Monthly Archives: February 2012

There was an Ocean and We Could Not Drink

When I say that you are the only one that I have ever wanted, I don’t say it because not saying it feels like eating sand stone crushed again— the tiny grains digging into my teeth almost the imperceptibles cracks will finally give away, but rather I say it because it is true.

If I want you it is because imagining the taste of your skin is like escaping from places that I’ve seen in dreams but have never quite been able to find my way out of. There was a city once where women wore dresses made up of the dust from the wings of Luna moths and the webs of spiders. And the men dressed as the shadows of the ones they’d lost—the lovers, the loved, the missing. The taste of your skin would wash this city from me I think.

I think of you sometimes as water. You as a wave against me. I used  to be afraid of the deepest parts of oceans. Of that dark and that cold. But, I’ve learned that there are fish that make their own light down there. I want the waves that crash and break against me to be the waves of you. Then the breaking, the crash, might feel like something turning and coming into something whole again.

I think I tried to tell you that I like the way you sometimes make me think of lakes and water. Or maybe I never tried to tell you, not as a whisper in your ear or as a word between us. Maybe I tried it in writing and I couldn’t ever quite get it all the way to you. You as water, as lake, as waves.

I found seashells, before I met you, littered once across the road. I was a thousand miles from the sea. I wondered where they might have come from—a child lugging her treasures somewhere new, dropped by a hundred birds flying across the country, left behind by the ocean that is here in another universe. I picked them up but could never find them all. They are all gone now. I guess that eventually they must have turned to dust or sand or something.


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Like a Poem Day

(Inspired by Matthew Zapruder’s “Lampday”)

They say that there is
a holiday for everything. My
favorite is the one when we
celebrate everything that can’t
be done in poems.

We fill our lines
with hearts and light and
love. Every other metaphor
becomes about birds—
like this, how their wings
burst open once and it sounded
like the waves if you listened
close enough, the rush, the

Everything on this day
is just like something else.
And I like to write about
myself. Not you, not he,
not she, but me.

And rhyme?
That’s fine.
It’s about time.
They become divine.

My favorite, favorite
part, though, is how
every poem this day
ends in
I love you. I like
that most because
it’s what I’m always
trying to
say, anyway.

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what is ghost translated as in other languages

What I want to tell you is every secret I know about myself. I want to tell you the things that I dream about but don’t remember in the morning. There are faces of people who I only know in my sleep but who feel like family, like home, like I have loved them for one thousand years. Are the people we know in dreams always going to be forgotten by us?

What I want to tell you is how much I never used to like that color before I found it in the color of your eyes. I like the color of lakes in storms and stone sunder water and I like you best.

What I want to tell you is every single story that I know and have known and forgotten and will ever one day know. The stories I hear and the ones that have been told to me only once but which now consume my mind. They are the ones I think about at the most random of times. The ones that make me laugh out loud while walking down a sidewalk or burst into tears while standing under the shower water and it makes me think about the way that warm water on the face can trick me into thinking that I can still feel tears. The stories which I was told as a child and which still haunt me. The ones that make me nod to trees and whisper in graveyards and sometimes ask birds to tell me how many steps I need to take to get in this direction from the moon and that direction from the sun.

What I want to tell you is that I have twelve scars across my body and I only know where three of them came from. I want to say how much it bothers me to not remember what has scarred me. It’s like finding that you’ve lost someone but cannot even remember what their face looked like or what their favorite color was or what that song was that they used to hum under their breath and it was the sound you wanted to always be hearing more than anything else.

What I want to tell you is that I don’t want you to only remember me when you’re deep in sleep, I don’t want you not to know the color of my eyes, I don’t want you to forget every story I’ve tried to tell you, I don’t want you to see the scars and think that they too will fade away until there is only perfection and smoothness.

What I need to tell you is that I love you. Please don’t forget this.

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Sometimes We Break With Eachother

Last night you dreamt

that your lover spent

his nights as a tiger;

stalking amongst trees, paws

leaving indents across the earth

that if viewed from above would

show he paced circuits

around your home, getting

closer and closer but never

coming in. You dreamt his

growl breaking the darkness

and knew that if he ever got

inside then his claws would

leave punctures on your shoulders,

perfect cuts where blood would

rise up and then his tongue

would make you raw as he tasted

the beating of your heart, that

salty copper of your veins, and you once

read that a tiger’s tongue can

lick the flesh right off of his

prey; a slow removal like peeling

the skin from an orange in

imperfect strips.

Last night you gasped

yourself awake in terror;

studied him asleep beside you,

his chest a rising fall

calmness of peace.

You poured water over him,

a lesson half remembered,

but he still would

not change back.


