You Keep Me In Rain: A Poem

Tonight the moon wanes tired

Sad wrinkles stretch across our sky

A nightingale sings without choir

And black rain flows with head held high

 

Is it brute fate that we both walk to?

Puddles—like sinkholes—beneath our feet

A whispered, “I love you” so overdue

You clasp my hand in exchange for dreams

 

The wretched umbrella with holes and leaks

Like love stories you and I once knew

“Where are you, darling?” my mouth still speaks

And raindrops fall like “I-love-yous”

 

You lean in closer to feel my wasting body

You’ve felt it once or twice before

In warmth, in cold it was you sought me

And still you keep me—in rain—once more

 

Written by Moses Y. Mikheyev

Dedicated to A (with no traces of K)

 

 

Why I Will Not Write Back: An Exploration of Faith in Relationships

This is going to be a horribly honest writing, and I am not sure what the results will be. People will either think I’m crazy or they will think I’m crazy. Either/or, I will be crazy. So why not? Here I am offering up myself to the public again. I really don’t like making myself vulnerable, but it is what it is. Whether the girl—or should I call her my muse?—reads this or not probably will not matter, since most women with whom I have any sort of correspondence with lose their interest in me after (usually) two weeks. Okay, so this one is for her—that girl who will never read my writings. That girl whom I will make famous one day when I’m dead and people read this. Well, they won’t know her name but I have my ways. I am encoding it into this paper as I write this. Her name in its entirety. I’ll let future generations decipher this.

Like most men, I am normally heavily invested in my ladies. Very much so. I like to know everything about them before I approach them. At first, all my initial attractions are very reason-driven: does she enjoy things you enjoy? is she interested in your pursuits? are you interested in helping her in her pursuits? So much of my initial love is logically coherent. There is no “faith” involved—I give it no room. Most relationships are like that—actually, all are like that: we start from reason and move towards faith. A husband who lives with a wife for a number of years will first use reason to establish that his wife is not committing adultery. Then he will move into faith as he holds on to that which he first knew and/or experienced. A woman who reasonably could not commit adultery will not leave a man faithless in the end. So I, too, move from reason to faith in my relationships.

I have always been somewhat of a “clingy” guy in virtually all of my relationships. Like most men, I focus my energies on the object of my pursuit. Moreover, I also have a one-track mind when it comes to initial attraction. I waste no time in trying to absorb as much information as I can about a particular girl that has caught my eye. I normally spend several weeks trying to talk to her and figure her out. I will usually try to be interesting and stay interested in her. I have trouble sometimes with making other people sound interesting in comparison to me simply because my personality is one that is weird and interesting enough that it makes all other personalities look uninteresting and rather boring. That’s not to say that I am a bad guy when it comes to relationships, it’s just that you realize really fast that not everyone can do what you’re doing. When talking to a girl, for example, it may be hard for a girl to sound interesting to me—in her own eyes—by telling me she likes to sing when I could reply that I’m recording my next album with Taylor Swift. In some ways, what you accomplish in life is actually going to (potentially) destroy you and work against you. I have recently talked to one girl who later confessed to me. She said that in her dialogue with me, anything she did, I did better. I didn’t take that as a compliment—and she hardly meant it to be taken in that way—but as a critical statement. She felt that my presence was a threat to her survival in some ways. Instead of seeing intelligence as an asset (or whatever you want to call it), she viewed me as a threat. And, frankly, I felt bad for myself but more for her: she was the one who was making other people look bad for no practical reason! (All this time I never pontificated my accomplishments or anything like that, so she had no real ground to build her case on.) I was, in her eyes, “the enemy” simply because she thought that I was “better” (whatever that means). I learned not to take such things personally.

