Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chasm-Embrace (first of three poems)


She called me "her knight" before I left.
We would dance all night, holding tight.

Then a tanguero from the City came.
Since then I felt an absence in her presence.
I heard it in her voice a long-distance away.

Returning from war, I felt her change.
A gap in our milonguero embrace
Grew with each tango we danced.
And jealousy began to devour me.

I could not hide my sadness and doubt.

When I saw how she melted in his arms.
My jealousy made the chasm-embrace grow,
But try as may, jealousy had its own power.
She said I was a different man from war.
Her combat with loneliness had changed her too.

The tanguero from the City has left,
But now the ruins of our castle stands
With cracks in the walls and a waterless moat.
The ruin walls are jagged and bleak,
A mere marker of a history that once was.

The grand room, once full of friends,
Is now a refuge for goats and a mule.
The floor where we danced is now only grass.
I had to leave, and find another village to escape,
Vanquished and in exile by Sword of Love-Lost.

I haunt each milonga now, my only refuge left.
The thirst I have for a moving embrace!
And for one tanda at a time, I forget who I am:
A knight without a castle, defeated after battle
Only the bandoneón understands my tears.

Only the embrace of friends gives me solace... en mi soledad.

This poem is dedicated to the soldiers whom I know at Fort Hood who come home and their children and wife have disappeared with a man from "the City."  The largest casualty of war is relationships in ruins.  Many men come home still alive but their souls are forever altered as much from the war as the ruins of their marriages/engagements.  This poem is not about me, but about the suffering I see in my office.  This is a first of three poems dedicated to warriors.  Another poem will follow dedicated to the women warriors I know and help as a therapist.  The last poem will be dedicated to men coming home, finding their children gone.

If I could prescribe one thing, I would wish they could know the power of the moving embrace, which I have found in tango.

Art Credit:


  1. I hope you can find a way to introduce Tango to these soldiers. It's the perfect thing for them.

  2. Eileen - my thoughts exactly. Just beautiful Mark, I love this.


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