Love – Ah the joy of it. But also the cruel vicissitudes love brings to our lives. I have invited some of the Write Room log members to join me in celebrating love, its joys and its pains. –Kenneth Weene
Another Kind of Love (and Betrayal) by Bryan Murphy
People say that you stay with your bank longer than your spouse. Yet for many an Englishman, the strongest bond of all is with his local soccer team. In England, you do not choose a soccer team to support; it chooses you. “It” is your home-town team, however small, and life-long commitment is demanded. You may also follow better-known teams, but such dalliances are flirtations that keep a marriage going, rather than signs that divorce is called for. It is your local team to which you pledge your heart, for ever, irrespective of success or failure, logic or reason.
When an uncle took me to our small town’s soccer ground, between the river, the gasworks and the railway junction, he initiated me into an English ritual that has colonized my imagination for over 50 years. In Laos, Luanda, Lisbon, London, I have experienced the power of soccer to overcome cultural barriers and provide shared enjoyment. We fans might not understand each other’s languages, but we understand the power of unconditional, blind love.
Alas, nothing lasts for ever. My love of soccer is heading for a shipwreck on the reefs of reality. It turns out that there is, after all, a greater love abroad in the world: that of a fast buck.
The advantage of soccer over, say, Shakespeare, is that you do not know from the start how a soccer match will end. Make that past tense. The evidence of match-fixing in soccer is now so overwhelming that even we fans can no longer deny it. That corruption reduces sport to mere bad acting.
Rich fans have always tried to buy success for their club, usually legally. The latest scandals around the world are about illegal betting syndicates buying players to do something previously unheard-of: deliberately play to lose. What love could survive such betrayal?
I used to imagine my team was too small and insignificant to be involved. But now, million-dollar bets have reportedly been laid on matches at even lower levels, and players at our level have been charged with fixing.
The betting syndicates are not going to abandon soccer for tiddlywinks, and nor can I. If Tonbridge Angels FC turn out to be tainted by corruption, it will be over between me and “the beautiful game” as a whole. Whatever will I do on Saturday afternoons? Maybe give Shakespeare another try.
Bryan Murphy is a British author who actually has a wonderful normal love-life.
A couple of his short e-books, Linehan’s Trip and Linehan Saves, feature a corrupt international soccer official who is tempted to become good. You can find them here: http://bit.ly/19vt7Ts
Bryan welcomes visitors to his website, http://www.bryanmurphy.eu/ where he regales them with poetry, stories, articles and more.
TRUE LOVE NEVER FAILS
by Salvatore Buttaci
Define “lost.” In these secular times when love relationships rarely last, divorces and co-habitations abound, perhaps we should say love “thrown away” instead of love “lost.”
While we all agree that love begins with romantic attraction, too often it never progresses beyond it, and for that reason lovers become dissatisfied. The magnetic pull of love is simply not pulling as when the two first met, which now opens the way for “the roving eye” to distract one or both from strengthening their relationship. They find someone else they consider more alluring, more loving, more everything than what they have been accustomed to. “You only live once,” they say in their defense. “Why should I stay with someone I do not love?” Or after having declared undying love, they suddenly arrive at this common epiphany: “I never really loved you at all.”
Then there are those who kid themselves into thinking they are in love. Mark Twain once wrote, “He imagined that he was in love with her, whereas I think she did the imagining for him.”
Why then does love fail? Perhaps it is not taken seriously enough. “If it doesn’t work out, I’ll walk out” reflects a rather poor attitude, but one heard even moments before wedding ceremonies!
Another reason why love remains for too many a passing delight could be their unwillingness to add to romantic love the love of friendship. They go hand in hand. If lovers treated one another as best friends, they would sacrifice, compromise, and make vows that would endure.
Never to have loved is certainly a sad admission, but to have repeatedly loved frivolously, halfheartedly, selfishly –– what kind of love is that? An old Sicilian proverb teaches us, “It is better to walk alone than badly accompanied.”
Salvatore Buttaci is a retired teacher and professor whose work has appeared in The Writer, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and elsewhere here and abroad. He was the 2007 recipient of the $500 Cyber-wit Poetry Award.