Learning to live with yourself is quite a difficult process—one spends an entire lifetime doing it. I have tried my best to live with myself and I have tried to accommodate to others whenever possible. Despite all that, most people do not see me as a threat to them. I, personally, am terrified of threatening anybody simply with my personality! On the contrary, I have a personality that generally inclines me towards helping others whenever I can. I prefer to be the helping hand in society—whether that is done by writing essays on improving marriage and romance or simply by physically helping someone does not matter to me. (I try to do all.) Now, back to my original point: when I meet a girl I like, I normally spend days reciting potential dates with her. I mean, I’ve just met the girl and am in the process of figuring out if I like her, but in that very moment, I am entertaining the idea of courting her, potentially.

You see, people like me are strange for a number of reasons, but most importantly, I am way too future-oriented. I live in the future. I may be here with you now, but my thoughts are 10 years from now. And I believe that is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is good because it allows me to see my life as a narrative (which allows me to focus on the “big picture” in life). The bad thing is that it steals so much of my time and steals away my actual life. Moreover, most of that which I dream about and create never happens. Like the things I am imagining right now. I am sitting at a café and in walks this gorgeous girl. She looks at the title of the book that I am reading and is immediately interested in the man reading the book. Moments later, she finds out that the man reading the book is the author himself, so she is momentarily swept off her feet and wants to know what inspired me to write certain passages. We fall into a passionate discussion and before long it seems that we have really understood each other. Well, that’s just one of my many fantasies. I could go on and on with them…

People realize at some point that life is to be lived moving forward and to be understood by looking backward, to paraphrase Kierkegaard. You see, I have trouble with always focusing ahead of me. Light years ahead, I should say. I meet someone and am immediately analyzing, logically, whether or not she and I would be compatible 5 years from now on when I’m writing my dissertation. Would she put up with a husband who is in school full-time? People like me are sometimes stuck living a life that doesn’t exist outside of our heads. But that’s not what this paper is about.

On the contrary, this paper is about faith. Once your rationality stops; once that girl that you like—and really sense you “get”—has been over-analyzed, you come to a halt in your research. We all do.

Like it or not, you are no longer operating according to reason. Love is not reason. It may be initiated by reason, but nothing more.

You see, I have this horrible habit of writing people letters and messages and stuff. Don’t we all? I do this and hope for the best. I always do. I have this uncanny ability of being content with all that I do, in some strange way. I am content when I talk to a girl and later find out that she was a horrible person. I just am content with my decisions. Whether I talk to a certain girl or not does not matter; either/or, I probably will regret both decisions. (Thus far I have “regretted” all my previous relations to the opposite sex.) But I don’t spend days mulling over things like that. I spend my days fantasizing the future. If I am in the process of ending a relationship, I look at all the things I had learned about the girl, I look at all of the things I had taught the girl (whether or not they were of any existential value), I look at life in its entirety. Then I tell myself: This too shall pass. Whether I marry this person or not does not matter, what matters is what I do to this person in this single act of my life and whether I learn more about myself from this other person. That’s all.

Virtually all of my relations had revolved around my gibberish words. I have a habit of using words a lot. I write lyrics for songs (with hidden messages—aimed at certain women of course!), I write essays, I write books, I write an awful lot. All of this writing revolves around my ability to use words. I like words. Moreover, I try to communicate as much as I can with words. I don’t like to do things super personally, only with very close friends. An intimate lover may get a whole lot of my personal words too!

Anyhow, the point is this: I use language/words as a tool to communicate. I have also obtained this horrible habit, from Kierkegaard, for basing my life and works and actions on faith. A whole lot of faith. I am as you, my dear readers, already know, quite fond of faith. I believe virtually everything is an act of faith. Love is an example of faith at its best.

You see, once you figure out whether you and another girl are compatible with each other, you pretty much go into the flames of faith. I have become quite fond of this girl that I have recently been communicating with. She is a very interesting person on several levels. Now, to keep her identity safe, I will not dissertate much about her life and goals. Needless to say, she is quite lovely. I have spent several weeks now talking to her off and on and I think our characters may have something in common; that is, she may be able to tolerate me as a human being in intimacy. We have, in some respects, much common ground to stand on.

