A Magical Tempestuous Storm – Poetry

Crazy hair piled up high framing piercing eyes of molten steel,
eyes with a warning smirk of dark trouble and danger
should one touch the shadow of her magic,
thus revealing a turbulent tormented storming soul —
Her wildly pursed red lips inviting living spirits to approach,
still suggesting thoughtful caution of a forbidden mystery,
before approaching near he hears her bittersweet
calling voice echoing deep within his chest,
from the savage throbbing and quivering in delirious frenzy,
he sees dark powers flashing from her black fingertips.

Within her passionate realm a shining moon and stars,
safe from the unrestrained bedlam of magical battles, the sky
enlightens their whirling and spellbound excitement,
dancing into dark night sounds of rapturous laughter;
echoing sighs and resounding venomous frightening cries.
A vehement sorceress casting spells with her thighs,
“Relax, dear man, my sensing pleasure is the rendering
of your haughty spirit into a new submissive being,
tamed forever by your seductive enchantress.”
As she raged, he endured her loving, pounding thunder,
In his toil and trouble, the fire of the witch’s cauldron bubbled,
yet her maddening deadly cries of passion calmed his fears.

Brilliant flashings in darkened skies; fair and foul scents of burning flesh hover;
his body now scorched and red, his mind mixed with passion and mania
as their unrestrained magic erupts into an abyss of souls, nothing but dead.
Yet, willingly he knowingly gives over his being,
his soul, and all he is, was, or ever will be, to her mystical dominance.
Her dark, unconsoled audacious spirit reigns over his battle lost, hers won in the fog of filthy air.
Underground, her biting and pulling him into this night of pain and pleasure,
he is now terminally seduced by this lovingly brash and ruling mistress.
Painfully submitting his pride, his manner, his life and being,
seeking the comfort of her mystical kiss
as he witnesses to her power and takes in his pain,
he kneels before the touch and the torch of his witch, worshipping at her feet.

In his delirium he experiences euphoria –  the ecstasy of pushing aside his anguish and agony,
as she hovers over him and conjures the revoking of his pain at her whim by her will,
she elevates him from the torturous tedium of a miserable existence of sheltered boredom
to a triumphant cloud of comfort and challenge, now subjected to random
spellbinding musings of a mad mistress molding this man into her mate and lover;
expunging his pain with the pleasure and purity of the magical realism produced by fantastic
fantasies as they dance through flames of orgasmic delights devoid of depressing doldrums.

She promised lives of incarnate pleasure and pain;
he as her servient lover, she as his muse and provocateur;
together they sail and they fly through time and space,
he enthralled by her power, she his bellwether to the underworld of a mysterious life,
entrapped by the freedom making two dark souls one bright god and goddess,
master and mistress of all roads and all kingdoms,
their love and mating shall live forever as the forbidden man and his queen of all witches,
never resting or sleeping while forever seeking a peace from their lives of tempest-tossed wonder.
When sounds of the night excite; when the crashing of thunder, lightning, or rain are right;
listen for cries of lovers in pain seeking the pleasures of the witch and her inamorato.

Bill Reynolds 1/24/2017

Night or day, look both ways. The gaps can harm ya, mind them all.

My original idea for this came from the Eagles’ song, ‘Witchy Woman.’ I wanted to “poetic” this idea up further to something about loving witches. Then, ‘Black Magic Woman’ by Santana, while not much for lyrics, bewitched my spirit with his awesome sound. As my imagination drifted, I considered (and used) scenes of the witches from Macbeth. I imagine ‘non-wiccan’ male relationships with a female witch (wicce) to be one of forbidden mystery, good and bad, light and dark, yin and yang. I can’t imagine the witch, no matter how loving, as anything but aggressively dominant, unyielding, yet still caring, nurturing, and protecting. I wanted a struggle. I tried to shed as much of my witch stereotyping as I could, yet keep the drama of the loving, in-control, witch-bitch that captured my thoughts. Is this poetry or prose, fact or fiction, fantasy or reality? Do you want to be either one of the two? Both? Neither?

Some soft witch music would be nice to close.

This Paradox of Love – A book

I’m reading The Paradox of Love by Pascal Bruckner (translated by Steven Rendall). I’m not finished, but I want to post a few quotes from the book. It is interesting, well written, and the translation is solid. I’m reading it as research for writing more about the paradox of love as a topic.

