everything that I never could before.
I can’t wait for the look of surprise when you open the door.
Oh what shall I tell you?
What should I say?
And forgive these simple words,
For I know they sound cliché, but…
I can’t even start to explain
Why I love you so much.
It’s like a liquid fire inside
That can only be extinguished by your touch.
When I open my eyes and see your face,
My joy, I cannot hide,
My feelings, I can’t erase.
Each day I love you more and more,
As the pounding of my heart reveals
Out of my mouth comes unspoken words
I can no longer conceal.
I am coming for you!
My heart pounding so fast,
I can barely breathe
In and out…I count to ten
Over and over and over again.
My movements a blur,
Like I forgot how to drive.
I can’t crash and burn
I’ve never felt more alive.
I finally get to your place
And I stop…breathing
I really can’t …breathe.
It’s like I am choking on silent sobs
Of thunderclouds filled with paperweights
Every breath I take
And from my eyes
A tempest rains
Down my face
With teardrop chains.
Finally the wail of a hurt animal
Escapes from my cottonmouth lips.
Who was once my sun and stars,
Is now my lunar eclipse.
Please lightning strike my eyes
So I can no longer see.
He’s smiling and hugging and kissing her
And that girl is not me.
He never even knew I was there
Never knew I came for him.
I left what if behind
Only to think of what could have been.
(TOO BE CONTINUED…)
I used to be engaged once
To a man with the sweetest heart, the softest lips,
And the kindest eyes.
He made me feel complete,
My heart stood still
And my stomach carried butterflies.
Oh how I loved him so…
He had this laugh that rose from his belly
And filled the house with its sound.
He smelled of a natural freshness and lotion
I could breath in his scent forever
And happily drown.
He told me I was beautiful
With every moment he could spare.
There was never a doubt in my mind
How much, for me, he truly cared
But something held me back
From saying “I Do”.
I gave up all his love and more
To chase dreams of “what ifs” with you.
(TOO BE CONTINUED…)