The Hebrew Aleph When In Love

What is poetry to me if it does not have you, my love, in it? What is the meaning of love, if you are found missing? Could I move on and forget about you simply because you have forgotten about me? May it not be so! May it not be so! If I forget you, may I live in the misery of forgetting you. If I dare to let go of you, may all that I do fail miserably.
Without you, I am like a silent Hebrew shewa – I don’t even exist though I exist. I am like that silent quiescent Hebrew aleph – lonely, empty, silent and with no one to hold. The very state of my existence is absolute non-existence without you. Without you by my side, without you on my mind, I am quite hallow.
Without you, I am like the August night sky without stars; like a river bed without water; like a raging flame without heat; like a beach without its sand. I am paradox without you.
Already I am complicated; already I am confusing. 
No one understands me like you do; no, not one. How many lovers out there can quench this love? How much darkness will it take to turn this sky into night, so that the beauty of you, my love, may shine forth? 
I’ve forgotten my duties – oh, but you alone have been faithful.
It is then when I lose track of time, in that moment, do I find you. I find you peering into my soul. You observe. You watch. You wait.
Like a leopard contemplating its next move, so are you, my love, waiting patiently upon me.
What have I done to deserve your affection? What have I done to receive your endless love? Have I not ranted miserably about you? Have I not spent countless nights fighting for you?
You see, in my dreams I do not find rest. I sleep only to dream that I am awake. I awake, only to know that I am bound captive to you.
And you ask me if I love you?
Why would love doubt itself?
I would rather perish than forget you – in you I move, in you I dream.
I hope that all goes well for you, knowing that I am a difficult person. Maybe you, too, will find your home in me. Maybe you, too, will find yourself resting only when I am at rest; loving only when I love you. 
And you alone.

December 12th, 2013

Elusive Love: A Theory About Why Humans Love Mystery in Inter-Sex Relationships

I have a confession to make: I can never keep anyone interested in me for more than two weeks. The opposite sex finds me boring after the initial interest levels off and falls below Dead Sea levels. I have a theory about this—as I have theories about virtually every other aspect of my miserable life. Virtually everyone I know has experienced the whole “honeymoon phase” both in marriage and in simple inter-sex relationships. I’ve been through it at least a dozen times and am getting over one right now. (Which is why I am writing this essay—great subjectivist that I am who “thinks with his blood”!) Moreover, I have yet to read a book written by a marital therapist that would not mention the fact that many marriages are only good for a year or two. And then the honeymoon phase ends. It comes to a screeching halt. Why? Well, everybody knows this: mystery fails. People like to have sex with strangers sometimes, too. (I couldn’t do that, but many claim to.) What’s so fascinating about mystery? I have a theory about that. Here it goes.
People are all subjectivists. Whether we like it or not, we all are. This is why existentialist thinkers are almost always ahead of themselves and their time; they realize that everything for the most part is being processed by our “meat-grinding” mind and everything on earth is subjective. A whole lot of people, dwelling outside of the existential-subjectivist camp, are entirely deceived. This is one reason, at the very least, why we have so many problems today: not enough existentialists around! (What happened to all of the Kierkegaards and Martin Bubers?) People—virtually everybody—who are not existentialists (in the Kierkegaardian/Buberian way) think they understand themselves and their actions (when they really do not). Why? Because they think they are rational objectivists who know love when they “see” it. And this keeps getting people in trouble. As we all are now aware that many marriages today end in divorce. So what’s so special about thinking subjectively versus objectively? And how is that related to mystery and love?
Love is irrational. Being irrational, one cannot use reason to comprehend love in its entirety. Love is completely— in its most purest, passionately beautiful, and covenantal forms—subjective. This means a number of things for the relationship. Let me provide an example. (I know you all love examples.)
Lily meets Mark. At some point in their relationship, Lily tells Mark that she loves him. She says the very objective thing that we all say: “I love you.” From an objective perspective, Lily spoke in English, the words flowed out of her very examinable-to-our-senses mouth, with a very certain amount of measurable sound waves that ended up triggering a neural reaction in Mark’s eardrum. This is all very scientific and matter-of-fact. When Lily said to Mark “I love you,” thirty scientists and a handful of marital therapists were all watching. They were all taking notes rapidly. One particular scientist had his love-o-meter pointed right at Lily’s cerebrum, where he thought the love molecules were most likely highly-concentrated. These scientists and researchers all concluded, independently, that Lily told Mark that she loved him. They packed their bags and left.

