Tuesday, August 5, 2014

In Trutina

In Trutina

My darling, the sea is at rest, windless,
A turquoise gem, a sparkling shield at dawn
Today, outside our oceanfront cottage––
But let us not name it so––“oceanfront”–
Too blunt, “cottage” low wattage;
This winding path I tread, this
Hillside next to shore
Is so much more
Than real estate:
Come early, come late,
It’s a balm for the soul,
Albeit young, albeit old;
Rather say our haven here, our
Hide-away for many a year, where
Hidden right in plain sight, I
Waited, and hesitated
To make things right.

My darling, the sea is at rest
In this our private place
Where you, too, have rested,
Now, for many a year,
Doing as you please,
Taking your ease.
Believe me when I say
I do not begrudge
Any peace you may have found
Over the years, or
Right here, right now.

Bare feet on stone steps,
Quite cool to the touch, I
Want to whisper that I still
Love you very much.
But is that true, my dear?
How can it be? Honestly?
For on this stunning day––
A day perhaps of gentle
Breeze, or none, a
Day of scorching heat, of
Searing sun, I have come
To hurt you more badly,
It may be, than you have ever
Been hurt before
By my deceptions, by my lies:
To wound you I have come
Bearing truth that shines
Forth brilliantly: a glorious sun
To you unwelcome, perhaps an insult,
My surprise; to me a precious
Gift, a stunning pink sunrise.

Red sky in morning,
Sailor’s warning:
A rule to live by,
To keep one safe,
But for you? Nothing foretold
How I, once your love-slave,
Would rebel and nothing tell,
Of what here, today, you shall be
Told. No sailing for you this
Morning, no revitalizing swim.
For on this day, I trust, you will stay
In, and think on the Fall, on original sin;
No swimming in the calm first light,
Darkness is best, dark glasses too,
For I have come to execute you.

Really? You gasp. Of course not! My Love,  
A little truth will never kill you. Will it? Ah…
Then let me kill you quickly if I may. Let me
Slay you and stop your heart’s
Fearful beating, your mind’s dismay.

Know then what from this day forth
Shall be known of you, here in
The village, and wherever we go; know
That you shall be known
As the woman who woke one
Morning, years ago, safe in
Her husband’s arms. Content, she
Happily received his tender kiss,
Accepted some coffee, and said
How she would miss him
While he shopped in town,
How she would think of him
Walking down and down,
The steep stone steps
Shoes dangling from shoelaces
Tied together, flung around his neck.

And how, later, burdened with bags of food,
Of tasty treats for him, for her,
Of wine perhaps, a bottle or two,
He would reappear at the top of the steps,
A little breathless, perhaps;
How happily she would greet him
Whatever the time:
At the end of his strenuous climb!

My darling, my beloved
My faithful wife,
That woman is you,
Light of my life.
That man was me
And I climbed down
The steep stone steps
Into the sleepy town,
But no shopping
Would I do, not
At first, for I must slake
My terrible thirst.

Do you remember
The small, darkish, ever so lively woman,
Studying to be a veterinarian?
Who worked at the store?
Foreign born, from
(You always said “from Madagascar.”)
It was she who served me, early that
Sunday, telling me in broken words,
That our wine was ready, to carry up the hill,
A birthday present for you, a celebration,
Wine from the French nation
Had arrived… if only I would follow
Her into the pantry.

And now can you guess
The scene that comes next?
Now I don’t really want to tell you; and
After all, my love, my gazelle,
This was no grand tragedy; just a
Domestic drama, full of pratfalls:
Call me the prat, if you like.
(Whatever will you call me
When I come home tonight?)

But even as I speak, I see you in my mind’s
Eye, up and about, just a whisper
Of a breeze billowing
Your light summer dress, where I
Confess, I’d kiss you now if I
Were there, and stroke your back,
Your lovely hair, and pull to
Your waist the sheer white dress, where
In a pocket you stashed my letter,
The letter you have read. And now, no doubt,
Wish one of us was dead.

Oh my love, how I hate to give hurt.
How much would I rather be right there beside you!
Gaze into your mild eyes, guide and protect,
Genuflect at your shrine, where I once worshiped
A love divine, a goddess, a beauty, a creature
Of sex, of laughter, one who mocked death;
Of women the very best. And yes, I had to
Go and ruin it all, I the serpent in the garden, I
Brought about the Fall.

And up on the hill, as you touched your
Lips to the rim of your cup, I kissed
The Malay girl on her full lips, on her neck and her small shoulders, and again on her lovely face.
And as you brushed your hair, I ran my hands
Through hers, its silkiness so unexpected:
Something rare! Surpassing words.
And as you sucked on a melon that I
Had bought you, I–I was full of longing for
The girl, and taking in my hands
Her generous breasts, I kissed them
Everywhere, I whispered her name,
I worshiped her body.

My darling, even now I am not done
With hurting you: the worst is yet to come,
The worst for you, the best for me.
Because, you see, while you awaited me
In our hillside home, impatient, perhaps, of
Being alone, perhaps even longing to have me
Near, I had all but forgotten you–
Your world-weary sighs–and grasping her hips, 
Looking deep into
Her eternally kind eyes,

There, there where I beheld her soul,
She besought me, and our souls were made whole.

 And now, my love, you will ever be known
As the woman who waited, unknowing, at home,
While her husband held another’s round hips,
And thrust his penis into her, into those other lips, deeper and deeper, again and again,
Looking deeply into her eyes, pools pure, eternal of

So do you remember always that it went like this: the Soul-mating, the passion, the respect, my high 
Regard  for her, there in my tender kiss.

For whatever they may say about Morality,
These were the facts, the Reality.

And what, for you, may be humiliation
In the eyes of the world, however one may deny it,
Will bring to me great admiration,
For this display, as it were, of my manly prowess. So unfair:
While the women get the blame and the shame;
I get the fame, as gossips perpetuate my name,
Telling and retelling my story as 
A titillating anecdote
Of covert reproductive success.

Ah, darling, I am sorry, for your sweet sake, that the survival game is brutal indeed,
That my last, best chance to plant my seed, my chance, which I did plan,
I calculated in disregard of your tender love for me, your jealousy, your insecurity, and yes, your fragility.

–Oh, if only I could go back in time–
No darling, I wouldn’t give up the sexual union, 
The deep pleasure, the joy, 
That brought my child into the world––
Yes, even in spite of the love I bore you––
And bear you still––dear girl. 

But if I could go back, and do one small thing, to make Redress, 
I would warn you to love me 
A little less.

I should have done so. But no–

I was too hungry for success.

Deeply sorry I am that I did not come to you
When you awaited me by the hearth.

 But joyful and proud and certain I remain
Of the rightness of my child’s birth.

For this is what we humans are:
Food comes first, then sex for survival.
And in this survival game
We all have a rival.

In the scales I placed one unbearably light feather.
In the balance I placed this one tiny birth
For all the times they tried to wipe
My people from the face of Earth.

As Tina said, what’s love got to do–--
Got to do with it?
When from birth
To senility,
All we are all really doing, is
Searching for stability.

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