The Craigslist Well

The Craigslist well of correspondents has dried up a bit. My folks across the pond have faced bad circumstances; Lord Byron will be out of contact for a full month. DJ MF has gotten so caught up in a nasty custody battle with his ex that I don’t hear much from him not. Prufrock is MIA, and I suspect something awful has happened as he used to write me multiple times a day. Lancelot hasn’t written in about a week (has something terrible happened or just busy with work?), so this leaves only Richard the Lionheart as an active correspondent. 

Richard and I have exchanged letters now. He finally received mine yesterday, and I await to see what he shall think of his nickname, for in my letter I told him what I shall nickname him. He dreaded whatever mythological nickname he suspected I had come up for him, but it’s a good nickname. I should hope he would be pleased, and I look forward to his next letter.

I recorded myself reading the poem I wrote most recently for Seabiscuit; the title is “Departures”, though it was previously untitled. I have sent it to Richard as we wrote about being curious about each other’s accents. He also has shared poetry, not his own, but some of his favorite poems by poets previously unknown to me. I have enjoyed the two he has shared so far.

I would say that perhaps it is time for me to post again on Craigslist, but I will be busy for the coming months and don’t feel I will be able to respond to people as quickly as I would like. Where shall I post next when I do have more time? Germany? Greece? Japan?

Don’t fall in love

I wrote Seabiscuit yet another ghazal, titled “Good boyfriends”. I asked the questions I asked here: what it means to be a good boyfriend, and what monogamy means.

He replied, “That gave me a nice warm feeling in my heart. I do feel like we have a strange and wonderful hybrid relationship, both platonic and erotic; virtual and real.”

We are both in the same world questioning things after being unhappy in our previous relationships. So we began our exchange last night, asking about each other’s fantasies and desires.

Later in the exchange, he replied that if we were to take things further in person, we needed ground rules: 

First, you must not fall in love with me. I came into your life on the winds from the Sapphire Sea and will go the same way.

Since when does making it a rule ever make it so? And why is falling in love forbidden? Why is that a terrible thing? How can love of someone you respect and care about be terrible? Even unrequited, it should be flattering but not a thing that tears a relationship apart and sends people away.

Also, is that rule a warning for me or for himself?

I have been writing another Brit (no nickname yet) about me and Seabiscuit. He has made some astute observations in the little information I have provided. He said it seemed both of us seemed to be holding back, but he couldn’t tell why. As I waited for Seabiscuit’s reply to my latest email, I wrote my unnamed British fellow that I suspect both of us are scared to lose this special, precious thing, whatever it is.

So a few minutes later, it seemed Seabiscuit and I were truly channeling each other. I received Seabiscuit’s email with the rule of not falling in love, and at the end of his email:

PS: Another fear I have with taking our erotic connection to IRL is that it would affect our e-connection. I like it. I sound like such a scaredy-cat with all this. But there it is.

So I find myself asking once more, is the warning to not fall in love for himself or for me? Or to us both?

You are that Kind

Well past 200 emails now, my relationship with Seabiscuit has taken quite an unexpected turn.

It is a special relationship, unlike any I’ve ever had before. We are friends and yet there is this graceful dance between us, an artful, erotic tension ever present. He has a girlfriend, and my heart is captured by another man, DJ MF, across the sea, but still that attraction lingers.

He is kind. Even when his emails are disappointing (confirmation of the girlfriend, for example), there is kindness in it. He is quite thoughtful. I’ve been given an open invitation to pursue him should I ever want. Otherwise, he will treat me with respect and as a friend in person and allow our erotic tension to play out by email.

His desire for me was a bit intense, only fully felt and revealed recently in one particular email this weekend. “But we both know you want and deserve a boyfriend,” he also wrote. And that is true. He has been very clear in not being good at the monogamy side of things–not that it bothers me as much as it might have once before.

I look back at my poetry–so much he has inspired. He is a muse! He said his mother once wrote a poem about cutting his hair. I have no doubt that he inspired her as a child, too.

I almost feel as though this is the deepest friendship I have ever had–and from Craigslist! Who knew. And still he continues to inspire me, and that artist and muse relationship continues to kindle the tension between us.

To go from who I was 6 months ago and to what a person I have become!