But then I came in to interview Lily. I was a nobody, just a subjectivist thinker familiar only with myself—even “myself” remained a no-man’s-land to me at times. I asked Lily if she loved Mark, and she said yes. Well, I wasn’t going to buy that. I later interviewed Mark and I asked him if Lily loved him and had, in fact, said those three words. He told me no. As far as Mark was concerned, Lily did not love him. “What was going on here,” I thought to myself. The more I dug, the more I discovered. Apparently, objective content given to individuals is not necessarily truth if it means nothing subjectively to them. Lily served Mark “love” on an objective platter. She expected him to respond in a loving manner and probably understand everything she communicated to him. Mark, unfortunately, did not buy into Lily’s statements. He felt that it was too soon for her to love him (as he had not revealed too much of his “true self”). He also felt that the words spoken were not authentic. For them to be authentic, Mark expected more time and a few other subjective things that he liked. Lily thought she told Mark “the truth.” Oh well. You see, truth is not as objective as we would make it out to be. Love, which is one of the most important things that mankind lives for, is completely subjective and irrational! What I had in fact discovered was that it doesn’t matter what is being said, it matters in how something is said. Objectively, the phrase “I love you” can communicate “love”; from a subjective perspective, it could also communicate nothing or even hate (think Judas and Jesus here). Truth does not lie in the objective content of what is said, it lies in the subjectivity of how it is said. In fact, I may not even have to tell my wife that I love her. She may subjectively “feel” it on so many different levels. Love is subjective.
So why do women put up with me for only 2 weeks? I have a theory: they are subjectivists who do not realize their biases. I believe that all subjective individuals love mystery because of one thing: the ability to project our loves upon an unknown person. We construct the “unknown individual” and make him/her out to be our best friend and lover. We create images of people that do not exist. Why? Because truth is subjective. The man that you met yesterday and believe you “know” objectively does not even exist. He exists in as many forms as there are humans that know him. I exist in as many forms as there are humans that know me. (The only qualification being that I am a quality versus quantity person and, therefore, I tend to hang out with few friends and tend to have people around me who actually “know” me in any meaningful sense of that word.) The girls that spend two weeks with me realize that I am not their charming prince. I am an honest individual who prefers quality time spent knowing and understanding people. I don’t bullshit anyone and don’t want people bullshiting me. This means that I am far too quick at breaking down girls’ constructs of me. Not that I am an “evil” person in any sense; I am only an honest person who refuses to be labeled by subjective people. I don’t want you to create a construct of me that doesn’t exist. If you want to create a construct, go find yourself someone willing to put up with your crap. Not me. I’d rather you hate me for who I really am than love me for who I am not, to paraphrase Andre Gide.
People love mystery because it gives them a sense of knowledge and control. Knowledge and control, you say? Yes. The reason I say knowledge and control is because unknown people who have ideals projected upon them are not actually “unknown” to you—in fact, the subjectivist who creates constructs of other people unknowingly, thinks that he or she is actually in love with someone or something they believe they “know.” Thus, when they claim that they “know” someone, they are claiming nothing more than knowing themselves and the things they like—since the things they like they have projected upon another individual (who, unsurprisingly, looks nothing but like a replica of their [very known] selves)! People like control and knowledge. Love is something that such deceived subjectivists (people are all subjective; some are deceived because they don’t know they are) truly fear. Love is fear for them because they are afraid of the unknown—the truly unknown. The unknown that scares people is what love is. Love is an act of absolute faith. It may begin with some form of reason, but it ends in absolute faith. Faith is believing in things unknown completely. When you truly fall in love with someone, you are taking an Abrahamic leap of faith into the unknown. You say that you love someone, and yet you hardly know them. How do I know this? Because I’ve spent a lifetime documenting myself and I don’t even know me—how much less do I know others!
The truly unknown is true mystery. The so-called mystery that modern lovers love and have wet dreams about is nothing but love of self. It is the “thrill” of discovering that the Prince Charming you met is a rapist who is wanted for raping parades of women. That is nothing but an adrenaline rush. Only when another individual human being approaches another human being on an individual and highly-personal level, can true love exist. Only when I approach I woman that I claim to love in absolute awe, admiration and complete faith—it is only then that I truly love her. When I consider that my life and hers is nothing by a split-second away from cancer, heart attack, car accident, or death. I only love her when I know that I know nothing about her. I only love her when I do not categorize her and accept her for who she is at any given moment. I love her holistically. A human being, by definition, is a being that is known by the sum of all activities. A human being is only truly human when dead—when we all know what he or she has accomplished. When I say I love someone who is still alive, I am claiming her past, present and future. I am saying that I love her holistically. I love the person she was, is and will be. I love her for who she is and will become as a dead human being. I put my love upon an individual who will change, grow and age with me. I do not know where this “change” will take me—it is all unknowable and irrational. I merely take a leap of faith and leap along with the love of my life wherever she takes me. That is true love. That, right there, is the whole of human existence. I love her because I have made a covenant with her—to love her no matter what. I love her because I have placed my faith in her. I don’t know where it’ll take me, but that’s what faith is. That’s what true love is.
As for the girls who love “mystery,” you will never be satisfied. You will only disappoint others and yourself—not to mention all the people who will be disappointed by you. I prefer to remain as elusive as possible because that is what I am. I have accepted myself and I hope I can accept others. This is life and it is all an act of faith.

