“It Is Not Yet Time For Another”

It is not yet time for another.
It is time to be alone,
time to wait for grace
to pull me up muddied and waterlogged
from the turbid lake I chose to dive into.
Time to sit here, watch the world go by,
let my youth be taken from me,
take notes now and then as I am given
these resplendent moments, when I realize
that nothing needs to be changed.

“More Than This I Cannot Say”

I am not as I appear to be.
That something else I sense in you,
go towards that thing in me.

And if ever you wither in your solitude,
sense me there, withered with you.
I am never away, no matter your mood,
whether your heart sinks or your soul leaps.
Find strength in this.

And don’t worry, I will never reassure you
with: ‘you are not alone.’
I assure you I too am alone,
more alone than I can say.
I, with you,
am alone, except
when I am
with you.

And more than this I cannot say.

“Not Knowing Myself, A Poem Is Written”

No other on earth knows me as I am.
Those who think they know me best
Know me least. Those who know
They don’t know me, at least know that.
No other will ever know me, as a whole, in this world.

This is written not with excess sorrow or pity or pride.
No other needs to know me, and I do not need
To be known by any other. I alone need to know
Myself, that other I am. I do not know
Why I do not know, but I do know it.

The knowledge that I know
Nothing is painful, difficult to bear. But before
Being can be known, Nothingness must be borne.
Only when I know myself do I exist, as myself.
If I have no knowledge, then I have

No being. I am not, for I know not
What I do or why I do it. I know
Nothing. I do not even know
Why I write these words, or
Why I wake up and find life

Only in these hours when the rest of
The world as we know it is lost in dreams,
Or dreamless sleep. I must wake up
At this time, or in time this distance
Between what I once knew and who I could be

Will grow too great for me to bridge.
I am not still, for I still do not know
What I do or why I do it.
Do you know what you do?
Why do you read these words?

What do you need to know?
Are we born not knowing, so we are
Forced to yearn till death make us whole?
Can we ever know? Can we even live
In this world of dreams if we unearth

The shattering reality of who we actually are?
The knowledge that I know
Nothing is painful, difficult to bear;
But if I knew myself, would that knowledge
Bring even more pain? Could I live with it?

I must wake up now, at this time, or in time
This distance will keep me tied down
To dreams, seeing only what seems
To be, forgetting what I need to do,
To remember who I am.

On The Solitary

“A Poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity – he is continually in for – and filling some other Body – The Sun, the Moon, the Sea and Men and Women who are creatures of impulse are poetical and have about them an unchangeable attribute – the poet has none; no identity – he is certainly the most unpoetical of all God’s Creatures… not one word I ever utter can be taken for granted as an opinion growing out of my identical nature – how can it, when I have no nature?”
John Keats

There is an expression I sometimes hear: ‘Can you meet my needs?’ I feel this very question is false and cannot be asked. Needs cannot be met by another. Another can only meet transient wants, desires. Others can only meet you where they are, which will leave you wanting. Needs that can be met by others are not true needs.

The single need of the solitary is to become unified in solitude, with the help of all the other solitaries of the ages.

One characteristic of the solitary, and one reason he remains alone, is because he knows how quickly he can attach to others. Do not suppose he always loves his solitude. He experiences both the joys of solitude and the pains of loneliness with greater intensity than the outward directed man. Unlike the outward directed man, who typically attaches to one person and remains with that person, a choice that alleviates loneliness as well as passion, the solitary attaches quickly and detaches just as quickly. He has had past experiences of falling for those who he felt understood him, though he could not know beyond doubt. But the solitary is without fail a deeply intuitive person in the sense that Carl Jung defined it when he wrote,

“In intuition a content presents itself whole and complete, without our being able to explain or discover how this content came into existence. Intuition is a kind of instinctive apprehension, no matter of what contents…Intuitive knowledge possesses an intrinsic certainty and conviction.”

