After Marie Howe’s “After the Movie”
My friend David and I are standing outside arguing
about believability and storylines. He says
that he believes there’s such a thing as soul-mates.
I say, I don’t think so. He says, everyone expects
the walls to fall down when their hearts break.
I say that it’s complicated, that we’re complicated, that it’s foolish
to think there’s only one person
you could spend the rest of your life with without killing.
David says, I think we mean different things by the same word.
Maybe it’s not just one soul-mate, but many, and maybe we stumble around on land
trying to find all of ours and fit the jagged pieces of our insides to one another.
I tell David, that sounds painful. And what if you don’t meet them? I ask.
Do you think you’re all destined to run into each other, bouncing off cities like pinballs
off the sides of the machines until you find them all?
We’re leaning back to rest on the cool brick of the building, taking
turns inhaling tar from the same cigarette, and I hear myself repeating what I said
to my last love: love is choice, I used to say to him.
Richard Bach says, a soul-mate is someone who has locks to fit our keys
and keys to fit our locks.
Liz Gilbert says, a soul-mate is probably the most important person you’ll ever meet,
but to live with a soul-mate forever is too painful.
Edgar Cayce says that soul-mates help us to become whole ourselves.
D.H. Laurence says, I prefer my heart to be broken, and when I tell David this he laughs
and says, that’s crazy. But I agree with you, I say. That’s just exactly it.
I tell David, I prefer my heart not broken, and believing
the existence of soul-mates is a kind of permanent brokenness
until they come along to seal the cracks. He says, that’s one perspective.
I say that perspective is knowing the world is going to keep turning
whether we want it to or not, whether we think our worlds will end or not.
I say it’s our own job to keep our own hearts whole.
So, here’s this. I am absolutely obsessed with Marie Howe’s piece and, well, imitation is the truest form of flattery. Also, I genuinely think that studying/mimicing the accomplished and talented poets you admire is a great way to start understanding what works and what doesn’t, why that’s so, and all the grey vagaries of poetry.
[P.S. Not entirely sure I used the term vagaries correctly, I just really wanted to use it.]
Off to sleep before work in the morning. Yay for writing again!