In a few months, I almost feel as if a phoenix risen from some ashes. I am me, and yet it as if I have been hidden in a cocoon for far too long, and here I am now: The Mistress of the Sapphire Seas.

 

Njála – part three: Setting the Bridge on Fire

So, you ask, where did it all go wrong?

We swapped photos, which probably would have been fine except, I mentioned how some men stop responding to my emails shortly after I send a photo. (The photo I usually send is only of my face, and I attributed the end of communication as a statement on race–people assumed I must be white and don’t fit the profile of who they expected was writing to them.)

However, Njal assumed I sent them the same photos I sent him, even though I was clear in my email that it is not usually the photos I send.

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Growing Apart

I know, I know. I’ve been neglecting this thing. Too much work and overtime these days. I hate when my work-life balance is too heavily weighted on the work side. I feel exhausted. I need time to unwind for me. Last Friday, I worked for 12 hours in the office and 8 hours on Sunday. My head felt like mush. I felt unable to do much, writing-wise, and lucky to be able to string a subject and verb together.

The last two weeks have been hard. It’s not just work. It’s still living with the ex.

We are strangers sharing the same apartment. As much as I had hoped we’d still be friends, the number of times where I feel that cannot be continues to increase. We don’t know important things about each other. Our lives are separate. We lead different lives. We don’t know what’s important to the other. Conversations feel forced.

He has no idea of my adventures online through Craigslist. I have no idea what he does after work. He goes out to classes, and if I ask, he’ll tell me. Raspberry Pi, 3D printing, etc. Sometimes he’d be gone for 6-7 hours at a time.

I realize it’s a good thing. It’s good he’s being productive. I’m hopeful it means that he’s overcoming his depression. Good for him.

But then it gets complicated.

He gave me short notice (less than two weeks) that his friend, W, was coming to visit and would stay with us for a week.

W is blind. There was a time, long before we were dating, where they had some sort of a relationship. I didn’t know much about it, but I did distinctly remember asking him about her when the two of us were friends, and I asked if he’d ever consider moving to Japan and living with her. He said yes.

I had always tried to inquire about their relationship, even when we were dating, but he kept pretty quiet and didn’t want to talk about it.

So I soon realize that all his efforts, his classes, his long hours away and, when present in the apartment, are all in effort for making 3D maps for her. It’s a noble cause, but it hurt. It hurt like hell. It hurt because all I could think was how I never saw him spend a fraction of so much time and effort pouring himself into something for me in all 6 years of our relationship. Damn.

This evening, they come back to the apartment together. He had gone to take her around in the south bay with another friend she was staying with for some time, and stayed down there for a few nights. We go out to dinner.

As W fiddles with her wallet and cash, Jacob makes a joke about how she can give him all her 1000 bills (yen).

“Oh, you can hold on to them for when you visit me in Japan,” she says and hands them to him.

He takes them and puts them into his wallet very matter-of-factly.

“When are you going to Japan?” I ask. It’s the first I heard of it.

“We just talked about it,” he says, avoiding the question.

One of the other complains I had about the relationship was never getting to travel. We could never travel anywhere together. I wanted to travel, but he got too much anxiety. We could never do anything together.

I didn’t think it could still hurt. I’m hurt. It hurts.

 

 

 

Njála – part one: Reading between the lines

Njal and I got off on the wrong foot. 

I had asked his age, and he had said he was 51. A few hours later, he emailed again and confessed he wasn’t 52 (I noted the number change) as he had said he was previously but several years older. He said he did not want to get me under false pretenses. 

The number discrepancy bothered me, but I was glad he came clean about it. It did make me want to ask more questions though, such as if he also writes to other women. He has such a deeply seductive quality that the thought of it made me jealous. He said there were no others. Our exchange became quiet as both of us had things to think about.
The rest of my Friday went poorly (problems at work), so I was not in high spirits. On top of that, I got terrible charley horses in the evening that nearly paralyzed both my legs with pain. I think one of our armchairs causes the cramps. I shall start avoiding it; that was no fun.