His recent flash collection, 200 Shorts, published by All Things That Matter Press, is available at http://www.amazon.com/200-Shorts-ebook/dp/B004YWKI8O/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369920397&sr=1-2&keywords=200+Shorts
He lives with his loving wife Sharon in West Virginia.
BETTER TO HAVE LOVED AND LOST
by Trish Jackson
One day I visited my neighbor Hilary. She was sitting at her desk sobbing. “What’s wrong?” I handed her a tissue from my purse.
When she finally stopped crying, Hilary told me her story.
“When I was a teenager I got pregnant. My Dad had died when I was twelve, leaving my mom with a heap of debts. She worked two jobs and still didn’t really earn enough to cover the cost of raising me and my three younger siblings.
“The father of my child was a married man. When I told him I was pregnant, he begged me not to tell and said he would deny it if I did.
“Mom said I would have to give up the baby for adoption as there was no way she could afford another child in the family. I had just turned sixteen and had promised to get a summer job. Instead, almost due, I pent the summer hidden away in the house.
“Mom was so kind to me. She never complained about the pregnancy. Even though I didn’t want to give up my baby, I knew she was right. I had to give up my baby for Mom.
“When my little girl was born, she was perfect. ‘Please let me hold her just once.’ I begged and I cried and I cried when they took her from me. What made it worse was knowing that adoption records were sealed and that I would never be able to obtain the information that might lead me back to her.”
Hillary stopped for a moment, gulped a breath, and wiped her eyes again.
“Years passed. I married and had two sons, but I never forgot my beautiful baby girl. I often wondered if she was happy. And of course where she was?
“Then the Internet changed things. I found a site where adopted children could try to find their birth mothers. My hands trembled as I typed the only things I knew about my daughter—her date and place of birth. Time passed. I almost gave up hope. Then the email came. ‘I think I am your daughter.’
“The site offered verification services. We sent strands of our hair so our DNA could be tested. Anxious is not strong enough to describe the waiting. Could it be? We emailed one another constantly and swapped pictures. Yes, there was a resemblance; but? Finally, the results: Yes, Angela is my daughter.
“We immediately made plans to meet. She lived on another continent, but nothing was going to keep us apart. I couldn’t contain my excitement.
Then everything changed. Her mother, the woman who had adopted her, raised her, and, I am sure, loves her, doesn’t want her to meet me. She is probably afraid of losing Angela’s love.
I could argue, but I know how important a child is to a mother. I have to give my baby up again. ”
We sat in silence. From time to time Hilary dabbed at her eyes or sniffed. Finally, tears clogging her voice, she said, ”I’m not sorry I found her though. It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Trish Jackson writes emotive romantic suspense focusing on small towns, country folk and their animals. www.trishjax.com
by Micki Peluso
Sometimes we seem at different poles
Northwinds blow across a frozen heart
While southern breezes boil the blood
Yet we are ever joined as one
Combustible, angry, confused and hurt
Feeling wrenching loss of familial love
Sometimes hurt festers like a canker sore
It wants to heal and yet it won’t
Too much has happened to recant
Guilt picks away at closing scabs
And healing, coveted, will not be heeded
However much wanted and needed
Sometimes, so many sometimes
We yearn for days of yore
Life was simple, love unconditional
And trust as sweet as apple pie
Sometimes our lives seem to normalize
Until leaves wafting on uncertain winds
Drift away, leaving distrust behind
And the vicious cycle begins again
Sometimes I reminisce those days
And my heart quickens with yearning
An optimistic, eternal soul
Sees that love again reborn
And I can almost see it myself . . . sometimes
Micki Peluso started writing as a response to grief. . . .AND THE WHIPPOORWILL SANG, which won the Nesta CBC silver award for writing that makes a change in the world, shares the story of her daughter’s death and the family’s movement towards recovery. Since then Micki has written humor, horror, and much more. Read more about her at http://
A MESSAGE FROM THE GRAVE
Chloe had been in love three times. When she married her first husband, Tom, she was in love; but after ten years they divorced. Then there was Bob. They were married for thirty-five years, most of them happy. Sadly, a heart attack took Bob in his sleep.
