he steps into the sea
                        of course he is beautiful, of course
                        i am afraid, of the way

keeping him a secret makes loving him inevitable

i try to convince myself that the sun shining in the middle of
our night isn’t shining just for us, that i don’t have to set
fire to my entire body, the way wax feeds itself on flames
and then disappears
only to convince itself of its existence

and my lips like fire licks the oil

kiss me, i promise
i will not die

i am alive and i dream of loud crystal blue sounds
under thin fabrics and wooden staircases
memories awaken
like a music box, then wait for the slow silence
until i swallow the storm’s herons

and the wild roses surrender their frail bodies to the water

                       and time is a moth eating away

my dress i left in my lover’s bed

About the poem:

While it is a love poem, I wanted explore the concepts of time, timelessness, memory, being and the seas within. In one of the first key lines “keeping him a secret makes loving him inevitable”, we sense the narrator’s hesitation, and yet awareness and understanding, that secrets is what we feel drawn towards and keeps us desirous because of the mystery. We can reflect on the idea that whatever we keep as secret, or hidden, ultimately becomes our master and wheel-turner. This is where the dance of intimacy and desire becomes more apparent. How can we reconcile the two? Desire needs space to explore and is always ahead of us; and love and intimacy need closeness, need bonding. Often times in life, we fall in love with the mystery of something, and we continue to love it because we begin to cherish it only in our heart. The more time *it* spends there, the more we begin to bond to it, connect to it, and love it. Because it’s ours, and because we’ve spent so much time caring for it, like the rose in The Little Prince. In this privacy, devotion and caring, becomes a sacredness; a holiness that unfolds through the years.

On another level, we can analyze this further, and through psychology we know that whatever parts of our psyche we keep unacknowleged, unlit and unaccepted, it is they that become our strongest motivators for our actions, thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

I then explore the image of a candle as a metaphor for faith, purpose, and beingness. The only way wax knows it’s wax and of its purpose of being wax, is because it begins to melt with the flames. When I think of purpose, I think that it is a combination of being and doing. Often times, our purpose is a life’s long road, and not meant to be just suddenly found or known – it is a process and embodiment along the twists and turns of our life’s path.

Our heart is the initiatory pathway towards higher consciousness, and it is our heart that guides us along the invisible maps and geographies towards our destiny and soul’s purpose fulfillment. Our heart is also an intuitive center and it scans everything else around us to then give us a message through a desire, an idea, an urge, a feeling. This means that by the time we get this desire, there is already a need for it in our world. And we would not have had that desire in the first place unless we were meant to experience it and accomplish it. So desire is a very important aspect of our being, and of our purpose – though of course, it has to be coming truly from our heart.

Personally, I believe that our greatest life purpose is to love; to just be ourselves, be love, be loving and love others, and express our unique self; to become a stable vessel through which inspired creativity can flow through us, and then share it with others. In this way, like a candle, we burn; we warm hearts with faith, hope and love. On a more mundane level, we all feed on our desires, because it is through feeling passionate, that we feel more alive also.

Next, I decided to portray memory like a music box, and somehow circle back around to the beginning of the poem. While it was initially the moon shining in the middle of her night, the woman sees the moon as her sun – as a fire burning inside her, because time has become irrelevant when hearts speak. Memories often play like a music box; we open it, like a doorway, and we enter a world through a feeling, a sound, a scent even – and it’s as if we are suddenly there, in the middle of of the memory as a it’s reality again. And the music box plays and plays, like water, until it stops. Then, a slow silence, as the memory, though no longer playing actively, it still there, moving our stillness, and all parts inside us are rewired like clockwork. Memories are also like batteries, which is why it is important to know which ones to access and when, to re-energize us.  

“until i swallow the storm’s herons” is a little hint to those more closely reading, that it was actually she, who was the sea all along. She is the sea, she is the night, she is the day, she is the roses, she is everything – and everything that is, becomes, only because it is experienced by her. Things in life exist for us, only because we’ve chosen to notice them, and pay attention to them – and this is how stories become living things, and how the old can breathe new life again. Life experiences itself through us. God too experiences himself through us – in our every thought, feeling and emotion, God experiences himself uniquely, in a way he could not have otherwise. In this way, every thought, emotion and feeling, are purposeful. Every day is a God, and the holiness unfolds itself through the years.

The icelandic ancient word for intuition was “Innsaei” which also meant “the sea within” and “to see within”. The sea, the see. As such, the story becomes about a movement within, a deepening. A memory, and a moment in which the memory becomes alive, awakening her entire body in its continous existence. There is no more hesitation to allow the entering and returning of a powerful feeling and desire, inside herself. The acceptance of it, allows us to surrender ourselves, and be willing to flow in the way of water, like the ebb and flow of waves, and be okay with this flow; the roses are still roses, they are still wild, and they’ll perfume the waters embracing them for the moment.

We end the poem with the concept of time. To me, time is often a matter of timing, curving and twisting, non-linear. Unclockable. Unpredictable. And it’s only reference or meaning of it, is how we felt in the moment. And it’s only way of movement, is by how we too move, or unmove, from certain rooms of memories within us, along the circling staircases of our life. And in others’ too. Even if we stop thinking about someone, if they continue to think of us, we are a part of their life as much as before. And they can trace us back along their feelings, in their inhales, and see us in objects around them, or as subtitles on a tv screen, or as lyrics of a song on the radio; and along the little places they leave in the corners of their bed, where dreams unite eternal lovers forever.

Check out my other poems from the {poem + story} series kiss on the wrist and wolf river

You can also visit my poems page, check out my two love poetry books, Moonhold (2019) and The God-like Things (2021), listen to my spoken word while musing over some of my videos and photography, and read my essay on poetry and mysticism published in The Poetry Question Journal. 

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Cover photography by Maxime Simoncelli.