it is sort of amusing sometimes
realizing how we’re reaching out,
thinking it’s to save one another
from certain self-destruction–
as if we’re clones of superman
(because one flying freak is not enough)
when in reality, we’re just grasping
for straws– for footholds to climb out of
this ravine we’re in
and every “i’ll save you” shouted down
into the nothing echoes back as
if i close my eyes real tight
till my eyelids wrinkle prematurely
and furrows spread across my brow
and my mouth presses against itself
in a desperate attempt to keep the halves of my face
from caving in on one another,
i can almost conjure the image of
the last time i saw you smiling.
it was as she walked away from you.
you were watching her leave,
and the expression on your face
was of the most exquisite pain i have ever seen
backlit by a joy that prevented me from eating
for months afterward because my throat closed over at the sight.
i don’t know if i hate her more for being
the one to brighten your day
or you for not letting me rise high enough to.
i went to the bathroom
a few minutes ago. a
girl was in there– a blond,
if you must know, bobbed hair
and sort of short– but anyway.
she went into the stalls before me
but she must not have done anything
because I heard no sound.
i went into the stalls a few minutes later
and at almost the exact same moment
we started to pee.
normally urination rather disgusts me
but for a minute there our synchronization
was perfect, and the sound of our peeing together
was rather beautiful music.
so were the toilets flushing.
i am prepared now to take up arms,
to raise curved fences high– to fasten locks
firm against my breastplate so as to safeguard
i am prepared to take up arms
with stiffened spine until the moment when,
weary of defense, i lay down my weapons–
lower arms in surrender, grow limber
and sink into sleep.
chill breezes and midnight satin
reflecting warm light;
i walked along the edges,
feeling them out with bare dirty feet
(searching for weak spots to find an excuse for my own);
your arms beckoned in their green sleeves,
but i did not slip into your embrace. i was afraid.
damp wood and dead leaves,
staind songs and stained lips–
i walked round your legs
and stood near your hips, wide mother.
you were big enough to take me in
and i wanted to go, because i’m tired
and you know it.
but i was afraid to lay down.
strength looks like this:
standing on one’s toughened soles,
staring down into your eyes
and walking away–
but that is not me.
i look like this:
standing on my toughened soles,
stepping down until i could almost kiss your lips–
acutely aware of the smell of your perfume,
the shape of your comfort, and walking away
not because my will is strong,
but because i am as terrified to fall asleep in your arms
and find myself waking up again
as i am to stay awake.
sometimes i think that
i can almost see the veil
the proverbial scratchy, thick
(but really quite toasty and warm)
wool peeling back inch by warp
by fiber from the flushed
fabric-imprinted surface of your face–
think i see the fog, the soft
marbled clouds clearing from
i think i see the lines uncoiling
relaxing at the side of your mouth
into quiet comfortable curlicue
smile lines with how-to lists
(make him grin, make him moan
make him love you) inscribed–
sometimes i think i see these things
(i really do)
but then you look at me again
and i realize
(kind of like the temptations)
it was just my imagination.
from missing your bus to
missing you to simply