Some Colors only Reappear when Appealed to

I was just thinking about you,
about luminescent madness

back when there were so many words
and so little time
(this was before time became
a bruise-colored ocean, before
confessions had statutes of limitations)
and stories were walls we scaled,
barefoot, on shared nights.
The old sky would profess jealousy
for the new sky and steal
the surging honesty from our lips.
The distance between us was never
greater than what last sacrosanct
self-promise was left for us to break.
We exulted in being
two archetypes on fire,
we courted the end like
a fierce embrace in Argentine tango
we’d color too far outside the lines
the empty spaces became our empire
where the sun never set,
our breadfruit tree,
our king size bed.

I was just thinking about you.
How the arrival of your ship
on these shores was always
synchronized to my seasonal
need for an intrepid rescue.
How you refused to take advantage
of that, but I never left you alone
and went a little too far
to prove I’m not the victim type
and please feel free
to treat me recklessly.

Life was too sweet to be wasted.

Loving you then was a letter
I was writing to mornings
when the old sky no longer
covets what the new sky has,
these days when honesty
is a white veil
that has survived
several wash cycles.
Billowing around me,
anchored to shore
and so familiar
the games of possession
we loved to play wouldn’t
recognize it at all.

Regrettable

In the history
of my heart
you are the only man
who can call me
at 7:42 p.m.
while I’m making my way
to the bus stop
in the middle of the rain
after a long, hard day
and can be sure
I will pick up
and stop at that very spot
on the sidewalk
and talk to you
standing under my umbrella
on four-inch-high Charles & Keith pumps
for as many hours as
you feel like talking

the immediate day,
the rock-salt-infused reality
falling away
the sweetness of your
virtual company
diffusing in osmosis
around my soul

and nothing else matters
the hours of the waning day
shifting like a continent of moments
while I talk to you
oblivious of the elements
of lateness and discomfort

only you
have that effect on me
but you failed
to appreciate it

how regrettable
for the both of us:
I wasted my time
and you wasted your chance

Not Like This

I wish it hadn’t ended this way.
There’s just too much confusion,
too many loose ends,
too little understanding
and
one phone conversation
or one house call
or one medium-length letter
could have cured it.

But I was just
too much in a hurry
to get rid of the pain,
to purge myself
of the anger that
I did not comprehend,
to turn my back
on the discomfort
charging at me like
a bullet train,
so eager to forget
as if,
if I had stayed
one day longer
my rock-brittle ego
would collapse
from under my feet
and my insecurities
would swallow me whole

so I took
the easy way out
or so I thought
until

I realized
that by forgoing the day
I thought I was saving
by pulling that plug
so unceremoniously
I was losing weeks of sleep
and possibly a lifetime
of looking back
wondering
what might have been.
God forbid.
.

Masquerade

I know what he likes
he likes a hard woman
(half of me)
and not a soft girl
(the other half)
and I commenced showing him
that he could be rough with me
and I could strut
in those patent-leather pumps
and memorize grid maps
of beauty so complicated
you have to look for it to find it
and prove I won’t get lost in the streets
(never mind getting lost in spirit)
make eye-to-eye contact
with fast lanes and speeding cars
and courtrooms pretending
the thick eyeliner and mascara
the color of midnight
don’t obscure my eyes
I’m standing here
in the polished metal
lobby of his life
smoking a cigarette
between my Revlon painted lips

soon I will
realize the truth about myself
the fragile flame
that unclasps her soul
and strips her fears
down to the last button
and dances in the rain
precarious like
always teetering on the edge of things
the periwinkle at twilight
that lasts only eleven minutes
before rushing into
the cerulean arms of evening
can masquerade all I want
that I am only half of who I am
without really having
the man that I need:
I need a man who can dream
and be gentle with me
and kiss me slowly enough
to read between the lines
of my heartbeat

but I’ll play the role till the end
scribble a message on stationery
leave it at the front desk
like I suddenly just
have somewhere important to be
push the revolving door
out into the rush hour
obliterated by smog and graffiti
and fight unscrupulously for a cab
and drive away in style
he’ll think everything’s all right with us
until he realizes
I’ll never pick up my phone again
when he calls
.


