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Archive for the ‘romance’ Category

She won’t arrive on a bus, for that would require a schedule and a sense of time. She can’t be bothered with expectations nor does she have a need for personal validation. She knows she is anticipated, is prayed for, celebrated, and that life really does evolve around her. She shows up in whatever she’s wearing, and regardless of weather, she’ll have you step outside, and then make you wait for her. And though she runs both hot and cold…she is worth the wait and moody ways.

This lady will take your breath away, make your eyes tear up, she’ll melt even the coldest of the cold. She is a shady lady, but after she shows up late she will bring you roses, songs and cause the heart to stir to life…

After my mother, I have loved her most and longest…even though we meet but once a year…I’ll even shed some clothes for her when she does finally arrive. And she always follows a dark time and makes the recent memories seem like an endless nightmare. For her, I will cease the stoking of the fire, leave my door open wide, and even clean up the place and venture out into the light…

I do love her shamelessly and without fail. …Hello Spring, let us renew our annual tryst until your sister we call Solstice comes around and takes me in her arms, and keeps me awake till all balmy and lazy hours. Although you will abandon me once again, I will scarcely notice. You will be forgiven as always…and I will welcome you again in a few months short of a year…Adieu my fair weathered lady friend…My favorite lady, Spring.

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Here is my vision of how a young man might have induced a young lady to join him in a life as a pioneer in farm country during the 1800’s and early 1900’s…A proposal of sorts…

My Love…I will plow, till and turn. I will drag, rake, stack, and burn. I will clear the land and plant the seed. I will give you everything you need. I will thin the timbers from that grove near the river…I will saw, plane, groove, and pin. I will haul, dig ditches, pump, and dam…I will seed, cover, water, shade and tend. I will feed you and ours from the fields near the home I intend to build…from what I brought, can create, and can find in nature.

And after the stones are made foundation, after setting the timbers for frame, wall and floor…Then I will plank, pole, and shake; covering those frames, walls, ceiling, rafter, and roof. After you unwrap the panes from the quilt and towel, I’ll bring sunlight into your kitchen, bedroom, and parlor. Then I’ll build you a porch with shade from a great tree. And I’ll hang a front door. Mine and yours…And we’ll call it home…you and I.

Matthew Landsman

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John and Norma…it was meant to be. Not one in a million…one in billions. And yet there they were for the duration. Though nobody knows for sure what the duration will be ahead of time, but the intent is there for more decades than we are sometimes gifted. The granting of one love and that set of vows is the real gift…One set of lives together…then the addition of family, little lives out of combined souls. It is indeed an enviable accomplishment. John and Norma…plus Jason and Jeremy. Priceless.

John was called to service, to duty, to sea. While his home was at times on the waves near lands and countries where the winds of change were in need of stern encouragement…But the real rudder and true North stayed home upon land. I speak of course of Norma. And while others waited for flags and masts to emerge from beyond the horizon, Norma kept the home fires burning. And she contributed her part as liaison between those out to sea and the faithful souls in wait of a port busy once more with vessels and loved ones home safe again. Perhaps today she serves as ombudsman between the ones left earthbound, and with God there on her heavenly shore…

I have thought a great deal about the dedication, the faithfulness of both of them, about faith and fears, and the strength that comes from the successful passing of as many missions and separations for extended periods. The times John spent out at sea reminds me of some words spoken by a late President when I was but three years old…Recently it has taken on a new, deeper meaning…

“I really don’t know why it is that all of us are so committed to the sea, except I think it is because in addition to the fact that the sea changes and the light changes, and ships change, it is because we all came from the sea. And it is an interesting biological fact that all of us have, in our veins the exact same percentage of salt in our blood that exists in the ocean, and, therefore, we have salt in our blood, in our sweat, in our tears. We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch it we are going back from whence we came.” (JFK)

This lends then to my vision of our young couple living at a distance with many miles of land and oceans between them, and yet the elements JFK referred to also lent to keeping them together with the common bonds offered by the saltiness of the swells that supported crafts on the waters, of the tears on both ends of reaching bow and safe harbor. The salt from the sweat of labor and battle…and in times of anxious waiting. Elements  on both ends that brought the salty sea into the hearts at home, and the promises and comforts of home to places beyond the horizon where patriots travel in duty to country, and in hope of coming home.

