obstacles, part II

for Reed, who argued with me when I claimed to be a romantic who doesn't believe I'll ever find true love. This is true love:

I came back from the funeral and crawled
around the apartment, crying hard,
searching for my wife's hair.
For two months got them from the drain,
from the vacuum cleaner, under the refrigerator,
and off the clothes in the closet.
But after other Japanese women came,
there was no way to be sure which were
hers, and I stopped. A year later,
repotting Michiko's avocado, I find
a long black hair tangled in the dirt.

[Jack Gilbert, 'Married', in The Great Fires: Poems, 1982-1992]


  1. Why would one believe that being a romantic and believing you would find true love are somehow linked? Can't none, one, or both be true?

  2. Well, yes: I think that none, one, or both can be true. But I don't think it's so far-fetched to believe, as he was arguing (I would never claim to know what he truly believed), that to consider oneself (and in fact to actively describe oneself as) "a romantic" implies a general sense of hopefulness about one's life that would be incompatible with the pessimism required "to believe that [one] will [n]ever find true love." He seemed to be saying, as Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet, "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." By arguing against my belief in true love, was I trying to convince him that I was worthy of it?

    Prehaps that's a preview of my point about obstacles. Smart R...!

  3. Ok. So that makes some sense to me I guess. I assume the fact that I've never had the "general implication" gene may be playing a role here. I only connect dots when I see a line between them and rarely believe that 2 similar dots implies a general line. Further I've never believed people faced with the same 2 dots all draw a line between them. Interesting how people think and read situations. I may have learned something here.

  4. First: I think you're a lovely person even if you never have and probably never will have one thought that's just like everybody else--maybe even more so for that trait.

    More to the point: people do seem to behave in predictable ways. That's why women can roll our eyes and say "Men!", exasperatedly, and know exactly what that inflection is intended to imply. And teenaged guys seem to have similarly difficult interactions with their inamorata because of the apparently disparate languages that they speak (even though they're all speaking English). And why lawyer-types tend to draw lines between dots, even when there is no particular call for line-drawing, no one's expressed any interest in a line, and the line may in fact be in the way.

    And why some of us weren't cut out to be lawyers, so much.