“What Am I But What Longs To Be”

Is it you, the one
whose name rises softly to my lips,
who I am longing for?
You who are absent, while I am here.
If you were here with me, would I find
someone else to long for?

Today rain falls on the ground,
and from within my heart this longing rises,
like a river surging over its banks,
like an eagle soaring above its nest,
like a stone rolling from infinity to infinity.

Rain falls, stones roll, time moves on,
and all but this longing in me is still.
Yet: what am I
but what longs
to be?

Your name is like the gentle rhythm of rain,
falling, and my voice keeps speaking it,
though to speak it brings me pain.
Who are you, you who are
absent, whose name rises softly to my lips?
Are you the one I am longing for?

The rain comes down harder now,
not so gentle as before.
It is a day to love or to love
from a distance, which is to long.
No distance is far enough, no closeness is close
enough. There is no safety or rest or comfort

in distance, there is only this longing, this aching
unrest of being apart from, separated by
the river you once crossed to meet her.

Longing For No One Still

A whole multitude of birds part me from sleep this morning. They sing me awake but they cannot sing me to stillness; still, I do love to hear them sing; for a few moments I give myself over to the listening. I do not want the sun to rise but would like Time to stop moving so I can remain in these moments that flee from me as the sun finds its way into my room. When the sun rises the people also rise, and whatever peace I had felt within me will turn to conflict, what clarity I had felt will turn to confusion as surely as the day begins, whatever light in me the darkness had helped to rise will fall again with the rising sun. But perhaps I will have a few moments shortly after the sun has risen when the other light lasts past its usual time. That is all I can ask of the other light this morning. Then I will willingly return to the darkness from whence I either came or willingly walked into one time, having heard that only there is one truly lit.

And who was it I heard that from? Someone who had been lit then burned and then finally cooled? Or someone whose burning slowly grew and was not extinguished? Was it someone at all who told me that? Or did no one itself tell me that?

I can be told nothing by those whose passion, though it does not have to be visible and outward, I can nevertheless clearly see has cooled or whose fire has extinguished completely. Would you believe that I can be told nothing by most people? For instance, would most people tell me to “wait for no one”? No, they would tell me instead to “seek out someone to love, seek out your soul mate, find happiness in love, find satisfaction in work, spend time with others, get out of yourself, pursue your desires and your dreams, live in the moment, do not think of the past or future, sleep well, eat well, work hard, hold on, be free, be still, find comfort and shelter, keep moving, be moderate, let go, dance with pretty young women, talk with wise old women, laugh with women always somewhere from ten to seventeen years older than you, and above all do not wait and allow all opportunities to pass from you. Above all go after what you lack, do not wait for it to come to you.” But I lack no one, and how can I go after that?

Would they harass me to speak before I am ready or would they allow me to be silent until the words arise out of me on their own accord? When finally I find someone who will tell me nothing, then I will be willing to listen. This is why I am waiting for no one. Someone is always telling me something. I have the feeling that only when no one can find me will I be told nothing. I am always listening closely to be told nothing, and that is why I wake up early when only the songbirds are up. They sing of nothing and I listen closely to their song. They tell me nothing and if I could listen to them telling me nothing all day and night as I wait for no one, I feel I would soon be given all the wisdom of the ages, which I would keep within me until the one I wait for, who is now not a one, finds me and in doing so becomes no longer no one but also still not someone.

Still I am not sure if I am even someone at all, and moreover I am not sure if I want to be someone, if in being someone I no longer wait for no one. Actually, I am quite sure I do not want to be someone. “Sure you do,” I hear from those ones who are always telling me something, “Use your talents, go after success, receive the credit due for the work you put in, give people hope, give them a reason to live, inspire them to greatness, inspire them to be someone as well. When people say to you, ‘now you are someone,’ then you will know you are someone. When people say to you, ‘you have given me the freedom to be someone, and who I have become has provided security and certainty in my life,’ then you will know you’ve done what you were put on this earth to do.”