But the first and only true love of Chloe’s life was her test pilot, Mike. She had met him when she was twenty-two years old and she had fallen hard. However a commitment was never made. When Mike was finally ready, she wasn’t. Then, one day, he came to her job and asked her to marry him. Sadly, Chloe, still gun-shy of Mikes promises, had already met her first husband. She refused to break her engagement to Tom, not for what she thought was her test pilot’s whim.
For the next ten years they had no contact.
When her marriage to Tom broke up, the first thing Chloe did was try to find her test pilot. He was living on his yacht in the Greek Islands. She knew where to find him because they had planned that life together. When he retired from flying, the plan was to buy a large sail boat and sail around the world, the only criteria being the weather had to be warm enough to wear only a bathing suit on deck.
They made contact, but they never actually spoke. Mike had given her his Western Union account and told her to wire him when and where they could meet. The account was “Camelot,” the name of his boat. He told her if he did not hear from her he would go on with his life just as he had before. It was his turn to be gun-shy.
After the divorce was final, Chloe sent her Western Union message. For the first time in years she felt alive, excited, eager to see him again.
There was no answer. Deeply disappointed, she wired again, and again, and again. She thought about buying a ticket and flying to Greece; then thought better of it. Maybe he had changed his mind. Maybe he had found someone else. She gave up.
Years later and alone, Chloe met and married her handsome, gentle husband, Bob, whom she loved profoundly for thirty-five years—but not with the same unbearable passion she had for her that dreamed of test pilot.
When Bob passed away, Chloe Googled her one and only true love. One more time she would try to find him–but not in this life: Mike had passed away a few years earlier. But written in the same newspaper article she found her answer—why she had been unable to contact him.
Throughout the last years of his life Mike had bemoaned, to all who would listen, that he had spelled the name of his boat wrong. He had spelled it Camalot. Not the correct spelling, Camelot, which Chloe had been using to send her telegrams. Tears streamed from her eyes as she read those words, and her heart ached with loss for what might have been.
Was this Mike’s final message to Chloe?
A message from the grave.
Educated in England and Canada, Mary Firmin has enjoyed several careers. After many years as a ballroom dancer, she settled in Santa Monica, California, raised her family, and sold Real Estate while attending many writing classes and seminars at U.C.L.A. Ms. Firmin wrote a society column for the Palm Canyon Times, and is past President of the Palm Springs Writers Guild. She is a long-time member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Romance Writers of America,. Mary has three grown children and presently resides in Laguna Woods, California. See Mary’s blog: http://maryfirmin.blogspot.com
Here, the reality of the dark—in its most powerful form, death—can’t keep love from blossoming in its growing shadow. Hence:
Don’t Be Sad
by Clayton Clifford Bye
The crying beauty of the rose
always fades and dies;
so too the blush of youth.
Yet the searing passion we had
melts in deep comfort
to the full grace of love.
Clayton Bye is an author, editor and publisher. He also offers a wide range of writing services, including small business management for writers. Please visit http://www.claytonbye.com
Tis better to have loved and lost
Than to have never loved at all.
by James Secor
To love is so wonderful, isn’t it? The warmth. Arms and legs thrumming and trembling. Eye-widening eye candy. Touch explosion. Sex or no sex. Even unrequited.
How many times, then, have you loved? And worth it every time, no? Lots of loving and knowing that if you hadn’t loved you’d never have known that passion and that splendor. Like a drug, once you’ve had it you keep wanting more.
But is this everyday love the love Tennyson is talking about?
Lord Tennyson was not mainstream or status quo. Lord Tennyson was an innovator. Lord Tennyson didn’t do the nice and expected and safe. Lord Tennyson was reviled by the critics–until he became Victoria’s Poet Laureate.
So, what kind of love was he speaking of?
The poem is “In Memoriam AHH Obit MDCCCXXXIII 27 Arthur Henry Hallam.”
The original title was “The Way of the Soul.”
It took 17 years to write.
It is 133 cantos long. About 3000 lines. The quote is the last two lines.
Just your everyday love? The kind that opens your eyes, flares your nostrils, takes your breath away, titillates your being and settles into comfort. Or complacency. Or passes away until the next time.