So the solitary has felt understood intuitively, not knowing why he feels this way but knowing it is so. He also intuitively understands that the vast majority of people who he meets do not understand him, and this is why he attaches to those very few who do. However, knowing he is not yet unified and knowing he can only become so in solitude, the detachment comes not long after the attachment, and the solitary keeps within himself the one who is gone. He introjects the other, in psychological jargon.

We had a falling-out, like lovers often will
And to think of how she left that night, it still brings me a chill
And though our separation, it pierced me to the heart
She still lives inside of me, we’ve never been apart

The solitary needs to be intuitive and intellectual, emotional and physical. Only if he is balanced in these ways can he maintain his sanity while being alone. Only by being balanced can he become unified. Having a balanced array of strengths allows the solitary to stave off excessive loneliness and do the necessary work which must be done alone, the work of creation, of ecstatic vigil, of maintaining and strengthening a private love that has the unified strength of being undistorted by object, that is not lost to unloving institutions or diminished by a constant search for someone who will receive it and return it in whole. Love cannot be returned in whole because it cannot be given to another as a whole. To be kept whole it must not be revealed directly. To attempt to reveal it directly is to split it.

At the same time, there is a way of not revealing it that does not leave it whole, when the not revealing is not chosen, when the love is held in out of fear while the person desires to find an object for it. In the solitary poet, this holding in of love can exist with the desire to keep it whole. He understands that his very self, what Keats calls his unpoetical character, his lack of identity, makes a long-term love relationship where he keeps his love whole impossible. He is not nearly consistent enough, not at all certain enough in himself, far too doubtful of any possibility of happiness with another. The solitary would need to be given the opportunity to spend months at a time out of sight of the other. If this is not possible, he will probably make both his and the others’ life a misery. He will look for some way to feel in a more intense way than it’s possible to feel in a day-to-day relationship, at the expense of the relationship itself. In a life of routine where passion must necessarily be deadened in order that work can be done, the solitary feels himself deadened and can do no work, for his work is the work of passion.

The solitary is nothing if not a passionate person. One reason he remains solitary is because his passion is so deep down, so invisible to the eyes of others. The only way he can express it is through nonverbal forms, through music and dance and art. It is not possible through conversation, so he tends to be silent because he desires to be authentic more than he wants to be on good terms with superficial relations, if good terms are synonymous with inauthenticity. What are good terms? Usually terms that lack passion. Unspoken terms that everything will be out on the surface and spoken, except for the terms of course, which remain unspoken. When all is ‘open communication,’ then communication opens no doors to the unseen. Doors remain closed and people remain divided.

Even if the solitary believed in being on good terms, if he could not speak to the other of his terms — that there are things that must remain unspoken — it would not be worth his effort. For one thing, he could not help but become aware that he is going against his own essence by doing so, moving away from unification by attempting to be on good terms with other divided people. Though he does not know who he is, he knows he acts as someone he is not when he tries to be on good terms.

And the solitary draws a line here. In art, it is acceptable to speak out of character, in the voice of another real or created person, for in that case he is empathizing in a deep way with another, he is actually becoming that other — “filling some other Body”— taking the form of another for the sake of expressing a truth beyond himself. But what truth is he expressing by being someone else in everyday relationship? He is only exposing himself to the untruths necessary to be on good terms — unspoken terms of repressed passion — in society. In society, the solitary must be another, as he can only be himself when alone, though who he is remains in a constant state of change and flux. What does not change is this: Who he is only reveals itself when he is alone.

But let the solitary be careful not to create an identity out of his solitariness, for the creation of identity is the work of the social world. In creating an identity out of being solitary, the solitary will not be a solitary — in fact, he will be renouncing who he is by saying he is that — because identity and solitude are opposed. The solitary is such as he is because he lives with the tension of having no identity, of being no one to others, so he can discover who he truly is. Being ‘unpoetical,’ having no ‘unchangeable attribute,’ he writes poetry until he is what he writes and no longer needs to write himself into Being.

