maybe the most indisputable fact about progressive life, maybe i mean experience, is that it enlivens rigorous comparison. evaluation. and in the light of my living room. the electric blanket. and false-lemonade, last night. i could never quite resolve how in any particular circumstance of my life. i might have had want to love a man so vapid of expression. someone who so blatantly wasn't put off by obvious soft lyrics. who'd mistake the sounds of anger and pain for soul. you're no damien rice. i howled at the glowering screen. no sam cooke. either.
Sometimes, my favorite Shakespeare play is a comedy. Young lovers denied of their relationship. A protagonist that dies, or so we think he does. Leaving his lover lost without him. Hilarious good times.
We all get lost a little bit in the hands and eyes--the hearts of others. Roam streets like children strayed or stranded. We all do it. A year ago, my never-failing computerized calendar reminds me when I arrive at work this morning--a year ago, today, he left and I collapsed onto the sidewalk in tears. and he made me go inside so that he could drive away. That's what it actually says. In a little square on the screen. So bitter and scared and confused, I must have set the damn thing on repeat. As if it were a goddamned holiday.
Maybe there is something to the comedy of it all. When Caius Lucius asks Imogen, "What art thou?", she can only simply reply, "I am nothing: or if not, / Nothing to be were better. This was my master,". And don't we all want to feel exactly that way and never have to feel exactly that way ever again? I didn't throw myself down on the asphalt because I thought I wouldn't survive. Or because there's nothing left of me without a man. That man. Any man. But that simply I had believed hard enough in the lie that is love that is the faith that says then nothing to be were better.
Because, trying to understand it all, really, amounts to asking questions without answers. And when I don't have any answers and can't think of anymore questions. I return to writing and crawl into the words of others.
"The face of a lover is an unknown, precisely because it is invested with so much of oneself. It is a mystery, containing, like all mysteries, the possibility of torment.", James Baldwin
Maybe, a year later, I don't know all that much more about any of these things. Mysteries and the possibility of torment remain. Will always remain. And I walk the streets pleasantly pleased by the pressure of it all. Maybe a year later, I don't know all that much more about any of these things. But my partner rode the bus with me to work this morning because it was cold and dark and raining. These are mysteries to which I don't mind playing so close. And torment, like all things, doubles meaning and won't sit down long enough for me to accuse it--of anything.
"Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does.", Baldwin says, "Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up."
sometimes, i do dream about you. and i don't care what my therapist says about them being nightmares.
most days. i'd rather smash you into fine grained powder. grind your bones to bits and blood guts reductions. the opposite of wonderful to keep in a jar on the windowsill. my penny pocket snowglobe charm. when you sleep i want to rip you limb from limb. burn your house to the hinges. if it would keep. and if i could stitch both my eyelids closed to claim your sight. i would. these nights when i sit cracked and wild. carving your name into my arm with a pen knife.
i'm not sure whether to pinch myself. if this is real. i walk around bare feet in the cold winter tiled back bathroom. to feel. scratch myself awake in the shower. say the same sentence aloud in every single language i know until someone answers. in this one. always the same. here. we. are. i think. alone. together. and you're always there when i open my eyes. making the coffee in the mornings. and smoking too many cigarettes. there crossing and tying my almost-snow-time scarf before i trip to work. tired and awkward strange me. and you. there. when i ring the number that is you when you're not there beside. there. whether i sleep or don't. talk or don't. there. there. mad crazy big bad love. there there therethe retherethere there.
the world has gone all yellow*
as if i stared into the sun too long
or someone hit me in the head with a baseball bat
*but not like that stupid pop song
between the switch. of i. these newspaper stain-print days when all the rain comes and we are soggy limp reductions of ourselves. we go. and run. and stoop. flip flop across continents to lie together in pools of our own making. we call this love. this runny nose nonsense disaster. chasing excrement and diet pills. and hard hard liquor. so much confusion. this we. of i. you. love song sick. and longing. i don't want to be so stuck. in your tissue-box diorama. anymore.
Conversation in the mildew enstenched entrance hallway of the building where i work.
I know. Must have flooded overnight.
Work of the devil.
Hey. Did you get that shirt at the Gap?
There was that thing I wrote once. About three sided hats. And Chinese manuscripts. I don't remember what it was called. Love poems with tentacles. Or cellotape gift wrap disasters. For sure it had something to do with eyelashes and the amazocity of some boy's wit. When I still thought that he was funny. And hadn't seen enough foreign films. There's time for me to forget. But not yet. Not the way I still yearn for the sound of your broken tape-deck in the high school car I never rode in. And bad end-of-year dance pictures with our hair all ratted up to bejesus. All those memories of swimming in your carpet. Elbows conversation deep.
i just reminded my partner,
from my desk at work,
to not forget to get a new bar of soap
when he gets in the shower
asia feels confused. trips up the damp-struck street halfway running. stops. she doesn't know what life is supposed to sound like when there's so much less to be afraid of. the gas stove. shaving her legs in the shower. the chains around the necks of the neighbor's dogs. asia feels confused and tries to get lost in too well worn ranges. but there's nowhere to go. no more razor-blade rage. allowed. there's the deliberate walk to home. and how many steps to the part with the door. the dull click of the key in the lock. to knob the creak of feet on the floor. and she could cry or sleep. scream and scream at nothing. but happiness says she shouldn't. so she won't. she sits silent still. drawing bright stupid visceral seams. to keep everything in from spilling all over out.
after a long semi-conscious static-head-cold weekend of comi-tragic moments like watching Apocalypto and making soup into nachos and talking to my father on speaker-phone as he drove down the highway and admitting to my partner that i'd seen the movies The Rock and Entrapment in the movie theater (but strictly not on dates) and eating an entire family sized bag of potato crisps and not sleeping most of the night, my best friend said:
This is the funniest email I've gotten in a long time
when i borrow your scissors i wonder how many times you've contemplated cutting my throat. or buying some pinking shears. we don't all need our own pair. i mean. for christ's sake. this isn't kindergarten. or prison.
to the Virgin Mary.
Your plasticine face
hovering in the neighbor's drive
like asphalt heat mirages
and too much post-dawn gin
You're no Oprah Winfrey
No Cihuacoatl at my cross roads
with your guns and snakes raised
full naked blazing--You
made me question loneliness more
than the consequence of my desires
than nighttime American television