To Have Without Holding

To Have Without Holding
Marge Piercy

Learning to love differently is hard,
love with the hands wide open, love
with the doors banging on their hinges,
the cupboard unlocked, the wind
roaring and whimpering in the rooms
rustling the sheets and snapping the blinds
that thwack like rubber bands
in an open palm.

It hurts to love wide open
stretching the muscles that feel
as if they are made of wet plaster,
then of blunt knives, then
of sharp knives.

It hurts to thwart the reflexes
of grab, of clutch; to love and let
go again and again. It pesters to remember
the lover who is not in the bed,
to hold back what is owed to the work
that gutters like a candle in a cave
without air, to love consciously,
conscientiously, concretely, constructively.

I can't do it, you say it's killing
me, but you thrive, you glow
on the street like a neon raspberry,
You float and sail, a helium balloon
bright bachelor's button blue and bobbing
on the cold and hot winds of our breath,
as we make and unmake in passionate
diastole and systole the rhythm
of our unbound bonding, to have
and not to hold, to love
with minimized malice, hunger
and anger moment by moment balanced.


I love this poem. It completely captures my experience of open relationships, why I love them and why I struggle with them, and how I don't think I could have it any other way. I do thrive. I do glow. Coming home to my girlfriend, who fed me, drew me a bath and washed my back and hair, and later snuggling down with my boyfriend... and then seeing TB tomorrow? I feel so loved, surrounded by love, like a giant feather comforter that warms my soul and my heart. I am truly blessed.

This poem reminds me that loving like this, letting my heart guide me, can get me hurt. It can go badly. But even then, I'd rather love fully and without fear than to hide it all away, to never give of myself. "To love and let go, again and again"- this is the lesson for me, how to give it my all and not be attached to the result. This is linked to yesterday's blog wherein I quote Gosford Park about love. Even when it hurts, it's beautiful.

Bedtime for me now, for sure- I need to catch up on many nights of 4-6 hours of sleep!

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