Bruckner’s take on how we got from where our ancestors were to where we are with male-female relationships is informative. I should have known. His commentary on, and experience with, the sexual revolution of the 60s and 70s is interesting (Bruckner is French), but not one I shared.

“Sexual liberation became the most common way of getting in contact with the extraordinary; every morning we reinvented our lives….”

For those of us who may recall some of that time, he asks, “What put an end to this euphoria?” He explains, “We knew only one season in life: eternal youth. Life played a terrible trick on us: we got old.”

He has much more to say; quotes from the book follow.

Regarding the concept of free love, he asks, “How can love, which attaches, be compatible with freedom, which separates?”

Here’s more. These are taken from the introduction:

“Our freedom in love was won in battle at a price that remains to be determined. (Someday the “black book” of the 1960s will have to be written.) Freedom does not release us from responsibilities but instead increases them…It resolves problems less than it multiplies paradoxes…This burden explains in part why contemporary romances are so hard.”

“A paradoxical result: we now ask everything from love; we ask too much of it; we ask that it ravish, ravage, and redeem us…Christianity’s invention of the God of love has made the virtue of love the cardinal value of life…By liberating itself, it reveals itself for what it is, in its flashes of brilliance and in its pettiness: noble and base at the same time.”

Bruckner quotes from Les aventures de Télémaque, by Fénelon, an early 18th Century French novel, “love alone is more to be feared than all shipwrecks.” I like the quote. However, in the world today, it’s blatantly false.

The paradox I promote is that today we would rather suffer the potential pains of love, than to not experience love. And, we seem to keep going back for more. This may seem crazy, but it’s the eventual norm.

I like the chapter title: “Salvation through Orgasm.” I am quoting way out of context here, but along with equating the Aurora Borealis as nothing other than a cosmic orgasm, he says this “…like grace for the Calvinists, the orgasm is the narrow gate to redemption.” You always knew that, right?

Try this: “Depending on whether or not you have an orgasm, the Earth will slip into harmony or into discord: Fourier had already drawn an analogy between human copulation and that of the planets, and saw in the Milky Way an immense deposit of luminous semen. If humans made love more enthusiastically, they would give birth to a multitude of galaxies that would illuminate the planet a giorno [roughly, everywhere] and would solve the lighting problem at small expense.”

I shall never see the night sky in quite the same way again.

A few more like that before moving on: “An erection is an insurrection, the body in emotional turmoil…desire is profoundly moral…Coitus is simultaneously a rebellion against society and the culmination of human nature.”

Ok, enough blushing stuff. Bruckner is right in that it would be an obvious dodge to discuss love between men and woman with no reference to sex. Blame Pascal or the translator, I am only quoting. And cherry-picking.

Here is something that I consider more useful: “…but there comes a time when we have to take the risk of a relationship to the other that will upset our expectations and free us from the dreary conversation with ourselves. Independence is not the last word for people—that is what we are told by the love that has a blind faith in the other: that is why the worst misfortune on earth is the death of the few people who are dear to us and without whom life no longer has meaning or savor.”

And this, “If there is a modern dream (old as the hills but widely shared today), it consists entirely in the twofold aspiration: to enjoy symbiosis with the other while at the same time remaining master of one’s own life.” A dream indeed. Don’t we give up something of ourselves in every relationship?

I agree with, “Love is an experience we don’t want to forego, on the condition that it not deprive us of any other experience.” People in relationships with extremely controlling others might have something to say about this. I would argue that some of us are often willing to be deprived to a degree, perhaps even to submit to a more dominant and demanding love – even a forbidden love.

Regarding the conflict of the old ways of love with new: “Whether we like it or not, to fall in love is to slip back into an ancient, magical humus, to revive childhood fears, excessive hopes, and a mixture of servitude and cruelty. Without this permanence, how could we still read The Princess of Cleves, Liaisons of dangereuses, The Sufferings of Young Werther, Wuthering Heights, Cousin Bette, Madame Bovary, or In Search of Lost Time?

And I like, “Moderns are stupefied to find that love is not always lovable, that it does not coincide with justice or equality, that it is a feudal, antidemocratic passion.”

That much is from only the Introduction and Chapter One. There is much more. I’m over my personal word limit. So, I’ll close with a quote from the beginning of Chapter 4, “The Noble Challenge of Marriage for Love.”

