I don’t have much time. I’m an important person
to chickadees and mourning doves, whose feeder
was smashed last night by a raccoon. Soon
I’ll be wielding duct tape, noticing the dew,
wanting to bathe in it, hoping the awkwardness
of yesterday (three instances of people talking
with bear traps for mouths) never repeats itself
and we all go forward as if to a party
for a five year old who refuses to smash candy
out of a burro. It’s too cute, the burro, too real
for him not to ask his mother, can I keep it,
and when the other children cry, they’re given
lake front property, it works out, this
is what I see for you, the working out. Think of the
behind you as a root or think of going to Spain
and feeling sorry for bulls or don’t think,
this isn’t the SATs, don’t think but stay.
Stay happy, honest, stay as tall as you are
as long as you can using giraffes if you need to
to see each other above the crowd. I have these
when I realize I’m not breathing, my wife
is never why I’m not breathing and always why
I want to lick a human heart, remember that each of
is half of why your bed will sag toward the middle
of being a boat and that you will both sag
if you’re lucky together, be lucky together
and acquire in sagging more square footage
to kiss and to hold. And always remember
that I hate you for being so much closer
than I am to where none of us ever get to go
again—first look, first touch, first
inadvertent brush of breath or hair, first time
you turned over and looked at who was surprising
you by how fully she was there.
we were never more in love with each other in 2013 than we were in 2002, 2003, or even 2004, when the tire swings from the park grieved their individual losses of air and you blamed it on me. you were the five-year-old child crying himself to sleep at night and you never even questioned why. in actuality, your sheets were tangled between your limbs and you let out one last tear before your mother came crawling to your bed and unbuckled the mess you made before you were able to feel cold cheek next to cold linen.
lover, i cannot do this. the people, they go to the parks and play dog-chase-ball but we play lover-chase-body, i am here, i am here all for you. bodies and bones and skin and flesh and limbs caught between the fishnets of bedsheets. i am the wilting daisy and you are the breakfast you refused to eat in the morning: because i cannot write one poem without mentioning the specific phonetics of your name, i drew words in the air with my fingers but never got your spelling right. we play lover-chase-stick and i see your whimpering tail shooting towards the sky. we were never more in love with each other than we were in 1999, 2009, or even 3009, because i grant myself the ability to see so fiercely into the future, just like how i granted myself the ability of micropsia, that foolish moment on the 401 freeway when i thought the cars were christmas lights.
will you please listen, so i can tell you the story about dog-chase-ball? i wear this ring on my left hand, ring-finger because my mother says it was a friendship ring from my father, and i have always liked the word “juxtaposition” - they have been married for twenty five years now.
do you know what the meaning of quixotic is? it is a girl - looking too much like me - spinning, long flowing white skirt, on the grounds of the wilted daisies like your refusal to eat breakfast. and i promise you, nobody has forgotten the wilting of your limbs as they go criss-cross with each other as each calendar page flips back.
i rode with you in a fast car once. that time we rode the wind spoke voices in a singsongy way and we were never more in love with each other since 1997, 8, 9, 10. these were the times when we thought butterfly catching was a respectable sport, that sounds really would emit themselves from your imaginary air guitar, that magic pounded out from inside the poetry book written by the dead girl killed by a car so close to here, her name was Stacey, a photo of her on top of a mountain in Mexico - lover, i cannot do that for you.
the dead girl on the mountain.
she wrote about roses.
i soak the bedsheets with the stains of your five-year-old tears, stand as tall as i can on the tire swings, it never beats the mountain in Mexico, though i have tried. the blood-stained shirt, the one that says, “i once was lost but now i’m found.” the first time you cried when you listened to penny lane - these are the things that i remember. i have alice in wonderland syndrome, i swear we are growing smaller only we are growing up. we go to the park, we see dog-chase-stick. i call your name and say lover-chase- body. we lost it in the poetry book handwritten by the dead girl, the photo of her on the mountain, you know i told you she liked to write about roses. your mustard-yellow tape recorder (we must have thrown that out in the garage sale four years ago).
the apartment building, the library, the tire swings, they are all airless. i cried, i knew an older man there on the second floor of the children’s fiction section, he called me “honey” but only on the good days. there was a girl in elementary school who swore she saw hands being pressed against the window of an abandoned house in our neighbourhood. it had burned down three years ago and three children were killed. i believe her.
i believe in the loss of air.
and, you know, the fact of it all is is that we were never more in love with each other than we were in 1996, 2004, 2014, and 1922 - if, lover, you want to get technical. yesterday i poured the days into juice jugs with air holes at the tops so maybe, if we grow even smaller, we could crawl out of them. we stand on the deflated tire swings, sprinkle Stacey’s magic like her ashes and it lands all over our legs, the places we suffered bee stings and sandbox rashes. right before i do this, i scream:
i read the poems about the roses but they are as airless as the tire swings.
maybe one day, i will stand on a mountaintop in Mexico.
lover, i cannot do this.
you play air guitar, fingers sounds colours shapes all flying out into the air, yet everything is silent.
blackbirds on the telephone wire
as I eat yesterday’s
at 6 a.m.
an a quiet Sunday morning.
one shoe in the corner
the other laying on it’s
yes, some lives were made to be
— it was just a little while ago by Charles Bukowski
they’re not going to let you
sit at a front table
at some cafe in Europe
in the mid-afternoon sun.
if you do, somebody’s going to
drive by and
spray your guts with a
they’re not going to let you
for very long
the forces aren’t going to
let you sit around
you’ve got to go
the unhappy, the bitter and
fix - which is
you or somebody
in agony, or
dead, dropped into some
as long as there are
there is never going to be
for any individual
upon this earth or
all you can do
is maybe grab
ten lucky minutes
or maybe an hour
is working toward you
right now, and
I mean you
and nobody but
— "relentless as the tarantula" by Charles Bukowski