we sit with dinner
and complacency

a table between
a chasm apart

but not acknowledged

we finish our meal
clear the dishes
in cultivated silence

task done
we part quietly
me to my keyboard
you to read

yet another night

in our life of learned indifference



rob kistner © 2007



~ by Image&VerseToo on October 23, 2007.

38 Responses to “Strangers”

  1. I have lived that poem too many nights to recount. What a helpless feeling, unable or unwilling to reopen the lines of communication. Your words succinctly encapsulate that heartbreaking sense of drift brilliantly.

  2. Herb –

    Thank you for the kind words…

    I watched the empty relationship between my adoptive parents for so many years — it just popped into my head with this prompt.

  3. “aware
    but not acknowledged”

    Somehow I can understand that too well.

  4. together forever… a blessing or a curse…..

  5. Gautami –

    I sure we have all felt that together but isolated feeling a couple times in our life.

  6. This is great. It sums up so well how isolated we can become, even when spending time with another. The photos enhance the poem, but I would relate to it anyway. It takes a lot of effort to avoid a lifetime of indifference. Sometimes I’m better at it than others. Your poem helps me take stock.

  7. Paisley –

    Sometimes it’s wonderful, sometimes a nightmare — but a mutually nurtured dedication to a love can also be, as the months and years roll by, a beautiful bond that blesses the two who have genuinely and caringly dedicated to it.

  8. Mariacristina –

    Your words are wise and true… 😉

    I’m pleased the poem offered you a moment to reflect — that was my hope in writing it.

  9. That is very sad, but I know too many people who live their lives like this. I don’t understand why. Are they just tired? Have they given up their joie de vivre?

  10. Tara –

    I’m certain it is a bit of both, with perhaps an unhealed emotional wound that was not brought to resolution, and now will not heal.

  11. Wow – what reality – wonderful words and vivid images create the strangers within.

  12. “in our life of learned indifference”

    this was just too good for an ending.

    I wish I could read one poem starting with this line.
    That left me wanting so much more.

  13. I wonder how often a person really knows another even after years of marriage and familiar routines? Loved this piece.

  14. On first reading, this poem struck me a desperately sad and final. However, I think repeated readings bring out something else. The “cultivated silence” and “learned indifference” point to a point of return. If we can develop distance, we can work toward intimacy again. I think there is some hope to be found here. Thank you for this, Rob.

  15. this breaks my heart a bit. one of my greatest fears is to be caught in this scene one day.

  16. Wow. We wrote the same poem. How freaky is that?

  17. Tumblewords –

    Thank you!

    How aware we must all remain in our relationships, lest the ‘stranger’ might surface… and hard to get ‘back in its box’ if its ugly head does rear.

    “Familiarity breeds contempt”, or ‘apathy’ as the case may be.

    Colloquialism exist for a reason — they are born of life…

  18. Rambler –

    Glad you liked it… feel free to use it… 😉

    The many couples through time on whom this poem is based, also were wanting more… and often ‘left’ as a result.

  19. Melissa –

    Thank you for your kind words… 😉

    I think it not unusual that the longer we are with someone, the more invisible the ‘person’ can become to us — and all we see are mannerisms and routines… and we often grow to resent the ‘familiar’ of our mates.

    Love is a dedication to many things — two of them are reinventing, and rediscovering.

  20. Ashley Lyn –

    You are welcome… 😉

    Intimacy can be both sustained and rediscovered — but it takes awareness and willingness on the part of both in the relationship.

    Too often though, I fear the chasm becomes impassable… 😦

  21. Lucy.R.E. —

    If we are honest, I think we all have that fear. The process of growing apart happens almost undetectably, until one day there is a gulf between you.

    We must remain aware and vigilant.

    My intention for this piece was as a ‘wake up’ call.

  22. Pepek –

    I am not surprised. Sadly, this is becoming an all too familiar reality in today’s fast-paced, impersonal, hedonistic world. 😦

  23. This was very sad. Very very sad. Because of it’s reality perhaps?

  24. Then don’t do it that way anymore! Which is worse to be sad and blame the other, and never learn that we are an accomplice? Both are equally distressing to the souls.

  25. Karina –

    It is sad, and for many — it is real. 😦

  26. Mary T –

    Not certain who you are addressing, but I’ve been twenty+ years in a happy, communicative union with my wife. 😉

    This piece I wrote is poetic fiction, drawn from very disturbing realities.

    I agree, people should learn to be attentive and aware in their relationships. 35 years ago, I ended a very painful first marriage, filled with much blame and denial… I wrote this poem as an alert to others not to drift into apathy — it leads to anger.

  27. “a table between
    a chasm apart”

    how sad, how true

  28. Pauline –

    …and regrettably — how frequent.

  29. Rob,
    A snapshot of too many lives. Strange!

  30. rel –

    …far too many.

  31. although I like ashley lyn’s reading, this poem is very scary — I love the cultivated silence line.

  32. Jessica –

    It is unnerving to think about all the couples who are living in silent apathy — resigned to unhappiness, not knowing how to reconnect.

  33. Growing up I was always aware (and taught) of the ‘give and take’ in a relationship. Any relationship between two individuals.Reality is – it’s much more difficult in practise esp. in this fast-paced selfish world we live. Easily solved if the individuals involved puts in a little bit of effort everyday. Life becomes so much more beautiful then, instead of a mundane existence. Thanks for sharing.

  34. I used to work as a waitress when I was in graduate school, and I remember so many couples coming in and not speaking a word. One might read a newspaper, the other a book. I vowed I’d not become that kind of a married woman.

    Lo and behold, my husband and I often go into a restaurant and pick up different copies of the same alternative weekly. We’ll do our own thing. So much time spent together, talking, being. It’s nice to sometimes be alone while together.

  35. UL –

    A little regular effort to remain aware and attentive (and fidelity) will keep any relationship vital… but too few people invest themselves — thus, an ever increasing divorce rate.

    You’re welcome… 😉

  36. Ybonesy –

    Being quiet together is wonderful — being ‘alone’ together is an entirely different, and regrettable reality for too many couples.

    When with your loved ones, you should never feel ‘alone’.

  37. Leave me always alone and to myself rather than EVER endure this sort of hell again.

  38. AnnieElf –

    Feeling ‘alone’, when you are with the one who is supposed to be your life mate — is a cold, bitter bite!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: