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What Shakespeare Meant: The Paradox of Love
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3/9/2014 11:28:33 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
when I'm in love, everything seems to make sense
all the songs fall into place,
and even the artistic expressions of deep sorrow,
or worse still, of blankly empty suffering,
take on lives of their own.
when armed with the power of another human being under my wing
(or should i say mutually attached at my hip)
that sorry territory in which we so often drown ourselves
suddenly doesn't look so scary.
But that's not to say it goes away.
Do dark black waters disappear
Evaporate into nothingness
Just because you've mustered the courage
To confront their murky depths
One on one?
Or should I say two on one
I too have found strength in numbers
And so even in the songs
and the movies
about the grim reaper of suicide
You can feel the artists heightened pain and sorrow,
You can even feel your own
but it's a totally different endeavor
because at least you're feeling it with someone else.
They say indeed
That misery loves company
And companies love misery
Maybe we're all just miserable young idealists
Just a bunch of tired, restless souls
Who never learn their lessons.
But for all our self-induced madness
This rugged buffoonery passing itself off as human reality
"Society", or so I'm told it's called
These islands of minds shouting gibberish to each other
Cross seldom traveled seas of misunderstanding
Despite it all I believe
I move forward
Resting on one unbreakable assumption.
"Solitude is fine,
But you need someone to tell that solitude is fine."
Someone to suffer your solitude with you
To let you know that they are here -
That they exist -
That in that moment they exist for you and you alone
They transcend selfish bodily limitations
For you, for you, they came for you
And in so doing
If not curing entirely the maddening indifference of worldly solitude
Then resting on your shoulder, and you against their bosom
And they tell you what she told me on that summer night:
Laid heads squishing misty grass
Nestled up against each other
Because what else can you do?
What the pale girl whispered because she knew I liked it
I recall as I bleed these words onto this digital skin.
The rhythm and blues of a starry night sky so empty
And yet so eternally fulfilled
Kind of like what love is, to me:
So full of loneliness
And yet almost
If not entirely
Cured by the fact that solitude is fine
But I"ll have someone to tell that solitude is fine
"As long as I am with you."
That misery loves company
Or maybe company loves misery.
But "this company seeks misery with you
"And I need you to listen
With open ears and open hearts
And tell me that it's not solitude
Even if it is, really
Because isn't that what we want to hear?
Isn't it all we"ve ever wanted to hear?
That we're not truly alone in this world
That somehow we can be felt and understood
A noble lie for the sake of love
Or maybe it's not a lie at all
But even if it were, ask yourself
Does it really matter?
Would you object to those three words
A soft, comforting whisper
In the depths of despair?
Sometimes, I think, we just need to believe.
Here I suggest
After all my ridiculously indulgent throat clearings:
To accept this burden with open arms
Is precisely what it means to be in love.
Love is selflessness
Love is sacrifice
And yes, unavoidably, love is suffering;
But it's suffering for the fate of another human being
Beyond you your body beyond time beyond space
And that's just gorgeously divine
Such acts of godliness are what make us human.
To love, this is what it means to be human.
To love, this is what it means to be alive.
And so when Shakespeare said to be or not to be
I think he had it wrong.
To love or not to love - that is the question.
To love or not to love, indeed.
I know if I choose it
Then I will find it;
It's sitting there waiting for me
Right before my very naked eyes
My friends my family my novels my movies my co-workers my mailman my neighbors my bus driver
And maybe just maybe a significant other to make my world go round
With a slightly more optimistic lens,
Gazing through that curious paradox I like to call love:
at once the embodiment, the embracement, the ultimate recognition of solitude
By admitting this pressing need we harbor
To escape from its ever present dread
But also our solitude's most emphatic rejection.
Our number one renewable source of strength.
Funny to me
How human beings work in this way
The labor of love is funny to me.
But also tragic;
That which feeds us life also serves as our daily dose of death
Such a cruel joke, you know
And yet I can't help but laugh
In spite of myself.
What is my life but a museum of ridiculous and fatal contradictions?
More like a freak show
Solitary or mutual
Love is undeniably maddening.
So at the end of the day
why do we keep coming back for more?
The human condition
Only an individual has got the key
To open one"s self up
And tear down the limitations
Of our mental
The cancerous destroyers of empathetic compatibility
The cold hearted murderers of our potentially shared humanity.
I look around and all I see
For miles and miles
Are fields of overwhelming human potential
Mostly gone unharvested
So casually brushed over
But silently begging to flower
To burst forth onto the scene
Flowing, merciless and unrepentant,
Like a tsunami or a tidal wave.
And I can't help but feel let down by our consistent blindness
To the true cause of most of our social ills
In which I too am more than extremely complicit.
The disappointment burns personally within me;
Forgive me father for I have sinned
I find myself exhausted by our collective failure to act collectively
Over and over and over again
On an eternally daily basis
With no periods, just a stream of endless commas
That's what hell would be like
No periods just endless commas
We need punctuation, we need structure, and nothing goes on forever
Except for love!
Dare I believe my own royal proclamations?
Intellectually, no it's a crime
But practically yes, I must
Perhaps we need to lie in order to survive,
But this is another matter entirely---
And I'd rather die than let these walls of segregation triumph
O'er the needs of my free, creative expression
They are the politics of fear
The vehicles of division
Psychological oppression infused within me by power hungry men
Seeking to sell me sneaky seductive selfishness
To corrupt my natural human tendency to relate, to trust, and to empathize
To lean down and offer a kid a piece of candy without being thought a pedophile
Just so they can make a quick buck off my hypnotized ignorance?
I have to say no. I won"t stand for it, nor will I budge one inch.
Spit at my feet, shoot a dirty glance my way
And call me a smelly hippy idealist if you insist --
It certainly wouldn't be the first time --
But you've got to understand that the antithesis of love ain't no virtue for me
And all those unspeakable barriers are meaningless
Meaningless to me, to you and to the world we are forced by nature to share or quite literally die trying
Meaningless and non-existent, even
How the walls that separate us from one another literally disappear before my mind"s eye
Where moments before stood a towering structure fully blocking out the sunlight of my fellows
As I face with boldness and honesty the only question that matters
To love or not to love, indeed.
Maybe that's what Shakespeare was saying after all