Lost in Space, Out of Time

You are no longer the stars
whose bullets of light
ricochet off the surfaces of my oceans

you are no longer the moon
whose dark scars grant sanctuary to my desires

we’ve fallen into fissures and gunshots
the once favored muse no longer
bleeding gold from her wounds

I used to be bound to you
like the impossible is married to the horizon
like the pleasure of our pain
unfetters our souls at the crossover
you used to be the second verse of my song

but no longer

we witnessed a supernova
it was both a death and a spectacle
whose forgetting would cripple us
but whose remembering is
akin to highly addictive torture
to being madly alive but incomplete
we were each other’s Catch 22
and our love was Purgatory
you could not keep me
I could not leave you

but oh, how we
would traverse entire universes
in the eight sacred blocks
between our two prisons
mine of my honor
and yours of your ambition
four to the west and
four to the south
not necessarily in that order

how there were multiple
permutations of our destinies,
and this is the version
where the odds overwhelm us,
where timing is not on our side,
where we do not have the fortitude
to follow our instincts home.

What the End Sometimes Looks like

a confronted permanence

a deceptive view of the city
through a car window,
with very few clues
to warn you the cold is fatal

from here it looks like
I’m fully equipped to face it

being in it is a different story

I haven’t been sleeping well
I still wake up at 2:00 a.m.
I used to send you reminders
to put your seatbelt on
when you leave home for work
now I only shift around on the bed
playing slow-motion tag with
the moonlight through the blinds
wondering how you’re faring in this cold

I’m sure you’re fine
you’ve always been fine without me
I used to worry a lot about you
I still do
but you won’t hear me say it

I lull myself back into dreaming
I use my favorite lies
that I’ll see you in the morning
that I’ll see you in the weekend
that I’ll see you next summer
that I’ll see you forever

there’s a fine line between
dedication to manifesting a desire
and commonplace, cowardly escapism

but right now I’m just frozen
afraid to even fall apart
I’m at the place where everything
I ever wanted before I met you
is finally mine
just a season late
just missing one set of heartbeats
but it would do if I could be quiet about it
I use my least favorite lie
that I won the lottery long ago
and this is what basking in
my winnings looks like
this is the safest place, the safest route
I am paralyzed by fear of feeling
but if I don’t move I can mimic
the deception outside the window
and be cold and fatal myself
without needing any help

there’s a fine line between
settling and the pains associated
with the last stages of healing

Leaving Eden

And I guess there’s nothing left for me to do
but go back to the life you had disrupted
and just remember you
as a vision of the unattainable

I have to face the fact
that there’s no replacing you
there’s no substitute to that feeling
of a love that surrounds me like
a powerful revelation
and all the tenuous dogma that had been
propping up my autopilot mornings
and somnambulist afternoons
buckling under the weight of all that truth
every time you lay me down and give me
a new set of reasons for breathing
every time your elliptic gallaxy enters
my transcendent flesh
as if by sheer will you could deny me
of the mediocrity of death

there is no finding that again
not twice in a lifetime, so maybe
so maybe I can fashion an artificial grace
in the arms of the aftermath,
in the reality of brick and hardwood
and dark granite that’s been there
before and after
to read some meaning
from these hard surfaces

forget flight
forget the sky
let go of the eighty-two shades of green
the fruits we’ve only tasted once
and never been the same
and now have to do without

if I had used up all my chances
to rustle the layers of that craving
all my instincts and spiritual wars
folded among the various
names of your softness
the amaretto of your kisses
and the prophecies inside
your drunk-on-passion whispers
portals into iterations of the unknown
where you and I emerge as victors

they are closed to me now
and to you as well but for the noise
of this world preoccupied with finding
grace in its own destruction
you wouldn’t realize how much
we actually lost

Of Lost Satellites and Phones that Don’t Ring Anymore

I saved your number on my phone on the first day. I’ve been careful not to memorize it, because I’m bad at forgetting, and I might need to forget one day. I have your number on my memory card, backed up by Samsung on the cloud, but that piece of paper you’d written it on, that you’d gotten out of the car, shirtless, to hand to me, on the bridge that day we met, I kept that too. I placed it between the last two pages of my copy of Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami, because you’re one-fourth Japanese and he’s my favorite Japanese writer, and I’ve read all his books but Sputnik Sweetheart had a happy ending I wasn’t expecting, coming after a dozen pages of towering despair. I remember my eyes clawing fearfully through the final pages, constantly checking how many of them remained unread, watching my hopes slip away with every completed paragraph, slowly resigning myself to a heartbreak with no closure, ready to curse Murakami for his literary cruelty towards a lover who just wanted to love. And that’s why the twist ending was so unforgettable to me, but then again I’ve always been bad at forgetting. Other diehard fans might argue 1Q84 had a far more satisfying ending, but Sputnik was the ending I didn’t believe I deserved and got anyway. Because I made the choice to root for a love that had very few things going for it, except that it was patient and true. And when the ending of A Wild Sheep Chase splintered my soul into a burned-up discordant sky, I cursed Murakami as usual but somehow considered it my just payment for that miraculous Sputnik reversal, and felt the author was justified for hurting me like that. Even in a Murakami universe, especially in a Murakami universe, you can’t have it all. My heart got its happy ending. The rest of my life can go to shit.

