Sometimes I don’t know if I fear because I feel too much or because I can’t feel at all. The hands of you come to me like the third person: a phantom around my throat, but with skin.
Can phantoms be wrapped in flesh?
Sometimes I don’t want to keep up, or know. When I come home to find you in my bed, I feel all the clutter in the world. When I return to find you gone, I feel all the missing-ness possible. I need you then, pressing my nose to the sheets to find what a ghost could smell like.
There was a time I could call skin for skin, touch for touch. I could give a name to something, a signifier, and it would be: signified. Now my mouth forms words that my skin can’t feel, or even know. Now when you bury yourself in me, I cannot even think of the word for dead in multiple languages.
When we feel like crying, we choose other words: I love you. When we feel like slipping away
We hold hands, fingers, toes
Like you are the last mermaid on earth.
When you are gone, I feel something I label: loss. When you are next to me, sometimes I think the same word. I think of all the causes: what war was I in to feel this way? I want to tell you never to promise me things, but I am selfish and like to let you speak.
The mornings are sacred for me, but I get impatient with the suspension of time. I see a droplet of water on a leaf, and want to flick it. Either I want this droplet to remain whole, forever, and never shape-shift, or I want it to send it to a new form immediately. Destruction either must be avoided or hurried: I have a problem letting stillness just be. I have a problem experiencing the present, because all things are at once the past and future.
When the afternoon hits I am full of sorrow and relief: the day has been used up and dirtied, and there are so many names for things now: smoke, fog, fucking, traffic. Suddenly I am no longer alone in my panic, in my inability to name, because everyone is everywhere. (We) are losing our fucking minds, not (me). We scatter (are scattered). I find fragmentation sexy, and amnesia the ultimate orgasm.
What do you think of all this? Your words sound as lost as mine, and this is why I want you. You never ask me about the battles I’ve been in, or why I smoke cigarettes some nights and not others. You never ask me to vouch for the future you’ve painted, or if I’d like to come along. Listening to you control the words gives me everything I’ve never had: finally I no longer have to name the things I want. It is okay that they exist in multiple spaces: as long as you speak them, I will think them.
Every piece is an alleyway
That leads to
But because of bad circulation
My brain thinks:
There is no other way to love you more
Is this the pathway to freedom or servitude? Is this love or the ghost of a love I once thought I once had? The hands that reach at my neck—are they truly yours?
At nighttime I don’t feel badly about feeling badly. City lights have trouble staying up, gravity is not easy on bones or stone alike. Your arms swirl around me, or they don’t. Either way, a new day will come. I beg for it to hurry, and draw my hands closer.
The closest thing I got to love
Was taping down a cockroach’s blood onto the kitchen floor
The floor looked like fake bricks in the 80s
Our bathtubs were newly marbled, fancy
Our father was newly crazy, fancy.
“Father” is a distant word I’ve never believed in.
After taping down the blood I would check on it
While I watched other roaches
With red egg sacs
Over twenty years later I have to answer a test question about food safety
The one I know is right is, What signs are there that your kitchen is infested by cockroaches?
Nobody believes a word I say, even me
Both because I have lied a lot and because why would these stories
Why would a child tape down cockroach blood
And after that
Be unable to love?
Little by little the years showed me that most people lie
Or get addicted to something other than lying
Because feeling is hard
So by not doing it
I would say
I’m winning. Look at me: not on the streets. Making an honest living
Surviving like the insects
The word insects is false to me
A layered lie
I will stand here now and say all the truths: I live like bugs.
No more no less.
To (feel) you now is the ultimate compliment. The closest to dying and living at the same time. You are a phantom I believe (in). You are a word I say and believe (in). You are what I hope to tell the truth about in the moment one morning
When nobody is awake
(But you and I.)
You are the end of punctuation
Until the afternoon breaks.
And the words begin again.