BTT #8 Dysphoria and Rain

“A Poem is a Naked Person” is the title of the sometime-acclaimed documentary film by Les Blank about musician Leon Russell.  I have not yet seen the film, but the title of it has been an evocative touchstone for me for some years.  It suggests that a poem should just sit there unadorned by ornamentation or comment, and should be simply and intimately engulfed by each new reader in new and unimagined ways.  Therefore I am now going to just shut-up and let you read two poems, one old, one newer.  (What immediately follows is the part where I actually DO NOT shut-up. Skip straight to the poems if you desire).

The first is a tepid whine that felt so piercingly acute when I wrote it that I thought I would die and that at least an end to my wonderful marriage might be inevitable.  This poem harbors a basic confusion that how one feels might be determined by how another person acts.  Even from within the whirling currents of intimate emotion, one cannot blame another person about how one feels.  For many transgender individuals, persistent inner reality chisels away slowly at layers of doubt, denial, and circumspection.  As the feminine claws out of the stone, emerging first in bas relief, then longing to stand fully formed, a shape emerges, and what has really been a long period of struggle can appear even to loved-ones to be a sudden and shocking change.  Feelings are bound to get hurt, but the person who has the most influence over the course and direction of those feelings is the person in whom they have arisen.  A wife cannot blame her transgender  husband for very legitimate feelings of loss, fear or anger on seeing the man she married consumed by the inner transgender woman.  A transgender husband cannot blame her wife for feelings of loss or longing or despair when the reality of the inner woman will no longer be kept in a box of shame.  This poem  fades in and out of  urgency, it sometimes seems childish and disproportionate to me now.  Yet it remains a telling description of how this mess can feel.
I like the second poem better.  It was written on a morning in the first year of our marriage on a day after I stood in a damp doorway watching my wife drive off to work, and not wanting to be away from her even for a moment.  I felt the weight even within my then younger self of the passage of time, but also a hope that something more enduring might stand outside of those contstraints.  For me this second poem is a constant quiet hum of longing at the nexus between time and memory.  It always plays in my head with the sense that we must truly live and love outside of and through each moment. (Oops! did I just put clothes on these naked persons?).  I hope you can enjoy these poems as much as possible.
Love , Lona.
I know it might sound silly,
But in that moment
When I craved
Your hands above
The casings of my heart,
You would not touch me there,
For my good,
Or who I am to you,
Or perhaps because you might be right,
And I may really need your love
More than the sweet embrace
Of affirmation.
And yet,
I must confess…
In that moment
I Felt the crisp snapping of a stem
Leaving neither root nor branch
But only dessicated petals,
Pressed between the dusty pages
Of a lonely silent book.
-Lona Gynt
July  2015
Rain in the Door
Gentle remembrances
Wash the whited frame.
I know this place,
Where young lovers meet,
And old friends
Sit quietly outside the gate.
Somewhere behind me,
Perhaps on the mantle,
Or the wall,
A stone face keeps vigilance.
Meting out each embrace,
Striking in the rise and fall.
-Lona Gynt
May 1992
All right reserved, Lona Gynt, August 2016.

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