Of all the poems and stories I write, one of the things I love most is trying to create a moment where the reader can feel some sort of connection. The thing I love about connections is that sometimes they’re love connections, sometimes friendship, sometimes it’s just a feeling that maybe becomes a phrase that changes a person’s life. It’s amazing when you think about the fact that connections happen at all, when you think about the number of people you interact with just in passing and there’s no connection, not even a head no or a smile sometimes. The fact that we have so many opportunities for connection that pass us by makes the idea that when we do ‘truly connect,’ it’s something almost miraculous. Then there’s the idea that some of our connections come and go in what would be the blink of an eye in a lifetime. Others are even shorter. Their anecdote or wisdom remains in our brains forever and yet we barely knew a thing about them. The key to any connection is one party’s willingness to be vulnerable. If we think about that for a moment, it really speaks to how challenged we all are by vulnerability. If we weren’t, we’d be making connections left and right. It would seem like nothing for me to stop you on the street and tell you something personal about myself. Even when we are vulnerable, it does not ensure a connection will occur. It might make for a more engaging conversation, but we talk to people all day long and never feel totally connected to them. We often have family we can’t connect with or friends that we connect on some level, but we just don’t on a lot of different levels. People often want to connect more and will talk about in therapy how to make more friends, etc. There are tricks to the trade. Pull up youtube and you’ll find videos on how to be more ‘charming,’ magnetic,’ ‘win the girl/guy.’ The tricks will tell you to ‘ask open ended questions,’ to ‘share a vulnerability of your own,’ to, ‘be an attentive listener,’ etc. The articles will tell you, you have to ‘put yourself out there,’ ‘be confident,’ and ‘go to places where like minded individuals would choose to spend their time.’ All of those things are true. It’s hard to make a friend if we do not meet several times in a common area; however, I can go to the same places weekly, see the same people, talk with them, share, even be vulnerable, and it does not necessitate a connection. Also, it doesn’t explain the individual you meet one night at the hotel who you talk to for hours and says something in the midst of that conversation that changes your life. The person you will never see again. Connection truly is something amazing and compelling. I love watching people sometimes and just wondering what was the thing or the moment that connected these two individuals? I love hearing stories about connections (long term and short) that changed a person’s heart or perspective on the world. What connects us to, really, a small handful of people out of the gross number of individuals that we interact with throughout a lifetime is fascinating to me. There’s just so many questions like, “Why you don’t connect with your very best friend’s new friend or spouse?” It would seem if connect at a soul level with someone, the people they connect with would also connect with you; however, it does not always happen. Connections between human beings are so specific and so unique, it’s hard to not be fascinated and wonder about them. When I wrote this poem, I was thinking about these very questions and marveling at how amazing it feels when we do actually make those life-impacting connections with others.
Oh. Sorry. Hi. I didn’t notice you were noticing me.
I was just thinking about how twenty-five years feel like yesterday.
Also how tomorrow feels light years away. I am trying hard to be back in the world
to meet people, to remember I have friends, to be the person I was once who doubted a lot but never the joy that people bring to my life.
Are you trying to get to know me? I do like going to the movies. I haven’t seen that yet.
At some point in the middle of my life there was a time when I made a resume of living in places people dream of living. When every day is a beach day. I just found myself missing the feeling of cozy. In the movie theater, it was dark. I was alone. It could’ve been winter outside or fall. Oh,
I have been there. Are you from here? Do you like it? This is your hometown? Wow, I’ve always wondered what it would be like to want to stay somewhere with no urgency for the next town.
I like that you have a name that comes from nature. I always wanted my children to be named
Ash, Daisy, Cedar, Aspen, Fern…. I feel like it would be like having an umbilical cord to the forest.
Is it? When someone whispers your name, does it feel like the wind blowing through you?
I often wonder how things in nature that have been given a human name feel?
Yes. A type of tree named Sally or Bill. Remember, pet rocks. People named them simple names like Sue or Peggy. Names you associate with your office secretary. You did?
You used to want to be named Diane. When I played house I was always Christopher Daniel.
It was some strange take on Christopher Robin, I think? I wonder if Diane would like Christopher Daniel?
Oh, Diane was a teacher? Christopher Daniel was a news anchor. He had children. He was.
Diane was rich. True. I guess nobody knows how Barbies do spend a lot of time in their corvettes with new Kens that look the same without a lot of time for work?
Yes. They do do a lot of babysitting for Skipper. How old was she anyway?
No. I am divorced. She is who she is… I mean, it takes two…
Get out. You to have been burned in love. I would have never guessed. I mean,
I did wonder how someone so smart and sexy is not grabbed yet.
I do love talking to you. I would love to keep talking to you. How would I stay in touch with you?
You do. I like to think there’s more places we could meet like this. I’m trying to say
I don’t want you to be a stranger to me. You think so. Does everyone in your world
believe you have no desire to connect. I want to ask you that and so much more…
I’m running late. I would like your number. Can you pretend to care about my day tomorrow?
Even if, you are full of small talk and good at making me feel frozen in the hype I am already creating about you.
Thank you. I hope to hear from you. You do too. Goodbye. I can’t stop your invasion now.
Perhaps, I should have just asked you to skip work and run off to spend the afternoon….
Allowing ourselves the joy of practicing saying each others given names. Re-learning
goosebumps and continuing introducing ourselves. Memorizing street names we drove down
a million times, never stopping to notice them.