I wait for tears to come gently like soft spring rain tears that will fall like diamonds from the sky wise little pearls harvested at great expense she doesn't want me anymore.
well she's gone alright two weeks gone + now initial euphoria of it's about time + thank god that's over slowly gives way to really alone again + what now + why. it's not a vacation she's not coming back I know it but don't understand it mourning is still just a concept to me so I pitch + toss instead of sleeping catch a cold instead of weeping. alone in the house we used to live in our room empty her room empty my room exactly as it was a time warp where she's still outside my door. hyperactive spirit cats haunt the echo hallway biting my hands + fingers in the night clawing at love's closed door sleep is impossible at best + goddammit I wanna know why was it so easy for her to give up on me.
wild animal lies injured in the street saturday night cars zoom past uncaring barely missing breath comes in halting irregular painful spasms struggle to live. man stops pokes the animal with a hammer handle + says it's dead it just don't know it yet he's right I can't save it the best I can do tonight is watch it die. sadness comes like a wave of bricks like a meteor shower like a razor blade blizzard. sadness comes like a rib cage drill press like a sledgehammer shotgun like a breastbone ripsaw. work isn't the answer food isn't the answer sex isn't the answer money isn't the answer she isn't the answer. even the answer isn't the answer on a night like this what was the question anyway? she doesn't appreciate me I don't appreciate her I'm not enough she's not enough we're not enough can't anybody tell me how to get one of these things to work? we were wild once but now the ruts are too deep we went to sleep together + woke up in separate beds in separate rooms in separate lives how could I let this happen to me again? if I leave now I'm a quitter If I don't leave I'm a coward if I leave now I'm a coward if I don't leave I'm a liar. I really need some sleep. I thought we could leapfrog over our loneliness + sorrow I tried to cut corners + now here I am backed into one again. all those conflicts we avoided all those scary arguments we never had all those times my soul said wait + my heart said now please now. these are the things that pin me down + sit on my chest like a playground bully squeezing + stifling my affection for her until breath comes in halting irregular painful spasms. it's dead it just don't know it yet he's right I can't save this one either the best I can do tonight is watch it die.
I want to hold her close feel her legs around me I want to give her everything I've got exhaust myself into her sink into her skin and sleep on her like a lazy shepherd napping with his flock on a hillside in the sweet summer sun.
she lies with me in a dream I wrap myself around her breaking the shell I cast 'round my heart breaking the spell that put it to sleep the night she left me for him the night she left me for dead.
This one was written in the fall of 1990 just before Iron Man Family Outing was published. It was one of the last few poems I completed before the long poetry drought that began in 1991 and finally ended in August 2008. This poem, along with many others, was tucked away and forgotten, then rediscovered in October 2010 during my exploration of a box in the closet that became the Iron Man Family Outtakes project.
Once again, as in the case of my last poem featured in The Austin Chronicle, I find it amazing that I’m seeing something I wrote 22 years ago in print for the first time. It provides an interesting glimpse into who I was at that time, and in all honesty, makes me a bit sad because I can see the almost heroic optimism I still had about romance and relationships at that point in my life.
I don’t have that brave (maybe foolish) confidence in love anymore. Haven’t had it for a long, long time. After all the rejections, infidelities, and failed relationships, and all the sexless, loveless years that have followed, I hardly ever think about romantic endeavors now. When I do, I typically tend to view such activities as belonging on the “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” end of the spectrum. And that’s on a good day.
Reading this little communiqué I wrote to myself 22 years ago has made me realize how much I miss feeling the way I did and being the guy I was when I wrote it. It also makes me wonder if I’ll ever feel that way and be that guy (older and hopefully a bit wiser) again.
My poem “reverie” is the featured “Poem of the Issue” in this week’s edition of The Austin Chronicle. This one is just about a month old, although I actually started it in January 2010. Started it, got stuck, forgot about it, and then picked it back up and finished it about 18 months later. Very unusual for me to do that. Usually, if I don’t wrap ‘em up within a day or two, the moment passes and that’s the end of it.
I’m always looking for her. Always. I seem them everywhere, but not her. Did she already pass through my life and I missed her somehow? From a purely statistical standpoint, I know that if I counted up all the relationships, love affairs, dates, crushes, friendships, random encounters, near misses, and failed attempts, those numbers alone would lead me to the conclusion that I should have found her by now.
The numbers, oh the numbers. Much of the time now I feel like there isn’t room for even one more woman in my head, much less my heart. Where do I put them all? Every woman I’ve ever wanted, touched, felt, loved is still with me, even the ones I think I’ve forgotten. I add to the list every time I’m in the grocery store …
“I want her and her and her …”
But I don’t really want “her and her and her …” I never did.
I want the only one I’ve ever wanted.
I want her.
A week or so ago, during one of my drawing sessions, I found myself drawing one page after another of old girlfriends. Some of them anyway. It would’ve taken a lot more time than I had that morning to draw a page for all of them.
I suppose it would actually be more accurate to characterize the subject of this drawing as a near-girlfriend than as a girlfriend. That “girlfriend or not” line was more than a little fuzzy more than a few times with more than a few women. In this particular case, the fuse was lit and all engines were firing but the rocket never left the launch pad. The mission was aborted (not by me) before takeoff due to extra-relational complications (not mine).
Every time I hear the old Cars tune “Drive” (which was big at the time as well as apropos to the situation) I think of her. Kinda wish I didn’t. Not a great outcome for me. Most of ‘em weren’t. The next one was a helluva lot worse.
Once again, there were several other things I was planning to post first, but this one has been nagging me for days and is speaking the loudest right now. Lots of color and motion in play here. I get a little lost trying to follow the different colored lines around.
That old Roxy Music song was playing in my head as I was completing it, hence the title.