1. I’m lonely so I do lonely things.
2. Loving you was like going to war, I never came back the same.
3. You hate women, just like your father and his father, so it runs in your blood.
4. I was wandering the derelict car park of your heart looking for a ride home.
5. You’re a ghost town I’m too patriotic to leave.
6. I stay because you’re the beginning of the dream I want to remember.
7. I didn’t call him back because he likes his girls voiceless.
8. It’s not that he’s wants to be a liar, it’s just that he doesn’t know the truth.
9. I couldn’t love you, you were a small war.
10. We covered the smell of loss with jokes.
11. I didn’t want to fail at love like our parents.
12. You made the nomad in me build a house and stay.
13. I’m not a dog.
14. We were trying to prove our blood wrong.
15. I was still lonely so I did even lonelier things.
16. Yes, I’m insecure, but so was my mother and her mother.
17. No, he loves me he just makes me cry a lot.
18. He knows all of my secrets and still wants to kiss me.
19. You were too cruel to love for a long time.
20. It just didn’t work out.
21. My dad walked out one afternoon and never came back.
22. I can’t sleep because I can still taste him in my mouth.
23. I cut him out at the root , he was my favourite tree, rotting, threatening the foundations of my home.
24. The women in my family die waiting.
25. Because I didn’t want to die waiting for you.
26. I had to leave, I felt lonely when he held me.
27. You’re the song I rewind until I know all the words and I feel sick.
28. He sent me a text that said ‘I love you so bad’
29. His heart wasn’t as beautiful as his smile.
30. We emotionally manipulated one another until we thought it was love.
31. Forgive me, I was lonely so I chose you.
32. I’m a lover without a lover
33. I’m lovely and lonely.
34. I belong deeply to myself.
Of course it was a disaster. The unbearable, dearest secret has always been a disaster. The danger when we try to leave. Going over and over afterward what we should have done instead of what we did. But for those short times we seemed to be alive. Misled, misused, lied to and cheated, certainly. Still, for that little while, we visited our possible life.
I talked a good hello
but she talked an even
Richard Brautigan, Impasse
Let’s kiss. Let refrain do what it does. From touching,
how skin withstands toxins, organs glued. I love holding you.
Orchestrating the drive down Occidental Blvd, we’re accident in future tense.
Pigeons make a standstill. Coffee stains upholstery. At intersections,
fever is a combination of fear and hot pavement.
Let kiss and chemicals and cannibals and feathers. Unsnap. Unwhip.
Hinging on: how could you? Warp the mouth around open-ended swallows—
birds, I mean. Stay long enough. Let’s happen.
Do what you’re going to.
You recite the bones of the body
as though it were a poem.
Patella, femur, coccyx, your eyes
closed, head weaving slightly
as you travel up the body.
Before you can arrive at
the cranial borders, I put
down Conrad and lean
against you. You ask what
I’ve been reading, and I tell you
it’s the death of geographical
mystery, when the last white patches
of the atlas were shaded in
and the dark corners of the world
were given names. Maybe
we shouldn’t know where
all rivers begin. Maybe there
should be some native tongues
without translations. I want
to hear drums in the jungle,
I say, to hear the Earth’s
wild heartbeat. You press
my head to your chest
and help me navigate the pulse,
atrium, ventricle, aorta,
as I close my eyes and discover
a land where true believers still
eat the bodies of their gods.
Water is something you cannot hold. Like men. I have tried. Father, brother, lover, true friends, hungry ghosts and God, one by one all took themselves out of my hands. Maybe this is the way it should be—what anthropologists call “normal danger” in the encounter with alien cultures. It was an anthropologist who first taught me about danger. He emphasized the importance of using encounter rather than (say) discovery when talking about such things. “Think of it as the difference,” he said, “between believing what you want to believe and believing what can be proved.” I thought about that. “I don’t want to believe anything,” I said. (But I was lying.) “And I have nothing to prove.” (Lying again.) “I just like to travel into the world and stop, noticing what is under the sky.” (This, in fact, is true.) Cruelly at this point, he mentioned a culture he had studied where true and false virgins are identified by ordeal of water. For an intact virgin can develop the skill of diving into deep water but a woman who has known love will drown. “I am not interested in true and false,” I said (one last lie) and we fell silent.
from Diving: Introduction to the Anthropology of Water by Anne Carson
As if language could become solid.
My mother’s sentences become shorter
as her needs grow smaller. And then
shorter still. Stone bridge with a diminishing
span. Become phrases. Become single
words chosen from the rubble inside
her mouth: Bird! Outside! Water.
Please. Tired. Tired. She has grown tired
of language. On her night stand
a tumbler of water on a plastic coaster and the last
book she ever opened in which,
for a year now, a green leather bookmark
has been holding its tongue; in which snowdrifts
on the train lines from Istanbul
have stranded Poirot just beyond Vinkovci
with twelve suspects and clues
appearing one by one—the handkerchief,
the button, the crimson kimono.
To abandon language is to stop
creating a place other than your own life
in which to live. It is to enter
the terrible certainty of the flesh. Even god
is only possible through language
but, still, I declare that it is possible
to transform a body into a temple: look
how our own lungs, unfolded
and smoothed and pressed out flat,
are the size of a spinnaker, could have a sailboat
flying before a strong wind; how they have
the dimensions of a good-sized room, a room
in which my mother might sit,
for a while, before the open window, and so enter
the heft and stance of the outside world.
I have grown used to the seethe
and abrasion of her breathing, truly. Truly.
And this is how I want to leave her, then,
my mother: in a room by an open window, turning
toward the steady compress of light
on the surface of the bay, to a skylark’s rising
smear of music, and to the sleek, white pony
in the wet, roped-off pasture next door
navigating, head down, through the high
surge of wild iris to small islands
of fresh grass; as a woman
who spent the last months of her life with nothing
but rain inside her.
I loved you
with the scientific
excuse of the lonely.
Now I watch the streets
smog out of focus
or zoom in brutally
on the tragically beautiful.
My eyes have met no one’s
all morning. I have forgotten
the purr of my name.
I remember only the brush
of my cat’s teeth
when she tells me
she loves me. For weeks
the only lesson I’ve learned
is that the leaves of the apple
are finally turning. Everything
has let go. There are days now
that go by without a sound.
I could be anyone.
Once I was a person
who loved you.
I made a house of houselessness,
A garden of your going:
And seven trees of seven wounds
You gave me, all unknowing:
I made a feast of golden grief
That you so lordly left me,
I made a bed of all the smiles
Whereof your lip bereft me:
I made a sun of your delay,
Your daily loss, his setting:
I made a wall of all your words
And a lock of your forgetting.
If I have any romantic notions left,
please let me abandon them here
on the dashboard of your Subaru
beside this container of gas station
potato salad and bottle of sunscreen.
Otherwise, my heart is a sugar packet
waiting to be shaken open by some
other man’s hand. Let there be another town
after this one, a town with an improbable Western
name—Wisdom, Last Chance—where we can get
a room and a six-pack, where the fireworks
end early, say nine o’clock, before it’s really
gotten dark enough to see them because
everyone has to work in the morning.
I’m not asking for love anymore.
I don’t care if I never see a sailboat again.
It is simply a question
But when I say it
the sentry in you
and all the doors fly open
on their winged