I ran away from my problems and they came with
Like psychological stowaways nesting in my cerebral folds
Coming up for air during a presentation
On a harrowing drive late at night
In that stage between waking and sleeping
I ran away from my problems and they followed me
I didn’t know
They moved in across the street
They come over when I’m with a man
When I’m alone
When everything’s going fine
When everything’s gone to shit
There they are waving in the background
I’ll never be okay
I’ll always be the same
You can’t feel about me the way that I feel about him
It can’t be so easy to just turn me off
Like you aren’t dying when you see I’ve called
Like you have no desire to answer
There is no way you don’t think about me when you’re driving, when you’re working, when you’re bored
When you’re eating alone again like every meal of every day
When you’re sleeping and I’m haunting your dreams
When it’s the end of the night the end of the bottle and there’s some useless slob passed out in your bed
There’s no way you don’t wish that was me.
Uppers to stay awake, depressants to sleep. Work, breathe, repeat
Some choose to smoke instead of breathe
Some choose not to breathe at all nor repeat
Some choose to be rich instead of work. Is that how this works?
This cursed existence where we follow the same turbulent funnel of emotions, the same winding trails to the same destinations. And then do it again. As if no lessons were learned or observed or forcibly absorbed.
“Why did I do this to myself again?”
“And why did I the time before?”
And why can’t I stay awake in the morning or fall asleep at night?
When did I make this turn into the eternal roundabout passing through the same cycles of emotions?
Which turn was wrong?
I’ve been turning, turning, turning
With different partners from different parties hand in florid hand on the same trek to the same inevitable disastrous familiar culmination
Hot tears, sore eyes, broken hearts, cut throats
How damned man is to be gifted with such a brilliant mind and not a thing to do with it
You’ve stopped haunting my dreams
Now you’re with me all the time. A loaded memory of adventure and better times. When my heart was free and I worked hourly not salaried. Now I’m a white collar slave shackled to a desk and I wonder if you’re still fun. If your life still follows a criss cross path doing what you want when you want.
Happiness is freedom of choice.
Happiness is being exactly where you need to be.
Do you think of me rambling man on your unmapped journey? Do I cross your mind as you lay your head on pillows across the country? You never needed a woman to make you happy I don’t see why you’d think of me. While I have your attention do you remember kissing me on the forehead, putting your hand on my lower back? Do you remember being so overwhelmed with devotion in a pile of blankets on the floor, fuckign for the first time like it was the first time just you and me and cold tile and a thin mattress shedding clothes and sweating buckets before an audience of feverish ghosts?
I worry about ending up alone
In an empty white house with a freezer full of meals for one and a fridge full of beer. And a phone that doesn’t ring because my children resent me, or because I’ve had no children and my womanhood meant nothing because I never reproduced. I end up a barren, wrinkled shell, wondering if the next cigarette will give me cancer or if I’ve already got cancer and my throat’s dissolving and my lungs are collapsing in an empty white house and the beer’s expired and my skin’s gone gray and collects in folds at my waistline and my ankles and the phone never rings like a taunting piece of furniture and I close my sticky eyes and sip flat beer. Alone. The dog’s died and the neighbors don’t care and there’s no more work to be done.
And I wonder if ending up with you
Would be worse than that.
Summer madness has set in. It’s so hot and it rains once a day and people are swearing and the air conditioning is breaking down and it’s so damn hot and we drink cold beer from clock out to clock in like aloe vera to the burn of the summer madness.
My father is not talking to me. My roommates and I don’t speak. Every last person I’ve called I’ve also hung up on. My phone’s mostly turned off. The ones who I want to stop calling won’t and those who I want to call don’t and I’m suspended in this transitional phase lasting almost at long as the phase from which I’m transitioning
I’m a burnt phoenix whose ashes never regrouped and presented themselves as a new bird just the remains of the same old sport. No one wants to play with weathered equipment and outdated rule books.
No one argues about my rules.
And rules whether I’ve been moral or immoral, whether I’ve properly balanced my karmic guilt, whether my actions or holy or unholy, whether I juggle you and you and all of us and we somehow keep moving like the chaos directs our orbit.
“She left me,” my father said to his mother and his brother and to his sister.
I saw her the morning before she took their son to her sister’s house. They had not yet returned when my father and I got back. My father poured himself a cognac over ice; I mixed some vodka and soda. We drank in liquid peace until she came home, without the baby, bangs matted over her face, spilling out of her plunging dress.
And he helped her walk to the bedroom and they didn’t come out all night.
The next morning he comes out and I ask
“Why are you telling everyone she left?”
“Because it’s easier,” he replies, “because people don’t ask anymore questions after that.”
He sets his pistol on the counter next to the potato chips.
“I just want her to come with us this afternoon, so we can take her car,” he says, “it has air conditioning.”
How complicated love can be.
Boys and girls with broken hearts and dachy throats
And leaky ducts and hot heads
Are torn apart my monogamous love
Like two puzzle pieces forced together
Unconnected from the rest of the picture
Boys like girls like their mothers
Small, fragile, future incubators
Manifesting cardinal desire to procreate
But once destroyed they cannot recreate
Boys use girls for their soft skin and painted nails
And warm little bodies like mobile teddy bears
Silky dresses like flowing curtains
The ones a thieving child hides behind
With something he cannot have in his pocket
Boys hate girls for their wandering eyes
And vindictive nature and open legs
“They are whores in whores’ clothing
Whores who had never been young
And had no word for innocence.”
But every cracked shell was once an egg
Pristine, unscathed, the whitest white
A slate waiting to be pockmarked
Scuffed and chipped
Until the soul oozes out
And fried in the summer heat
Now what, now where, now who?
Clearly you’ve made the impression to you, me, and everyone we know that you don’t give a fuck.
You’re a stone-hearted machine that shits emotions when he’s done with them and moves on mechanically, methodically, just another day. With blase apathy you repeat and repeat the same mundane cycle of minimum wage labor traded immediately for poor investments like an evening of intoxication or a sorry excuse for a drug deal that earns you discounted pills as profit.
That’s profit? THat’s profit sliding down that shard of tinfoil you scrounged form the trash, through my broken pen you inhale ghostly white smoke and the room reeks of toasted marshmallows, that’s not your mother’s s’mores.
That’s supposed to be your man stripped down to boxers you bought as pajama shorts, leaving ash stains on the furniture, eyes fluttering in slow motion, lips pursed like a child’s.
Like he wants to kiss you, but can’t coordinate the muscle movement for sign of such affection. So you interpret his pouty lips as a romantic yearning, and you convince yourself you’re desired and that’s enough to satisfy the emotional void, that’s enough to fall asleep tonight.
I have a carry-on that won’t fit in the overhead bin
Purses, cases, pillows spew out
As I tetris my bag into place
But it will not stay
There is no space under the gray, reclined seat
No room in the bulging overweight suitcase
That will rotate on the monstrous conveyour belt
As the crew haphazardly tosses our most intimate things
Shelled by leather and polyester
Inside these shells, a tumultuous minglings of gift store souveniers, lighters you can’t get past security, official tailored suits, soiled sets of lingerie
I carry on
Plunging cocktail dresses to earn me a drink
Collapsible skeletons buring to reconstruct
Int the next closet they hang
I carry on
The guilt of your warm wishes and farewells, the crowded schedule about to lose its balance when the wrong encounters overlap
I carry on
Scraps worthy of books but too damaging to disclose too confidential to expose
And the remnants of our broken hearts.