poetry

Love with a Price. {poetry}

 

Oh, how powerfully seductive your words were back then
First about my beautifully eloquent, angry, decisive, clear
Wildly liberal, carefully orchestrated, take-no-shit
Statements, arguments, and die-hard proclamations
Took me a while to find you in the crowd of
Online admirers, other readers, and observers
Who thanked me for a public voice — unfiltered
Clever of you to disguise your profile picture
In observance of multiracial, radical heroes
Drew me in even more
There was an unspoken, then roaring rage in 2016
That this fucking animal posed as a political icon
Especially after eight years of perfection
But I spoke. I screamed. I fought and kicked
And marched and refused to believe this insanity could
Ever touch us

And so, we continued this brutal, beautiful, boundless
Energy. With deeper analysis, laying our heads on the pillow
Of sanity, salvation, and hope
A kaleidoscope of exhaustion and disbelief
Then one day, your brilliant political commentary
Segued into a mention of my effervescent smile
Wow! I know flirting. I may have invented it
But this was a sweet little detour from the angst

I am not a woman in need of a man’s approval
Not my style or desire
So, I’m calling this a reprieve from the daily anger, sadness, and hopelessness
Got a bit caught up in our exchange of universal adjustment, revolution
Meeting of the minds about white privilege
And the whole ballgame of Fox News, aka another planet
Added fuel to the fire of our words

Then, more personal, wow-you’re-amazing-stuff
Let’s become FB friends
Let’s go deeper
Yeah, the definition of friend will never be the same again
Particularly from a man, and wow, do I know better

Chatter, more of the same, a bit sexier, funnier
Yada yada yada
Then on to the all-encompassing Messenger
Tell me more
I’ll tell you about me
You are fascinating and brilliant and beautiful, you said
There I was. Intrigued. Captivated.
Tell me more
And we did, and now I am so sick and tired, tired, tired
Of men like you who are hunting for beauty and brilliance
Is it the ultimate challenge?
I’m so much savvier than this
Yet there I went
Shared stories, always rewarded with
Massively outrageous compliments

There was a falling of something
Lust, for sure
You’ve been at it for a very long time
Combined, however, with these intellectually sexual banquets
Scrumptious promises
Full-course pleasure
Where are you? How far?
When can I see you?

Let’s “do chat”
That was the beginning of a
Long and winding road of the
Falling of something that felt real
The mental stimulation never wavered
Nor did the humor
Or the intensity of our commitment to the cause

The bright lights of spending time together
No matter the distance
It felt. Just. Right.
Flew you did. Cross-country.

And here’s when it went uphill/downhill
I am weary of men who weave promises
After 12 months of perfectly rehearsed
I love you
Your photos are what I live for
Your mind makes me spin with gratitude that you exist
Men who subliminally cause a woman like me
To put too fucking much on her credit card
To make this a Disneyland to remember
For 10 days
10 days and a burning, enthusiastic, committed
Plan to live together forever
You say, I’m the man! You are my eternity!
Let’s go!
Sometimes this fairy tail/tale comes true
Sometimes it’s the chase and the capture
Sometimes the most intuitive women, who are doing just fine on their own,
Fall into the image of a future that really is about
An even exchange of give and take

But not always
Because we spend many days
And many dollars
Because I fell into this — all in
Even though I was giving so much more than I received

Until I didn’t
Until I called out the enormously unfair discrepancy
Of what I did not get
Those early messages may have been ether
Sure as hell did not materialize into the words
The words!
I know, love, and live words

How fucking dare you say to me
After I was published
“Why don’t you write about more than just love?”
When you were the inspiration of the magic?

I was caught in a web that I believed to be love
Maybe it was a version of something like love
Because there sure were moments that felt that way

Until they didn’t
Until the demands were intense and the criticism biting, stinging
The physical connection pale, and not the gift I needed

So it’s all over now
And you are the recipient of my foolish choices to
Take care of every single ache and pain — physical, mental, emotional
While mine were mute

And you no longer worship my messages/emails/chats
You are angry, exposed
In a cage of guilt
You makes no apologies for the pain, broken promises, weakness
The agonizing twist is that you are fragile and inept
You found a warrior
Took advantage, got precisely what you saw way back then
Not a modicum of responsibility

Men are capable of holding the power
Because they have not evolved
And they don’t give a fuck when we have twisted ourselves
Into the pain of satisfying them

Enough. Enough.
I am cautious and weary now
Embracing love on terms that are equal
When I find that balance, find that zone, I’ll  give my woman, warrior friends the map.

***

Debi Cooper lives in the Pacific Northwest, and is in pursuit of returning to her beloved California. Meanwhile, she writes, reads, absorbs pinot noir, all things spicy, Netflix and chill, movies, and is thankful for the women and men in her life who are real, honest, show their true faces and embrace activism, enthusiasm about all and every motion that will bring down the house of Dump. Despite a recent marathon relationship of mansplaining, she believes in the power of a man who doesn’t do that.

***

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