We will always be friends, we said, probably half meaning it at the time. How many times have we said that or somthing akin to it, knowing that the promise to call, to stay in close touch, was at best half meant and almost certain not to come to any reality.
I have a catalog of friends, who I told I would never give up, distance notwithstanding, we all do, and mine is replete with both good and bad intentions, each and every one a failure.
I did not say this to my ex-wife when we divorced, and I must say that while I failed at the marriage, or so she said, I did not ever fail at not being friends after its end.
Walking down the helical road, untwisting as you go you discover places you never imaginged visiting, nothing like the path you thought you knew well.
Stop and claim your new heritage, find yourself on an alien map, bury yourself in books of new and ancient history.
Pause here and consider a King of Scotland, knights and lords, in the far distance know that you claim a link to a man so honored that he died by hanging, but was then beheaded and drawn and quartered.
Too late to unswab your cheek, so simply enjoy your ride.
It is well past time I wrote a poem about the great joys of my childhood, for memory should bubble up like lava through the crust of time, they should rain in flashes as so much matter dropping into the atmosphere in their ultimate light show. This isn’t going to happen, of course, whether because memory has grown dim over time’s distance or for lack of subject matter. At 68, the difference hardly matters for a blank page hardly cares which pen chooses not to write it.
What I want to tell her is this: it’s fitting, perfectly, that you who so assiduously hid the past from me, your past and mine, now bars your entry, refusing you even the briefest glimpse. You want so to grab onto it to have it carry you to a place removed from here by time and distance, where it is warm and most of the time, cozy. It is also fitting that you call out his name, as though he was in the yard pruning a tree, delaying dinner, the same he you cursed glad to have him out of your life and out of your house, you wished him dead so that you might call yourself a widow and share condolences with the other black draped women. You never mentioned the six months of foster care or the little sister who came and went so quickly when he had the audacity to drop dead on you one morning. This is what I would say to her, this is the curse I would place upon her but she no longer recognizes me, I am no more than a well dressed orderly come to remove her lunch tray.
He says “the shortest distance between any two points is a straight line.” She says, “you will miss seeing of the amazing sights if you follow that inane rule, and by the way Einstein made it quite clear space is curved, and the line you think straight is not at all, so why not follow a more varied curve and see what there is to see along the way. It might surprise you.” He says, “I have to follow the road and the interstates are the most direct routes.” She says, “there are an infinite number ways to get from point A to B.” She wants to try several of them and if he doesn’t like it, well there is always the back seat.
She says the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. He doesn’t have the heart to tell her That on a cosmic scale space is curved and no one wants the short straw anyway. She can, of course, read him, a skill she knows is reserved for women and is one of frustration to men. She laughs, and adds as if an afterthought there is a wormhole in the neighborhood. He has no idea what to make of her, and this is how she wants it for she and he both know so very well that the shortest distance between the male and female mind is a leap of logic only the most daring would attempt.
She finds dysfunction rather disconcerting and if I don’t agree she will take it as a diss though I would quickly dismiss that idea as disingenuous. But she is prone to discomfort and displaces those around her in moments of dissonance. She does keep her distance, and tries to be dispassionate and so I can easily distract her which is to my distinct advantage.
There will come a time in the not distant future when words will be rendered unnecessary, when thought will be freely transmissible, when distance will become a lost dimension. That day will be one of mourning, much as we mourned the death of the Underwood Champion, joined in death with the Royal Standard and a Smith Corona, and cursed IBM and Microsoft. And yet we poets will carry on, for we have always written because we have no other marketable skill.
She walks with a deliberateness that bespeaks years of always knowing what the destination is. Getting to the destination, she knows is far less important than having one. On occasion she would arrive at her destination and would then have no option but to immediately select her next destination, for being on one place too long was, to her, a form of living death. Many thought her a wanderer, and she was fine with that. She knew the shortest distance between two points was a straight line it was also just the most boring, and for her it was really all about the trip.