Try not to fill the emptiness in yourself
by creating one in someone else.
Someone foreign. Some beloved.
One day you’ll leave, and they’ll live in your absence.
In your future present-tense, be a little less gone.
- Michael Morse, from “Void and Compensation”
I avoid speaking your name in conversation,— Tania De Rozario, A Hundred Ways To Say Your Name (via align)
throwing it to the air as if it were nothing
more than an assumption of you; it is my last
mode of defence. The last item of clothing
to discard before I realise I’m naked in public.
Because they can hear it in my voice. I know.
Even in that one short syllable that means
everything and nothing; your name is as common
as you are rare. As easy as you are not.
As simple as love should be, but never is.
But when I’m alone, I tie my tongue softly
round the familiar sound, as if pronouncing
with conviction the phonetics of desire
will cause time to pause just long enough
for the earth to hear me naming my loss.
I looked at all the trees and didn’t know what to do.
A box made out of leaves.
What else was in the woods? A heart, closing. Nevertheless.
Everyone needs a place. It shouldn’t be inside of someone else.
I kept my mind on the moon. Cold moon, long nights moon.
From the landscape: a sense of scale.
From the dead: a sense of scale.
I turned my back on the story. I sense of superiority.
Everything casts a shadow.
Your body told me in a dream it’s never been afraid of anything.
1. From the house of death there is rain. From rain is flood and flowers. And flowers emerge through the ruins of those who left behind stores of corn and dishes, turquoise and bruises from the passion of fierce love.
2. I run my tongue over the skeleton jutting from my jaw. I taste the grit of heartbreak.
3. The procession of spirits who walk out of their bodies is ongoing. Just as the procession of those who have loved us will go about their business of making a new house with someone else who smells like the dust of a strange country.
4. The weight of rain is unbearable to the sky eventually. Just as desire will burn a hole through the sky and fall to earth.
5. I was surprised by the sweet embrace of the perfume of desert flowers after the rain, though after all these seasons I shouldn’t be surprised.
6. All cities will be built and then destroyed. We built too near the house of the gods of lightning, too close to the edge of a century. What could I expect, my bittersweet?
7. Even death who is the chief of everything on this earth (all undertakings, all matters of human form) will wash his hands, stop to rest under the cottonwood before taking you from me on the back of his horse.
8. Nothing I can sing will bring you back. Not the songs of a hundred horses running until they become wind. Not the personal song of the rain who makes love to the earth.
9. I will never forget you. Your nakedness haunts me in the dawn when I can not distinguish your flushed brown skin from the burning horizon, or my hands. The smell of chaos lingers in the clothes you left behind. I hold you there.
What we do in the dark has no hands. No
crossover effect, no good-bye kiss after the alarm.
What we carry in, we carry out, end of story. This
doesn’t even want to be love. Except in minutes
when your face has the shape of my palm and I think
lungful. Let want out with the cat. Returns
and returns, something dutiful. Persistent.
Hold your breath, let it build, let go. This is practice.
I’m losing weight, a bad sign, I’m happy. Serious,
you say. Contained, I think. The cat comes back
with a dead bird to the doorstep, an offering. Bloodless
this should be easy. A two-step to cowboys. You’re beautiful
but that’s not the point.
I know my way back perfectly well. Like the back
of my hand, as it were. But look, the labyrinth walls
are high hedge and green. This also could be joy.
I literally don’t know your middle name. Does that
matter? What systems we arrange for intimacy, small
disclosures like miniature bridges, your mouth. Not
what I’d anticipated. softer. To begin with,
I should tell the truth more. I could miss you,
and that’s a liability.
I am not often off-kilter. But you’re so silent, even
naked, and almost absent. I hush too, why
are we here? Go. Want to throw things, you, the clock,
break windows until something bleeds and you finally
scream. I tell you too much; we are not
those people. Or nothing–maybe I say
utilitarian fuck. How would that be. I want you
to want to fall in love with me and that’s
unhealthy. Wrong. Leave your shoes by the door
and pretend it’s about the movie. It’s love
in the movies it’s Casablanca and Toy Story
and water no ice come here. Pockets need
to be untucked, drawers thrown open,
nobody’s safe. There, I’ve said it:
someone I was could have loved you.