On Intentions

 


 

Five o’clock

 

Perhaps it was that champagne five-o’clock light slanting through our glass walls,

golden-warm like honey we licked straight from hive

 

Yes, perhaps it was those low, sun-softened shadows,

that silky honey-light dribbling lazily through our window

glazing my corneas  

blurring my vision

and the lines I drew between us

 

Our honey-dipped conversation flowed smoothly,

the summer-bleached hairs on the back of my neck swayed in tandem to our words

and your fingers

as they worked loose the knots in the sinew

cocooning my spine

 

Perhaps that is why those words –

so viscous in the twelve o’clock light

that they almost choke me

as I try to regurgitate them –

flowed up my windpipe

Smoothly

as warm honey drips

from the edge of a

butterknife

 

Or

 

Perhaps it was the rosé

painted across your cheeks

like sincerity

Or the way those crushed velvet fingertips

painted my cheeks to match yours

and pressed my eyelids

shut

 

Do not blame me

for the honey pooling at the corners of my lips

for the wine stains on my cheeks

 

Do not forget it was you

who fed me honey

who intoxicated me with colours of the eight o’clock sunset

who wrapped me in velvet

who bid the sun linger awhile longer

in my sky

 

Do not forget

the words I said

were words you gave me

Do not blame me

when they spill from the edges of my mouth

 


 

Actions and intentions – an inseparable duo. Every action belies an intention, and these seemingly should correspond. If I intend to purchase milk, I should go to Costco and buy some 2%. Simple. But what really happens? I go to Costco and wind up leaving with ball-point pens and bell peppers and hot pockets, spanikopita and vanilla ice cream and split quinoa salad. I load my car to the sunroof with goodies and realize, I forgot to buy milk.

 

Though annoying, the Costco scenario is a relatively trivial issue. A more complexly difficult manifestation of divergence between intention and action is seen in all varieties of relationships. Said relationship need not be between lovers (as in my poem), it may be between friends, family, between co-workers. Problems arise when good intentions accidentally produce bad actions or when actions create impressions of intentions that differ from reality.

 

My poem specifically considers the causes and consequences of conflicting intentions and actions – misunderstanding and feelings of betrayal. By not making intentions known, a person leaves these up for interpretation. The narrator of my poem speaks of the conflicts that ensue when such interpretations are wrong.

 

The motif of warm honey represents intentions and desires that lead to unquestioned action. It is seeing what one wants to see, the desires that make bad intentions seem harmless, that cause people to ignore intuition.  It is the golden tint of emotion and irrationality that obscures truth. If lies feel good and truth hurts, maybe lies are preferable. This reality of human nature complicates communication of intentions, adding another dimension to this issue.

 

Made to believe – either by her own illusions or by unclear signals – that another’s intentions for their relationship were in accord with her own, the speaker feels free to act. Only after she has acted does she realize the discrepancy between the other figure’s intentions and her own. She feels utterly used.

 

The danger of unclear intentions is their ease in destroying relationships. Finding out, for example, a relationship means more to one than to the other feels like a betrayal, especially after investing emotions – or more – into it. Perhaps if the poem’s speaker had known the dichotomy between the intentions of both parties, she would not have acted as she did. Though it may not have been intentional, she feels misled, manipulated. Why didn’t you tell me how you felt?

 

This question naturally begs another: Why didn’t I tell you how I felt? Often blinded by feelings of hurt, one wants to assign blame for miscommunication solely to the perceived miscommunicator. However, (mis)communication takes two. Both people are responsible for a conversation of intentions lest misunderstanding destroy the relationship.

 

That being said, bad intentions can be disguised by “good” actions. Sometimes people intend to use others. There will be no honest divulgence of intention from such ones. Does the onus then fall solely on the honest individual to discover this? Must this one walk both sides of a two-way street?

 

It is unclear, in my poem, by which type of person the narrator is hurt: one with good intentions and bad actions or with bad intentions and good actions. That individual never gets to explain himself, which was also the problem initially.  After acting on false assumptions, discovering truths she didn’t want to unearth, and finally closing communication in anger, our speaker is left to guess at intentions, now with a myopic perspective through a hurt-distorted lens.

 

We’ve all navigated the obscure boundary between intent and action – effective communication being the compass by which lost travelers may find their way. A lack of this vital tool leads to the destruction or abandonment of friendships, of love.

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6 thoughts on “On Intentions

  1. Dear Lauryn,

    Oh my god. I love your poetry. Seriously. Reading this was like entering a dream world – I almost felt like I was in a trance. You’re able to string together lyricism and metaphor so beautifully without losing the reader, and I felt like your poetry was warm honey being poured down my throat. You created such a tone of softness and warmth, though it wasn’t overbearing. I am learning so much about style while reading your work.

    The only thing I would offer for improvement would be making it longer, but maybe that’s because I didn’t want it to end. It almost seemed unfinished to me – like the narrator cut it off before delving into her real feelings. I got some more clarity in the description, though. All in all, amazing work.

    Love,
    Alysha

    1. Dearest Alysha,

      That means a LOT coming from you – a veritable poetry goddess ( I mean that ). I’m glad you appreciate whatever style I tried to bring to this piece. And I might just have to continue this poem or at least make a part two, though I’m not sure what else to add.

      Thanks for your comment!

      ~Lauryn

  2. *Your wisdom and observations of humanity – be it through experiential knowing or keenly intuitive insight – is humbling and inspiring in one so young and wide-eyed! Once again, you leave me in awe! Gratitude!

    1. Dear Hunni,

      If not for the environment of free-expression and inspiration you nurture, whatever insights I may have would be locked away in dormancy. Thanks for creating a place for them to live!

      Love ya!

      ~Lauryn

  3. Dear Lauryn,

    I am left speechless by this blog. It is so beautifully and articulately written, both in regards to the poem and the prose/explanation. It is at a level of thought and writing that I hope to achieve. From reading this piece, I learned of the importance of simplicity. I have a tendency to run on and on about one thing, when really it could have been stated more effectively and efficiently, and seeing how you did this with both your prose and poem struck me. I also learned so much about the importance of imagery and specific diction – it was evident the intent and impact that you wanted your words to have and I believe that it was effective. You created an atmosphere that perfectly suited your visual. Reading this brought me back to your Portrait of Presentation as the insight that you offered was enhanced by your poem and vice versa. Both the creative and analytical pieces are equally well written and complement each other.

    I honestly have no words of improvement – again, you left me in awe.

    Thank you so much for sharing this piece with us. I cannot wait to read more of your work.

    Love,

    Shyla

  4. Dearest Shyla,

    I’m SO sorry it’s taken me this long to get back to you! Thank you for your comment! It makes me so happy to hear that you found my piece inspiring. I love reading the amazing depth of thought and insight you always have in your work. I agree that brevity and simplicity are important, but there is also something quite exquisite about the level of detail writers like you achieve! Thanks again for taking time to read my blog.

    Love,

    Lauryn

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