I can feel the sun’s warmth etched into my flesh
There was a moment today when I thought it was you standing by my side.
I was in a crowd, brushing against many and pretending I was alone.
I caught the side of her face and it looked so much like you.
This is how it would feel to be touching you again, neither of us aware, no meaning or intention.
But it doesn’t help to think of these things.
Instead I will say I felt whole without you.
I wonder if I’ve already felt all the happiness that I was allotted for my life.
Could I find a place here?
It’s been so dark
I turned off the lights,
Pretended no one was home.
Your skin is more alive than mine
It pulses with irregular ecstasy
Our mortality beautiful as the moon retires
Its cycle one of time, ours of the body
Both bittersweet and inevitable.
But the sun is cruel, relentless
Our bodies recoil with the light
No shadows left to hide the creases around your mouth
The years you’ve lived ahead of mine.
Last night we walked through our old suburb together
You stopped outside your old house and peeked through the hedges,
Stared silently into the nostalgia where someone else lives now.
It’s the second time we’ve done this in less than a week.
We went to the park and lay on the cold basketball court looking at the distant stars.
It felt like being nineteen again,
When we could drift away together without fighting or crying:
A sameness in our strangeness.
I was wearing her underwear with the pink flamingos on it.
She would smile if she knew.
I’ve been thinking of the small patch at your temple
Just in front of your ear, with the fine white hairs exposed.
If words are all I have left, they’ve drifted into clichés that don’t equate to what I feel
So I’ll try again.
I’ve been thinking of your expression as you looked into the fire,
Your helplessness guarded by the collar of that shirt.
And I’ve been thinking of the way you grasped at me, snatching under my clothes
When I left the first time.
And how I walked away without word or caress
The second time.
How I willed this intimacy to drift into abstraction.
So I’ve been thinking of an anchor to stop me floating away
Weighing food, myself, empty hours,
Muscular repetitions keeping cycles.
Yet I can’t stop listening to your favourite songs when I have time to wander.
I don’t know if I’ve earned them, but they feel like mine too.
Part of me has floated away into your world -
Though I’m trying to stay safe in mine.
So I touch without feeling
And I leave without caring.
I’m losing that softness I held for so long,
The softness I abhorred for so many years,
A softness I’m killing with self-loathing.
And I think of these words sung so sweetly by a ghost:
“It’s so easy to laugh, it’s so easy to hate,
It takes strength to be gentle and kind”
A bullet into whatever I have left inside that’s still tender, not yet monstrous,
And I know I’m not dead without you yet.
I can’t **** my pain without killing my joy,
I’m alive, calloused and bruised
The buttons of this shirt fit together so well
One grows into the other, they draw together an expanse of space
There is a crease where the sharp lapel should be
Masked by sequins of metallic hues.
Somehow this canvas feels inept, disjointed.
When we drove beside the water, I saw a row of lights across the harbour -
Symmetrical, perfect, unlike the breaks in the sea.
The car bent into darkness again and the glow faded.
But I can still see the lights through these dull nights
The water a rising swell of rough paint.
I know you don’t love me. I know that now.
I feel like that water, unsettled by a stirring wind.
Tonight people are drunk and rambling happy
I smile and close the door.
Listen to the muffled, good-natured shuffling of their footsteps
through the wall.
It’s hard to conjure sparks when things are grey
I drift to sleep encased in cold sheets.
We spent a lot of our time in bars back then
I think you were trying to find home,
Stuck in a hole at the end of the world.
I didn’t even like drinking, but I definitely liked you.
I’d wake up feeling aggressively alive in the morning
Go to work, yell at my class,
Go to school, doodle on my page,
And then come back to you.
My supervisors probably hated me.
One of them said:
“It’s like you’re just here, existing, without really wanting anything.”
They were right, I stopped caring.
I used to study writing because I thought I could make love come out of the pages and into me.
Once we lay in the sun together at the park, in the daylight.
I stroked your hair on the grass,
And thought about the lines around your eyes -
How strange they looked next to the slight blush in your cheeks.
I took a picture of you that day
It’s only got half of your face in it,
But I like the way you’re smiling a little bit, and trying to hide it.
It’s the only one I have.
The water licked his temples,
Whispering calming threats of its depth
He smiled, half-murmured a song to the air,
Balancing his limbs gently to stay afloat.
The pulse of the lake lulled him,
Its heavy beat just like his own.
Light and warmth spread to the bones of his chest
He was luminous, a pale angel easy with the world.
Something so beautiful was also so bound
To disappear from the shallow world of metallic hums
And jarring whirrs
That clash with water's gentle music.
And so he faded.
Arms spread-eagled to the endless body surrounding,
Listening to the surging kiss
Of the only force strong enough to carry him.