And it is for this reason that I have chosen to take an Abrahamic leap of faith. I have this awful tendency to write people. I can’t help myself. And so, because I knew that I kinda-sorta liked this girl, I decided to take a leap of faith and give her completely up. I deleted all of my connections to her—burned all of my bridges, so to speak—and have erased all information tying me to her. I am, currently, unable to reach her in any way. I’ve done this to myself for several reasons, some which I can make public but probably will not—at least not at this very moment. I did this because I believe in faith. In giving everything up to chance. Kierkegaard suggested via the pseudonym “A” that in order to find pleasure, people should receive letters and leave them unopened for three days. During the three-day-period people should imagine what the letters contain. Why? Because there is more pleasure to be found in imagining the contents of the letter than in the letter itself.

I have received this “letter.” It has come from her. I have deleted all access to her so that, now, I could not remain anxiously restless about what could be in reality. While I sit and wait for her to write me—wait, but I am not waiting for her to write me. I have done away with that. What I am doing is simply imagining the contents of our letter: what we could say to each other if we meet, what we could like about each other or dislike… Everything is possible right now. It can all turn out well or it can all end up nowhere. Having my sort of obsessive personality is not good for the average human being; one has to learn how to deal with it somehow. I deal with it by burning bridges. I burn everything and let go. Why? Because I have a tendency to care and worry too much about what could be. I worry about other people and this is why I do not become attached. Attachment was not made for me. Well, in theory, too many attachments are detrimental to my health, to say the least. By letting go, I make it easier for me to continue existing. This does not make me perfect, it only points out my flaws. However, it can be useful, too.  With my personality, this means that I am a relatively “loyal” person; I tend to have few close friends, since they consume so much of my time. I am a quality versus quantity type of person—I focus on the quality. I don’t have many relations, neither do I seek out a multitude of meaningless and superficial so-called (modern) friendships. I am too covenantal for that. I like contractual friendships and love. Something that is more existentially appealing. Everything is in the hands of faith right now. You may believe that I am the only one that is relying on faith—but all acts of love rely on faith.

It takes faith to believe that the person you love will, in some ways, love you back. It takes faith to believe you will share another day with the person you love. It takes faith to believe that you will not divorce. It takes faith to wake up every day and claim to love another human being who is constantly changing and growing as an individual (in communal relationship to you, of course). It takes faith to believe that you will someday have children together. It takes faith to believe that love between you and your spouse exists; only eyes that have faith in love can actually see and believe in love. As Isaiah  once remarked, “Unless you believe, you will not understand” (7:9), so it is with those who love. Unless they themselves love (and believe faithfully in it), they will never “see” love. All of my life has been an act of faith. I am alive today and typing because, whether God willed it or not, of faith. Chance. I am one heart attack, one car accident, away from death. And yet, I walk in faith. I have faith that love exists and this is my tale told faithfully.

12/1/2013

Of Kisses, Roses, and Pearls: “Anticipation of the Event Exceeds the Pleasure of the Event Itself”

