all around amateur

AMATEUR: from French, from Italian (amatore), from Latin (amator, 'lover', from amare, 'to love')


I’m no expert on the subject. I failed at it more than I care to admit. So I guess what I have to say has little to no probative value at all. But I have to write about it. It’s what people do. It spills out you; you can’t help but excrete it… like sweat. So many of us fumble in our attempts at finding it, being in it and recovering from it, that the only way our limited minds can hope to understand it is in the catharsis of letting it spill out of our mouths, down our cheeks, through our hands.

Love is a mystery, defying definition and eluding proper study. So what follows is my humble chronicle of the kinds of love I’ve managed to fall into in the quarter of a century that I’ve lived.  I will exclude in this measly and feeble treatise, familial love… it’s not something we choose, it’s genetically wired into our DNA; an exception I suppose. I write on the premise that we choose to love others… that we decide to expand and transcend our selves because for whatever reason, we can’t help but gravitate into each other’s orbits.

First, there’s the Fantasy. This happens when we choose to buy into the mystique of a particular person. Someone says he/she is this amazing/awesome/cool/whatever-other-adjective-floats-your-boat. The next thing you know, you begin to see this other person that way. You build them up in your head and one day you figure you should go for him/her because he/she is exactly what people say he/she is. At first blush, it’s all great! You become friends/more-than-friends and everything is exactly how it’s supposed to be. But then, the mist clears, and they become this totally normal person… the fantasy collapses on itself and you’re left with plain, old reality.

Then there’s Wine. He/she is that friend you’ve always had, your best buddy, the one who knows you in and out. You’re totally platonic. Then one day or over the course of months, he/she morphs. The friend becomes companion becomes love interest. The more time you spend together, the better he/she becomes. The person you once thought was your rock, suddenly turns into a diamond! The greatest find! You’re so lucky to have fallen for your best friend. For others this route has seemed to be effective… they’re still happy and all that. The main problem is, sometimes friends aren’t as synced as they like to think they are. The stars don’t align for everyone… sometimes one falls too early or too late. So when you do make your untimely move, the friendship doesn’t survive and you’re heart-broken and alone, which will lead you to consume vast quantities of wine whilst belting out Adele’s quintessential ballad, “Someone Like You.”

A slight variation of this is Champagne. You meet someone new. He/she and you totally hit it off. Sparks are flying, there’s that irresistible fizzle in the air when you’re in each other’s space. You can’t help but think, wow! This must be the one! But after the initial fireworks, and the two of you just sit and talk and talk and talk… then bam! The bubbles have gone and you’re left with fermented grape juice. You become friends and then you repeat the Wine cycle.

Then of course there’s the Tug & Pull. You don’t quite like or hate each other, but for some reason you just physically click. A few thoroughly satisfying rounds in the sack and you choose to turn off you brain/heart and let your libido make all the wrong decisions. You fight, you fuck, you fight, you fuck. And at the end of the day you’re exhausted. The sex turns bad and you’re left wondering why the hell did I even play that stupid game?!

Speaking of games, have you ever played Chicken? That’s when you meet someone pretty cool, pretty awesome or just plain pretty. But the timing is just a little bit off. Both of you want to make a move, but instead of doing anything, you just stare at each other and wait. Will they? Won’t they? Is there even a they? Both of you just wait and wait and wait… then something inadvertently always comes along. You leave with your pride intact, but not much else. So congratulations! You’ve managed successfully to waste x number of weeks, months, sometimes years.

Now the next one, I have not experienced first-hand. But I’ve watched (enviously) from the sidelines, Destiny play out. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t buy into the whole “you were made for each other”, “the planets have aligned”, “soulmates” bullcrap. This happens when two people manage to work out a secret pattern of signs simultaneously. They imbue totally random events with meaning. They choose to believe that every chance meeting, accidental hangout led to their finding each other. Some people just happen to be in the right place, at the right time and choose to follow the path they stumbled on. Lucky bastards.

This next one, I have experienced. It was an interesting and in retrospect, a rewarding one. I call it, Rehab. This happens when two lonely people, hurting for any number of reasons, meet and manage to help each other out. I’m NOT talking about a rebound relationship though. This one, both parties come in broken and walk out better. Everyone leaves the relationship better than they came in, no one’s hurt, everyone walks out feeling better about themselves. In fact, you might just gain a friend out of it.  But of course, if one isn’t hurting and just happens to actually like the sad shmuck, and then things could turn out messy.

Now my favorite, I’ve saved for last. But before I get to it, I just want to say that this is not, by any means, an exclusive or exhaustive list. These are simply the kinds of romantic love I’ve managed to come across in my short life and I am hoping that these aren’t the only possibilities. If these were… goodness… I might just be better off alone.

