There are a lot of words inside me that want to get out. They’re in there, but they’re unorganized, each one fighting against the other to get out. All fighting against my tongue, lips, teeth, to be free. Some want to be loud, some whispered, some repeated over and over until they sound funny and you don’t recognize them. Some to be written, some to be typed, some to be said as the phone cuts out. I have these words I want to say to you. Some I want to scream, some I want to say in those final moments before you’re totally asleep, knowing you might not remember them in the morning. What beauty exists in language that it can encompass all this. What pain when these words remain unsaid, unexpressed. I see you and these words bubble on my lips. Some free fall from my tongue. Some linger and squeeze their eyes tight, screaming all the way down. Some tumble awkwardly, tripping on every groove of my chin, neck, collarbone. Others roll like a child down a grassy hill, innocent and messy. yet there are a few that remain. I feel them as they pace back and forth across my bottom lip. Sweating, they reach the edge, peer over, only to stumble back. “I” they are close but I can’t quite make them out yet. These words stay, like the dog who sits by the door waiting to be let in when the door has been open the whole time. And when the owner returns says, “Oh there you are, come in already then.”
Making love in the sun, in the morning sun
in a hotel room
above the alley
where poor men poke for bottles;
making love in the sun
making love by a carpet redder than our blood,
making love while the boys sell headlines
making lvoe by a photgraph of Paris
and an open pack of Chesterfields,
making love while other men—poor fools—
That moment—to this …
may be years in the way they measure,
but it’s only one sentence back in my mind—
there are so many days
when living stops and pulls up and sits
and waits like a train on the rails.
I pass the hotel at 8
and at 5; there are cats in the alleys
and bottles and bums,
and I look up at the window and think,
I no longer know where you are,
and I walk on and wonder where
the living goes
when it stops.
I met you in the summertime, in the hottest month of the year. I was still trying to find my place and anywhere feels like home when your own home has been taken from you. You lived next door. I met you beside a fire. Your friend was there and my cousin was there and we drank coke and rum you stole from your father’s liquor cabinet. It was awkward, I was awkward, and I was thinking that you were tall and you had blue eyes that made my eyes look like thick mud and I thought that night we would not be friends. We became friends.
I met you right before the spring, when the weather teases and plays warm one day and cold the next and you never know if you need a jacket or not. You were at a party at my house. I don’t remember how you ended up there but you were there and I was there and I was drunk and you might have been drunk but I don’t know because I don’t know a lot about that night. I was alone and so you were there but you shouldn’t have been. You were there but I hadn’t asked you to be there and I couldn’t say no but you knew that you shouldn’t have been there. I thought that night we would never be friends again.
I met you late one night as I was cleaning up after a dinner party I had hosted. You looked at me like you knew me well but you didn’t know me at all and I didn’t know you at all. You sat on my counter, on my couch, on the piano bench. You asked me to play for you. You called me your “girl” and said every song was about us. You slept beside me and held my hand and I thought that night we could really have something. Just some thing, any thing at all.
I spent every day that remained of that summer with you by my side. You spent your birthday with me—angry—but with me. We watched movies and got high and played video games and I thought that all there was to happiness was watching movies and getting high and playing video games. Maybe you liked me then but you never said so and so it didn’t matter. We went to school in the fall and I was new and we didn’t hang out much but you were there and I was there and we were there together and it was fine that way. You fought the guys who hurt me and I helped get the girls you thought you loved.
We didn’t speak for a long time because your apologies were exhausted and I had said all I had to say in that horrible four-word phrase I screamed at you that night. You called a lot and sent me a lot of words that I couldn’t bring myself to respond to. You loved me, you thought you did at least, but you hurt me, you knew you did. And then there was The Day. Maybe that’s not the right word for there were many days leading up that should have made me realize The Day was coming but they didn’t. After the day, you were gone. I thought you’d never be back.
We were at your house because you were having a party and you invited me because people have parties and invite people to them. You were beside me all night and when my friend got sick you left your own party to carry her home and put her to bed. We were standing in my driveway. I was saying thank you and you kissed me. It was quick, it was nothing. It was something. It was everything.
