Tower of Babel

‘The Fall of the Tower of Babel’ by Cornelis Anthonisz (1547)

* * *

How do you show your love for me?
What languages do you speak, my love?
Dare I ask, do we share at least one common dialect?
Can we, please?

How do I show my love for you?

I prefer to wrap you in words:
In bandages, for your pain (or mine?)
In wrapping paper, for the gift that you are
To wrap you is to suffocate you, my darling;
the better to contain my pleasure & pain

I prefer to assign songs to you:
Wind Of Change, to signify hope in troubled times
So Far Away, to show longing through the distance
To speak to you through songs you love;
for better writers to better express what we both feel

I prefer to add disaster to our story:
You washing away in a flood of indifference
Me trapped in an earthquake, trying to reach you
For our love torn apart is a world torn apart;
it is nothing less than catastrophe

Here I am, raw and yearning and bare
Communing with you in the only languages I know
Of metaphors, music, and natural disasters
Is it enough for you?

We are building the Tower of Babel
Destined to reach the heavens and defy deities
Alas, they chose to bestow upon you one tongue
And I another; are we destined to now fall down?

And so I ask you again:

How do you show your love for me?
What languages do you speak, my love?
Dare I ask, do we share at least one common dialect?
Can we, please?


A thank you to my ex

I have playlists for men in my life with which I have had a significant romantic connection. So far, I have three.

When I listen to the playlist of the man that caused me so much pain and doubt for five years, I can only think of how much I have grown through that period, and afterwards. I look at the progression of songs:

from the first songs he sent me, so full of hope and young love —

to the songs I listened to one year in, so full of pleading, asking him to stop the hurt —

to the bittersweet songs that I played for him as I let him go, slowly and lovingly.

My playlist for him has evolved; but then again, so have I.

* * *

I started this blog while I was with him. In fact, he is the reason I started this blog. The first words I typed in were efforts to be understood by the world at large — if he couldn’t understand me, then maybe someone else out there would.

Eventually, they became words that felt healing to me, like a cool salve that I applied to wounds that were there before even him. I communed with my past through my words, and through this process, turned myself inside out. It was painful, but joyful. I relived my trauma every time my fingers flew across my keyboard. Through this blog, I’ve written about him, about other loves, but mostly, about myself — and that’s what I have needed the most.

And because of this, I want to thank him for being the gateway to this world of catharsis; for being the initial struggle I had to overcome before I truly got to the hard stuff; for necessitating this blog that accepts my beautiful and my ugly.

* * *

Here are three songs
dedicated to each phase of our love:

The budding romance;

The suffocating love;

The ebbing breakup.

* * *


Daily Post prompt: Gate

Kitchen rhythmics

You come home to me, your feet tapping their way to the kitchen.
You hear me sing as the knife bombards tomatoes in an even tempo.
You wrap your arms around me as our hips sway to Tracy Chapman.
You pick out our cups while I pick out our teas, and we alternate sipping.
You smile, I smile, you smile, I smile — oh, the headiness of reciprocation.

Such is the rhythm of our evenings together.

Daily Post prompt: Rhythmic

A gentle rain

Dear Kevin,

We slow-danced in the kitchen today, with tears running down our cheeks. We listened to my playlist — it’s one of my sadder ones, the one for breaking up and other associated emotions. We listened to each song, moving from one spot in the kitchen to the next… You sitting on a stool, me standing in front of you, looking into each other’s eyes… Or me rinsing the spinach in the sink, you coming up behind me, lightly grazing my hair.

We’ve done this routine every year for the last three years — this song-and-dance of sorrow and slow goodbyes. First, I start looking for an apartment. Then, I tell you I’m leaving. Then, you spend the next few days breaking out in tears asking me to stay. It’s not really a fight, with screaming and high decibels. It’s really more like a gentle rain, pouring down from our eyes endlessly for days, rinsing all the badness away. After the storm has passed, you acquiesce sadly, telling me I can take the new bag of rice with me, or something just as innocuous.

I still love you so much. But I know you’re not good for me. I think, one day, you’ll realize how much I’ve taught you to open your heart and let yourself be vulnerable. I can’t be held back from achieving my true potential anymore, when I have this overwhelming capacity to love and empathize and understand. It can’t be limited to one person — it can’t be limited to just you, like you want.

I’m doing something new this year. Every time I say something harsh, like “I’m not in love with you anymore,” or “you’re suffocating me,” I rub my hand firmly over your heart, hoping to massage its pain away. The first time I did it, you said, “That doesn’t help, because you’re the one causing it.” But I think it helps you recognize that this pain, though immediately tangible, will one day wear away, just like any physical hurt. You’ll take me with you wherever you go, and it will be reciprocated by me, for an entire lifetime. It reminds me of the great Fiona Apple’s song, “Love Ridden”:

No, not “baby” anymore — if I need you
I’ll just use your simple name
Only kisses on the cheek from now on
And in a little while, we’ll only have to wave