Every morning I went
to the coffee shop across the street
from my house,
because I didn’t work.
For every resume I typed out,
I wrote a poem,
in order to keep me from
sending you a text marked with a white flag.
A skull was concealed in the flag,
as a watermark. The sun made
love to a cluster of clouds,
while I rolled a cigarette using strands of your brown hair.
I opened my wallet
and took out a photograph
of me and you from the booth
that one night when you made a fire out of caskets.
Your face had been glowing with warmth,
as if you had drained all the light out of the sun,
and had taken a shower in its yellow glow.
Your eyes were bright with a hopeful future.
Then you grew your hair longer,
and pulled it over your eyes,
like twin pirate eye-patches.
But you’d said you weren’t blind, just indifferent.
Today I wrote another poem on a countertop,
in the coffee shop,
and bandaged the wounds you gave me
when you told me you never cared about me.
One of the baristas wearing a brown apron
and a blue baseball cap, gave me poems
from James Tate. And as I read
“The Lost Pilot” it started to drizzle from the ceiling.
I wasn’t sure if it was rain pouring on my head,
and on my poems, or if it were melted ice-cream,
rich and thick in its texture,
Our first date we stole vanilla ice-cream from a Giant.
You stuffed it in your golden purse,
and ran through the doors, as a fat security guard
chased after you. Then, you hopped
into my blue Volkswagen and we sped off.
I was perfectly fine with being the getaway driver,
you dipped a bent spoon
into the plastic container and scooped out
the ice-cream. You ate it hungrily.
And after I took a bite,
we went to the park and swung on the swings,
coasting up and down in the air,
vanilla stained on the front of our black shirts.
Back at the coffee shop, I played the keyboard
in the bathroom because I was shy,
shy of you finding out,
because you love piano melodies.
And I guessed I wanted to play
for myself for a change. I played
“My Cherri Amour,” and drank gin
from a flask, until every key looked like a playing card.
After I played the song,
I left the coffee shop
,went home, and painted our last conversation,
using words from a newspaper.
“You were never right for me.”
“You’re not mature enough for a relationship.”
“I never want to see your face at Peets.”
Peets was the coffee shop we would always go to,
every morning, rain or shine,
rested or exhausted, and
I remember you would read my poems.
You read my poems as if they were
Daphne Loves Derby song-lyrics. Last night
you texted me that my poems
sounded like rushed and convoluted emails.
After that I blocked you on everything,
from social media to your number.
I hoped we would grow weak with joy,
and grey with age.
Words, whether from your lips,
or a text shattered the trust
I gave you, as if it were
my social security code.
In front of the bathroom mirror,
I took a pink eraser and rubbed it
against my foreheard,
to remove the wrinkles.
Each wrinkle represented a time
when you had failed me, or
when I had failed you. Our failures
were weights that I had balanced in my memory.
Kaufman would be pleased
of my progress. I wrote a sculpture
with glass and tears
at my desk, alone in my clean, well-lighted room.
And then I took the sculpture,
and buried it
in my backyard, right next to the grave
of my old and weak self.
I smoked a cigarette using
sad memories as rolling papers.
As the paper burned slowly, I
let the smoke fill my heart.
Because my lungs were tired,
tired from breathing, tired from
living for you. Because you
are not the only thing that matters anymore.