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Bliss as This (Failure of Imagination in Four Parts)
Wide-eyed kids like me know more than all,
but less than ignorance,
or that ignorance is bliss.
I will never know tenderness of a lover's kiss.
After receiving her kiss that I would never get,
I will never invite a second.
Seconds after the second kiss,
I will never surface from beneath
the lunchroom table, where all kisses are born.
I will never know a sweeter smile
than the one that vanished from her face
after she knew we'd never meet again.
Uprooted and moved by arbitrary decisions
of silly adults who knew nothing of
lunchroom etiquette, far away to a remote,
loveless outpost, not even ten miles apart that
might as well had been ten million.
My family would never again settle into a place
long enough for me to find
a decent lunchroom table.
I would always hold hands with girls
who wanted only friendship, always knowing
that I always secretly hoped for more tenderness.
I would always be duped by a few girls,
who only flirted to make a mockery of my feelings.
I would eventually cocoon those feelings
into a calcified, preteen cynicism,
which would act as both buffer and blind-spot,
keeping me safe from both the pain of rejection
and the pilot-webs spun by more sincere girls
who otherwise would've ensnared me in webs of
tenderness, compassion, warmth, and limerence.
I would always excel at blocking my own blessing.
I have never become friends with young women,
expecting mutual evolution of connection.
After evolving with her, I never expected
the connection to take us higher
nor did I detect the depths we would plummet
separately, as we evolved and grew apart.
I would never love another woman again
as I did her,
until I did love another woman again
in a dizzying, intoxicating spin,
but never again like the first.
And never again like the second spin,
once we too lost cohesion, spinning apart
And never again like the third,
whose sphere of influence compelled me
to second-guess all that I would never do
for the first and the second, morphing me into
something unrecognizable to me,
but easily more compatible with her,
only for her to lose interest and wander apart
from the stranger I had become.
I would never again compromise
my existence for any woman, and
I would never again allow myself
to feel anything for any woman, and then
I met a woman every bit as stubborn as I am, and
once I once again allowed the latter pillar
to slowly fall away into the abyss of her tenderness
I never imagined any other woman
compelling me to reexamine the former.
And I will surely never again know tenderness
of a love as bliss as this.