When I was young, I read an article by Ann Landers, who was a syndicated ‘advice’ columnist in newspapers across the country, for those of you who might be too young to remember. I was really young, probably in elementary school, but I never forgot it. To this day, I still search for it from time to time to give to a patient. It was a brief article, but in that ‘brief space,’ Ann Landers wrote something exceptionally prolific. It’s something we all need remind of in our lives. The interesting thing is, I must not have been the only individual touched by this article because I’m forty years old now, and I can still find this article written on the internet. The content is just as relevant now, as it was then. I’ve said before, I know I’m writing about an emotion we don’t ‘talk about much,’ or an ‘experience not given much credit to,’ when it’s a real struggle to find a picture to convey it. I struggled a bit today to find a picture that conveyed ‘infatuation.’ What Ann Landers did in her column was separate out ‘love,’ and ‘infatuation.’ The two look the same, so it’s hard to find a picture that might lean more toward ‘infatuation.’ In reality, the two are quite different and many people confuse love with infatuation and end up heart-broken. It’s an easy thing to do and we’ve all done it. The article is entitled, “Is it Love or is it Infatuation?” If you ever wonder if you’re in love with someone and/or if you’re infatuated, it might help to ask, “Could this wait?” Love will always wait. Infatuation lives in a ‘now mentality.’ It hates waiting. It needs, it wants, and that’s all. The article is so concise and beautifully written. There have been many times where I’ve referred someone to it or I’ve referred to it. In infatuation, we give away ourselves. We lose our boundaries. I picked the picture I did because one person holds a saucer and is ‘somewhat longly,’ looking at another person drink the tea, in my mind, they made for themselves because they are infatuated. In infatuation, we can’t say ‘no.’ No means that there are boundaries and there could be a ‘conflict,’ and we are avoiding that at all costs because the roots of the relationship are not deep enough to withstand any sort of discord. Love knows conflict, accepts it, and is not afraid of it. I wrote the first poem after meeting someone I was ‘infatuated with.’ After hanging out for a few nights, I already was writing ‘love like poems.’ The first poem originally did not have a title. I ended up calling it “Some,” because the next day I sat down to write, more came. I found myself almost disgusted and disturbed that I was writing about this person I just met. It was a crush. It’s something we do when we’re infatuated. Together, I named the two pieces “Some” and “Some More,’ because they both are ‘gushes,’ of infatuation, which I knew when I was writing them that that’s what they were. Is infatuation dangerous? It can be. If you have no idea it’s infatuation and mistake it for love, it can be. If you know that you’ve hit some level of infatuation, it’s ok to be there. It feels good to have someone want us and to crush back. It’s in the understanding of what’s happening and where we’re at that we have to be careful.
I could never stare long enough,
but I needed to keep looking at you to understand why I could.
I would dream at night of us running together. Our feet aligned,
leaving the ground, striking at the same time. Syncopation.
Proust had shuttered windows, Marguerite Duras a muted house,
emptiness promises to penetrate virgin territory. I am empty.
My life has never been comfortable in homes,
the anonymity of hotels is of more comfort.
You were the grandest of hotels, so many closed doors to wonder about.
The distance you exuded, a peephole presence that keeps bringing me to my hotel door.
Patty Smith posed the question of ‘why do we write?” Answering herself,
“a chorus erupts. Because we cannot live.”
You had vacuumed up the oxygen around me, every living lung tissue,
you clogged my heart and every minute feels like I will die if you don’t knock.
A lock and suddenly after years, the realization I was fiddling with the wrong combination.
You’re visibility just unsnapped the lock, and everything I dreamed of you in sleep, opened to become a needed reality.
Burn the bridge down. Every part of you prompted that feeling in me.
Still. Your simple touches panicked me, the virgin startle of being touched for the first time by something you desire.
Such a stiff reaction from a body that was as limp as gelatin in thought.
You were certainly the word ‘maybe’ people use when they mean yes.
You came like a soft summer wind trailing exhalations from the garden to the bedroom.
The sweat on my back, the smell of mist rising under my feet, senses on alert
every smell of a plant and note of a song rushed my mind back to you.
I could have denied them, but I I was a nation living in a fake resistance.
You came like a coup, but mine was a fake resurgence
I was incapable of resisting. I was going to be governed by my desire for you.
The part of me that listened like I’ve never listened before for your espadrilles,
the door I never kept locked, the fact that if you expressed a fear of hurting me, I could only blurt out
Hurt me as you want
With only the words Thank You lingering in my mouth, you proved I had effortlessly thrown dignity at your feet, and I wanted nothing more for you bend down, pick it up, and hold it, as precious as the endurable metal of time, unable to ever rust or lose it’s sparkle.