It is also crucial that the solitary not avoid others solely because it is with them that he feels most alone. In that way he would be like the other-directed or outer-directed man who does not want to be alone because that is when he feels most alone. Whereas the solitary feels least alone when alone, in solitude.

Either the solitary will make an identity out of his solitariness, which is actually a renunciation — though it may be meant to be a celebration — of true solitariness, or he will renounce being a solitary with the knowledge he is doing so, go against his identity-less nature to try and find some niche where he can be someone, using some talent or other he might possess and being rewarded for that talent. But that talent will only come from what solitariness remains in his compromise. There can be no compromise in the solitary. Having an identity as a part of the social world is a compromise, and compromise itself belongs to the social world. Therefore, the solitary cannot compromise. He can write as long as he does not call himself a writer. He can dance as long as he does not call himself a dancer. He can teach as long as he does not call himself a teacher.

Instead, he must aim to accept his own solitariness. One way to do this is to learn to be comfortable with his silence, to refrain from speaking unless he feels compelled from within to do so. There have been and will continue to be many times when others try to compel him to speak, or gently push him to do so. That others will feel uncomfortable with his silence cannot be denied, and whether their approach is forceful or gentle is due to their own personality and makes no real difference. It is still an effort to coerce no matter how gentle.

The solitary must maintain his silence until the words are compelled out of him from within rather than from without. Maintaining his silence will also increase the tension in him. What is in him will strive with more desperation to find its way out. Unable or unwilling to turn to relations, he will be forced to find another outlet. His creative work will begin to take on the aspects of the solitary — passionate, intense longings unable to be communicated in any other way.

I Was Never

I was never less understood than when she said, “Tell me how I should understand you best.”

I was never in greater sorrow than when she asked, “How can I make you happy?”

I was never in more intense passion than when she said, “I never see you show emotion. Sometimes I think you’re a cold person.”

I was never more inward than when she said, “You don’t have to be afraid. You can open up to me.”

I was never more helpless and alone than when she said, “Let me help you feel less alone.”

“As The Day Begins”

The day begins with a fire that cannot be seen
like a young girl who does not speak
for fear of losing what burns within her.

The day begins with birds that cannot be seen
singing like those who know better than to speak
and so lose what gives them song.

The day begins with doors that cannot be closed
allowing what has lost itself with yearning
to find itself as it burns.

As the day begins,
everyone needs to get something out
to let something in:
By the end of the day,
no one remembers what it was.

No one knows
everyone needs
to get out
and let in
the same thing
in their own way.

What feeds the ember
feeds the hungering soul —
rootless — seeking its own root
in flames that grow invisible.

The hard wood crackles in growing flame
inside invisible growth
as the heart withstands the splintering
forced upon it to remain soft.

As the day begins.

Already the day begins, but
the bottom of the root has not reached
the top of the stem, and I
am not ready for beginnings.

The day begins
only when I begin to listen
to each moment ending
and each moment beginning.

I hear the unheard as the day begins:

I hear the pressed down sobs of young children
setting up lemonade stands
to cool the mid-July heat of unspoken divisions
and prove their own grown-upness,
prove their groundedness
to intoxicated parents,
who are like children in their pettiness.

I see the unseen as the day begins:

I see the homelessness
that hides behind estate gates;
I see the clenched souls
that hide behind open faces;
I see the wrenching sorrow
that hides behind too-wide grins;
I see the yearning for purity
that hides behind drunken eyes.

And I feel the untouched as the day begins:

I feel the push for contact,
and I feel the pull back;
I feel the pain of the one
who does not know how to be
with another,
and I feel the pain of the one
who does not know how to be
alone,

And I feel the pain of the one who knows she is alone,
I feel her struggle to make contact;
I feel what she feels
when she finds herself
unable
to touch the truth
of her aloneness.

As the day begins.

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!

Unable to be Moved—a Fiction Vignette

I need to write how I feel though it rarely makes any difference. The birdsong, the calm of Sunday evening, everyone in their homes, the loss of light as night overcomes the day: none of it moves me. My own unhappiness moves me least of all. It disgusts me. I went to a place where people who sometimes move me get together, but my heart did not stir. I flipped through books that had moved me before—to tears, to adventure and the road, to longing, to love for wildness and people great and small, to love for quiet and peace within me. I tossed each book down again. None of them could move me. Oh, but I would not be resigned! In the morning before the sun had risen I got on my bike, rode up in the direction of a mountain to the south for 15 miles up a steep grade. I made it to the top and flew down. But to move oneself is not to be moved, to feel oneself moving closer to some destination is not to move closer to oneself. I could see the trees pass by in a blur on the side of the road; it could not make clearer the blurred confusion within me. I moved my body but my soul was left unmoved.

Knowing I could not simulate the love for people I didn’t presently feel, I moved myself into the simulation of anger to see if that emotion could change my mood. I riled myself up. People? I despised them. Always smiling, unconscious or unable to allow themselves to feel their own suffering. It was all pretend, a never-ending game of Risk that ends with each player being dominated by the world, except in this pretend game people were stabbed for their shoes and thrown into gutters to die with rats. And me? I was experiencing my anger about people faking happiness and about the injustice of things in a superficial, fake, non-genuine way, without the compassion and sadness that I knew were deeper than the anger. That only sunk me deeper. I could not think of one happy moment.

Just two nights before, I had danced to funk, soul, and rock and roll. I could not hold the memory in my mind. It flew from me into unreality. Dancing—when I felt most myself, most able to express the truth in my soul—did nothing to me. Its restless, self-abandoning and self-revealing movement was only a way to escape the inability to be moved. It was no better than riding a bike. It was nothing but a last ditch effort to rid oneself of burdens that, at the end of the night, would come back with unforgiving vengeance. It failed like all other futile efforts. I remembered with greater clarity the visceral feelings that came into consciousness after the dancing was over and the glow from it gone: unable to sleep, pummeling the keyboard like I always do, trying to approximate in writing the feelings I get from dancing, and failing there too.

It was all failure, and success was the greatest illusion and entrapper of all. I had never succeeded, though perhaps nothing is more fortunate than this. I had lost jobs, lost prestige, lost relationships that had not even begun. No one had lost anything for me. I had lost them all the way I prided myself on being: alone. But none of those outward losses bothered me as much as the inner feelings: my felt sense of deficiency; my inverse and hidden grandiosity, the distance between who I was and who I felt like I could be; my loneliness yet my barely unconscious shattering of all possible opportunities I had to moderate that loneliness with a long-term romantic partner. But what good did that do? How could someone else take the loneliness away? It was not possible. The loneliness was there, and all I could do was understand and express it as best I could. A partner would only put temporary distance between myself and what I could not be parted from.

I could lose everything as long as I could create a work of art that expressed all the pain of those losses and the much greater pain of which those losses were only a symptom. I could not do it because I didn’t even feel any pain, only apathy and a frustration I felt would engulf me from the inside. I suppose I cannot say that I did not feel pain, but my greatest pain was being unable to express the pain I felt. Everything I wrote was inadequate. Only dancing provided an immediate and full expression of feeling. But the expression of pure and complete feeling possible in dancing was inadequate because inarticulate. Energy without meaning. I could dance and express the truth in my soul, but what was that truth? What did it mean? What good did it do after the fact? Nothing was left on the floor, though everything had been propelled out and onto it. It was depth brought to the surface with nothing that remained after the cessation of movement. Nothing that explained the contradictory feelings of overwhelming nothingness and unbearable passion impossible to keep down, the feelings that had caused the restless movement in the first place.