Although Norma’s departure to a different sort of sea was untimely and equally unexpected, she is none the less afloat on a sea of a celestial sort, somewhere beyond the horizon, beyond the place where ocean meets the sky. Somewhere down the road, John will arrive at that place…past the spot where a river crosses over the bar. A place where the line between heaven and earth become one. A place where a living soul waits, and a departed soul beckons to beyond the shore and one waiting there.

Matthew Landsman 03-04-2012

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After sixty one years, the life that accompanied mine no longer shares the morning coffee, the news of the day, or a conversation long after the day has passed. She no longer stirs the pot I momentarily forgot…fills the ice tray I left nearly empty. She is no longer the soul breathing quietly there on the pillow next to mine…

I’ll still talk to her, and reach for her hand when I stroll. I’ll still snatch a rose from a bush down the way; sing her a line from a special song. I’ll stir my coffee quietly, and tuck my shoes away…just in case she is still lingering somehow.  I’ll want to always please her…to take away the evening chills…to find a way to kindly tease her. I’ll still keep my promises, and after sixty one years, my vows still remain. My attentions and intentions are the same.

I have often said I’d like to live yet another eighty eight years. I have a feeling I will be re-living the last sixty or so every day from now on.  The thought of her still makes me smile, still makes me proud, and still accompanies my thoughts from the waking moment to the midnight’s dreams…

I’ll breathe in her essence, and exhale her laughter…again and again…until there are no longer moments…no longer breaths. Till there are no more promises left to be kept, no more roads to follow, no songs left to sing…And then, and then, and then…she’ll fill my cup, and my hand…with hers, my heart with her pulse, my mind with her poetry and prose…my eyes with the creations and senses there in the canvas, parchment, pen and ink, palette and brush…and from her imagination.

And from across a crowded room, I will again seek her warmth, her steps softly accompanying mine…and again there will be tears, but of joy this time.  And while others bid adieu to he who has been missing her, I will be looking again into those eyes, listening to the quiet welcoming behind those familiar sighs…we will again be young…and old all at once.

Familiar, yet fresh and full of youthful anticipation…I will finish saying what you begin, and as before…I‘ll cling to your every word. For now, I’ll keep you close in my heart, until again you’re close at hand…

Written in honor of my friend Ben, by Matthew

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 She gave to me springtime in the dead of winter…and brought hope back to me when I’d misplaced it. She gave me life when mine was faded and splintered.

I gave her a simple compliment from my heart…about heaven-bound long legs and eyes that took me away to an ocean known to me only in magazines…then she took my breath away, and replaced it with music from Jim Brickman. A gift of piano, promises, cello…evening bliss and Sunday afternoon slumber as the keys told our story…

And I…I gave to her three guitars with a sense of southern style and abandon…a Simple Man called Mr. Breeze called on her on occasion…accompanied by piano like only Skynyrd knows how. And we journeyed to Alabama on a Free Bird…and we danced private dances in her living room, without really moving…just a simple swaying to the music…Brickman’s “Secret Love”, or Skynyrd’s declaration that; “go find a woman, and you’ll find love…and don’t forget son, there is someone up above…”

We danced there in the dark without moving our feet…but our souls were moved…and our hearts pounded in unison…while our ragged breathing grew urgent, and in spite of the silence at the music’s end…there were still a thousand drums and five hundred violins that played within…and while the encore raged on, there played a chorus of the tiny deaths that visited both of us when the harmony and acoustics were just right.  She looked at me through the same tears with which I viewed her, and quietly we both spoke at the same moment, as life crept back into us and our heartbeats returned to a survivable rhythm… We said simply to one another; “I hear cellos”…

Matthew L Landsman

 

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Ours is the story I have yet to write.
Yours is the hair I yearn to smell after the fading of light. I am yet
to tread the water one sees within the depths of your eyes. I'm still
looking forward to reminiscing over our first dates and seeing the rose
you picked for me hanging over my sink while our fondness grows and
the blossom dries.

