Ancient Mariner Tales: What the hell is love?

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I have tons of respect for those that came before me, and I heavily value what these learned individuals have to offer us young and dumb folks. On that note, I have decided to share “Ancient Mariner Tales” by my friend Phillip Giambri. I hope you guys enjoy his stories!

I’m eight years old, and I know one thing for sure, I love my mother.

At twelve, I think I love Jesus.

At fourteen I love Maureen, but she likes my best friend.

At sixteen I’m in love with Cass, but I’m dating her best friend.

At eighteen I’m just angry. I think no one loves me, and I hate everyone.

At twenty-one, Rosie really loves me, but for almost a year, I’m too drunk to notice that she’s a hooker, and too drunk to care, ‘cause I never loved her.

At twenty-three I’m madly in love with Carol; We’re even engaged, until she dumps me at twenty-five when I confess I really want to be an actor and not the middle class banker, I promised her. I’m being selfish, but still I’m heartbroken.

At twenty-six Sharon and I are deeply in love, but she tortures me with flirtations and endless tests to prove that I love her. After three years of fights, anxiety, and exhaustion, I just quit loving her. It‘s then she chooses to be the woman I originally fell in love with, but it’s too late. It’s over. She asks if we can at least be “freak buddies”. I say, “Sure, okay!”

At thirty I’m in love with Eileen, but it’s the onset of “Women’s Lib” and she weighs our relationship in terms of what her “Woman’s Support Group” feels is appropriate. She dumps me because they tell her, I’m too “sexist” and not a “sensitive” enough guy. She leaves a parting message on my answering machine saying, “Thanks. You helped me grow”. Grow what? A dick? How’s that for “sensitive?”

At thirty-two I’m living with Susan. She’s a free spirit and feels an open sexual relationship is necessary to fulfill herself as a “woman.” She runs off to Canada to live in a tee-pee, with some hippie, and leaves her needy sister behind, until I work up the courage to kick her out.

I sleep with a lot of women during these summers of “Free Love” but don’t have much fun. I get “The Clap” three times. A friend offers a telling observation: “Ya’ know, all the women you fall in love with are really the same freaked up person, they just look different”.

Wow! A moment of clarity? She offers a blind date with her best friend to prove her point. I accept, and believe I feel real love for the very first time.

But, almost 40 years later, I find myself still wondering, “What the hell is love?” and realize that I may never know. The feeling now seems more an abstraction than a tangible sensation.

At this late stage of life, I feel I know as little about love as when I started. I’m very grateful for the love I’ve been given, but have no clear feeling, for how much, I’ve ever honestly returned.

phillip giambriA product of the streets of South Philadelphia, he obtained his deviant perspective on life listening to Jean Shepherd on WOR radio back in the ‘50s. He fled Philly at seventeen, served in the military, has been an actor, hairstylist, stoner, janitor, writer, drifter, recording engineer, poet, traveling salesman, barfly, banker, biker, announcer, mail-order minister, photographer, and “Computer Guru”. He came to NY City in ’68, joined the Hippie pilgrimage to St. Marks Place, and never left. He’s attended too many schools to mention, blown several scholarships, and studied nearly everything, without ever attaining a degree in anything. His self-published website “Ancient Mariner Tales”offers bored web surfers a glimpse into his futile search for self-discovery and meaning. He can be found downtown, regularly spinning yarns and telling tall tales at Inspired Word, Barnes & Noble, Black & White Bar, great weather for Media, Kairos Poetry Café, Cornelia Street Café, Tract 187 Culture Clatch!, Café Dada, and anywhere else that will tolerate him.

Read more of The Ancient Mariner stories on his website!



Note the date on a post as it may be an old point of view. If you learn that your views are wrong, yet they remain the same, then you are a fool.

The opinions and views expressed are solely those of the author.