“Here in the Heart of Distance”

If I knew there was some place I could go to be reassured,
I’d be sure to avoid it.
I am not looking to be reassured.
I’m assured of nothing, so luckily
there’s nothing for me
to be reassured of.

I wonder, gentle-hearted reader,
if you are reading this poem to be reassured of something.
You could be looking for reassurance that you aren’t wasting your life.
I’d say: stop reading this poem and go make some money.
Having money may provide reassurance, and if not you’ll at least be kept busy,
and you won’t have time to read poems that fail to reassure you.
You could be looking for reassurance that you’re a good person.
Okay. You are a good person.
But then again I can’t be sure.

I do assure you of my love, today,
but once I’ve met you
my love for you
may fade.
This is, unhappily, what usually happens.
Indeed, when you meet me, you might wonder
who wrote the words you thought you loved.
Well, and who did write them?
The one you meet is not the one
who writes the words.

I am no mystery, I assure you:
I’m an open book.

Those are two phrases no one has ever used to describe me.
But for you, silent and solitary reader,
I’d lay the book of my life open wide,
I’d let you inside, to know me,
as I have never let myself be known by another.
I would let you stay unknown.
Is there any other way
to get to know
another soul?

Unfathomable reader, what separates us
is as beautiful as what brings us together,
the distance between us as vital
as the joining of lovers in passion.
I embrace distance;
I throw my arms around it.

I am sure of nothing
but the space I celebrate
here in its’ heart.

“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.

“Muse”

I shatter and break,
I heal and take heed,
I heed a call I no longer hear;
I do not know if what I do not hear
still calls me.

I cannot wake up early enough
to cover the distance
that divides me from myself.

I haven’t heard from you
since I wrote you that long letter.
I can’t remember
if I put my return address.

Would you have me say,
“Please return to me?”
You know I have too much pride,
too little faith, too much doubt.
I don’t know if I’ve ever believed in you,
and I’ve always struggled to believe in myself,
never knowing who I was
struggling to believe in.

Would you have me say,
“I was wrong, I admit my error,
I open myself to your truth?”
You know I am much too stubborn;
I resist too much
And am too opposed
to any truth not my own.

But I hear you saying,
“This is not a truth that is not yours
nor is it believing in your self alone.
This is opening to a truth
that is mine and that is yours,
a truth between us
that covers the distance
that never existed,
that unites what was never divided,
that heals and makes whole
what already is.”

I hear you saying,
“How could I return to you,
I who never left you?
How could I write you a letter,
I who am written in your soul
when you see a cloud lit up by the sunrise,
when you see a man on a bridge over a freezing river,
when you see a child standing in the light?
Is not each true word you put down
written by me,
with me in you?”

I hear these words,
but is it you I hear
who speaks them?
Or do I only hear the empty space
between you and me
which these words cannot fill?
Is there space between,
and is it empty?

I do not know
where each true word comes from.
I cannot say it comes from me,
not knowing what that would mean.
You ask if it is written with you in me.

Is that true?

Do I ask myself,
or do I ask you?
Who do I ask if I ask you,
and how will I know your answer?
Do I ask to receive an answer?

“Where to Go”

Not all passion can be seen
Not all love should be known
I can’t tell you what it means
When no one knows where to go

All I want is to want no more
All I can take is distance and lack
No one remembers where they’ve been anymore
No one makes it forward
No one goes back

Take it all far away from me
As I seek on the road what I can’t see at home
Take yourself far away from me
I’d be gone myself if I had anywhere to go

Not all people find their meaning
Not all bodies find the soul
When you tried to heal what needed bleeding
I knew I had to leave
But I had nowhere to go

All you want, you say, is to be who you are
We all want to give what none of us own
We all wish to be what none of us are
Where would you be if you had somewhere to go?

Bring it all back to me now
I’ve been at this too long
I need to relax
If you’d bring yourself back somehow
I could be myself
I could drop the act

Not all movement can be seen
Not all knowledge should be known
No one knows what any of it means
How could anyone know just where to go?

All you want is the whole world
All you can take is nearness and excess
You told me you were sure where I should go
All I had to know were the people to impress

Take yourself far away from me
All you tell me is all you’ve been told
Take it all far away from me
While I take my leave
As if I had somewhere to go