I remember a time when I was nineteen years old. I fell madly in love with this girl whom I met only twice before. I met her once at a friend’s house, where she listened to me play Romanza on my Spanish guitar; I also met her once at a New Year’s party. She sat right next to me and listened carefully to the movement of every finger against every string on that guitar. When I finished playing for the night–in that dark and cozy corner of the dim-lit room–she leaned in closer and told me how beautiful the guitar playing was and how much she enjoyed it.
A few months later I would see this same girl at a New Year’s party that our church held and I would fall in love at first (err, second) sight with her. It was instant.
One of my professors, Jerry Sittser, told me about his first wife (he lost her along with his mother and baby daughter in a tragic car accident). He recalled a time when he and his friends were gathered around in a circle and talking about something mundane at the college campus. His future wife was standing in the crowd too. Jerry recalled how somebody shouted from a distance “Sittser!” He looked up in the direction of the shout and along the way his eyes caught a hold ofher. And everything changed. He recalls how in that particular moment, she was no longer just a somebody. He knew she was going to be his wife.
I probably had a similar moment–though it was not to be.
We began writing each other letters back and forth. We would talk on the phone sometimes too. She ended up going on a missionary trip to the Ukraine and I was at home running my father’s repair shop (as he was in jail at the time due to his alcoholism and DUIs). During the time she was there, I spent my days working, writing her and daydreaming about what could be. I envisioned everything. More than I can put to paper right now or even recollect. We spent eight long months writing one another while she was away. They were eight very long months.
You see, I am a very restless person by nature. I simply cannot sit still and wait around for life to occur. I am a very active person in my life. Those eight months nearly killed me. I remember restless nights hoping for a response if there wasn’t one. I wanted so much and I got so little.
At some point I became disillusioned with our relationship and I did something stupid. I can no longer remember what it was, but it wasn’t anything grand–just something minor, as far as I can recall.
So on her eighteenth birthday, I decided to do something romantic as a sign of appreciation of her and as a request at reconciliation.
I bought Hershey’s Kisses and I took eighteen of them apart. I then replaced all of their white strips of paper with my own on which I wrote out “eighteen reasons to forgive me on your eighteenth birthday.” It was cute and that’s how I wanted it to be.
She responded positively–though I later learned that she only did so because her mother liked me too much and pressured her to do so.
That was when I was nineteen. That was the season of the kisses, if you will.
Later in life I met a girl who loved philosophy and Soren Kierkegaard. We met in Portland and I was instantly drawn to her. We immediately fell into a good conversation about whether Kierkegaard was right in leaving Regine Olsen. We talked about Kantian ethics. We talked about Jesus. Gosh, we talked about virtually everything important in my life. I spent several weeks talking to her and at some point I realized that she was no longer interested in me. So I decided to do something quite interesting. I figured that she knew about my love for Kierkegaard, so I thought that if I joked around with her romantically, she would understand my jokes. She didn’t. I sent her flowers with a note reading “C’est la vie et l’amour.” Of course, she knew French better than I did and she should have understood my rather obnoxious and joking intentions. Oh well.
Still later, I was recommended a girl that was tall and beautiful. One of my friends said she would be a good match for me, so I decided I would do something memorable. I obtained her address prior to meeting her and sent her a large bouquet of flowers. (I sent them anonymously, and I am sure she was dying to find out who had sent them!) I then appeared about a week later at her best friend’s wedding and performed an acoustic set where I sung “You and Me” by Lifehouse. My intention was to approach her and see if I liked her after the wedding. I was thinking that if I liked her and if she liked me I would be able to play it cool and then announce that I had sent the flowers. Unfortunately, I chickened out and never did it. So that didn’t go well. She later found out that I, the “tall guy who sang,” was the one who sent her the bouquet and so that was the talk of the season. Simply put: it didn’t float her boat.
Needless to say, I was working long shifts that summer and so I was making a lot of money and I had no one to spend it on other than my sisters. So I sent her bouquets for a week straight.
She didn’t enjoy that either and eventually told me to stop sending them. So I did.
That was my season of roses. (I’m not sure if it’s over yet–I’m planning something grand for this upcoming Valentine’s Day [I have yet to choose the girl!].)
