• What Love Isn’t

    Date: 2010.06.13 | Category: Imagining Love, The Art of Writing | Tags:

    Here I go again, sharing a first draft of a poem, letting it go before the fear of releasing it can claim it to a drawer, a computer file, or a wastebasket.  And here I go again, writing in the abstract, not being specific about what the poem is about.  I am leaving the “triggering subject” out of the poem because the details aren’t as important as the understanding.  Does it matter that I may not have crafted a “good” poem?  I don’t think so.  What matters is the heart of the poem, the heart of thought, of thinking through experience to know how I feel and what I understand or what I’m trying to understand that may actually go beyond understanding.  The poem not as objective witness to an event or a conversation, but the poem as heartfelt and honest as it can be in its subjectivity.  Lately I seem to be writing without apples and oranges and flowers and feisty verbs and pretty adjectives.  It’s a phase I’m going through, I guess, like growing old.  I challenge you to let go of whatever you have learned about writing and just write, just once with no critic looking over shoulder whether that critic be you or someone else.


    As always,




    What Love Isn’t


    Sometimes I wonder if the good guys are any better than the bad guys I mean the good guys who a woman thinks are good but surprise you just when you’re feeling comfortable, feeling safe, feeling loved and you think you know they won’t hurt you, they, the ones you think are gentle and kind and generous okay maybe not generous but the ones you trust with all your heart to know that you a woman hurts or have been hurt and you trust that they know that the history of  violation against women doesn’t go away but often gets hidden and if you’re a lucky woman the violence gets sheltered by the goodness of men and women who understand violence is not okay yet even the slip of someone’s tongue sends you spinning into anger into fear into running far far away from even the possibility that someone’s fear or rage or defense, even if it’s not against you, can hurt you or anyone and yes there are degrees of violence of attack of even hurting someone’s feelings but I have trouble distinguishing between a woman, or a man I may not even know being assaulted, beaten, raped, robbed, manipulated, controlled or myself if I am the intentioned victim because violence is violence and even contemplating violence to me is violence and sometimes I think I am careless in my righteous opinions but today I renounce any unease, any guilt, any second guessing myself because today I realize it is better to be safe than wonder what if….today I know angels have always been my muse, my protectors, and the possibility of love isn’t worth the risk of the repercussions of hate, and that not being loved isn’t necessarily death, but death is not loving; but loving doesn’t mean allowing myself to be someone else’s punching bag nor does it mean I sit back and shut up and comfort you in my arms as you violently, in thought or deed, revenge an unjust world while I passively repress my discomfort.  I am not ashamed of my many attempts to be loved, neither am I ashamed of running from what I hoped and thought was love but wasn’t and there I go again judging, saying I know what love is or isn’t but I do know what it isn’t.   Today I feel, though the earth is trembling, I feel a gentleness of spirit, a calm resolve, I feel like praying.



    Sherry Quan Lee

    June 13, 2010