Please forget me. I won't forget you.
You were right about poets.
How right you were. Poets are liars
Always trying to excoriate reality
into something aesthetic
and love into something
digestible at all.
You were right. They shouldn't do that.
It isn't possible
and they shouldn't carry on
like it is. It is true
that I went too far.
Something simple about boundaries
and delicacy or discretion
had begun to elude me.
You may continue to blame me and
I can live with that but—
according to a very famous play
(which I'm sure you've heard of)
Blanche explains that the opposite of desire
is death (death!)
Asked Mitch: So do you wonder?
I don't wonder, or really
we didn't have to wonder, did we?
It was the easiest thing in the world to do
but very distressing and painful
to have done.
I mean, physically painful.
Like a stomachache.
is it's own death
and has no opposite.
No one ever battered me
quite like you.
Early on you told me
about a set of mathematical proofs
which show that two curves
with infinite length
can have a finite area
Gabriel's wedding cake.
But the converse is never true.
I don't know why
you told me these things,
but I did want to understand them.
Poets are always trying
to manufacture metaphors
even from mathematics.
I did try
to understand you.
I shouldn't have told you
that I wanted to know you
and I shouldn't have wanted
to know you. This is another character flaw
among writers. The general inability
to let things go
unsaid or unknown.
I still don't know
what happened between us
or what any of it meant, although
I am starting to feel
okay about that. As every day
it became harder and harder
any finite space between us.
To even understand what counts
as a thing.
One can claim
they don't acknowledge
unspoken subtleties, but
isn't unspoken subtlety
the only way anyone can distinguish
something viable and breathing
from all the pointless sediment
floating along with the rest of the river?
I'm not making that up. I think
people discovered this
all the way back
in the sixteenth century.
With letters and glances
and common sense.
I'm sorry for falling in love with you.
Really, I am. Even the idea of you
is revolting and obscene
like eating food off the floor.
I'm not suggesting
there was any better way
for this to end. In general,
I'm okay. In general,
I think solitude
is a good thing. It's just that
your message was perplexing
and took a long time to sink in.
But yes. Eventually
your moody distractedness
began to unattract me. The way
certain words can create a story
but aren't the story itself.
Eventually everything you said
ceased making any sense at all.
So I stopped trying
to understand anything.
I think the problem is that this
went down really deep.
Well, for me it did
Deeper than I wanted.
(But then you snap out of it.
Then you realize that the well is deep
So you throw in a cigarette.
And the whole operation
bursts into flame.)
Do you see what I'm saying?
I'm sorry that I fell in love with you.
That was where everything collapsed.
I started to sense
that you didn't really want to know me
anymore or know anything at all.
You just wanted to wander around
and pontificate and sulk
as if things couldn't be knowable
(only you called it brooding).
Well. At least I know a few things
about you now. Who you really are.
It stung but I couldn't unknow.
I said I wouldn't write you anymore,
and I didn't. And that I didn't love you anymore.
And I didn't.
I had thought it was a pretext
until I looked you in the face
and said it out loud.
Then I knew it was true.
You know, sometimes
words can do that, actually.
I've realized. Poetry can do that
to a story
between two people.
Make it into something, I mean.
And then into nothing.
I held my breath as you carved a line down my thorax,
sliced clean through my chest plate.
I needed help & you saw it right away.
You in your white lab coat, absentmindedly
chatting about how you love the southwest,
the empty, the canyon.
You cracked me open & began removing all the junk
stored inside: my insomniac nightmares,
my darkdecade lullabies, some extra wishbones & molars.
You stood over me a long time, inspecting carefully;
my skin splayed open like a messy star exploding.
You apologized to me sadly, as if my body
was our bedroom & you'd left your wet towels on the floor.
Listen you said we are going to have to take everything out.
It's going to hurt, but that's temporary.
You looked sad. Things just don't look right and your insides
need air. We'll put it back after, but your insides
need air. I was sad, too, about that pretty face.
What a shame to gut it all & the changes to be made
seemed slight but costly.
I said I understand so you bent into my redcloud
and began the process, wincing as you pulled
my pieces out one-by-one
& you talked about love.
But you didn't mean it.
I mean, that much blood can make you say stuff.
You sung softly to me about happiness
but with a blackvamp voice that meant sadthing.
Of course, singsong is still more comforting
than silence for obvious reasons.
Then you put everything back inside me neatly, sighing loudly
& those sad eyes. Much better now, you're going to be okay.
And you left me there, sleeping,
curled up on the table like a heart.
Libraries, for example, are good places
to escape the viciousness of people
when they try to get
inside of you.
Between the shelves
there is plenty of space
to lick your wounds.
This is something I do often.
My first twenty years weren’t easy
I was always busy
with the important occupation
of dismantling myself—an exhausting
and ungrateful enterprise.
I did this so earnestly that I was, in fact,
I had invented the vocation.
I just kept carving
Did I ever succeed? in scraping clean
the rind. in turning myself
inside-out. What is left?
after such a thorough cauterization.
One raw little soul.
I can still taste that grief
in my mouth like champagne, icy
& no hint of sweetness.
I could have stayed inside all day.
Meanwhile on the quad, a pretty girl
walks her small white dog
across the grass & shadows
sprawl across the perfect lawn
with their splotchy memory.
Although memory, I am learning,
always give back much more color
than what was there in the first place.
I look back now, and I want to feel
on my skin. But all I can remember
is that I hated my life
and I hated my life.
The feeling comes
and goes, but at least I find
a quiet absolution in my landscape:
the restfulness of books
and sunlight in an empty room
that transforms the isolation
into something else entirely.