Have you ever awoke in the early hours of the morning, shot up in bed vibrantly awake, as if something unseen is pulling you up by your heart strings?
Perhaps it was a vivid dream, a subconscious recollection of a past life, or some quantum entanglement between you and another mashup of electrons elsewhere in the universe. Whatever it is, you can’t see it, but it’s definitely physical, strong, and it springs you to life, heart thumping.
Many a morning I hit snooze until the last possible minute before the, “I’m definitely going to be late for [insert obligation here]” realization sets in. This morning however, I am wide awake at 4 a.m., journal in hand and squinty-eyed searching for a pen in the early dawn light. Roosters crowing and the smell of a fresh mist coming through the screened walls of my back porch, I am compelled to write this free verse poem and give life to this force unseen.
Nostalgia is the closest word I can pin to this feeling. It’s not a feeling of sadness, but an intense bittersweetness. It feels so specific, yet I cannot envision exactly what is tugging on my heart: longing for old friendships? A past lover? The complete simplicity of childhood? It is all and none of these things at once.
Sometimes it helps to place this nostalgia so that I can paint or write to express it, and then release it. That early morning in particular, I was reminded of an old lover. It was a divine and intense romance that scattered itself over the years of my late adolescence and early adulthood. The fact that over so many years it never culminated into a full-blown relationship only added to the effervescent, magical air surrounding this love. Through moving to different cities, other relationships and heartbreaks, we would find ourselves together again; sporadically and beautifully, yet never fully.
We would talk of big ideas all whilst forgetting the rest of world. Morbid as it may sound, I remember a particular conversation where we both agreed that if it was the end of the world, we would somehow find each other. This is the thought I awoke with when I scribbled this poem in that early morning light:
And when the waves rise up too high
Who will you call for
Will you fill like a cup of pale honey wine
Or deny, like a star-crossed lover?
When all the time has come too quick
And it’s telling the wind to blow now
Tracing her face like fingertips.
When there’s only this
A tale of mellow, or one of boldness
Breathe in the swells, watching
The years that left too quick.
Like a pair of hearts she follows suit,
She left too
Soon dancing in the fire
Watch it singe her boots as she
Swings from the moon then
Drips from the stars
Ditches those suits for some worn tarot cards
Cuts all her ties just to play in that fire
Barefoot dancing now, she wanders
Or maybe just to wonder
Who will be discovered?
She found the words when she bit her tongue
And bled out with ink
The color rich as deep cherry wine
The kind she cared to drink
She says go, go
Now I think I know
How you like it, mellow
or prefer it bolder?
Left up north steeping now
Even as it grows colder
Because you know you never told her
Words you found in that last drink
Saying, did you ever think
Maybe when we’re older?
Honey I have to go now and forever
Will I be back in the end
And if that day comes, who will you call for
An old lover or your friend?
Take a sip as it dripping, drips
From these stars so unaligned
Trickles down the curve of a half moon spine
After all this time, still stuck in pale eyes
That moon chose bold and
Made the waves rise
Just to ask, did you ever find?
Still watch the waves coming in now
Watch it spin, spinning, now I know how
It never stops after all this time.
Will you trust only in the wind to blow
Once enough to lift her up
Twice more to bring her home
Or will you be the one who carries
Arched as the moon she clings to
Will she ever know you?
And will you ever know
That If the waves were washing in
And too quick was the time
That’s where she’d try to go.
Honey I’m gone for now and forever
I’ll be there in the end
To bring the tide back home again.
That part of the heart that keeps her swimming
The strings that keep her clinging, sipping
dreaming, dancing, burning, dripping
That part has always known, some
How she has always known.
I’ve come to find happiness in the present moment. I’ve found this peace through meditation, introspection, and finding my “flow” in the things that I do. But I am human, and I cannot completely disconnect myself from the pangs of the past or the jitters of the future, nor do I think any of us should.
So why the impulse to express this while I am in a committed relationship today that is more than fulfilling, but is a true partnership that brings me incredible joy? I did not write this poem out of a longing for things to be like they were, or out of hope for a specific future. I wrote this as an exploration into the past and the possible futures or “could have beens.”
I think being in the now includes embracing the entanglements of what has been and what will be; they are all one, it’s all a part of you, and it’s never-ending.
Author: Avory Resca
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Courtesy of Author
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