Nostalgia: Summer Nights, Kiddie Pools, and Undoing our Growing Up

I still remember everything quite vividly. Whether I see us by a campfire on a warm summer night, playing guitar and singing ad hoc lyrics, or in a lake on a burning July noon, what I reminisce about remains the same: we will never share similar moments again.
We won’t have those awkward moments where your mom and my mom start fighting over mundane things like whether we should play this song or that. We won’t have those moments where we are gathered together—all of us—around a campfire strumming noisily on our cheap guitars. We won’t ever be seen again together, walking hand-in-hand on a virgin beach. There will never be another shooting star witnessed by the two of us, by the all of us.
What has been, has been. It will never be again.
We won’t ever be seen again playing hide-and-seek until 2 in the morning—no, we have become too “grown up” for that. We won’t attempt to go skinny dipping in a private lake where only the rich kids are allowed to pervert the waters. There will never be another day where we are stuck in our old Marlin 1977 boat finding ways to get it working again. We won’t be getting chased down by the park rangers for fishing without a license. There will be none of that. We have grown up.
There won’t be another time where we are all piling up into an old Oldsmobile, seven in the car and four in the trunk. We won’t have to ever turn up the music really loud in a Wal-Mart parking lot, hoping that those passing by will not hear the kids in the trunk shouting “When are you going to let us out?!” We have become too mature for such a thing.
We will never again experience what it feels like to drive with all of our friends, for the first time, on a wild road trip. You know, the ones where everybody sings at the top of their lungs to songs without worrying about what someone else may think. That kind of road trip.
We will no longer share the joy of spending twenty bucks on a two week vacation; we have become too civil for that.
Whatever one may think, we will surely never sleep like bums in sleeping bags in an upper-class neighborhood in Southern California. If hotels couldn’t take us at 3 in the morning, the parks were always available. Those were the days.
We’d wake up playing tunes on guitars, watching rich kids get up for their daily dose of self-serving epicureanism. We’d put on our shades—rolling our eyes beneath them—and get to busting out melodies. And then we’d leave (ain’t no rich kid getting a free concert from us!).
Gosh. I doubt we’ll ever experience what it’s like to go fishing whenever the hell one feels like going fishing. You’d call me up at twelve at night and I’d be ready by one to hit the forbidden, late night shores. Give me an energy drink of death and I’m ready to stay up all night, spitting sunflower seeds, cracking miserable jokes coming straight out of hell, whatever, we’d do it all. We could talk about girls or we could talk about what it’d be like to have sex for the first time.
And yet, whenever the time seemed ripe, we could talk about life and death. We could even reflect theologically upon the nature of the gospel. In fact, we were pretty good kids. What happened?
There probably won’t ever be another road trip to California, where the shores of Pacific Beach find our surf boards licking the sand. There won’t be another walk around San Diego, in the middle of the night, passing out sandwiches to the bums there. We won’t have a philosophical discussion about the meaning of life from a fellow friend, that is, a beach bum. We won’t ever be the same again.
Will we ever date our friends just because we feel like it’s the right thing to do? Will we ever hold hands for the first time because “Well, your other friend is doing it, so we should too.” God, those were the days. And, heck, we never thought it would happen to us, did we? Remember us? Remember when we were kids and all we thought about was the neurotic depression of adulthood. Those adults—those party-killers—were out to ruin life and blessed childhood. We swore we would never become like them. Ever. We made pacts, even in blood, vowing with a bitter vengeance to never let anything come in between us and our love of life. Have we failed so soon?
Gosh, you do realize we’ve barely hit our mid-twenties? We’ve barely dropped our balls; we’ve barely learned to swim. I, honestly, hope that childhood never leaves me. Didn’t Jesus say that we should be “like children”? What happened to that version of the gospel?
I’m not sure we’ll ever be together again. It simply won’ t be the same. Even if we saw each other now, we’d probably walk like two boring couples on a sidewalk in downtown Manhattan that is plastered with newspapers, soda cans, and cigarette butts. We’d never dig our toes into forbidden shores again. We’d never leave the world and say “Go to hell!” We would lead another menial existence.
But does it really have to end that way? I thought at twenty-five you figure out life, you figure out whom you love and whom you like. Why have we created categories we’ve never imagined. Could you ever really hate me? I mean, we used to swim naked in a kiddie pool together, doesn’t that count for something? Maybe not. In today’s economy of grace, we’ve lost grace itself.
Despite everything adulthood cast upon us, I know one thing: I’m still a kid. I’m still barely old enough to walk around in diapers, contemplating whether I should go with breast milk for dessert or Similac baby formula. I’m still stuck in traffic, thinking about what all this means. I’m still hungry for life. I still want us all to gather around a table and talk about girls who have cooties and boys who are gross.
