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.
You didn’t understand:
I wanted freedom; well didn’t I have it?
You demanded to know: Why all this beating of wings?
Not in words, but the way
you stared at the floor
and nestled the cat to show
that you were capable of affection
but withheld it from me.
To you this was a question of loyalty.
Meanwhile, I was trapped in the slow-clicking memory
of my childhood, like an old video tape:
the tick of a clock, the sound of late afternoon.
At this time of year, there is no sunset,
just the deep carve of light that slowly melts away.
I told you I was leaving, which was easier
than allowing you to love me.
At first, it felt as if the sky
had been ripped off the earth, but then
I finally sensed my own existence and I was ravenous
for the world, driven outward like a bursting sap.
For weeks, I opened all the windows before I went to bed.
How glorious: the fragments of moon,
blue air and honey sun.
All that light on my face in the morning.
When the summer edged out, I shut the windows
and left. The drive was long and the sky
was filled with rain like thick strokes of ink
I hurried down the freeway,
as if someone would be there
waiting for me. And the next thing I knew:
Wisconsin. I dashed from the car,
pretending to run for cover, but secretly
praying for more and more rain.