28

i avoid the place where you rest eternal.

your body lay there,

but not you.

patches of dry,

withered grass and that’s all.

how soon the world forgets.

your memory tears at my heart because

you died

loving me,

when i was too young and too selfish to

understand what that meant,

and because somehow,

you manifested

a conception of loyalty

that was unalterable.

they say that

time heals all,

but each night i

dream of you and i see

your face more clearly than

the night before.

each day that passes the

ache remains and

the void grows larger—

the longing for what

was lost,

before it ever was.

a wound like this consumes you,

swallows you slowly,

until you’re stuck in it—

unable to move forward,

unable to go back—

and i’m stuck for good,

because there is no cure

for a pain like this,

not even time.

[ photo: photo by Miriam Sweeney ]

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27

{ bathtub meditations }

like an object quivering on the horizon,

it lingers there—

in that empty space—

nebulous,

on the edge of consciousness.

i pull it close,

aware only briefly

that it’s the idea

of some moment

to which

i would like to return,

but cannot.

i loved you in that moment:

when i first saw you,

before you saw me.

i watched you

searching the crowd.

you weren’t looking for me,

but you found me.

looking back, there’s

something romantic about that

mingled sensuality

and despondency;

something endearing about

the way we loved each other so recklessly

that we hurt each other in the end,

when the moment passed, and

we had no choice

except to leave it behind—

and leave each other behind—

because stagnancy is more dangerous than heartbreak.

[ photo: from photographer Logan Zillmer’s ‘365 project’ ]

26

what do we wish for when we see beauty?

to be beautiful.

we think happiness must be connected with it,

but that is an error.

when i see a beautiful woman

i envy her beauty,

but i wonder:

has she been loved?

i see the answer clearly

in her perfect mask—

painted with agonizing care.

in the details of her beauty

i see the complexity of her

despair.

just another lonely creature,

a rare black mare,

surrounded by admirers—

praising her because they cannot love her.

beauty is not something to wish for.

[ photo: ‘Death Of An Image’, Andrea Galvani ]

25

{ anonymous }

during the day she’d take long aimless walks around the city.

if it was raining,

she’d walk with her face toward the clouds

letting the drops hit her,

trying to feel something.

she’d sit for hours staring at pigeons,

never people—

watching people scurrying around each other like blind little mice

reminded her of just how

disconnected the species had become.

she didn’t feel like one of them.

she felt numb watching them.

in the evening she’d frequent a piano bar on the east side of town.

it was small, cozy, hidden.

she’d go there at least a couple of nights a week,

there were performers every night:

piano, saxophone, all of it—

all the soul, all the blues, all the jazz.

she’d arrive promptly when the place opened and stay for at least four or five hours.

no one to sit with her,

no books to occupy her,

no booze or substance to distract her

(well, maybe one drink).

she was totally exposed,

completely vulnerable.

she’d listen to the music and

occasionally survey the room—it was

the only time she didn’t mind

observing other people.

there were some rough faces in that bar,

some lonely faces,

faces just like hers.

all there with the same prerogative:

human connection.

there was no stage,

so the artists were right on top of the audience—so close, they didn’t even need a microphone.

every wrinkle on

their forehead, every bead of

sweat, the sincerity

in their eyes—

you could really see

the human in them.

when certain artists performed,

she felt like their voice was her voice,

their music was coming from her heart.

it was one of the rare times when she felt something beyond numbness,

when she felt connected to another person.

one night on the bus ride home,

while humming a tune she had heard

a few hours earlier,

she wrote herself a note:

people need music.

it’s how we

connect.

photo: photo by unknown

24

i went to the place where

we used go,

but you weren’t there;

and even though i knew you wouldn’t be—

still, i looked for you.

hope is the cruelest illusion.

back to the beginning,

when the flowers were blossoming and young

and so was our love.

back to those days in the middle,

all muddled and out of order,

a story born of the confusion between

imagination and memory.

back to the end

when the trees were bare and black with flocks of crows,

and the flowers had withered.

with your eyes you said:

i loved you in the summer,

but it’s winter now, baby.

but i won’t forget you yet;

because after winter comes the spring when

even after it’s all gone rotten,

all it takes is

one drop of rain and

ray of sunlight

for everything to revive.

hope is the cruelest illusion.

[ photo: Tipi Hedren from ‘The Birds’, Philippe Halsman ]

23

here i am:

sitting on a park bench;

raindrops falling on my last cigarette;

alone in a world

where it’s necessary

not to be alone.

little puddles

forming in clusters at my feet

draw my attention.

dig my fingers deep into the ground,

pull out a handful of mud

and roll it between my palms.

this is it.

the rest is all an act.

[ photo: @ratherbedeadthancool ]

22

i watch the sun rising.

observing the intensity of

naked existence.

reality

recedes into the background and

i forget my self.

if i am quiet enough,

especially in my mind,

i can hear the rhythm of the morning;

a smooth saxophone.

in this moment,

it all makes perfect sense

because it makes absolutely no sense.

photo: @neilkrug