It should be no surprise then that I fell into a bluesy mood Saturday morning, having spent 5 hours the night before, until 3am, writing out the story of gaining and losing my friendship with Caleb (Caleb Saga, I called it), which I sent to Seabiscuit. Caleb had come up in an earlier email, and Seabiscuit asked something, so it seemed worthwhile to tell the whole story. It made me sad thinking over things, and there was a lot to reflect on. 

Then I slept little. I kept waking to see if Njal had written me back. He hadn’t. I knew Seabiscuit wouldn’t be writing because he was off on a family trip up north. My spirits were low.

I emailed Njal, but we couldn’t read each other. I couldn’t tell if he was being cold or distant, and he was misinterpreting my messages in the same way. We were reading between the lines and not seeing the same thing. It was starting to go downhill fast–wait! I don’t want to lose yet another interesting person in my life! 

I had held off on giving out my phone number  because it scared me; I tend to be very cautious and private. He had given me his number–but my mobile plan doesn’t cover calls to the UK–I know because as soon as I saw how bad things were going, I called my mobile company to ask. But with how this avalanche was going, I became more afraid to lose him than to give out my number. I bit the bullet and emailed him my number, saying I thought we both were misunderstanding one another and perhaps talking over the phone would clear up the miscommunication. Then I waited.

The Seabiscuit of San Francisco

Having hidden in the background for so long, at last he has finally made his opening to the forefront. That stud, that stallion pacing so softly but steadily, has raced his way to the head of the pack and is ahead by so far that it’s hard to imagine there could be an upset at this point. It should be an easy win, for the closest competitor is behind by a few leagues.

Seabiscuit has clinched the number one spot in the race. The score is 79, now 80, and Lord Byron, the most promising of the recent horses to join the race, is still at 12. However, Lord Byron did this morning send his completed manuscript of a novel that, while he had a literary agent, never found a publisher, so that ought to boost up his stats a few compared to the other leaders left on the scoreboard. I am looking forward to reading his work and laughed out loud once, just upon the first page. He sent it to me to keep me entertained while he is off to London for a week regarding a new publication of his (not the novel) and won’t be online.

I wrote a poem on the bus ride home today. I titled it, “San Francisco” and recorded it when I got home. I emailed the poem to both Seabiscuit and Lord Byron. I asked Seabiscuit if he would want me to send the recording over as well, as he did very much enjoy my voice before when reading his poem. He responded quite quickly; of course he did.

There is something wonderfully attractive and alluring to have someone enjoy my voice so much. He has been quite playful in his language back to me. I do believe we call this “flirting”. Still, I think both of us might be hesitant to go too far. We’ve had some lovely exchanges in the course of a month, and I’ve felt very comfortable talking to him more than to all the others. We’ve discussed a lot more variety of subjects than I have with others from Craigslist: race and racism, politeness in restaurants, others on Craigslist, and ourselves.

I was very touched by his thoughts on race and racism in his email to me this afternoon, responding to the thoughts on that topic I had written to him. It was a very thoughtful recognition of being a white male. (It could not have been any more different than Patrick’s email where his logic boiled down to “I have black and Asian friends and dated a Mexican girl once so can’t be racist.”) It was very understanding and acknowledging the issues that he is blind to by his own privilege as a white male. I appreciated the sincerity of it. I have found it is hard to talk to someone on the other side when it comes to race; hell, I even have moments where I raise an eyebrow to something my own mother says, realizing she has no idea what challenges her children face by only being half-white, and only one of us (not I!) passes for white.

Could this be going somewhere, besides circles in my head? I am very curious to hear his voice too. How attractive would it be? Would I find his voice as alluring as he finds mine, and hear that call of the Sirens in it? Would there be whispered words exchanged by phone?

I have been wondering and entertaining the thought for a while now of doing recordings and including them here, short podcasts of a kind, whether tales from Craigslist or reading my own poetry. But what is the proper length of a podcast? Can it be the mere introduction and reading of a poem? “San Francisco” is only about 30 seconds on its own. Would people listen to a podcast series that was only poems read aloud? Seabiscuit is all for it and says he would certainly listen to any podcast of Craigslist stories so that I can prove there are real women on Craigslist (ha!), and I’m sure he would as eagerly listen to only poetry too-whatever the Siren of San Francisco reads across the waves.

In my head, I am all kinds of confused

I’m feeling it now–the loneliness has gotten to me, and it hurts.

