in bedsheets, mine—but they were more than that, not so long ago.
Everything that loves, leaves—doesn’t it?
Even if we don’t choose to, we must,
because everything ends. This is nothing new. We know this.
We all become dust, eventually. Pieces of the stars
that we came from. I am but a tangle in these bedsheets, cold—
I am not welcome here, nor anywhere, really.
I held onto that letter, pressed it against my chest
as if the ink on the page would fade onto my skin, like a tattoo
of backwards letters that I only I could read.
I felt so heavy in that moment.
I felt heavy, because I know.
I see it in the way smiles creep across your face even in the darkness,
and I feel it in the way you hold my hand a little tighter in the silence.
We both know. We always have.
and what it might look like.
The sounds that would be made.
What it would smell like.
What it would taste like.
Today, I thought of the end—
“Historic West Adams,” the sign read.
I was driving on the 10 East, watching the sunrise through a burnt haze, through the fog of lingering smoke from a fire over not-so-distant hills. I thought of how I wanted to burn all the letters and cards you had written me; not out of spite, or malice, but because it wouldn’t have felt right to just throw them away, I suppose. I had been putting it off because I didn’t own a lighter.
A different sign, now. “Historic Filipinotown.”
Historic, I thought.
Yes, that’s what those letters felt like as I read them on the edge of my bed, dropping them one by one — like I was spying on two lovers from an age past, with our same names.
I’ve heard all the same things before —
before, words from another mouth, words;
the same words. You told me through tears, once,
what you had done in a time before us,
when you were not the same person.
I was not the same person once, nor will I be the same person
years from now, when experience and the mysteries of being human
shape and mold us, together, under the sun, where our wax wings
will only carry us so far, before Icarus calls to us from the water below.
We are too deaf to hear him, aren’t we?
And so we shall melt, together, in the light of the sun, two failed
beings, separate, plummeting to the fathoms beneath us.
There are days when I remember outlines
of softer things, of things that I said
or didn’t say, and when I remember
places we never went —
we went upstairs, where we laughed, and slept,
but never anywhere else —
I remember answering my door for you
and sitting there, under a vaulted ceiling
and for the first time in a long time
feeling like my heart was free, just for a moment,
when outlines of softer things collided in the darkness.
Behind every door is a solitary paradise, or some personal hell, or perhaps
somewhere in between. On this side, I can’t see the sunlight
stabbing through the cracks in the blinds, or the dust dancing through the stale air
of your room. But, I remember what it looked like, once,
on mornings spent in a summer haze. Later, when I would try
to make sense of things, I would imagine myself on the other side,
looking out at a street where parked cars lined up on Saturdays,
when everyone was home, and auburn laid gently over you as you slept.
Four words spoken through the static on the other end of a telephone line
are enough to send me back to a day in April, when I sat on a sidewalk,
flecking the concrete with uneven circles of salt. Tonight, I am
on my back, on a new mattress, where ink-stained flesh reminds
me that everything, whether or not we want to remember,
is not forgotten; and where, despite my sincerest efforts,
there is a promise of a nature that I cannot fight against.
I was pulling out of a church parking lot, behind a brand new Mercedes with paper plates.
My body ached from an evening of soccer the day before, and my arms smelled
of almonds and tea, from a long night’s shift.
Chopin’s “Prelude No. 4″ played on the radio as cool air blasted
onto my face. I thought of god (or the lack thereof),
and, more than anything, how strange and terrifying
it is to simply
We walked, our legs using powers peculiar to themselves;
architecture and landscape blurred along the long, curving main street.
The road squeezed us along, scraping us against rows of like houses,
their identities like snapshots, and souvenirs,
identical, in their uniform sleep.
Our tenuous balance of bipedalism took us along the avenue,
where obscure gods uttered no creative words.
Instead, they let us drift, like two narrow boats, wooden,
from sunset to sunrise.