.
Image of Adriana Lima (Photographer Unknown)

Tug-of-War

because I will always love you
and you can never love me

because I refuse to be
one of many
no matter how well
you’d treat me

because she and I spoke together
like it’s the most natural thing
but it’s the most surreal thing
and she sounded happy
but God, I’ve been there, baby
and it was anything but
I want to slap her a few times
or embrace her
but I’m jealous of her
so I just sat there politely
listening to her exultant tales
of how well she knows you
the way I used to know you

and I truly hope she’s happy

because I can’t be happy
with what she has
which you had offered to me

because I know I deserve better
because in case you haven’t noticed
I’m all that

but

I miss you terribly
but I won’t I won’t I won’t
I swear
do it again
because I’m better off

and I truly hope you’re happy

.

silhouette2

Because I’m Older Now

Now that I’m older
I grant myself permission to remember
that day when I’ve known you only six days
and told you I loved you
and you only told me,
how young I was
as if that explained everything I felt
as if I didn’t really know what I was saying

you also said,
“What kind of woman
falls in love that fast…”

and I had wanted to kick myself
and dreamed of all the things I could be
and all the things I’d be able to not say
and all the things I’d be able to not feel
when I got older

Because I’m older now
I’ll tell you this:
that when a girl tells you she loves you
the least you could do
is acknowledge how brave she was
to say those words
and not talk as if
honesty were the worst mistake
ever committed in history

I’m old enough now to realize
you didn’t even realize
how lucky you were
because I was going to be young
only that once
and I chose to be young with you

Because I’m older now
I’ve learned how
all the fears can accumulate
and compound with time
until you just wake up one morning
and honesty equals courage
and courage is a stranger
and you deprive yourself
of the only thing that comes for free

you only get one jump
without a parachute
if at all

you could have been gentler
but I’m too old now
to hold it against you

.

I Hate You

Now look what you’ve done.
You’ve struck again
as usual
in that perfect
excruciatingly sexy
way of yours
that always
gets me in the heart
no matter how bad your aim.

You’ve cut me deeply
and I’m bleeding poems.
I’m drowning in them now.

I hate you with all my heart.

.

Invitation

Step into my reality
and finish what you started.
I’m only broken halfway
and there’s still room
for more space-bending
ecstasy.

You never had
more than
one night
for me
I’ll take that.
One night will do.

Pull my days
and all my moons
into your blazing sun
you already own my dreams anyway
put me back on the path
of my own perdition
so you can
once again
be my salvation
unchanging catalyst
of my unbroken evolution

we can do that
in the span of
one conversation

break me all the way
if that’s what it means
for me to be flesh and blood
to you again
instead of a mere name
you remember, if fondly
and the vaguely sweet aftertaste
of a four-course mis-love story

.

I’d Rather Have You

I’d rather have you
than this pen and paper.
I’d rather have you
next to me
in this bed
looking at me with those eyes
touching me with those hands
claiming me.
I’d rather have the silence
from kissing you
than these words I write.
I’d rather feel
you were real
all over again
than potent,
nor validated,
just because
I could put my feelings
into words.
I’d rather hear your voice
on my ear
than these senseless songs on the radio
than these scraping noises in my soul.
.

alonebed

For One Moment

He and I
were looking
at the same thing,
the same words
the same pictures
on the screen
when he and I
had been so lost
to each other
for lifetimes
as lost as fallen leaves
as lost as snowflakes
as lost as time capsules
buried in sand
as unimportant
as un-urgent
as forgotten

For one moment
he and I
were looking at
the same phrases and sentences
the same flashing images
on the screen

and it begs the question
of whether we were
seeing the same thing

.