This Bruckner quoted from the website Viedemer-de.fr, 2008:

Today, I received two text messages from my girlfriend. The first to tell me that it was all over, the second to tell me that she had sent the message to the wrong address.

As you look both ways in life, mind the gaps.
But love! Crash and burn.
Then get up and love again. Feel the paradox.

The Paradox of Love – Joan and John

This is my second post in a series about the paradox of love. It is a little different in that it’s about a man I’ve met, and a couple in love. I’ve included two of his poems.

Let’s answer this question: What is the best hoped-for outcome of any relationship?

Even Grimm’s Fairy Tales don’t finish with the “and they lived happily ever after” fantasy. The best we can hope for is, until death do us part. Barring the end of the movie The Notebook, murder-suicide pacts, or certain accidents; someone gets left. And we are often made miserable by our loss, about being left without someone we love, or about how that happened.

I don’t know John Gorow well. We attend the same writer’s group. John’s an old timer in the group; I’m new. He agreed to allow me to publish the story he related to me, and the poems he wrote. It is a remarkable and inspirational story. His poems are wonderful.

Joan and John Gorow met in 1969, when both were recovering from divorce. Prior to their marriage in 1972, Joan told John that she had been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). According to John, Joan’s health setbacks did not begin for about 28 years. Since 2000, her MS was a problem. Then came breast cancer. While treatment led to a full recovery, a Parkinson’s diagnosis soon followed, in addition to her worsening MS.

For approximately 15 years, John was Joan’s constant companion and full-time caregiver. As Joan’s health continued to deteriorate, the burden on John increased. In response to that challenge, John wrote the following beautiful, heart-wrenching poem.

***
CAREGIVER
by John Gorow

Time moves on
Inconvenient impairments become life altering
Legs don’t do what she wants
Hands have difficulty holding things

Normal chores are no longer normal
Cooking becomes dangerous
Washing dishes is impossible
Clothes can’t be carried to the washer while using a walker
The vacuum can’t be pushed
Self-worth begins to fade.

The one who has been cared for must now give care
She has cooked for me
It is my turn to cook for her
She washed our clothes
I will do the washing
She kept our home clean
I will try my best

It is assumed we all can dress ourselves
That is no longer true
Showering on her own can’t be done
No more going to the bathroom by herself

Memory slips – confusion arrives
What day is it?
Where are we?
I need patience
We talk, and then we laugh – I cry on the inside

Kids tell me to get help
I finally do – one day a week
Who is it harder on – her or me?
I get some freedom – she does not.

Caregiving is tough
Better than the alternative
I want her as she was
It will not happen
But then again, I do have her

(October 17, 2013)

***

Seven months ago, on October 22, 2016, John no longer had Joan with him. Since then, John has suffered and struggled with his pain. He wrote the following poem to directly address grief in response to the prompt: what brought you to your knees? In the fifth stanza, he directly addresses the paradox of love, vis-à-vis his grief.

***

GRIEF
by John Gorow

Who are you, grief?
Why do you pester me?
You have dropped me to my knees.

I knew I would have to deal with you,
But is it forever?
You keep lingering in my life.

I think you may be gone,
Then you grab me once again.
My laughs turn into tears.

Others have told me about you,
But you don’t behave the same with all.
I can’t determine when you will rise again.

What a paradox.
I have tried to hate you,
But without love you wouldn’t be here.

I know we will take the rest of my journey together,
So I must accept you.
That acceptance will be slow.

You should know
I will no longer dread the tears you bring me,
You will need to accept that.

You can stay with me,
But I will slowly rise from my knees.
I will move forward, but not forget.

(May 18, 2017)

***

I want to close this post with the same line John ended his email to me. It’s a beautiful one-line poem of five words.

“I miss her very much.”

***

As we look both ways and mind the gaps,
let’s not forget that some of us are suffering.
Let us love and support each other, and at all times, let us cherish those we love –
paradox or not.

 

From Pleasure, Pain

This is the first in a series of blog posts about what I see as the paradox of love. This essay is my answer to the prompt, what has brought you to your knees? I’m not sure where I’ll go with this. Maybe you can help. Ask me questions, or prompt me in some direction. Please keep in mind, this is merely my take. Feel free to provide yours.

Nothing begins, nothing ends,
that is not paid for with moan;
for we are born in other’s pain,
and perish in our own.
~ Francis Thompson

Twenty years ago, I started using the phrase it’s all about how we feel. Normally, I’d caveat such a mantra by claiming it only applied to people without mental health issues. In this case, I think the words apply universally. How do you feel?

