i read a poem today
that had a line so close
to exactly the last words
you ever said to me, when we
were still truly in love, and i loved
you more than i ever have, ever could
love another woman, before the even worse
wound, another that never fully heals, not
completely, that when you have true love
and then lose it, you sometimes lose the
ability to truly believe in true love ever
again, and that pain may linger all
the more. those lines made me go
up to my storage unit and dig
through mounds, pieces of
yesteryear, my decrepit
i got it home a few
hours ago, and was so
nervously hovering before
hitting play, slowly winding
the tiny cassette tape by
hand, terrified both of
hearing your pretty
of the prettiest of
voices, and of
the only thing real i still
have left of you, other than
that place a piece of you will
always live within my heart
none the matter any of the
infirmities either of us
struggled with, you
and i found what
no two other
but it played:
"Jason... (holding back tears, voice quavering and shaking, with long pauses and the sound of a woman being torn in two) I know last night you said we could never again have any contact, and I still know you're not angry, just absolutely heart-broken cuz you told me that I have no heart to break, you were wrong, because it's broken right now in a way that can't be fixed. You explained your reasons for thinking that, but what you don't understand, it's that you want it all, but with something that tastes so good to me, the best there can be, even the flakes and crumbs are enough for me.
You said you can't live without me being right in front of you, creating new memories with me and you... but I have to let you know, the best memories I've ever made have been just knowing you... and did you know we only had four real seasons, one each of a spring, summer, fall, and winter, spread over a decade, but only really one entire year, and all that rom-com nonsense? It was all true, and if I could only ever have part of you, that would be more than enough because the thought of anything else is still too scary to even think about, but waking up this morning now I have to not just think about it, but live it, now every day forever, and.... and..... I....
You hurt me so much, even worse than saying I have no heart, and yes, I screamed at you to get the **** out of my life then!! before that, so I'm not holding it against you, but it still hurt me so much, it did, when you said if I never spoke the words to you then I never could have really been in it with you, and you never asked me the reason I didn't want to hear that word from either me or you, it would have made it so real that I know I would finally have to make a decision... you're my sweetness, too, you know? Remember? Haven't you even been listening???
I never wanted to say the words or let you say them either because then it meant this is real, I said that already, but then it wouldn't, then I wouldn't... this isn't just two people able to project their perfect versions of themselves to, or I mean on, each other, one another, the way you said that, right?? Well I got out my stuff and I counted how many hours I've devoted to you the only way I knew how, over the phone, that adds up to 610 entire days of you talking with me, and think of all the IMs, the hundreds of poems we wrote for each other, doesn't that prove anything to you? What else did I have to do? And I know we both agreed and both meant it that it has to be over, it's over, I know it now, but all my heart keeps screaming is what within my real power can I do to get you back again, and the answer is nothing, there's nothing at all I can do, but my heart keeps on looking for an answer anyways.
I know we both agreed to erase almost a decades worth of writing, but it's something I instantly regretted, more yours than mine cuz that's a part of you I could... (she cries for a long time, and I used to listen to this tape so often that I still know intimately every sob like it's written into me, and at this part as always I cry, too, mourning an old loss, but still a huge loss nonetheless).
I'm just telling you that if I was right in front of you, if I was looking to you, I mean at you, close up and right into your the eyes where I had nowhere to hide, with your arms wrapped around me real tight, I would tell you the exact same thing I'm telling you right now: I love you, I love you... I love you, and I miss you so much it feels like I might die every time I breathe in. I love you, and I'll miss you, Jason. I really will. click."
And I've been feeling a bit lost all day since then, puttering with one thing or the next, writing a poem for my daughter, taking Blizzard for a walk, calling a few friends and my sis. But I'm beyond distraction so I thought I'd write it all out, but after dragging the voice-mail into the digital age, I'm drunk with listening to snippets of your heavenly voice over and over as I put your words to paper, or I guess to pixel, wondering what it sounds like now, your voice like an entire symphony, with each instrument singing the sound of that voice, how much it may have changed, but still stayed the same, and thank goodness for lots of patch cords, but only vowing to myself I won't listen to it more than once a year, and I know exactly the perfect date, the evening and morning between August 31st and September 1st, when we had that very last phone call, and you left me the message the morning of the 1st. I'm going to listen to your voice Jessica, I promise no matter how old I get, now every year on the night between those days for the rest of my life, but no more than that. And I get it all much more than you'll literally ever know anymore, you're too far away from me in time and in tide, and always in distance. And I already all of a sudden wish it were the early morning of September 1st so I could hear your voice again, I'm aching to hear you again, travelling back to the past, backward fast down the bumpy road of lie, somehow back to you. And I've got a secret, shhhhhhh... most every love poem has always been written for you.
