Originally published in Roberts Wesleyan College Journal for the Arts, Vol. II, “a contemplation” (1998)
Out to the dock. Out to push his mind, then let it meet the waves, alive and thrashing under a small seeing eye. Out to let his soul sink below the water’s skin and into the depth of heart, the depth and patience of unseen, rarely touched sameness. He sits to let go; he stops only to unwind the string entwined among neuron and thought, synapse and idea, reason and feeling and action and desire. In towards a moist inviting song he lets the water draw him, a night-calling siren backed and dropped by an angry and gin-blossoming moon, even before the earth completely turns her back on the sun. Into condensed mists he saturates himself with a deep breath’s sigh and vacating relief.
A black dot remains on the water-line of the near horizon, making itself known to him only in its own ceased motion extended ad infinitum. Breeze by breeze the tide rolled over his mind and played her whorish tune on the reeds. In the sky a hand writ’ death punctured his heart as though morbid Cupid took up his bow and poisoned his arrows’ heads with saliva from Cerberus’ fangs, so that for one day, just one aberrant day, Love might die at the hand of someone other than himself. And, rescue the perishing, D’ stood up solely to defy the fading white, the gray, the churning purple and blue, the mixed black.
What needs love so much as the soul without? Too, without what is the soul who loves? That friendly minute my spirit woke to recover its strength of passion and health of life. D’ moved the lake with these words underneath his diaphragm, not quite powerful enough to sing, a little less to speak, but with sureness forming every die-cast adjective escaping now.
“Charis; bright hope and worthier risk that I might share with you this dock’s rotting boards. I stand only as far above the water as this wood holds me, and here I would have you stand as well. I look out past these posts to which I would cling or else drown; I search for you that we might meet our eyes in some greater capacity than our heart, our soft remembrance, our meek acquaintance now exists.
“Let me write a sonata for love; let you name it. Burden me to pull you out of this darkness and succumb to my dearest wish. Perform that ceremony committed before our Love, before our Love delays too long to practice any wonted rite in elder beds. Come kiss my cheek and then my lips in trembling finality, in justified restraint, in anticipated promises as we research the startling instruction of what comes next. Hear, Charis, not Charybdis, my intoned plea. Dear Beauty’s namesake, fasten your eyes close on me as I search deep for you.”
Standing up, the childhood dreamer looked out beyond his wooden end. He sought past his restful poise that gathered so much comfort in its embrace because such complacency slaughtered his passion, his dream that he knows is only a dream, but that he continues to dream every night he sleeps. No answering wind came crying back his pining voice. No echoes bounced from yonder hills except to mock him in silence, in the absence of abuse. In that full moment some poetry died at woman’s truant hand, but more was born; some cloud uncovered sun blacked-out the earth, but eight more stars revealed themselves to his reject. D’ turned his back on the lake’s simmer as rain began to pour, and off the dock he ran.
A mount of rage built up within my spirit began to storm. Why, I thundered, did she not concede the welcome of her love? Why, I bled my veins, does Beauty never recognize that Truth reveals more plainly Love than ever Pleasure or Enticement or Sport? Why, I reached down into my throat and threw my voice, does banishment occur to those who tread the limb, who walk the unsturdy dock to ask their heart to pump so they might live? I overcast the sky with questions; I ripped the tide in half with bitter words; in torrents of precipitation I included every unsaid thought, the spearhead to every unanswered bolt that my friend shot into the vast and cold water he begged reveal herself.
Shortly I followed him to a room that he made a temporary home and stood outside his window. Indeed he wrote a sonata for his beauty, for his Charis, and though she did not name it, D’ named it for her. This made me cry so tears streaked down the pained glass my vision occupied. He looked up as though my pelting droplets bid his attention. He saw me, and in me realization of his pain revealed that it did not go unmourned, unnoticed, unbefriended by another, if only One. He tuned his instrument and recomposed his hurt to signify this newer and companioned understanding.
Playing I left him. Holding one more word to write in journals where his music lived in manuscript, I backed away to give him privacy and smiled. Let Charybdis examine him then spear him to the wood from which he pleads. Let all these cause Earth to shatter, because they will die in his mind who lets them go, and dying, they will call to him but he will leave their radiance in space to fizzle, as they did his rays of Love. Thus, when they return from their encircling exile will he read their sorrowed faces, their reformed breasts, and hold them not at arm’s length with twin malice, but bring them to himself to Know and to listen to his song.