I picked that book to stash your phone number, though, long before you disappeared from my life without a single word. So maybe my subconscious was telling me something. I did end up having to forget your number. Your face. Your loving and your habits. The pattern of your calls and the shadow shapes of lost satellites in your voice. Just like K, about his love for Sumire. Except (SPOILER ALERT!) Sumire came back, in the very end. I remember feeling the weight of a thousand lonely nights lifting from me, I didn’t care where she had gone and what lead her back to that phone booth. That’s the page where I placed your number. Maybe my subconscious was telling me something.

The Last Negotiation

I have to do it,
I have to believe you’re feeling
even a small measure of
the pain that I’m feeling
I mean
if it’s over it’s over
but I have to
write about losing you
as if you lost something too
that you’re privy to the fear
of facing the world knowing
the days are overrun with
cold strangers and the nights
are a hollow drum,
that these echoes of the songs
we’ve ever made love to
aren’t passing you by
without digging their nails
into your arm like I used to do
and they don’t linger only for me

this is me chipping at my pain
that is otherwise staggeringly
large and rock-like,
and if there is no love left
in you for me, now
if the mention of my name no longer
quickens your heart, now
just let me believe the last
two months had not been a lie,
that there was a time you
would think of me and feel
blessed that you found me,
that there was a time that
you’d hold me and be overcome
by the need to protect me

and I’ll take that:
a love that was real, once
and ended because two people
had failed to love well,
I’ll take that
and hope that you miss me sometimes
and hope that you remember sometimes
how good we had it
I have to

When Two Artists Love

I love you
and I may have lost you for good
and I’m so scared, so scared
so scared, repeat to fade,
fade to black
a sudden tidal wave
of doubt overcomes me
of whether I could face the world
and this at the time when
I thought I had my life
figured out
I know what I want
and have relentlessly pursued it

you are what I want the most
the best I ever had
five senses on synesthesia
and electricity crossed with fever
in the blood type of desire
and you’d probably laugh
if you ever found this
you’re probably over it by now
you’re probably fucking a
brand new chick by now
exploding new abstracts
in someone else’s mind by now
you have a level of chill
that is unheard of to me
as if nothing fazes you
savant-like focus on your goals
I’d had to constantly remind you
the rest of the world exists
you gotta eat some time
look at me sometimes

but in the haze in the periphery
of your triple-decimal-
precision life’s trajectory,
you had loved me
for one spell, one exhale
of the giving muse
stretched out naked on your bed
divine inspiration yours for the taking
me of all people
I have ten years’ worth of grind-
ing for my dreams and I
have learned to live in the pace
of destiny’s slow simmer
free fall in slow motion
blue hour in full spectrum
osmosis of a metaphor in the brain

and see I really thought we were perfect
with me pulling you back to earth
while you provide me
with a beautiful distraction
mid-air spiritual collision
and I was starting to hear
my soul in your songs
and it thrilled me, the thought
of you finding your DNA in my films
and your voice in my poems

too soon, too soon we fell apart, lover
now all the stars are in chaos
the tarot has murdered the zodiac
I am rhyming directionless
and all light is just light

Ink and Blood on Solstice

And I guess the truth is
somewhere in the middle,
that maybe you did love me a little
enough to find fabrications
of the probable future
that were true to size
and wear them
like emotional appropriation
I had told my friends
your heart
was identical to my heart
as if that meant something
more than a novel coincidence
we fell simultaneously

And I guess what we had
is at the intersection
of the never-said
and the much-repeated,
and when you casually name-dropped
those promises like a laundry list
of The Right Things to Say
at the Right Time and Place,
there was a stray strand
of your spirit that meant it,
or wanted to mean it
at the time
and enjoyed how it
made of my resolve
putty in your fingers
took pride in the ease
you got my walls to come down

when love is this strong
and omnipresent
and invasive
the pain at the end
is equally omnipresent
and invasive
and one tends to see things
in black and white
but not all sharp things
were created to hurt
I bleed for the rushed days,
urgent whispers of gray
margin of sun and shadow
where I am sure we truly existed
for a season

and when it’s all said and done
you are neither the tattooed
archangel, bringer of light
nor the heartless monster
I curse through my tears
but in between: just a man
with a heart that is imperfect,
a path that is his,
and a mind that can change
with no apologies,
who has decided
that a once good thing
has ceased being good
enough to keep,
who only has himself to be true to
and everything else must somehow
find a different means to bloom.