Notes to Past Loves – Volume 1


Loving you is a decision I made
when I stumbled across your words and fell
into a muddy pool of misunderstanding.
It soiled my shirt, but the splatters
managed to leave your white pants spotless.
You’ve always been like that — sort of teflon
and unreachable, except by your own misfortunes.
I’d dive in and save you, through a fire made of shit,
but it’d spoil how hard you’re trying to drown in it.


You measure yourself against me
as if I were the faded silver of your psyche,
proud that you have passed my grandest achievements.
However, surpassing my best means nothing
unless you have simultaneously surpassed your own.
Thus, as always, you lose,
simply by winning.


My telling you I find you despicable
was inappropriate, and, in truth, a lie.
Rather, your desperate need for affirmation
rent you incapable of believing, perhaps
that no one gave it because you were always wrong.
And though I am terribly sorry for telling you
what an ass you have been, I am mostly sorry
it was true. Despicable was too harsh, however.


If I could have been whom you needed
perhaps your life would have been no better,
but mine would have made the angels weep
with envy.


  1. sirensway says:

    “thus, as always you lose, simply by winning.”

    Isn’t that the truth though? I connect fully with this sentiment. When I seek to forgive myself and my loved ones for hurts committed under the banner of love, I ask myself “Do I want to win at the expense of the other losing?”

    I believe that the Ego serves a vital function. And while I try to quiet it when I feel attacked and insecure, I can’t help but believe that it will never “go away”. For reasons that I may never fully understand. But as long as we try to remain present in the feelings that the Ego inspires in us, I feel that we will continue to be able to write beautifully about feelings that make us feel the ugliest.

    I love this piece. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Just when I start to believe I have you pegged, you raise the bar of my expectations. 🙂

      I remember the only advice my dad gave me on marriage, when he saw me arguing with my ex. He asked me, “Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?” Sadly, it took me too many years to understand the question well enough to have the right answer.

      It’s difficult to let old wounds heal, because we secretly fear we’re being weak by doing so. But if we allow ourselves to view our forgiveness (even to ourselves) as strength, we begin to grow.

  2. Hanno Phenn says:

    Thanks Bill.I have been there down that road twice and it nearly killed me .

      1. Hanno Phenn says:

        Well maybe we are pure at heart and …..

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