Soon all the feelings would plunge back in and down, become invisible, practically non-entities, as insignificant as the empty dance floor in the closed dive that only moments before had been the site of such forced exuberance. The feelings would be sucked in like dirt into a vacuum, the only thing to show for their existence and expression the fading neurotransmitters that would make it difficult to sleep for a few hours at least. And in the morning a hangover as psychologically painful as that from booze, though the night had been spent without the suspect benefits of that wrecking substance. The extreme ecstasy that dancing can bring at its most intense moments does not lead to long-term happiness and the comedown is just as severe, just as strong as that from any intensely enjoyable experience, whether naturally felt or artificially prompted. It is important to find the center, but not if it precludes the dancing, not if it prevents the soaring. Let monks and spiritual titans experience that grounded, centered equanimity. I know nothing of the center. It is as alien to me as I have become to myself.

“Hunger”

I no longer need you, but
I do still need
to feel the hunger
I used to feel for you,

as

I no longer need to be alone, but
I do still need
to feel the hunger
I can’t help but feel
alone,

as

I no longer need to drink, but
I do still need
to feel the thirst I couldn’t help
but feel when I couldn’t drink.
I need to create
out of that endless hunger.

Don’t think

I needed
to love you.
I did anyways; I couldn’t help it.
I loved you then
the way you need him now;

I’ve heard

the way you talk to him;
it’s the same way my poems never sounded
when you read them back to me.

Well, here goes:

I hungered for you to hunger for me;
when you hungered for me,
I was glutted with you
and hungered for her,

so

I’m afraid my hunger will devour me,
that it cannot be satisfied,

and also

I’m afraid I hunger only
for what keeps me hungry.

There’s this:

If we are afraid together,
will we be half as afraid?

And this:

if we are alone together,
will we be twice as alone?

And, of course, this:

if we are hungry together,
will you take care of the bill?

Tell me:

When the storm rages
will you let me sit,
surrounded by it,
to meet with stillness?

Yet,

why some days can I sit for hours,
patient like the mountain laurel,
while other days I am a child who waits
for a roller coaster, a child who hates
roller coasters, yet in strange ways
hungers for what he hates.

Answer me:

If I say
I cannot receive love
and
I cannot receive enough love
and
I hunger for what keeps me hungry,

will you understand?

“Soul”

My soul is broken until all souls can be bound together,
Yet each soul can remain a separate and unique manifestation.
My soul breaks when I see another broken soul.
Did I say another?
My soul breaks when I see soul, broken.
My soul will continue to break until there are no broken souls.

My soul breaks for the loneliness of the human condition,
The sense of separation we all feel from each other,
And from the truth of ourselves.

My soul breaks for and is mended during the journey we must all undergo
From separation to connection,
From apartness to closeness,
From painful loneliness to the unburdened aloneness
That we feel when we connect to and accept ourselves in our entirety,
Realizing the wholeness within that has been there all along.
My soul is not mended yet.

My soul yearns to be broken and shattered,
It yearns to be overtaken and sink under,
It yearns for years of suffering.

My soul yearns to be unbroken and whole,
It yearns to be given over and rise above,
It yearns for years of joy.

It is a soul full of desire.
It desires also not to desire,
How can the soul not desire that?

Will the soul be broken until it no longer desires to be unbroken?
Will the soul be broken until it is no longer?
Does the soul remain after it is no longer broken?
Was the soul ever unbroken?
Is the true nature of the soul unbroken and whole?

Questions, questions:
The soul is curious about itself,
It is a mystery to itself,
It is restless until it rests in itself,
It seeks until it finds itself at rest.

Will the soul ever be at rest?
Is the nature of the soul restless?
Or is the nature of the soul at rest,
And it is only restless until it finds itself?
How can the soul find itself?

Questions, questions:
The soul is curious and restless and the soul is broken.
The soul breaks when it feels the spirit of another broken soul,
The soul breaks down in weeping and fills up with joy,
The soul breaks, it yearns to be broken and to be unbroken.
The soul will continue to break until there are no broken souls.