Comes the Dawn
After a while you learn the subtle difference
between holding a hand and obtaining a soul
and you learn love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn mean security
and you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes open
with the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while,
you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much
so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
and that you really ARE strong
and you really do have worth
and you learn and learn.
With every goodbye, you learn.
Seems like ever since I attended Goteblud‘s opening, I’ve been a bit obsessed by ‘zines. And thanks to all of the political rulings over Gay Marriage, I’ve been reviewing my feelings about marriage and relationships in general.
Recently my friend Suki Divine lent me her copy of sexyouality: challenging the culture of monogamy. That’s where the above poem came from. No author is attributed to the piece, but the issue is printed in England (1999) by GodhavenInk publications. There’s many essays on sex and relationships, focusing on monogamy and polyamory (as the title references). The essays rely heavily on quotations to back up their theses about sex and culture. I think three quotes in particular are worth sharing.
The first is by Terence McKenna:
“I think the most dangerous parts of the current cultural trance are pretty obvious: male domination, materialism, and the absence of spirit. Monogamy is another one in there. These are cultural styles which, if not overcome, will probably contribute to our ever more rapid acceleration toward, if not extinction, at least a profound brutalisation of life.”
Another by Henry Rollins:
“It’s hilarious to me when someone says that someone belongs to them, like ‘That’s my girl.’ What a crock. No one belongs to anybody. Fuck slavery. Do what you want…Such mental torment over petty, trivial, emotional displays such as jealousy; it’s a form of laziness. You all should loosen up.”
And my favorite by Deborah Anapol:
“Intimate relationships at their best are a path to higher consciousness and greater self knowledge, largely because of the valuable feedback – or mirroring effect – one receives from a beloved. Having more than one partner at a time not only increases the available quantity of feedback, it also makes it harder to blame your partner for the problems you might be creating in the relationship. In other words, multiple partners can actually help you become a more responsible person.”
I don’t know how I personally feel about the whole monogamy versus polyamory debate. I know that this ‘zine opened my mind to new ways of thinking about relationships, but I don’t know if they would be right for me. I suppose I too have been indoctrinated in the classic Snow White “One Day My Prince Will Come” kind of mindset. Seems to me that it’s a lot of work to date one person, let alone a village. I do think jealousy and ownership are messed up ways to relate to your beloved, and maybe it is unreasonable to ask one person to be your everything, and yes, our society has really backwards ways of thinking about sex and sexuality. However, I don’t think polyamory is necessarily a prescription for everyone’s needs. It’s probably best to take the whole monogamy versus polyamory and apply it on a case by case individual basis.
I’ve never liked the ownership aspects of marriage, but I also think making a lifelong commitment to one’s partner is pretty amazing. The whole thing gets more complicated when you start to analyze the rights one gets when the government legitimizes your relationship. I might not like the idea of marriage, but it starts to look pretty good when you start considering legal rights. Anyway, I’m just touching on these ideas in a cursory fashion. I’m not up to the task of really analyzing them any more than that right now.
The last page of sexyouality reprints a poem by Kahlil Gibran which I think is a pretty succinct way of looking at the whole coupling thing:
You were born together, and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Aye, you shall be together even in the silent memory of time.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness.
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your being.
Fill each others cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
You can order a copy of sexyouality here.