Or is it the everybody-love Buddhists froth about?
Tennyson is speaking to total commitment. Unconditional. The kind, we are told, a mother makes to her infant. No sluice gates. No defenses. All or nothing. If the baby dies or is taken away there is devastation; devastation because entanglement is severed. This is the end of the world.
I had my child taken from me and I never saw him again. I wanted him to begin with; she did not. I took care of him; she put up with him while I was at work. I was the working mother. But she took him and I was damned. I searched. I wrote letters. Last year (2013) I discovered that he died in 2012. I was listed in the obit as kin. My family, knowing where I was and how to contact me, did not tell me. Double the hell.
Forty-three years of desert and desolation.
This same unfettered, all or nothing, defenseless love was also mine in my third marriage. It was, in fact, physically explosive; but it was much more and much more importantly it was a psychic connection. A knowing and communication that went across a partying room and down the road 35 miles. It was always being together. It was touching the dome of heaven. I made up for a youthful mistake: I had learned. It was my time to live. . .until the face of the social-climbing traitor blew away the ground of my being. Disbelief. Depression so deep there was no sight of my soul. Not being able to live with nothing, suicide was much preferable to a life without connection, entanglement, love that was lifeblood.
I have written about this woman–and none too kindly. But I also never can forget the wondrous beauty, the fullness of life of that entanglement. That love is alive in me still. I know I have loved deeper than the universe. I know love. And I would rather the memory and knowledge, the experience–
Twenty-seven years after, I still cry. I’m not whole any more. But I’d not know it without having loved the woman. Many say this. . .and then go out and find another. Psychologists tut-tut and splutter about selfishness.
Now that I know, how could I have ever have convinced myself I had lived a full life?
The difference is the difference between being told the pot is hot and believing it without question, and touching it to see if it indeed is hot. By touching it you know. For real.
I call it up easily because it’s memory is inside my body, inside my brain, inside my soul and yet I cannot find the words for it.
It took Tennyson 17 years to find the words.
Not your everyday, literary, poetic, romance, religious love and loving.
James L. Secor, activist, world traveler, author of Det. Lupée: The Impossible Cases available through the publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org or the distributor, Ingram; B&N and Hastings list the book. Also, Linkedin and http://labelleotero.wordpress.com.
by Salvatore Buttaci
Verona, city noted, centuries now,
For love? What madness! Say instead for crimes
Against the heart: true lovers judged unfit
To consummate a marriage blessed by God.
My Giulietta, wife, my queen, asleep
Forever! Why? A feud between
Two houses –– hers and mine –– preferred the death
Of both their children. Peace would come too late.
The Capuleti ordered now to lay
Down hatred towards my family would grieve
Together. Future sons and daughters? Love
Would breathe without the fear that once we knew.
“Un ultimo bacio“: my final words
To Giulietta. “Kiss me one last time.”
How could I know that truth escaped these lips?
I only meant to say “Until the morrow.”
A sleeping draught the friar gave to her,
Unknown to me; it stopped her heart. A death
Before my eyes was merely sleep. I mourned
Her passing, cried my tears to God’s heaven,
Then took the sip that chokes the breath, in hopes
The two of us would reunite beyond
This vale of grief, two lovers greeted there
By hymns of angels waving palms of peace.
When Giulietta woke from her feigned sleep
And saw me lying dead upon the floor,
“Oh, wherefore liest thou, my Romeo?”
She might have said, but who can say the why?
A ruse that failed. A plan that went awry.
Two bodies still as stone. No breath to speak
Again of love undying. Fate, how cruel!
A love to set the world aflame now ash,
Not heaven. Angels sang no hymns. I walk
The circled rings of hell in search of her:
A punishment for suicide, we roam
The nether world beside the lakes of fire
And call each other’s name to no avail.
Salvatore Buttaci lives with his loving wife Sharon in West Virginia. Follow him n Twitter at www.twitter.com/sambpoet
Kenneth Weene, a novelist, short story writer, and poet, is one of the editors of The Write Room Blog. You can find more about him at http://ww w.kennethweene.com