Tuesday, April 07, 2009

The prompt today was to write a clean poem and then a dirty poem (or to write one or the other) The prompt hit the spot for me because I've been thinking a lot about relationships and intimacy, what makes a relationship feel clean or dirt, comfortable or uncomfortable. I hate guessing or feeling like other people are guessing about me. I want to be able to talk about any conflicts or confusions that come up, and feel uncomfortable and anxious when others make assumptions that they don't make explicit. It's odd, because I think I'm pretty intuitive, but I don't want to base relationships on my intuition or anybody else's. I want it simple and overt - clear - clean. Hence the poems.

Clean

You ask until you understand
what I say and how I mean it,
clearly, every nuance, no doubt,
no guesses, no reading between
lines, no figuring me out, no secrets,
no lies, no unfinished business, no
resentment, no walking on egg shells,
no mystery, sufficient commitment
to make consistent effort, respect.
engagement, challenge, enduring love.

Dirty

You try to figure me out, but don't ask
what I mean, how I feel, what I need.
When I try to tell you, you read between
lines, make guesses, assume intentions,
harbor resentment, walk around secrets,
refuse to ask for what you want, hate me
when I won't guess, want me to get it right
without being told. There is no right enough.
No sufficient commitment, lack of respect,
Romantic tension disquised as enduring love.


Victoria Hendricks
April 6, 2009

7 comments:

Ruth said...

amen

Mary said...

I like your poems very much, Victoria. I hate also about the guessing. Your comments are very relevant to me tonight, as this noon I had lunch with 3 friends I have known since 1970. One friend only shares her very traumatic times with me. This is hard for me to fathom. Today I said things about my own stuff with my own kids openly. After all, we have known each other for decades. I have nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of. My one friend, who I know has difficult times with her children,said nothing. She will tell me at some point, but to the three of us said noshing. She has told me in the past that because the other two have children who are lawyers, psychiatrist, etc. she doesn't want to talk about the fact that her children have taken different paths. I don't understand that really. The children's paths are their paths. It is awkward really. Three of us talk about our children and grandchildren. One doesn't. I do know why, know some details others don't (as we both have adopted kids) but I am oprn with these people I have known for decades.....and just don't GET the hesitancy to be real with such long term friends.

Victoria said...

Mary, I empathize with your situation with your old friends - the one who is unwilling to be intimate and real with the others about her children's paths and her concerns - but is willing to share privately with you. I find it hard in groups when there are layers of who knows what - especially with really old friends - hard to stay on the same footing.

Peggy said...

I liked this different twist you took with clean and dirty, Victoria. I never thought of relationships in those terms but it fits very well.

I think Mary that I could understand your friend's feelings if she herself has not really come to terms with her kids' paths. One shares these things when one is ready and there are times when they are just too raw. Sympathy is much harder to take than empathy in those situations--especially if kids' accomplishments are a matter of pride for some in the group. I would think though that your openness would have encouraged her to open up as well.

Glad you got your office put back together, Victoria!

Mary said...

Victoria and Peggy, thanks for your comment on my situation. It still does bother me. I think that the reason the one friend shares with ME and not the others is she perceives the others to have 'perfectly turned out children' - among them -- psychiatrist, two lawyers, two social workers - all with families or at least good situations in life. Whereas HER seldom-employed son in late thirties is unmarried, lives at HOME and is the father of a boy who is now 10. And her daughter (adopted Korean - as are my daughters) is having serious problems in life, divorced, two children, job issues, personal issues galore.

Anyway she and I have always shared the paths of our children, undoubtedly because they have been rocky paths at times. I also feel quite free to share some of the 'rocky times' I encounter / encountered with the two other friends, as I do not find them judgmental people and do not in any way think that they may think my children are less than theirs in any way...or whatever it is my friend is hesitant about.

To me it is very awkward, as all of us talk a bit about our children. (Not a lot...but acknowledging what is happening in their lives) But this friend says nothing. I do not ask publicly about her children / grandchildren because I know she does not want to share. Somehow the others have picked this up too, apparently, but I am always surprised that none of the other two ask.

Well I guess I needed to say this....LOL. Thanks for listening.

Diane T said...

What excellent poem results from Robert's prompt, Victoria. The first poem is a wonderful reminder of how one should act... and the second an excellent reminder of the tension when you don't come 'clean' with your thoughts and questions. Nice work!

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