So lastly, there’s something I like to call Sitcom. It’s a combination of everything above. He/she is at least two of the above-mentioned experiences but somehow you’ve managed to stay friends. So everyone around you is still tuned in, hoping to see if you guys are finally going to be together or if you guys are finally going to call it quits. God knows how many more seasons you two have left… but so long as you’ve got a rapt audience, even if it is just the two of you, then you’ll be assured a renewal.

To the East of this great expanse
lie unchartered depths - 
Cliff faces shrouded in mist,
Trails yet to be treaded,
Rivers & streams yet to be waded thru,
Peaks & valleys yet to be travailed.

The mystery of it all, 
So tantalizing - 
The fresh breeze, a whisper,
a promise of things unspoken,
The distant howl of some wild thing
echoes thru the chambers of my heart.

What lies there obscured
by the glare of Sun-rising?

Days. Weeks. Months pass
as I look on into the vast realm of possibility.
With each morning, the light kisses
my cheeks, my lips,
engulfing my face in radiant warmth.

Is that what lies there?
A great heat - all-consuming?

Next Thursday

We shift from side to side. Heads buzzing. LIghts swirl. We are pungent with nicotine, clothes a little ashy. A sour stench on our breath as we laugh from our bellies. We are full to the brim, near bursting as we stumble into the car.

We scream as the wind whips our hair, the windows are down, another lit cigarette dangling from our fingers. The white lines and red lights are a blur as we speed to wherever. We belt out a song, the radio is static.

We joke and poke fun at each other, at ourselves. There is no distinction. Not an hour ago, we were shouting, our lungs out of. air. But an hour is a century. Time warps as we raise our glasses. No forgiving, only forgetting.

The clock blinks second by second. The sun lights the sky. I am in bed. Alone. Black where there should be memories.

Dear Saint, I’ve come once more, 
Your pious devotee,
To polish yet again your handsome face
With such kind eyes upturned to heaven.
Are you praying for deliverance?

My days grow hectic,
Life outside these hallowed halls consumes me,
But I am here now,
Your ever-devoted servant.
Do you hear my prayers?

Faithfully I return, as is my custom,
To deck you in finest splendor,
Hoping for some kind of intervention,
Leaving you better than you were,
With me the poorer for it.
Am I a fool for such fervent belief?

One tawdry transgression, a few missed vigils,
And one too many doubts,
Makes for a progressive upheaval of the heart and mind - 
A wicked conversion of the soul.
Could you forgive me?

In my absence, the altar’s become run-down - 
The flowers are dust on dried twigs,
The mantle’s a tattered rag,
The candles all burnt to stubs.
Do you even care?

What would become of you, Sweet Saint,
If I stopped my supplications?
Perhaps your dashing figure would chip and crumble.
Perhaps the dust would fill this chapel and turn it into a tomb.
Perhaps the whole thing will come crashing down on itself!

And all that would remain,
A pile of rubble - 
A broken headstone to mark your grave.

A pilgrim no more,
I am your black-clad widow.
Mourning the half-forgotten, half-dreamt
Stranger I had once loved.
Saint no more, just another ghoul haunting the night.

random scenario

I’m heading out for a smoke. Just call me when we’re leaving.

I’ll join you.

It’s the first time we’ve managed to be alone all night. I’ve spoiled our coffee thing when I let it slip to our friends. We’re back to last year and the year before - pretending like there’s nothing there.

Over beer, we ignore our friends and just talk about the law. If only it were darker, we could pretend they weren’t really there. But it’s rude. We shift the conversation to less esoteric topics. The act goes on.

We’re heading home, you selflessly volunteer to drop everyone off. You save me for last.

We’re by ourselves. Lights turn red at every intersection, buying us precious extra seconds.

The world is conspiring against me - I almost say let’s try it again.

But I don’t.

Thank God.

Nothing will change. You’ll be you. I’ll be me. Our friends oblivious. 

I yearn to tear myself open,
to rip thru the flesh, muscle & bone,
bearing my beating heart.

I want to break myself open.

— Rose Cupin, random thought 2010.

Moth drawn to the radiant flame
Wings graze the burning licks - 


I am on fire.
Ash - free of my body.

I love you.

I don’t need clarity, just a good buzz. 

I don’t need clarity, just a good buzz. 


My love is not a flame,
Spectacular to see,
Burning out too quickly.
It does not consume me.

My love is ash-coated embers,
Burning steadily under the gray.
Do not be fooled,
It is smoldering to the touch.

I last through the night.
In the early morn,
My love can still start a blaze.
It is quiet, but there with some prodding.

It’s an honest relief to be at a loss for words, a welcome challenge to write about happy things.