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3 Ways to Miss

That was the last conversation that we had. I feel as if I’m falling into some sort of liquid silence sometimes when I think about it: it’s like a pool with no lights on and after I hit the water I can’t find my way out. There were eight thousand other ways that I should have responded. He was my best friend. He asked me what I was most afraid of. The truth was that sometimes I’m scared of my own heartbeat. It started when I was a kid. If it was quiet out, like that one sort of silence where the TV and the stereo are off and the dogs aren’t even barking, and then I’d hear my heart but it never sounded like a part of me. It always sounded like someone walking, trudging in boots through deep snow. Sometimes I’m still woken up at night by my own pulse. But that’s not what I told him. Instead I muttered “Clowns” and chuckled. I expected him to do the same. Tell some half-truth of fear because it would be funny but instead he said, “I’m really afraid of the dark but not, like, because I’m afraid of something in the dark like tentacles under the bed or whatever. Instead I’m afraid of the dark itself. I keep thinking things are changing in the dark when I can’t see them, you know? I wake up and a picture frame seems like an inch to the left of where it should be. I’m afraid that one day I’m gonna go to sleep in the dark and wake up in the light with my whole life unrecognizable.” I changed the subject suddenly to Devin Harris and trade rumors. And that was the last conversation that we had.  I can picture the way his eyes shifted as I changed the conversation. He looked up at me once and then not again.

I check his Facebook page. No one ever took it down. It’s like a memorial. Except occasionally I’ll get little updates telling me to reconnect with an old friend and his picture will come up. It’s that one of the time we dressed up for Halloween on State Street. I went as a vampire slayer and he went as my watcher. God we are dorks. Shit, god we were dorks. I scroll through his page and I keep expecting him to have some lame new update: “Jason is crazy….Or am I crazy like a fox?” Something that will change my mind about what I have to do; a message saying I don’t have to come and keep him company. All I need is a message saying that he’s not alone out there.

At work I spin around in my chair so much that I make myself dizzy. I stand up and fall over. My boss says I can go home early.  He knew what happened a year ago today. I didn’t feel like my apartment and its ceaseless quiet. So I go to my favorite café. An Andrew Bird song is on the stereo and I sing along for a second, we mistake it for closeness, it’s just a case of mitosis, before I catch myself and stop. No one wants to hear my voice. I figure I’ll treat myself. One last sweet taste on my tongue. I order a hot chocolate from the barista. He’s a cute guy who I’ve always wanted to flirt with but I think I lack the genes for that sort of thing. He puts way too much whipped cream on my chocolate and it looks like heavenly clouds. A little melts down the side and onto my fingers. I take a seat at a table near the back. I like to be able to see everyone walking in to the café without anyone seeing me. My heart feels weird for some reason. I feel it beating out of its normal pace and I mimic the beat with my fingertips on the table top. I notice the barista getting ready to leave; his replacement has arrived. The barista looks over at me, smiles, and walks over, “Hey, did you realize you’re tapping Morse code?” I look up in confusion and then down at my fingers. “Really? What am I saying in Morse code?” I tapped out the beat again; matching up to the race of my heart. The barista studies my hands for a second then says, “You’re saying: I’m okay. I’m okay.”

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Last Night You Said You Saw Divinity

Do you have some idea

of god? Not as concept,

as person, as being, but

a knowing like the taste

of sugared water, sweet, the time

you drank it

accidentally before the humming-

birds could reach it. Did you

have some idea of the divine?

As touch, as caress, as

the way that fingers run

down your spine made you

have visions. Did you have some

idea of faith? the kind which

comes as desire, as pang, as

the shock of electricity, the way

it thrummed just under

your skin like your blood

was fizzing. Did you have some idea

of how it could be lost? Like river

beds drying up and the eggs

laid by fishes split

open with the sun, cracking

into glistening dust.

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Be Social, Be Social, But Not Too Social

You said you wanted to follow me

on Twitter. It’s because when

you asked if I liked to

Tweet, I thought you asked if I

liked Tweety. I nodded

since I grew up on those

cartoons, you know? That little

yellow bird with the big

voice and that fucking hopeless

excuse for a cat. I always

felt like that cat and now

I can’t remember what his

name was.

You said you liked the name of

my blog because it must be

referencing Watchmen. But it’s

called Ozma not Ozymandias

and did you even ever read

that comic? Or did you ever

imagine the crumbled bricks,

the yellow dust, and feel

like you were going to throw

up from sadness? Don’t confuse

your right with your left, you don’t have temporal-spatial

differentiality issues like

I do.

You said that when you saw

the pictures of me as a

child you thought I would’ve

turned out differently. I don’t

know if you meant prettier

or taller or more prone

to attacks of hysteria. But,

anyways, I blocked those photos

on Facebook and now no one

sees me young anymore.

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