Being The Older One

by Ken Harnisch

Being the older and more experienced of us

I was the one who had to know

When we had crossed a line

And sound retreat behind the walls

Where intensity could not its victims claim.

I was expected to lead,

And you would follow to the music

But if you chose to sit it out

I was to sit chastely by your side

Or only go as far as needed to cool your thirst

With a summer ade


My intensity did frighten you

For it is true

My eyes could be as fierce as a catÂ’s in the night

At times, burning jade, denoting want

That went beyond what you, being more demure

Were capable of handling at any given time

But it is your intensity, not mine

That caused all doors and windows

To be shuttered against the storm

And scared us both for opening a glimpse

Of  the woman that you could have been.


I was to know all signals and all the codes

I was to act the Puritan when a turn

At erotica was truly my intent.

I was to snuff the wicks of candles

When we knew the fire could have brightened

All the sunless dormitories that keep the convent cold

I was to hide behind the higher language

Of restraint, and understand the silences, the absences,

As you scuttled off to make sense of the noise.

I was the older one who had to understand

You would return, and when you did, pick up the play as if

We had just been lovers yesterday.

In all that time, my wild heart, I have concluded this:

You have done wonders for my sophistication

But you have been hell, my darling, on the development

Of your own.



Author's Note: For those of you who are curious....this poem was invented by events a long time ago, in a galaxy, far, far away...

Posted on 10/21/2002
Copyright © 2022 Ken Harnisch

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Anne Engelen on 10/21/02 at 09:47 PM

Smiling at the footnote!! A very intense and poignant poem here. Wonderful read Ken!

Posted by Kate Demeree on 10/22/02 at 01:48 PM

*smiling sooo big*.... I love the disclamer. For an invention it has alot of heart and soul in it.But then I would never expect any less from you. Beautiful poem Ken....

Posted by JD Clay on 10/23/02 at 02:25 PM

I can relate Ken. I circumnavigated that black hole myself what seemed like yesterday. Your symbolism hits like a ton of asteroids. Peace...

Posted by Agnes Eva on 05/07/03 at 09:27 PM

interesting slice of confusion & sexual boundaries.. kind of what a young lady might feel within herself entering this world of relations, you describe the interaction & inner dynamics very well

Posted by Jeanne Marie Hoffman on 10/06/03 at 07:11 AM

Interesting interaction regarding restraint vs. passion. The lines: "I was expected to lead, And you would follow to the music But if you chose to sit it out I was to sit chastely by your side " set up the story well

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