And now we come to my season of pearls. I have never sent anyone pearls before. I don’t know why, but pearls are beautiful and I’m not sure why I never sent them to anyone.
You see, I have this theory about love and romance. If I send you simple dark red roses, then you should know that I am seriously, by all means, in love with you. (I have yet to send those.)
There is a reason why I have always sent women colored roses or other flowers. I never loved them. It’s as simple as that.
Now, coming to pearls, they are white (the ones that I sent) and they remind me of nothing but purity and simple beauty. I really like pearls. As I write this, I think I am falling more and more in amour with them.
I was recently in Hawaii and I purchased several sets of pearl necklaces and earrings. I don’t know what got into me, but they looked so lonely just hanging there, and I felt like being generous. So I purchased pearls. Without really thinking much, I went on a whim and decided that I would figure out later whom to send them to. (When sending flowers, my rule of thumb is to send them and to find reasons for sending them later.)
I sent pearls to my sisters and to one other girl.
I sent them because it was a nice thing to do and because I had no use for them. But once I had sent them, I had to look for a reason. I don’t send pearls to girls. I never have. So why now?
Maybe because I think she’s a sweet girl. Or maybe because I am wrong. I don’t know. I live in the subjunctive mood. Almost always undecided about these sort of things.
But there is always more than meets the eye with me. Always.
You see, I have this tendency to push boundaries and watch responses. I don’t mean that I go and commit sins and then look to see if people notice; no, I like to live my life uniquely and in an eccentric fashion (which raises eyebrows sometimes).
I am now lost in the subjunctive. What could be and what will be, those are my questions.
Like Kierkegaard, I have “received” a “letter” and am sitting around leaving it unopened for three days. I am walking around that letter and imagining all of its romantic contents. All the things which that letter may contain. All the excitement and all of the life. Then I will open the letter. And find an unpaid phone bill awaiting me.
I have decided to play a game and guess what she will do with them.  I have previously wrote in my first book about this guessing game with roses–this time it is with pearls. Though it is unfair to call this a game because it takes away all of the emotions involved. Calling it a game makes me a criminal and inhuman. It is only a “game” in the sense that I know not what to expect and that that which I expect will probably turn out wrong anyways. Usually girls tend to reject gifts. That is the norm. So, for one, she could receive the pearls and send them back to me (which is understandable). She could receive the pearls and write me a thank you card (which would be doing more than the usual [maybe a good thing]). She could receive the pearls and send me a nasty letter (which would be understandable but rude). She could receive the pearls and donate them to a local charity (which would be understandable but inconsiderate). She could receive the pearls and think that they imply some sort of romance (which would be understandable but hasty). She could receive the pearls and put them away and think nothing of them. This would be understandable too–but it would also be tragic.
Receiving a gift and giving no response is a crime in my subjective world. At least send them back and tell me you hate me.
All of the possibilities that my world is full of. It is no wonder that I am an introvert on most days–look at how fascinating my life is!
One could spend centuries in the mazes of my mind.
As strange as it all sounds, I actually think I am done pouring out my thoughts to the public.
But beware: I have saved the best for last (and for myself only!).

written by Moses Y. Mikheyev
author of Rants on Love: Philosophical Fragments of a Dying Romance

Bleeding Roses

Ah, to see your face again

Those shadows dancing on your skin

Reflecting aches of looks that kill

All my hopes, paint-layer thin

But nothing lasts in this cold moment

My gaze unwanted, though you still own it

I had a soul—for you I’ve sold it

Is there a Christ for my atonement?

Is there a chance that you would offer?

I know you well enough, don’t bother

To know, like sheep led to the slaughter

I know nothing of your loves and lovers

Do you not think that I had noticed?

Was it all steam without a purpose?

Oh God! It seems I do deserve this:

Hurricane-churned heart and bleeding roses

Melancholy—that brute obsession

Devils replaced my prized possessions

Had I obtained your daft permission…

Why not decide your own decisions?

You see, even the insane trod that path

Where love and lust is solved by math

Where thoughts of saint and sinner clash

You wouldn’t know, or would you, ma’am?

Was I polite? was I rude to you?

Were you a ghost or did I see through you?

I’m all scarlet-lettered over you

You wouldn’t know or would you?

 

Poem written by Moses Y. Mikheyev

 

Dedicated to the once and future, L. Wells

In memory of a romance that would not be…