p.s. I still check you pinterest board once in a while, and I try to decipher whether you're as happy as you could possibly be, through a new recipe, or song, or football mom sticker, as if that were possible. And I still remember the promise you made many times that someday, before either of us die, that there will be a time for us again, when we will meet face to face one day. And I scoffed at that every time as romantic procrastination, but I know how sincere you always were, I think you believed in it as much as you believed in anything.
p.p.s. (because you love p.p.s.'s) I know how it's crazy to think you might still believe that after all these years, but I still like to think about it on days like today, rare days, made all the more precious by their rarity, and I read "When You Are Old" by Yeats, and listen to "Passing Afternoon" by Sam Beam, and I just wonder about what it would be like, if someday you came here to me, that we built a new life together, what would it look like, but all I know is I wouldn't care because we'd be together, and you know I know all your secrets and things that you think are so repellent, behaviors caused by the wounds you have suffered, but not to me, not at all, and never were, I accepted you always exactly as you were, and probably are, and I wonder if you really, really ever got that part, that I even loved the side of you constantly on fire, that with you I'm fire-proof, and then I don't wonder anymore, because I know if you were with me I couldn't be happier no matter what it looked like, and, yeah, I wonder... sometimes when you ever cross my mind hard like today I wonder.
p.p.p.s. (I'm guessing you'd like p.p.p.s.'s, too) And afterwards, a strange and unexpected peace settles, and my mind begins to blank out in mid-evening, not bliss out, but just a profound silence within me, and I turn off my ringer, the TV, don't pick up a guitar, or a book, nor anything at all, and I'd/I'm/I'll sit on the back porch smoking (now vaping), listening as carefully to those universal sounds of a big neighbourhood, and all the hundreds of stories echoing out and then fading away into the night, probably more like ours than we'd think, because first love is first love no matter how it occurs, and it plays on repeat echoing in my heart, "I love you, and I'll miss you, Jason. I really will. *click", and my mind stay blanks, it's all in the heart, and I look at the slowly darkening night sky (we get so much sun this time of year way up here), and I sit and wonder, and I wonder, yeah, sometimes I just gaze out into the night sky and the stars until my eyes just almost accidentally fall on one, I pick just one with my heart's eyes hoping that, a crazy hope, I look toward the southern hemisphere and to the east, and I wonder what the chances are that one out of the endless amount of times I do that, I wonder if you'd ever be looking at the same one, at the same time, or when I see a clear moon in a daytime sky, just like yesterday, because I know you love seeing those, too, and wonder if our eyes are falling on the closest think that, well, I wonder, maybe the closest, furthest away thing we'll ever have left of each other, I of you, and you of me, and, you, looking at the moon during the day, and that night with both of us walking in the blackness in bare feet on soft green grasses on a real blue moon, and promising whenever there is a blue moon, more than one in and month like we did that night, we promised we always would (I always have, if just for a minute), yeah, sometimes I just wonder if you still do it like I still do, and sometimes? Sometimes I just wonder...
"So please don’t ask why I cannot look you in the eye
When I plead that I love you."*
- cc, "liar liar"
for jessica ann
her last poem, which i kept
(yes, i cheated)
I sit here
Having things to say
But no words to say them
And hoping somehow
They'll find their way
To your eyes.
I go through
My easy (enough) life,
And running, cooking,
Homework, bath time...
Every day tasks
That keep me moving
At a steady speed.
Until I'm not.
And night comes
And I lie in my bed,
(no, that's wrong...).
A world separate
From where I lie,
With snow covered fields
And a black sky
Filled with brilliant stars.
What would that world
Though, I know,
I could not
Be happier than I am.
Your precious words,
Find a place
I hold them tightly,
Quietly mulling over them
In a moment's silence.
And I could not,
our last song, my cover for her of "No Other Way"
When You Are Old
BY WILLIAM BUTLER YEATS
When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."