Love is the highest standard we have for caring about others. In literature, movies, music, religion, and in our daily lives; our obsession with love is obvious. It’s poorly defined, extensively written about, and grammatically misused; but love is everywhere in the English language. We want to love and to be loved. It’s our ultimate pleasure. How sweet love is.

I embrace love, but I fear pain. Pain can take over my body. Excruciating physical pain has brought me to my knees. It’s absurd that such pain may be helpful as it travels my nervous system from its source to my brain. Pain is abnormal. Even though we all experience pain, it’s not supposed to be there unless something is wrong. Pain is a symptom more useful to doctors than to me.

As bad as physical pain is, emotional pain is more devastating. In extreme cases, mental grief often leads to thoughts of suicide. In physical pain I might say, I want to die; but, I never intended that. I only wanted the pain to stop. On the other hand, people in emotional agony can be dangerous.

Our vulnerability to emotional pain is greatest when we love someone. When we love another person, we grant that person more power over us than any god or demon. Still, we choose to love. Not just willingly, but aggressively with passion and desire. Why? It’s like we can’t live without it. If anyone does live without love, we consider that sad and dysfunctional.

Love has brought me to my knees in two ways. First, the wondrous and joyful pleasure of experiencing love has led me to my knees with happiness. Be it romantic love, love of parents, love of children, grandchildren, or friends; the wonderful state of love takes away the dark and gives light.

Second, love has dropped me in pain, in fear, in a depressingly dark, hateful passion. Love betrayed leaves behind lifelong scars too deep to ever completely heal. The end of a romance, the betrayal of a friendship, the dismissal of a parent we love, the suffering or death of a child; each of these may, and perhaps should, put me on my knees. Such pain and agony from the dark side of love makes me question the value of life.

There may be recovery or even pleasure at the end of the tunnel. Time may mend love betrayed. Still, our human nature forces us to look back into that dark tunnel, into that abyss of pain and suffering. We remember. Do we dare to ever again risk pain by making ourselves vulnerable? Do we face the agony of finding ourselves desperately miserable because we loved?

Why do we do it? Would you, could you, live without love?

That’s a paradox of love. We know the risks, the vulnerability, and the potential to suffer. And yet, we still seek out love and take the risk. How do you feel now?

Even when we look both ways and mind each gap, we will experience pain in life.

“The truth is, everyone is going to hurt you.
You just got to find the ones worth suffering for.”
― Bob Marley (20 years after his death, which means he never said it. True, nonetheless.)

The youtube poem below is worth hearing/reading, and I think the Love Hurts song by Nazareth is worth a listen.

 

Y – Yolonda, To Our Life (NaPoWriMo #28)

Yesterday was Yolonda’s birthday. I wrote this poem for her, to her, and about us. Lordy, we were so young the day we married; a long time ago on a planet far, far away.

 

Age 19

 

To Our Life
by Bill Reynolds

You’re at the core of my life, the blood of my love.
Together for years, we performed so many acts
With so many roles we’ve held as a pair, line upon line,
We’ve both been there, one with the other,
searching for truth.

Unknowing what another play might’ve been,
We know what this was; and now we see what it is
Like pearls on a string, between two people in love
Our years remain, foundations of that same love,
And discovery of truth.

We built this world, one moment at a time.
Moments we recall; and some too long forgotten,
Our time together, creations of a living world,
The past is our present, our present the future.
And pacing our life, acting on truth.

Burdens of life did task our endurance
As humanity’s frailty tested our love.
All while building great passion and strength,
Nothing in the future can bring change to our past.
Stumbling on stones, finding more truth.

Love is not work, not a great task
While true work of the universe, it just might be,
Not as a choice we make, nor a feeling we have,
Love is just that, love is simply love.
Love never dies, nor shall this truth.

Happy Birthday, My Love; blessings to you,
A toast to your life, how happy you’ve made me
By being my wife. I’m glad I found ya.
We all love you., my dearest Yolonda.
A love discovered is finding a truth.

Road Trip Ready

 

Live long, love well, seek truth and happiness. Keep looking both ways, and mind the dangers lurking in the gaps.

