I Once Was A Hopeless Romantic


meta·noia: noun \me-tə-nȯi-ə\ – Greek, from metanoiein to change one’s mind, repent, from meta – + noein to think, from nous mind.

. . . a transformative (or fundamental) change of heart.

From the time I was a very young teenager, I wanted to be in love.  Not just any kind of love mind you, the love that David Gates and Bread wrote and sang about in the 1970’s.  In fact, I wore their records smooth imagining what it would be like to feel like “that” – to love someone so much that, in their absence, I would feel physical pain.  What I wanted most, however, in fact, what I later realized I desperately needed, was to be loved like that, to know that there was someone somewhere in the world who not only believed, but was convinced that I hung the moon; who felt strangely incomplete without me by their side; who understood me and accepted me, not for who they hoped I would be, but for who I actually was; who wanted me with the same level of intensity and passion that I wanted them – someone who could teach me what this thing called “love” (the thing I’d read and heard so much about) really looked and felt like.

More often than not, however, I found myself on the outside of love looking in.  I was “the friend” – the proverbial third wheel, the one that others in relationships (girls primarily) were quick to confide in and seek advice from (at all hours of the day and night!), but, who, ostensibly under the guise of “not wanting to ruin a perfectly good friendship,” were forever reluctant to consider me anything “more” even on those few occasions when I mustered the courage to at least “test the waters” in pursuit of the true desires of my heart.  It was then that I started writing (e.g., poetry and letters) as a means of expressing the feelings my mouth seemed to have so much difficultly with.  It wasn’t something I “bragged” about, particularly to my guy friends, but it did seem to endear me, albeit in a no less platonic way, to my girl-friends, particularly when I wrote to (or about) them, and that was all the encouragement I needed to keep writing.

And continue to write I did well into my college years – and to chase love.

In fact, if I’m to be completely honest, the chase part became a bit of an obsession fueled, I suspect, by a misguided childhood belief that love and affection were things I had to earn. It didn’t occur to me until much later that I’d been going about the whole “love thing” the wrong way.  In retrospect, I wish I’d tried a little less hard, been able to find a little more self-confidence, been a lot less dependent on others to “help” define my self-worth and fundamental goodness, realized that I had lots of qualities (aside from my movie star good looks – LOL!) that made me attractive and gave me every bit as much “right” as the next person to play a little hard-to-get.  Maybe if I hadn’t been as love-starved as I was, I would have done love differently. Maybe I would have realized sooner what I see so clearly now, a simple truth that I hope other like-minded “love chasers” will take to heart:  All of us are worthy of love and one day it will “find” us, likely when we stop searching so hard to find it and when we least expect it!

I stopped writing poems a long time ago, about the time I stopped being a Bread-loving, hopeless romantic.  But, I still read them from time to time in “honor” of that guy – the one who always wore his heart on his sleeve – for better or worse.  I thought I’d close by sharing one of the last ones I wrote, which, perhaps not so coincidentally, is also one of my personal favorites:



Come to me now that I might see

what time has made of you from me

and what became of all the games that

what’s-his-name (?), the thorned stem of my rose

has played on you.


Come to me now that we might spend

an hour with our love again

and casually reveal the schemes

that ripped apart now prodigal dreams

and left a vacuum in the seams – a hell shadow of confusion.


Come to me now and we will mend

allow our stubborn wills to bend,

with skilled hands caress love’s distant fires,

microwave what has transpired in years best left forgotten –

and start afresh tomorrow.


dab (’78)


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