My Heart

My heart goes out so easily,
from its cage of bone
to anyone I imagine
too much of.

It is hard, training for a world
so suspicious of hearts without a cage
(for protection, we whisper)

My heart cannot survive in its ribbed box,
it grows tired of the shell game;
double masquerade of a heart in a
shell still not in a shell

—don’t show, we learn.

We learn not to give but to hide.
To hide and disavow the key to the lock.
Become the lock and forget.
Become the cage of bone,
and stay your heart within.

My heart goes out too easily,
falters and jumbles its words in spoken shaky voice.
Sharp encounter, back to silence.
Back to pretending it is made solid of
bone and not of
earnest flesh.

My heart goes out so easily,
it is still not an
easy thing to do.

This was a poem I originally wrote (this is an unedited first draft, so forgive any rough patches) in February 2018 apparently, according to the XML metadata on this old 2TB hard drive.

I am not sure how, but it was lost in the move(s) since, and only through my obsessive habits of having local on-disk backups of everything was I able to restore it. I don’t think I could re-create this today, although I might try to re-write it at some point.

Reading it now, I note the amateurish conflict between Head::Heart that the poem reaches for, even if it doesn’t quite get over itself enough to fully develop the idea expressed in the first refrain.

Not that the conflict between my head and my heart has gotten easier over the years, or my thinking more clear! If anything, it gets more complicated—the overlapping patterns of those lives we share in (briefly or otherwise) only grow more complex and intertwined. The Venn-diagram conflict of :Head::Heart: develops in strange and uneven patterns.

I leave the poem (and this afterword, if that’s what this is) intentionally vague, and potentially generic.

But the ending is hopeful—who doesn’t love the Romantic notion of “I’ve been hurt, but sure, I’ll take the risk on love again!”? It’s a perennial feature of our cowboy ethos, here in the States; arguably also part of a “cyclical” take on human life. The Buddhists and Calvinists are free to disagree with me on the desirability of desire.

I’m still trying. And it still is not easy: it is worth it.