C – Collaboration Poem (NaPoWriMo #4)

This poem is a collaboration poem written by my daughter, Julie, and me. We both worked on it. In fact, she initially wrote the first part, as a poem to me. It is not renga because it meets none of the normal forms. It is simply two people writing a poem to each other and collaborating, so style and form are free. One could look on it as a duet, or father – daughter billets-doux (love, or sweet letters). Ardor means enthusiasm or passion. My portion is italicized.

Dewey and Dad
by Julie Barber and Bill Reynolds

You are my father, tried and true
And you my daughter through and through.

You know my heart, my feet and hands too.
Some even say I look like you.
From birth and to your life throughout,
I’ve been there for you, without a doubt.

There was a time when things were harder.
I hope I’ve grown and become much smarter.
If we could go back, I’d want you my daughter.
Together we’ve grown older with ardor.

My father, wiser by the day…. Always profound things to say.
Sharing our life keeps misery at bay.

I look to you when the answers are grey.
You say, “let nothing get in our way.”
You heart and your talent come into play,
Find peace therein, as you work away.

Go out and write and use your talents
It will give your life more sense and balance.
Your words are like clay, your pen is your pallet,
Your life is your muse, your mind is your mallet.

Get off your ass and do it already
The world is uncertain, and time is unsteady.
It’s your life to live, you should live it as heady,
Be happy my child, ‘tis all worth it, you’re ready.

The fact you’re so far away makes me sad
But I’m more than proud and grateful you’re my dad.

She’s Julie, but I call her Dewey

Forever you’ll be my daughter to me,
A lifetime of love, we certainly have.

My daughter, our love surpasses all distance
No oceans divide us, our minds unite us.

As we see one to the other, it will always be,
You rank above others swimming the sea.

Mind the gaps, family, love, friends, and the important things in life.
Look both ways, and all around.

Our Struggle with Love

valentine-2

Mom frequently told me that she loved me. I don’t recall Dad saying it. If he told me, it was seldom. They both loved me; and while I loved them back, the feeling that I had was not the same for each. What was that? One word with so many meanings.

We even manage to say love to express approval of inanimate objects, “Oh, I love that pizza.” Or, as my young grandchild copied from his mother, disapproval: “I’m not lovin’ it!” He was too young for such a trendy (now trite) phrase, but he understood it.

If we considered all the meanings we have for the word and lined them up on our continuum of human emotions, the variety would defy any logic we use to keep saying it. Fortunately, context helps us out and we socially understand each other’s intent. We would need to invent too many new words to replace love. Someone once told me, “I love you, but I’m not in-love with you, if you know what I mean.” I understood and welcomed the explanation since the first three words could be concerning, but still not necessarily unwelcome.

valentine-1Regarding romantic love, it is one of the most fantastic feelings we can experience. We can even see that love feeling in friends who have fallen into love, head over heels. More evidence for the wonderfulness of amour is that the love and lust emotions get us in so much hot water, but we seem to dive right in anyway. It’s such a good thing. Would we be human without it? Barring some interfering DSM IV, mental problem diagnosis, we all love someone, and usually many people. And each feeling of love will be different from person to person, but it’s still love.

All love makes this world a better place. We’ll never have too much love in the world, but we seem to have too little of it. We have faced that since the beginning of time – too little caring about each other.

Enjoy The Youngbloods as they sing one of my best-liked, hippy love songs from the 1960s: Get Together. I’ve provided the lyrics below, as well as links to two other love-tunes.

The Youngbloods – Get Together lyrics

Love is but a song to sing//Fear’s the way we die//You can make the mountains ring//Or make the angels cry//Though the bird is on the wing//And you may not know why.

Come on people now//Smile on your brother//Everybody get together//Try to love one another//Right now.

Some may come and some may go//We shall surely pass//When the one that left us here//Returns for us at last//We are but a moment’s sunlight//Fading in the grass.

Refrain//refrain//refrain

If you hear the song I sing//You will understand (listen!)//You hold the key to love and fear//All in your trembling hand//Just one key unlocks them both//It’s there at your command.

Refrain//refrain//refrain

Right now…

Right now….

Also, Haddaway’s is a more erotic and fun video of What is Love (click here); and Dionne Warwick finishes up with What the World Needs Now is Love (click here). None of these songs have many lyrics, but I love them anyway.

valentine-3

Happy Valentine’s Day.
Remember, love is a two-way street.
So, mind the gaps and be sure to look both ways.