But still I say I was not put on this earth to do anything of the sort; I was not put here to inspire anyone but rather to wait for no one. Certainly I was not put here to provide certainty for someone! If you do not understand that, you are probably someone yourself, hoping to be provided with certainty, which may well be the end of all hope, which I am not certain even exists in the first place. You’re probably always telling me something you’re certain is true. When I say I wait for no one, I am not telling you that. I am telling no one that. Remember that no one is my audience. Remember that I hope (oh yes!), yes I hope that no one reads this and comes to meet me in the place we decided on before it was decided by all those not me that I should become someone—like them. Then I was still no one; now, still not yet myself, I wait here for no one still. I feel like I’ve waited for many years, even when I did not know I was waiting. I have been waiting for no one long before I was told to be someone, and I will wait for no one long after everyone has given up on me, convinced I will never become anyone at all. By all means, I would say to them, go on being someone; I will continue to wait for no one.

I used to think I was waiting for someone. There were women I thought I longed for. Perhaps when she returns, I thought, I will be able to be myself again. She let me be myself, she loved me for the whole of who I was and also for the splits within me. If she returns I can again be the someone I no longer am. But although she brought out the someone in me, when I was with her I was no longer waiting for no one. I would forget about no one in her presence, forgetting also that before my search to be someone began I had been waiting to meet with no one, who was absent; I had been waiting for no one until I was sure I could meet it everywhere.

When I was with her, everything seemed indeed to be all that I had dreamed of and more; it seemed she was the one I had waited for, though she was not at all no one; she was someone, and someone as beautiful and fleeting as the purest snow falling in the night before the desert sun melts it the next morning. If I could not be with her while still waiting for no one, then I could not be with her at all. But it took me some time to understand the longing, time I spent longing for some woman, or other, time I did not yet know what I truly longed for, which I came to understand was for no one, in time. But how I still long!

“Emptiness”

Does nothing satisfy?
I begin the day already frustrated.
My first thought?
Whatever I do today will only leave me empty.
My second?
Nothing I do can give me what I need.
My third?
It is because I need that I stay frustrated.
Finally I ask myself:
What do I need?

I need to do something to relieve this emptiness.
If I do nothing, will this emptiness leave me?

No, whether I do something or nothing,
The emptiness remains.
It remains whether it is hidden or apparent.
Nothing relieves it.
Everything I do either hides it better or makes it clearer,
But nothing takes it away.

I cannot be relieved of it simply by leaving it behind.
What is there to leave behind?
It can’t be left behind because
It’s not even here.
It’s an absence,
One that I feel
More than I feel anyone else’s presence.
It’s a not-here
That makes me feel not-here
And everyone else seem not-there.

Would I need to be someone else to not feel it?
Is who I am formed from what I lack?

If I were not me,
Would I feel less not-here?
If I were not here,
Would I feel more like me?

If I am not even here,
What can my purpose be?
I can do nothing unless I am here,
But nothing I do can take away who I am,
And who I am is not separate from what is not-here.

Who I am is more than what is here,
But what I say means less than what I hear.
I speak of what is not-here,
But I listen for what is here.
I feel an absence,
But I listen for a presence.
What is present here is more than who I am,
It means more than what I feel,
But what can it mean if I can’t hear it?

What do I need?
I need to hear what is here;
I am frustrated when I feel only what is not.
Is there anything here
That can relieve me
Of what is not?
Is there anything not-here
That can help me
Perceive what is?

I begin the day already frustrated,
And I admit that I do not know why.
I also cannot say why
The not-here feeling always seems to linger here.

But here is the not-here.
I feel it now as I do most every day.
The not-here will be here whether I let it or not,
But this once I do not deny it or fight it.
I am here and so is the not-here.
I do nothing.
I can’t think of a single thing I could do
To take away what is not even here.