the last time I thought of you
a month ago. while
listening to my 'nostalgia' playlist
(bad idea from the start) That Song comes on
and I can't help it-- my love-starved mind wanders back
to a time in which you were real, tangible,
a mere two feet away. it felt wrong.
consumed by guilt, i swore
never to listen again.
a few weeks ago. while
taking a walk in the forest, I discovered a leaf
that touched the sunlight in such a perfect way, it almost
brought me to tears. i cannot tell you why, in that moment,
i ached for your touch. i can hear your voice now:
"it's nothing but a feeling, feelings pass,"& yes,
it passed, but I did not walk there again
for fear it would return.
last night. while
laying in bed I was overcome
with the sudden desire to be held, or to hold,
or to hear breath besides my own, to love. and i think perhaps
in that moment i did love you again. perhaps
i never stopped, perhaps i've been in denial
but it brought such unbearable hurt
that i swore to never sleep
in my bed again.
just now. while
doing my psych work i felt the need
to check prose and saw this challenge,
and even though it is so general and open-ended
(like many other things in life), i saw it and thought
of you. and instead of dismissing the feeling
i tore it open, reached in, found
all those little moments again
and this time it felt right.
i swore to never
about the space
I miss you.
my solitude streams fom me
in words I cannot catch. they fall about me
in all directions, wildly, teasing,
my hands grasp at air,
and while wishing for the perfect metaphor
that would guarantee your return, I instead
write about the space- this gaping hole- how it felt
at first: soft, feigning comfort,
just what I wanted. but when I closed my palm around it
tasted it, knew you were gone in all physical aspects
it felt quite different. I wanted an end to this aforementioned
comfort. I did not want this oxygen all to myself,
I wanted to share it, even if that meant giving it up for you-
wanted to be caught in another time, if only it meant
that more time promised some form of together.
I cannot write together, cannot recall with words exactly
who you may have been. so instead I will write about the space
you left, while your image retreats into my subconscious
like a shadow
in the night.
I can almost hear it whisper
as it leaves:
I miss you, too.
you[r soul] tasted
buttery, like a many-layered croissant
melting in my mouth, turning over and over
into itself, at first so light and airy,
like losing you would maybe be sweeter
than I thought
settling thick and heavy in my stomach
weighing me down, churning up
nausea, threatening to back up into my throat,
becoming bile-filled, full of painful nothingness
creating a permanently bitter aftertaste
refuses to leave me
how to become an observer extraordinaire
two things I do sometimes, for laughs or perhaps to feel less lonely:
listen very carefully to random pieces of conversations; remember something specific a person says (i.e.- there are never enough yellow skittles). months later engage yourself in a casual conversation w/ that person and insert the line. they won't remember they said it, but they'll relate so much to it that you'll immediately gain their respect.
keep a book of quotes. tape in bookmarks found inside used books; words found written by strangers; pieces of your favorite book. [something written in big loopy handwriting I found inside a discarded library book: "...I'm not supposed to spend my life wishing you were there, I'm not supposed to constantly wonder where you are..."] these things are beautiful. step inside them & treasure them, set them away in your shelf and come back to them when you're feeling sad.
most of all- keep a journal. this may seem like a dumb and childish thing to do, but I've been at it for seven years and it's one of the most rewarding things I've done. even during a writer's block, I have found that writing about my day is a unique form of catharticism that a poem cannot always bring me. it has kept me going through some of the roughest days and is a routine I never want to break.
love, anatomically speaking
somewhere deep within this mass of skin & bones
perhaps in some unconscious part of my brain,
[beyond gray matter & synapses & neurons & all thought]
part of me is begging you:
touch your hands to the [dead] skin cells on my face,
press your mouth to mine
[against all scientific reason, I believe that this alone
will teach my lungs to take in air]
as we sat in the car today
talking freely about life & love &
what we left behind,
I realized that maybe,
in another universe,
we would be perfect for each other.
maybe there you wouldn't tell me
my hands were so clammy
& instead you would envelop them
in yours. In this universe there is no one like you
but maybe somewhere else, there is someone
nearly identical to you
that is able to give me what I want.
you are exactly what I need. you with your
unable to make small talk but the best person to
have a deep conversation with; you:
the only guy my parents would trust to
drive me all this way. in this universe,
you are exactly what I need.
so do I regret being born in this lonely place
surrounded by people who are able to love each other
who aren't as close as us but are still able to hold hands
and sneak out at night
and do everything that falls into the category we label
no. as I closed the door of your yellow car
and heard you drive away,
I did not immediately wonder
whether you should have waited for me
to get inside safely.
later, though, I remember you paused.
and that was enough.