When we were kids, we never really got hurt by arguments or disagreements. We could even throw punches, leave the ring bruised up, and still get back together for a game of freeze tag by the end of one summer evening. Heck, arguments were seen as a joke. We weren’t adults, we couldn’t really fight like mom and dad fought. We weren’t grown up yet.
We never planned what we would say; we would simply say what we felt or what was on our minds. We never would premeditate anything. That would have been stupid. Imagine a two-year-old walking in circles beneath a wooden dinner table thinking, “What will I tell mom about the pacifier that I flushed down the toilet? Should I answer her question with a question like Socrates the philosopher or should I go with the good old ‘I don’t know’ or ‘Whaaaaaaaat?’”
We’ve all developed our critical thinking skills, it’s what school was for anyways. Now we could lie and not feel guilty about it; it has all become so logical and reasonable and rational to do so.
We have grown up.
But I could never really forget everything that has been. Despite my ability to use Kantian imperatives and analytical philosophy, I’m still weighed down by my love for my memories. Memories of days gone by.
In the middle of reading Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling I still get images flash across my mind like a bolt of lightening on a hot summer day. Impossible, you may say, but oh-so-real. I still have a mind that does things of its own accord. I remember us, our times together, our lives together. I remember. In the act of remembering, I find not only who I was, but who I am—and who I will try to be. I like myself now. But I like my old self more.
Like right now, I see us lying on a beach, Liberty Lake, and we’re planning on flirting with the gorgeous lifeguards. We throw around the idea of whether we should approach the girls and ask them what time it is or whether we should fake a drowning. Drowning sounds better, for then they may end up doing CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
You see, we’d throw around all of those ideas, act on them, and then later find out that mouth-to-mouth is out and mouth-to-plastic-face-mask is in. Oh well. Such is life.
We were kids. The beautiful truth that I want all of us—all of you—to remember is that we are still those same kids. Our bodies have changed, sure, but we still have the same set of eyes, the same set of ears. We are still able to play tag, even if it’s on a phone application. We are still able to speak truth to one another. We are still able, as far as I know, to go skinny dipping in Liberty Lake (when it’s dark, of course). We can still rent peddle boats and attempt to actually move anywhere with them! We can still call one another up, having our best friends’ numbers all memorized by heart, and anxiously ask, “Are you coming over, it’s like 30 seconds since school got out?!” We can still have our doors always open, waiting for our friends to show up. We can still write one another letters. Those letters could still be written with Crayons in second-grade handwriting. Who cares? So long as I have something to hang on my “grown-up wall” (to be honest, it’s empty now). We can still call one another up and talk about going fishing at, well, right now. We can. In fact, I think we will. I have hope for us. We haven’t changed much; we’ve simply become a little rusty. I am writing this letter to remind myself—and all of you—that I still love you all. You are all my friends, people I’ve become quite used to. I can talk about stupid things with you and I can talk about serious things with you—and you accept me for who I am. I’m still that kid who’s dying to grow up. But now that I’ve grown up, I think I want to grow up differently. I want to grow up in such a way where the older version of me isn’t as nasty as it now is. I want to grow up in a such a way where I can still call you up and hear you call me back in less than five seconds. I do miss how we used to be excited, even breathless, to announce to each other that we would play hide-and-seek.
When we were kids, we would hide and we would seek. We knew that there was always a way to find that which was hidden. Maybe our inner-child is something that we have hidden inside ourselves. We bury it behind mundane office work, professional societies, legalistic church services, you-name-it, we bury it. But beneath all of the social encrustation, I think the real you is on the verge of bursting out.
I thought about us today.
I thought about us today because it seemed like some of us have died. Quite literally. I feel like my friends, who are getting married and who are “growing up,” have all died—to me and to those around them. They died and nobody noticed. I read no obituary. I got no invitation to go to a memorial service. They died and nobody seemed to care. Life shouldn’t be like that. You shouldn’t have to bury your friends, family, and loved ones before their time. It’s not even a humane thing to do. You simply can’t do that to people. Just because you’re still breathing doesn’t mean you’re still alive.
I’ve thought about us because we still have a chance. We still have time to make our (future) obituaries better. We still can go back to being three-year-olds in five-year-old skin pissing under trees and seeing who pisses further. We still can attempt stuffing a toaster with dough to make “bread.” We still can love one another despite our weird differences. We still can date friends. We still can go hit up a beach and care not about our weight status. In fact, I kind of like this beer-belly. I’m getting used to it. It’s better than a teddy bear. I go to sleep and wrap my arms around it and dream of us…

Newspaper Thoughts from a Newspaper Mind

Why is it that love for some of us humans is almost always unrequited? It seems like no matter what we do, no matter our generosity, we never seem to get it. You grow up telling yourself that something is going to happen at some point; things aren’t working out now because of such-and-such a state. It happens to you once. It happens to you twice. Then, like a steady April rain, you find that no matter what your approach is, you’re actually in for the long haul. You’re that girl or guy who does everything right and gets it all wrong anyways. No matter your own sincere thoughts, you fall into the hum-drum of steady and consistent rejection. Eventually, you ask someone out for a cup of coffee and you have that mundane and expected response (which, believe me, I did not too long ago receive!): “No I will not have coffee with you—not now, not ever!” And so it goes on. Life continues and you grudgingly trudge along with it. More recently, I’ve attempted another try at something romantic—romance addict that I am—and, lo and behold, I was relegated to the dustbin of useless existence again. Unsurprisingly, I was not surprised. And the next time I meet someone I’m interested in—which doesn’t happen but once or twice a year—I’ll be quite certain what her response will be: not now, not ever.
Reading me is like reading the newspaper: it’s always bad news no matter which day of the week it is. You want the Sunday special? Guess what? I have that too.
In my mind, I’m going on strike; I’m gunning down guilty victims; there’s a poll being taken about what I should wear today; there’s a kid in the corner asking for donations; there’s an advertisement for free psychology counseling; there’s an ad placed in the “Men seeking Women” section; there’s a… I could go on and on about my newspaper thoughts. And you know what, nobody cares. Just like that newspaper, it’ll be used to wipe someone’s a** when the day is over. Or, better yet, a bum will lay his head upon it and snore himself to sleep—on my paper!
Yes, I admit it, I have my bad days. Like today. It’s a usual bad day. I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about her. I woke up at 2:33 AM only to find out that Benadryl doesn’t cure love sickness. I ate half a ton of chocolate only to find out that I’m losing weight nonetheless. I’m sitting here writing this essay about how emotionally unstable I am and it’s not helping me either! God da**!
My thoughts are always all over the place. I read Adversus Marcionem by Tertullian of Carthage yesterday. It’s a five-volume work written against an arch-heretic of orthodox Christianity who lived in the second-century named Marcion. I tried to write a bunch of stuff about that man—I stayed up most of the night writing and was about to write some more when I figured that writing about Marcion would probably not soothe me much—she’ll still be on the front page news of my newspaper mind. She’ll still be advertising herself for my entire subjective world to see.
The problem with me is that I cannot focus when I am in love. I cannot think clearly—or maybe it is only then that I think at all? I can write poetry and maybe some worthwhile lyrics, but that’s about it. The buck stops here. The moment my thoughts drift to you, I know that it’s a battle I have lost. I can pretend all I want but I know myself too well. And I know that, in the end, this too shall pass. I’ll look back at it all and laugh about how miserable I was and how I should not have attempted anything with her at all. It’s always like that for me.
You see, some of us exaggerate our problems, I really don’t. When I say that this is going to end bad, I really do mean bad. As in b-a-d. I should probably get back to writing my massive paper on Marcion—it’ll make me forget her for a while.
Just long enough to forget that I care—but I won’t.
The problem with me is that I cannot focus when she is on my mind. I can’t. I probably will make a mistake when writing that paper and will start writing everything I feel about her—the professor will be very happy with that, I am sure. Oh well, such is my life. I guess I’ve been attempting my best to forget her for several weeks now. But even in that act of forgetting her, I am remembering her. I am recollecting her and recreating her in my mind. And that’s where everything falls apart. In remembering her, I remember her goodness. In remembering her, I remember her weaknesses and my own. In remembering her, I am remembering myself. Out of that dark cave of mine, I call myself out. And then all of the remembering starts again. I doodle, I twitch, I aim restlessly for some unseen goal. And then my thoughts drift to you.
I’ll let them stay there for now. Just for a minute.
Or two.