I look forward to knowing how you like
your coffee, and whether you are crystal flute or a Tupperware tumbler
kind of girl…and if you know the vessel holds no bearing on the content
as long as the heart is warm and the breezes are fair.

Do you wear a spritz of perfume even
when you're alone…just in case I might happen by? Will you bury your
nose in a pillow that smells of my cologne just to bring me closer to
you when we spend time apart?

Will I be the first call you make no
matter if the news is troubled or glad? Will your waking moments find
you reaching to find me as we are the first thought that fills your
mind?

And will your heart forget its rhythm
when you realize you are hearing what will be "our song" for
the first time? At the moment it happens, will you pull your car to
the shoulder and have trouble dialing my number because of the mist
that fills your eyes?

It is true we have yet to meet, but I
know you're out there searching too.

If these things aren't bad for you to
be around…let it be me…The poet in me awaits you.
 

Matthew Landsman

Summer 2008

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Humphrey Bogart said it best in the movie Casablanca,

“We’ll always have Paris…”

I say it today, though I’ve never been to “The City of Light”…nor have I strolled through a vineyard in Provence. I doubt I will ever peer over the cliffs of Normandy, or hear the surf that once pounded the shore with the crimson remains of so many brave souls.

But shortly after the change in the millennium, I fell in love with the voice of a lonely friend as she stayed not far from the shadow of the Eiffel Tower… while her feet left a barely visible set of prints along the banks of the River Seine…and  the fragrance of baguettes teased her nose after a summer shower, and tempted her palate, begging to be shared with a flute of sparkling wine, crisp apple slices, and a stash of cheeses with names I cannot pronounce.

I saw her off for a six week trek across the land and sea, for a trip into the past… into the vineyards, cobblestones, galleries, narrow side streets and country roads that are France…her rite of passage as taken by others before her.

It has been a long while, so the details of her journey are misty to my memory… but not the wonder of discovering our hearts peering into the nights beyond either shore, and far past the horizon… the search for the familiar serenading of the senses, for the familiar scents that had been her and I, then the two of us together.  She was nowhere in sight, but I felt her presence everywhere I roamed in my solitude.

Perhaps as I passed beneath a non-descript overpass, on an unremarkable stretch of highway, she may have been taking a journey through history, while her taxi or walking shoes took her through the Arc de Triomphe. While stranger’s smiles, in the most romantic city in the world, may have tapped on her heart’s door, the reminder of my certain adoration and growing fondness, here in our desert hamlet, pounded with determination for passage to a place neither had been before.

When infant dawn splashed over the morning sky, with hues from nature’s palette of reds filling the eastern sky and giving new shadows to the purple hills of the fading night, I knew that afternoon shadows were growing long in the French countryside.  Here, on the avenues of rustic towns she ventured, while making lasting memories of the beauty at hand, with a sense of history urging her on alone…and with the knowledge she might never wander these paths again…all the while a presence of growing liaison between our two gypsy souls calling her heart home again.

While she broke her evening bread and held a letter from home against her homesick, aching breast, I was greeting the day with weary eyes and an envelope full of fresh words about the day before, and the night of distant intentions, about to be postmarked and sealed with a kiss, then sent off across the cool Atlantic.

While she wandered the Louvre and silently gasped at the beauty and wonder of works by the likes of Rembrandt and Leonardo Da Vinci, perhaps the quiet smile of The Mona Lisa filled her with a sense of mystery and awe.  I am certain I was enamored with the vision of her simple smile and the eyes that nearly vanish when joy invades her being over simple pleasures like “treats” at DQ, or “scenes” from next week’s episode of ER.  To be sure, Paris in July is magic and might come but once in a lifetime, but in the midst of all this worldly travel, the two of us were discovering there really is no place like home when someone you love is waiting there anxiously.