It has been 3 months since I broke up with J. I miss relationship stuff, but not in a way that makes me miss a relationship with him. Anytime the thought of getting back together passes through my head, I immediately remember how hurt I was when he made me feel neglected and rejected, and I vow to never go back.

I am feeling lonely. I want a relationship. Hell, I want friends. Friends! Why is it so hard to find people to share life with?

I am sad to remember that C never finished “digesting my email” from June. I emailed him a week ago to ask if he finished it and if he were playing Pokémon Go now like everybody else, but only silence has followed. 

He did not wish me a happy birthday and missed that date. I am especially sad when I remember C saying he would be my friend because he knew my best friend, Guy, is moving abroad soon. So much for that. I will stop trying.
And the loneliness gnaws at me. Fuck it! I don’t care about a long term relationship! Let me just find friends I can share my life with, who will enjoy my musings, who I can exchange delightful letters with. Why should this be so hard?

Why must I keep feeling alone?

I felt inspired this morning to write Don his poem. It came to me that I should write him a ghazal, and I set to work. 

I liked what I came up with tremendously, working on it during my commute to and from work, it felt finished by the time I got home. I got my mic and recorded reading it aloud; most poetry is meant to be spoken, and especially a ghazal needs a performance.

I had asked him his birthday, but was disappointed to learn it is so far away. I can’t wait that long to give it! I emailed him the recording this evening as a belated / very merry unbirthday gift.
Will it scare him off? Will he take my poem and vanish into the night? Will I once more find myself with no one left to write?

I cried in bed earlier. I haven’t done that in a long time. I just wish I didn’t feel so alone.

Thoughts on a Don Juan named Seabiscuit

I went back through my exchange with Seabiscuit, rereading every email he sent. I think there was some romantic interest that I failed to pick up on. I find it terribly amusing that I missed it. How did I miss it?

I think perhaps I was always so focused on the others in the lead that I missed the underdog of the pack making his steady gains on his competitors who fizzled out in the first few laps.

Also, I realized that I may have misinterpreted one of his lines early on which led to my missing the signs later. He wrote he found a girlfriend on Craigslist–and I took that to mean he was currently with someone. I wonder now if he might have meant he found one previously through CL but that they were no longer dating. That would make a difference now, wouldn’t it? But I assumed he was with said girlfriend and approached our emails as just a friendly getting to know each other exchange, with no hopes or expectations beyond friendship.

While he is a photographer mostly, he does have some nice lines in his prose. He asked me to write him a poem a few weeks back, and I brushed it aside as friendly banter–is it as significant of a request as it feels it might be?

I have shared with Seabiscuit the many haiku I have exchanged with others. He has enjoyed them very much and always lets me know which lines he likes best. But it feels too late to write a haiku for him. Another form of poetry seems to be required.

But what shall I write, and what form shall it take? Sestina? Ghazal? Pantoum? Free verse?

It is a fine line to tread now. I like him–I like having a friend who writes back and enjoys my writing. Does a poem risk it all?

Seeking a friend across the Pond

Mostly disappointed with the results of Craigslist so far, I have wondered if posting further out might help. I see the same boring, horrifying M4W ads on Craigslist in the Bay Area and am not impressed. With the exception of the first CL ad I ever responded to since this adventure began, I have found I can hardly expect any replies from the select few I have responded to.

If I cannot be in a romantic relationship, perhaps I should try more earnestly to find friends–and what better way to set expectations to that level than posting to CL in the UK?

I would not expect a long term relationship out of such a great distance, nor would I want one. I have been in long-distance relationships in the past, and even a neighboring state is too far away.
I haven’t posted yet, for I am still putting the finishing touches on my prose. I want to set the expectations clearly, and I need to decide on a clever title. Depending on what happens, maybe I will post in other countries too. Why not have a few penpals to make it feel as if a friend is not so far away, wherever I go?

I have been browsing a bit, after all one must learn one’s audience first to succeed, and the types of posts is certainly different from this area. There are more interesting posts, and the writing quality and style appears to be much higher than here.

The sea of dick pics is also overflowing, but I suppose that should be expected. It wouldn’t be Craigslist without those, now would it?