Between Us

Love’s lasso
became a noose
encircling my neck
an ironic embrace

that choking
that clenching
that tightening

it yanked me by my throat
and dropped me to my knees
choking me
from the inside out
that ending
that strangled
that burdened
that chained up
that locked down

is forgettable
until you need it
and then you don’t need to be reminded
you can feel it
you can feel the absence
of air

the space between
was invisible
but I could feel it
I could feel the absence
of you
it felt like that stretch of time that can pull your thirst right in
to an empty canteen
when your head is thrown back
and your mouth is gaping

you could turn to dust
while you wait
for that one last drop
to fall
or evaporate
and all the while
is it there
inside that perpetual question
was it ever there
hope is dying an invisible death

a ghostly
a silent
but I heard it
that sound
like the pause that is born
after a heartbeat
the pause
that contains

so hope rests in peace
in the space between
and there is something new
in the space between
you and me
I used to think
that the space only existed
because you were not there to fill it up
it represented
your distance
and my gaping thrown back thirsty

but I was wrong

from the very beginning
I would catch my breath
at the sight of you
even a glimpse of a photograph
and I would catch my breath
as if I had somehow inhaled you
and I could hold you
by holding my breath
but I was suffocating myself

I was choking on my emotions
trying not to let them out
because I was afraid
that letting go of them
would mean letting go of you
and letting go of you
would mean letting go of hope
I was strangling myself
trying to hold on to you
to hold in the feeling of you
so I could hold off seeing
that you weren’t really there

I don’t understand
how I confused you
with air and hope
and how I feared and avoided
that space between us
because it represented
the absence of you
and I didn’t want to be
where you weren’t

but now
I am right outside of that place between us
and I can see you much better from here
I don’t make you small enough to fit inside my heart anymore
and I can see that this place isn’t here because you are not filling it
it is bigger than both of us
you can’t fill it up
you can’t give enough
you aren’t supposed to
you never were

I was trying to breathe you
I was trying to get from you
what only exists in a place
that is created
for our letting go
for the ways we surrender
and release and exhale
everything here is invisible
and silent
and can only be felt
with the heart
a new way to know
and see
and feel

the space between us
is not empty at all
it has always been full
hope lives here
it is full of new beginnings
and inspiration
the fulfillment of dreams happens here
your own dreams and mine
it is where the exchange occurs
the giving and receiving of gifts
or smiles
this is where our moments stay
and everything truly important
where we write and read and share
there are new songs and better bad movies and new memories if we want
this place between us is full of more possibilities than these
and it is also full
of air

I needed to be reminded about air
when I was trying to breathe you in
I must have thought you better than air
and impossible to forget
but I won’t need to be reminded
about air anymore
because I feel the absence of it
when I try to make you take it’s place
and I’ll never need to be reminded about you
I don’t think I can even start to forget

I’m learning a new way
to feel close to you
it is in the air
between us


And the water is still now.

My heart has been a turbulent thing. I think when I slept at night, it might have been calm. Ish. I never knew how it got so wavy, so currenty, so always moving and pulling and tugging and swirling. Sometimes it was that familiar to and fro, that wave on the beach tide of emotions coming and going. And sometimes it has been a flat out storm with crashing of waves and clapping of thunder and pressure and movement and chaos. And sometimes, just that gentle lapping along the banks or swirling around rocks or branches, but always, always the movement.

Until now. Now I can be right in the middle of that swirl, that tidal pull, that current, that tug, and suddenly, by some dawn of new insight, I can still the water. I can gentle my heart.

The water is peaceful and still now. There is no push from within. There is no pull from without. There is only my heart. Every feeling that was, is. But now, it is still. There is no reaching. There is no holding. There is only stillness. There is only peacefulness. There is only love. There is only patience. And on the horizon, all sides of the horizon, there is more stillness. I can stand in this still water that is as big as the ocean. I have found the elusive thing.

And I know something now. Something kind of funny. It was all the flailing. Flailing tends to create waves and splashing and even tidal crashing, depending on the tantrum. And like a hurricane, once in motion, my emotional flailing would suck up velocity and debris from my circumstances and situations and my thoughts and attitudes and the stories I believed about those circumstances and situations. I could drum up quite the squall. And still, mid-flail, I would be convinced that I was the victim, cast away at sea, forlorn and alone, with my poor battered turbulent heart. Even if I wasn’t flailing, I was always crashing around in my heart, frantically searching at times, or going through some motion trying to make myself happy by changing what I was feeling. I was trying to hold back the tide, or dam the stream, or go against the flow. I was always doing, doing, doing. I was doing everything except the one thing that could calm the water.

I think it has taken about a month. I think it started when I just let myself be stormy. I flailed around, trying to resist the fear and the sadness and the fear of the fear and the sadness. And throughout those stormy days, I would let myself, maybe for a moment, maybe for longer stretches of time… I would let myself feel the worst of it. I just let it. I allowed it. And it hurt really really bad. Like nothing I’ve ever felt before. I don’t know how long that storm had been building, but now I know how it got that bad.

I think those kind of emotionally stormy times happen when old feelings that were never allowed, that were the result of some attitude or painful story I believed, come crashing into my present moment and collide with some emotion I am flailing against and trying to resist because the story is similar to that old story I had believed for so long. All of these stories have a similar plot. I am not loved, I should not trust, I am unfulfilled. I came face to face with all the residual thunder and lightning and hail from believing those stories for so long while never allowing myself to feel how bad it hurts to believe them. I think it’s much easier to let go of those old stories that do not serve us after we feel the pain they have caused. They may in fact be locked up in the emotion and cannot be released until the feelings have been allowed.

I didn’t know that I was unlocking stillness. I didn’t even know it existed. But now that I know how it feels to have a still heart, I can feel right away when there’s an undertow or a wave coming in. And then, I just tune in to my feelings and let them happen and let them go. They never want to stay, they just want to be acknowledged or allowed or accepted.

I have noticed too, that if I wanted to just send a ripple out, as a message maybe, from my heart to another… it would be much easier for that other sweet heart to feel my message when it is coming across a still and peaceful water.