We were laying in the yard with a friend and we were drunk. Our friend got sick and we put her to sleep. I was tired and you wanted to stay up and talk. You laid with me on the couch, our faces almost touching and told me you were in love with me. You were crying and I cried too. We cried because I did not love you back and this made us both sad. I fell asleep and you left. I talked to you the next morning, asking, “do you remember what you said to me last night?” “yes, do you?” “Yes.” You told me you’d say it again, over and over forever, but you didn’t. It was unfair of me to expect you to.
While you were away people would ask me how you were like I was supposed to know. I did not know. They did not know that we no longer spoke even before you were gone. My mother told me I should write you a letter. A lot of people were writing you letters. It was the nice thing, the right thing to do. We had lost all sense of what was right a long time ago. So I wrote you the damn letter. And it was stupid. I told you you would grow from this, and everything that had happened didn’t matter now. I didn’t say how mad I was, how dumb I thought you were, how frustrating it was to see you where you were, where I’d always knew you’d be. “Come home.” That was the only part I meant. I never sent that letter and later I threw it away.
We were on my couch and I was crying. I cried because I was naïve and sad and wanted you so badly to want me so badly but you didn’t. You looked at me with those damn perfect blue eyes and you looked sad. We watched as this crumbled before us, we watched as this died, slowly, it had been dying from the start. You couldn’t give me what I wanted and I didn’t want what you were willing to give. I told you I loved you. I cried. You cried. We cried because you didn’t love me back and this made us both sad. You talked to me after you left and said you were sorry. “Do you remember what you said to me last night?” “Yes, do you?” “Yes.” I thought I would say it again, over and over forever, but I didn’t.
I, II, III.
Our bare bodies are entwined, movements rehearsed like everyone who came before was merely the practice for this, the real thing. You gently grab my hair, pull my head back as I look deep into your crystal blue eyes. You are inside me, you are outside me, you are all around me, you are all of me. In our body heat, we sweat out these memories, these feelings so long repressed, so long forgotten. They are flooding out now, seeping from our every pore. The excitement of the first encounter, the nervousness, the disappointment, the anger, the heartbreak. You love me, I hate you, you want me, I am in love with you. You are a body. You are the only body. You are nothing. You are everything. You are mine, if only for this moment. And this moment will be enough.
*** as published on Thought Catalog***
I’ll be home by midnight
you’ll be looking through the window
a little frosted over now
but the headlights still shine through
you won’t call
you’ll later say you couldn’t
I don’t call
because I’m stubborn and you’re stubborn
and we only meet when there’s nothing left
to do but meet
and then sleep
If only for a moment
I’ll write you off
you’ll write over this
until you cant read the words at all
you are just words on a page
and the page is lost
the page is lost
We’re talking about god
like he’s an old friend
who’s been on vacation for awhile now
he’ll be back, you say
until then we make plans
to dance and drink red wine
we are comforted in the possibility
but relish in the absence
we cheers to death
and mock him every chance we get
we call him in
and when he comes
we act surprised
like the child who cries for his mother
and when he has found her
no longer finds interest
We are sad
pouring from us
seeping through our pores
we cling to what we can-
a moment here and there
we try to absorb it all
but it won’t be enough
it might never be enough
it’s very loud in here
(it’s very loud in my head)
i cannot hear you
(i cannot even hear myself most times)
its not even that my thoughts are so much
but there are other things in there:
last year’s Socrates
this year’s Plato
last week’s sandwich order
how to spell sandwhich/sandwich
(and its all so much, i’m not even hungry)
i think you were in there
i think you said “i love you”
but that could have been don Rodrigue
maybe if you spoke differently
maybe if we had our own language
(i think i love you too)
you had loved me in the winter
in this burnt orange flannel
with my crooked eyes
and your crooked teeth
i’d said i can’t make out your face
or why the cars drive by so fast
but i walk so slow
and the only thing on the news are
the ones that aren’t around anymore
i told you not to smoke
or speak or be yourself
but did all three
hypocrisy—oh the irony!
i’ve *matured (you’ve withered)
and now i watch the cars—they drive
i sit, i wonder
how they know when to stop