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jerard gartlin Sep 2012
i'm sorry you find it necessary
to put other people's body parts
inside your mouth
like you're some teething mental infant,
or maybe you're trying to take the place
of the baby we're pretending never happened…
…****.  i need a moment. .. …. …

******* got you into this
so you think ******* will get you out?
it's ******* funny i have to flee the ******* country
to get free from your fingers' guilty grip
on a sad mind that can't ******* forgive himself,
on a mind muddied with so many mistakes
i get light-headed every ******* morning trying to decide
which regret to let ruin my day today,
but thank god you've always been there to remind me.
i thank that great guy in the sky
that you're always there
willing & ready
to rub it in.
maybe i just loved you too much,
i guess,
& you loved me just enough
so i'd still do favors for you
& god isn't that what Shakespeare was talking about?
we were rarely a well-written romance
but we ******* NAILED tragedy.
& i told you that first night
as we talked over
some movie i didn't care about
in some language i'll never learn,
that i ******* hated musicals….well
you must've read my subtitles
because you still sing inside my head sometimes.
jerard gartlin Sep 2012
now i know why twenty-seven
is the age where
people bleed out in bathtubs,
or asphyxiate in the attic
swaying from an angry beam
with a face as blue as
the gown their mother wore
when she introduced them to misery
in a hospital,
or put a bullet to their busy brain
leaving a red Rorschach reminder
of their final moments
on the hotel room wall
that will only be seen
by a 42 year old maid
amidst a guilty type of jealousy
she doesn't understand,
or standing with shaky hands in a kitchen
emptying a bottle of aspirin on the counter
& greedily swallowing the little white teeth
following by gulps of water that feel like boulders
tumbling down a throat
with nothing left to say,
or even spreading their arms wide
like jesus on the cross or like a relative
at the airport waiting for a delayed hug
& jumping from the highest bridge or building
they can find so they can feel weightless,
jerard gartlin Jun 2012
it's funny how you pretend i was never there
so quickly...
i was a transparent terror
in the tale of your existence.
a dog-eared page stained
with paper-cut streaks of blood
& smeared ink between quotation marks.
once you made it to
the back cover you tossed it
into the fireplace like it was a bookshelf,
like it was always meant to be there.
but i hope it turned to smoke so quickly
& found a new home in your lungs
& i hope you coughed those little bursts
that i fell in love with at the beginning of every summer
when your allergies kicked in.
i want to write another book
with you.
no sequels.  this is not a trilogy.
a brand new branching plot where we
just love relentlessly & forget religiously
those other volumes us young authors
hastily rushed to print.
we know what people want to read now
& we can be best sellers.
jerard gartlin Jun 2012
so you've got a heartache in your belly.
& as you casually told me
" it's about the size of a thumbnail
right now "
i looked down & realized
i needed to clip mine.
your eyes dimmed like theatre lights
when i closed the curtain
on your monologue
about motherhood
to tell you we couldn't keep it.
& i probably never loved you more
than those days where we would sit
in silence,
thinking about how empty we were about to become --
you literally,
& me….desperately.
& we went to that sterile building
with the bulletproof glass windows
& the chubby old woman,
using a blue blouse as a veil to cover the layers of
stress & years underneath.
she spoke to us through an echoing intercom
in a grave attempt to keep her distance
from our fingernail problem.
we got buzzed in & we waited &
we sat close but god you were so far away
& i reached out & grabbed your hand to pull you back in
& you looked over at me --
overpassed me --
& the ghost of a smile haunted your lips for a second….
they called your name, well
not your name…not the name i call you,
but the one your dad gave you,
& they told me i couldn't go back there with you
& i said i understood but i never will.
the waiting room filled with somber souls,
& we all pretended like it was just a normal doctor's office
but it was obvious who the better actors were
as some randomly burst into tears
like confetti poppers at a birthday party.
we all knew we were at a funeral but
they turned up the volume on the TV
like the quiche that Rachel Ray was baking
would make us forget the mistakes we were burying
& i remembered the picture you showed me
that looked like an x-ray of a jelly bean & said
" that's it.
that's what it looks like. "
& you stared at my face like you were trying to
memorize my expression in that exact moment
so you could dig it up whenever you needed to hate me again,
but then you came out of that door holding your belly
& i knew you wouldn't need to dig that up
because you would have no problem hating me
jerard gartlin Feb 2012
i need to start falling in love
less often.
stop idolizing every brave girl
who shows me the part of her skin
that rarely sees the sun &
waits patiently for my response………..
…..& i always inflate her ego
like a carnival balloon,
& in the coming weeks
i twist it into different animals.
a lion when i'm lonely,
a mouse to mimic misery,
but one day when i'm twisting up
the closed fists of some
metaphor of a memory
it pops & she's suddenly aware
of the clown.

but love is a dish best served
not at all.
skip the meal
& lose the weight of love
& the world seems so much bigger
& instantly you fit into places
you had never even tried before.
the feet that used to make those
distinct etchings in mud
like a tiny topographical map,
hauling that love around
like a bowling ball in a backpack,
those feet don't even touch the trees anymore
& the clouds envy your freedom
as they whisper pick up lines to the moon.
jerard gartlin Jan 2012
it makes me so sad
that you're alive & not in love with me.
that your existence persists
despite your ocean waves of interest,
foaming on the shores
of my subconscious.
but it's not like you SAY
you don't love me.
no, those tiny words would never squirt
from your bursting lips,
pink like a ripe grapefruit
that i've forgotten the taste of.
no, you've never uttered it
but i see it when i dive
into those brown cups of coffee
you call your eyes,
there's someone else's sugar.
someone else has sweetened them,
& you just expect me to drink from the same cup??
no.  i have burnt my tongue too many times,
but the other orbs were blue,
like glasses of water,
& i could see through them,
i thought.
& i knew you were a more muddy concoction,
like the blue transparency
of other women's water
gave me false confidence,
& with you i wanted some
& *******,
you got me good….
i didn't see all the lies crouched behind the couch,
that deceit with a lampshade on its head in the corner,
the fabrications pressed flat to the wall trying to blend in,
or even
the dishonesty hidden behind the door
that all JUMPED out at me
one day when i came home from work
like some birthday party from hell.
not a very good write, but i needed to get it the **** out of me.
doesn't feel complete, but i had to get rid of it.
jerard gartlin Jan 2012
i took a corpse
to the mall
(it was a religious experience)
& the weird thing is
she drove.
& when i got into her
or casket
or whatever
we hugged & kissed (like relatives)
but that was it
then she went stiff
a tattooed statue at the wheel
& me
coughing up embalming fluid
amongst the cigarette smoke
i whispered out the window.
& you winced as we wiggled
between winnebagos & station wagons,
like pallbearers
                a box,
or like a mother
                 placing an infant
                                         in a crib,
hand behind its head.
& she understated the overture
so i sort of never understood
we were ending
up as enemies
all before the engine
& it was winter but i was overheating
smoky breathing &
the words i couldn't reach &
the heaviness of my chest,
the weight of waiting.
but she never said another word
as we walked through the mall
& i floated next to her
like a ghost
or a balloon she was holding
& she grasped
at something new to try on
& let go of me
& i floated
& floated...
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