“I still want to be friends” but I am already
on the next subway, the next taxi, the next whatever.
I am thinking about dinner that night, or the next night:
Angus beef, sauteed chicken, mahi mahi fish tacos.
I am thinking about the coffee pot and runner’s knee
and how much money I have in my savings. I am
thinking about hypothermia and missing bodies;
all the knives in my bed. I am thinking about how
the very word promise sounds more like an undoing.
I am thinking about the easiness of mouths.
How they open. How they give so much but also
about how they take away the things our minds
have committed to that permanent place of the brain,
where memories continue to rattle around long after
we’ve stopped shaking. I am thinking about how
he has turned me into a lake and I’ve never learned
how to swim. I am thinking about how I now have to
unlearn all of his secrets. Become a tourist to his body
again, blink against the hurt. I am thinking about
expensive hair cuts and retail therapy, dressing room
girls who are used to outlandish requests from customers.
I am thinking that this isn’t a dress my mother
would approve of, but honey, I look so good in red.
that have not been named yet.
I slide between the dips of your navel
and the swoops of your collarbone
to stay dizzy all day long.
We are using each other to avoid growing old.
So I ask you,
be young with me forever.
We can call each others’ wrinkles ‘love lines’
and count them like rungs on a tree
to figure out how many years we’ve
been avoiding dying together.
We can stay in bed until our white hair is
a wispy reminder of who we used to be.
You’ll live forever with your
eyes wide and a child smile because
I’ll never see you any other way.
Today, it is Monday and I want to be waking up with you.
Look — look at all the ways I shake. Look, I want to be good at this. I’m reaching for your hands and you tell me that you’re an earthquake just waiting to happen. I make a list of things I’d rip my stomach open just to do to you:
Take off your clothes and put them back on again. Kiss you awake in the mornings and in the evenings and at three a.m. when the nightmares come tumbling back into our bed. Meet your parents just to tell them that they’ve made a piece of art. Leave your house and take you to the dirtiest parking lot we can find, talk trash about the people that have hurt us both. Kiss you when you start to cry. Kiss you when the moon is full. Kiss you when my mind is empty. Kiss you with the TV screaming white noise in the background, just kiss you, just kiss you all the time.
Look — I’m bad at being loved because the feel of it is like a heart that doesn’t fit right in my chest. Some days I think I will be a cemetery for your touch. Some days I think I will start a war, all for you.
Look — I could be this. All this tender, this open and raw, I could get you inside me like a disease. Be my now, be my tomorrow. Be my five years in a bed we both own. Be my wedding night. Be my testament. Be the dirt they lay on my grave, but baby — let it still be you.
Let it always be you.
M.i.a. Be really on some hood revolutionary music, and it’s so slept on
Shot by Touré Ali for CRXXVS
© CRXXVS 2014
I have been told that when a loved one dies
the worst part is not the shock, or the blood,
or how grief colors all the places your hands touch.
The worst part is when the world heals you too well.
Years later, when you begin to forget their face
and their voice becomes a song
you do not remember the tune for.
After the burial, when the body just a fact.
A memory only confronted when prepared.
I do not have this problem of forgetting.
I remember your face exactly. Your voice is right here,
coloring my voice. Nothing is helping me
to forget your hands,
how they shook like apologizing mountains
hollowed in their wisdom.
I do not know about the part
where you cannot remember grief.
Grief comes for me every morning,
dragging your last breaths behind him
like screaming children.
This aphorism seems a privilege
of bad memory. The brain does this.
It hides the worst. It is the reason we look at scars
and say All I remember was the screaming.
Then everything went black. When I woke up
the worst of it was over.