I thought that, in dying, I would regret the things I haven’t done, but instead I am feeling an entirely different type of sadness: I wish I would have gotten more out of everything I had.
Most of all I just feel as if I haven’t told you I loved you enough- I am afraid that you will live to regret the last argument we had, and the silence we planned to keep for hours I no longer have left. I will miss you terribly, even in the nothingness I am plummeting into. I will miss you like falling leaves and lost opportunities, like the dust that settles on photographs, like a dying fire.
Confession: I imagined that I would grow older and meet someone new, someone who loved me more than you ever could. I clung more tightly to the future than to the past, a past in which you once told me you loved me too and then gradually I forgot what your voice sounded like when you said it. I decided it was never the right time for us. Got tired of pulling you back after we drifted apart. And I’m sorry.
I didn’t know then that love could be recycled. I stored it inside of myself, waiting for the right moment- thought that you would return to me in some other form, as some other person.
I wanted to grow old and meet you again and again until we forgot each other; I wanted to love you on my own terms, while that feeling rested continuously inside my chest, begging to be spent.
I want so badly to see you in another life,
or to relive the past five years and fix everything I broke along the way,
But if I can’t have that,
I want to say goodbye. and thank you for the moments we did have- thank you for all the sunsets, all the conversations, all the music, all the beautifully irreplacable earthly things that life has given us.
most of all- thank you for the love you have given me. it is like the weight of the world had been bestowed upon me, like a gift,
and it holds me fast in these final moments.
I saw you again in my dreams.
i. we are walking outside and
suddenly you put your arms around me,
as if to suffocate me lightly,
laughing off-key and wearing
khaki shorts. I know I should want this,
for all this time it’s what I’ve wanted,
but the sun is too bright (is that music playing?)
this isn’t you
and I wake up in a cold sweat
ii. the night before I leave for my leadership camp
I see myself stepping downstairs only to find you
wearing a leather jacket and a v-neck,
having a casual conversation with my parents.
I tell you I have to leave and you
envelop me in a lukewarm hug (is that cologne?)
this isn’t you either
I wake, indifferent
iii. I tell you I love you one night, as we are
sitting in class, and you scream at me: all types of
hurtful things, things I’m sure you’d never say,
this cannot be you.
(but how did my subconscious make it seem so real?)
you exit, carrying stormclouds behind you
I wake to the pattering of rain
iv. we are alone in my room and everything is so hazy,
I've lost my glasses and I can’t think straight, your face
drifts in and out of my vision. I accidentally trip you
and cannot stop apologizing, I join you on the floor,
and for the first time ever I touch your bruised face, gently.
it comes back into focus,
this is really you.
you lean forward and barely brush your lips to mine,
and suddenly my eyes fill with tears, it still aches.
(how do I express to you that this is what I want?)
I whisper one last sorry and immediately you answer,
in your voice and no one else’s, it’s okay.
I wake up still feeling your kiss,
half-expecting to see you laying next to me,
forever awaiting your return.
come with me- follow my actions
and echo my words- fall upon your knees in
my presence- tell me you need me.
I will listen to your soft and desperate prayers
and pluck each of your wishes out like weeds in my garden,
turning some into flowers, transplanting others
in places you don't expect.
tell me you love me in the loudest way possible
and ask for my forgiveness again and again. you do not know
about life or what comes after; you're scared; it's okay.
I am standing outside of your churches and synagoges and mosques
watching you step smugly into your cars,
waiting for you to see beyond yourself, hoping that maybe
you won't drive past me as I beg on the streets,
but you will, it's okay. promise me you'll be faithful
and then curse my name, I'll turn the other cheek, I have given you
little of what you want and all that you need.
you won't always thank me, it's okay.
I am still waiting for you to step outside of the idea
that I will hurt you, still waiting for you to stop and listen,
can't you hear me calling over the deafening noise of hatred,
standing on the other side of the road, begging you will come with me,
till the end.
the tumultuous power of water
ocean. the water reaches just under my chin as I climb to the surface, only to be pulled back under. confession:
I am afraid of the water. I am afraid of the force that it carries, the weight that it holds, the children it has dragged
deep beneath itself. I am eight years old and drunk on sunlight and the beach is the closest thing to love
that I have ever experienced. brave moments bring me out into the current and humiliation drags me under again.
it's fear that guides me, always- fear that holds me fast and cradles me like so many waves. you are looking within all of this,
trying to find driftwood to hold onto within this lukewarm saltwater I bathe you in, and I give you this answer- it is the fear of drowning
that keeps me afloat. it is the fear of darkness that brings me light. it is the fear of death that gives me life.