So I got a call from an old flame today.  We’re still good friends, so it’s not that unusual to hear from him.  He was in town for the day and he wanted to come over and see my new house.  I have to say that I was happy to show off my new “crib.”  I found myself fussing over the state of the place just a little too much. I wanted to hang up those curtains that I’ve been meaning to get to.  Man, is it this lighting or does my chair and sofa suddenly need a deep cleaning?  I really need to hang up that new shower curtain rod!  How much time do I have?  
What is the deal?  How can an old flame still manage to make me a little hot under the collar? Come to think of it, why did we break it off in the first place? When ever we spend any time together or on the phone, I find myself daydreaming about “What if…” What if we got back together?  What if we had never broken up?  What if I moved closer to him or he moved back here?

Thinking about that old flame makes me think even moreso about the one who still burns white hot in my heart.  He loves euphamisms.  I remember him telling me, as he was rejecting my affections, that “a fire won’t burn if you don’t stoke it.”  That may be so, but it hasn’t held true in my experience.  The heat I feel for him is like magma that floats beneath the earth’s core.  On the surface, there may be little indication of the churning, boiling lava that flows beneath an unyeilding layer of protective rock.  This fiery inferno lies undetected until something breaches the surface, allowing the molten magma to flow freely, encompassing everything in its path.  That’s what is happening to me.

I have developed a crusty exterior that at first glance seems impenetrable, but then if I see someone that I know is a friend of the one I burn for, the heat is turned up again.  No stoking required.  Like a California wildfire, the embers will smolder for days…at the slightest provocation igniting the inferno afresh.  That’s where I am today.  I got a call from one old flame, then I see the friend of the true flame and I am undone.  I have been melancholy and wistful ever since.

What can you do to cool magma?  How can you stop the lava flow beneath the earth’s crust?  How can I stop loving him?  I wish I knew the answer to that.  This reminds me of a poem that I wrote after the last time this happened:


I Don’t Know How Not to Love You
I don’t know how not to love you
I’ve tried everything I know
To wrest you from my heart and mind
But you just won’t let go


Sometimes I think it’s over
Maybe I’ll love anew
It’s then you steal into my dreams
Oh, what’s a girl to do?

You’re fused into my soul, you see
As much as I protest
Trying not to love you
Is futile at the best.

I don’t know how not to love you,
but worse, I wish I could
Remove this battered, broken heart
And exchange it for one of wood

For wooden hearts don’t feel pain
They know not my despair
A piney pump’s indifferent
To your brown-eyed, soulful stare.

I don’t know how not to love you
Or forget your soft, sweet kiss
Oh, curse the memories, damn them all
Return me to ignorant bliss

Before I knew your kindness,
Your friendship, your embrace
Return me to my solitude
And Maybe then I’ll say


That I DO know how not to love you
To be deaf to memory’s call
The only way not to love you
Is never to have known you at all.




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