the destination, not the journey

i had this old flame once, man did i ever carry a torch for her!

she was a blonde, so blonde that her eyebrows were blonde.

can you believe that?  me with a blonde?  right-o, but that’s not the point

i remember she said to me that it’s about the journey, not the destination,

she’d say it all the time, because there was this thing i’d like to do,

put my head down, close my eyes, and rush, get all frantic, purposeful, get shit done

and voila, i would get there.  i would get to where others couldn’t go.

it’s like i willed it, the competency, the caring about the end point, the goal,

the accomplishment, the success.  you name it, i did it.

years later, i look back and wonder how i fell in love with her,

i even found some old pictures on the internet (you know it)

we’re so different — she cared primarily about eastern european genocides, a

traditional feminist, a lesbian without the desire to be out, a raucous, loud laugh that

made everybody at the bar turn around, and she ended up married to a man,

we never spoke again.  she was controlling, possessive, restrained, and a genius,

whereas i was random, explosive, ambitious, and warm.  i questioned

and she knew all the answers.  she had a theory of the world.  i wanted

to know if i’d ever fit into this world.  but there was love between us,

maybe my first real romantic love.  or maybe not, just my first bona fide

obsession with another person.  i can’t say.  it was young, exciting.

i’m okay with all of that, but here’s what i do wonder,

the relationship is long over, but i’m still around, it’s a figment of me —

have i changed? or i’m still getting there too fast, head down, eyes closed,

because i’m scared of not getting there at all.

if i’m different, then have i learned to really enjoy

this journey?  life can be complicated.  i’m glad we parted ways.

i want her happiness very deeply, as i do with every lover i’ve ever had.

they changed me, you know, it was those damn lovers who

always let me know where the bottom was

so i could drop anchor, and then when i sailed away, they were the

ones who reminded me of the turbulent ocean surrounding me — so huge

i wanted to run back, and drop anchor again,

or perhaps moor myself at the shore.  i wouldn’t be lonely.  another boat would

be enough on an island, just one boat, right?  but i don’t think so anymore.

i recognize the consciousness that has my shape, a reaction to all my lovers

in them, white or person of color, i see my queerness, the knowledge of my being

a person of color, also the kindness and deep desire to express

myself, to find happiness, to commit myself to justice for all, not just

those who share or don’t share my identity, that i am the coalition

of desires, thoughts, and feelings i once sought to form, brought to power,

and i am not at the end, but i have learned to love this middle, to love it

on myself (even if it hangs a bit over my belt), to love my body, my heart,

my courage, and to try not to take it too personally that there are times

when i just close my eyes, and when i open them, i wish i were there already.


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