In the heat of the afternoon sun, I busied myself with pulling weeds from her lawn just to be closer to her somehow.  As she strolled through a market in Provence, after an early morning train carried her from the city bustle and left her with a camera full of photographs, and as the wonderful chill of a morning breeze filled the air with conversations it carried and caused the leaves of the olive trees to softly rustle, maybe the breezes were my thoughts and love on the wing, reminding her of all that awaited her when she made the journey home.

And as we both pondered what the other might be doing at a given moment, words for tomorrow’s letter were spilling over in the hearts of the two of us.  Perhaps a pen was being set down momentarily to empty a hand that would wipe away a knowing tear, or reach for another serving of yesterday’s letter…like a sip from a glass of last night’s wine to greet the dawn, clinging to every passage that filled the cup with sappy declarations and promises of hour long hugs upon her return…over and over I would drink it up till I became intoxicated with emotion, loneliness and anticipatory longing.  This was a slightly guilty pleasure since no liquor, ale, or wine had passed over my tongue in over a decade, but the metaphoric spirits, in the form of her words, filled me, nearly drowned me, and left me reeling with familiar warmth and an aching desire.

France and Washington state share nearly the same latitude on God’s earth, lending to their innate ability to produce quintessential wine grapes, amazing sunsets, and inspirations for lovers of all things natural, beautiful, fragrant, tasty, and romantic.  Straining out to the west of Normandy, the granite isle of Mont Saint-Michel stands vigil in the Atlantic waters, reaching out to mariners and all sentimental souls alike…pointing to the British Isles and the last leg of her journey abroad.

When the object of my attentions and desire at last took leave of Bordeaux country for a final time, and spent a week in the green country of Ireland, she toured castles and the sources of legend and Celtic tunes and lore. Then a weary traveler bid farewell to Dublin and, an ocean crossing later, was greeted by first the east, then the west coasts of our fair land.  Finally, as July faded and August debuted, I traveled to a terminal to collect her at last.  I remember the fragrance of airline-conditioned air following her, and accompanying us home, through the mountain passing and safely home to our desert abodes.

The drive marked the end of one journey, the beginning of another, and the eventual culminating of our last summer together.

Now it’s nearly three quarters of a decade later, half past “0 dark thirty,” and I’m still waiting for my phone to ring again. I long to be awakened from the sleep that hasn’t found me yet. I long for the pad of air delivery paper that lay next to my bed, which I penned my heart upon, pouring out prose, poetry and love like Cabernet into a Dixie cup…mailing it off nearly every morning shortly after dawn.

On the shelf in my bathroom stands a long empty bottle that once held cologne she brought to me from France.  I call it “Far Away” because I can’t pronounce the name.  I remember the homecoming and the scent she gave to me.  And I yearn for the swelling of emotion and growing anticipation of her next words, either spoken or written, the journal of her days abroad.  I miss her taking me through the places that for me existed only in movies and novels.  I miss the most romantic, extended moment this poet ever had…when we had only a continent and an ocean between us…but I had never been closer, felt more embraced, never felt more comfortable, even while knowing that our reunion held no promise of forever.  Still I knew that I would forever hold fast to the memories and moments, to the absence of a hand to hold, while I walked at her side some five thousand miles and nine time zones away.

And, oh my God, how that trip we took together, yet apart from each other, has saved me time and again…rescued me when I’ve nearly stopped believing in romancing, walks in the warm rain, and slow dancing.  I step back a few years to the most endearing of times my heart has ever known. I return to a fantasy that invaded my reality, gave me inspiration for some of my fondest work and most
heartfelt intentions to meld with the ink in my pen and the faintly-lined paper that would soon somehow find her and speak softly to her in English among the foreign speaking souls all around her.

I have no regrets, only thanks for the elation and honor of an epic moment shared…for the words that all these years later flow once more through my hands, an old friend revisited, refined, and aged to perfection like vintage wine. Again I enjoy the twinge of pure intoxication, look out over the eastern horizon, and remember when…and thanks to Bogart and Bergman, and a time spent apart from one I loved, I quietly look out into the night…and softly utter,

“We’ll always have Paris…”

Matthew Lyle Landsman, July 2008.

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