“there’s the sun going down creating that fluorescent glow reminding me i’ll never be able to re-live this day, except in memory.” - m. kozelek
there are two oceans on either side of me yes i touched them both yes there is no stopping me apparently. if i put a pin it, can we save it for later, can we come back to it. can we ever come back to it.
i put my fist inside of him in the same house that i once slept in a closet, in the same house where we sang snow in the night, where they almost arrested us for trying to see above the treeline.
i put my tongue inside of him in a park just down the street. we kissed outside of a denny’s. he didn’t say much. we fucked in his car and i pissed in a river and i said: what is enough.
i kept moving because what else. i kept moving because home where home how. i watched the landscapes around me change colour and i watched the hair on me get thicker and i knew i knew
nothing. i knew she put a wreath of flowers in her hair i knew i hardly recognized her. i knew i woke up and didn’t know where i was. she took me to the emergency room and i tried to laugh it off even though what is
solid is anything. for a few days my hands didn’t really work and for a few days i felt like i could feel it only when it was raining and it did rain, quite a lot, so i stood out in it, and i waited for the feeling.
it came and it went. i went to that diner again with someone else. i carved an x into my wall where his name should have gone, but it had left me so suddenly, so severely. i snuck him in and he snuck right out.
maybe it’s because i know where he lives and for the first time i can feel a beard on me, on both of us. i think: i am a man now and he thinks the opposite. and his hands are kept so neatly away from me but his mouth
says it’s all that he wants. i knew not to pursue, i knew not to want, but there was some of him in him, of him in him, and we so pressed our lips together, tucked up against the wall, the sun rising. when all the girls vacated
the room, we were boys. at least that’s what i knew i could call it, what it could feel like even if i could not call it that or feel it, even if his body was not just boy and my body was not just boy and a poet is not to be mistaken
for a poem. this mistake can be made when trying to read someone. do not ever read, he said. it is not about words now or ever, instead: let them come on your face. this transaction is more likely to be justified as poetry.
we want it to be poetry because then all the words would fit and then we could say something about coming home, having not come, covered in bites, bit, bitten. he said: there is no pleasure. i think there must have been but what
does it look like, what shape is in it, what language, what words can we claim around it. oh yes i was sick i was very sick, indeed i thought i was dying, and a word could revive me again, but what word. not complicated:
a simple syllable, some sound how, some thing we can say easy and say often say as often as we can because we must live through it, we must speak it to one another constantly as if a suggestion of how, how do we
tell each other a secret when what is secret after having been told. i saw secrets; i saw sections of seas, dreams, our most vulnerable parts, our times of most guilt, most guts, wanting a gun, or
wanting to say something about being close to a light, a life form. in a basement we gathered around and sung songs because we knew how to say some, but there was still so much i could not speak about.
i did not know what to do so i put on a disguise for a while. i gave myself a new name and i closed my eyes and i said i love you to everyone that i encountered except the people who took off my clothes.
i shut off something in me because something in me was too big. i was wondering about rope too much, lead too much, and the stomach burned and there was the burn of it, lingering, and i decided to let it be, to let it burn.
i lost all of my identification papers and then i lost track of time. i rode a bike (not mine) out into the streets of a city (not mine) to find anyone. to put some skin in my hands and to remember that i have skin on my hands.
i swigged a beer and then both of us were inside of him. we called it sharing the body but how do you sharethe body how do you locate what the body is when you are sharing it, when is there some discharge when
there never is. he told me that he didn’t have enough money for gas so i never saw him again. i turned up the volume and now noise. i got off the plane and was in another city again. i got out of the car and wiped
my snot on my sleeve, my sweat into my teeth. i walked between ferris wheels and surfs and found our names still carved there in the wood because apparently nothing changes even though everything changes.
some storms came and lifted the wood away, some rain and some thunder lit the sky and some of the water from one part of the earth moved to this part of this earth, here, where i am standing, and i felt closer in the distance
but he was long gone. i forgot, or tried. i took vitamin c. i got better, some. a map i was making got larger and they drilled into my head while i kept quiet. they stuck wires on my body and said: something, something—
i could not make it out. i tried to stay away from things that brought out the skull too much, that made it need to scratch, sure, but then the blinding, the nights gone black, the numbers erased
from my head. waking up somewhere not knowing how there became. not knowing how the feet got slivers. wanting to want to want and not knowing what to want but so much wanting, so much waiting for.
i wanted to kiss someone else so i did. we built a kissing tent, knowing the ritual of the kiss well. he said: this is how i would do it. and i said: this is how i would do it. and then we kissed. it’s like we were children
because we were. he put a ring on my finger and i put that finger into his ass, then more of me, as much as he would allow. i smoked alone outside afterwards. it burned and i didn’t care. i didn’t feel different.
every minute was heavier, but i didn’t consider this a change. it had always been that way, bent and such, looking at the ground and feeling like i would float away all of a sudden, like: delirious, like: desire, like: do you ever think
of me i am thinking of you all of the time. how many snowstorms we survived how many rooms we filled with smoke how many nights we stayed up until the throat stung, until we were swollen, until we had had out the hurt some.
it is easier to speak about how much you long for a body when that body has been shared with even if also you want to speak along the longing for which there is no body but only wanting the presence of another.
which is to say that there are other ways we have been intimate, other greater ways we have been intimate and not always pressing the body against the body and not even always speaking, but how to talk about this.
perhaps that is all there is to say: the sharing of something greater, even if always temporary, even if always in flux, even if sometime later she is still sore about it and he has burned all of your letters and the bones have been
excavated. so what: we cannot keep everything but we keep keeping what we can. i keep and keep close. i am often scolded for this, but i want to know still about those nights what i canknow about those nights, like
when we put a lamp on the floor and made shadow puppets on the wall of her house and the cat slept on my stomach and i wanted to kiss everybody but i didn’t kiss anybody. i sang a song instead, in the other
room. we drove up through the mountains until the ground was gone. under the night sky that came down on us, i wondered about how to draw a map of this night or any. i wondered what our song was together because
a song between us could be kept between us if only it were between us. i mean, that there was always a wondering about between, about together, if only we had made an effort to try to keep things there, but
his location was transitory and i followed him. maybe: we followed each other. i played his clarinet while he was sleeping, forgetting that somehow i let him inside. i carved a map of highway 101 into my arms and woke
up seasick. i say: shore. sure. in the hospital i have a vision of him, i try to remember later. i shake and shiver. i think sometimes he was a fiction, but then i think about the folds in his clothes, the way we were
not kissing. and what, then, is a mouth or whatever, what is this moment of mouths meeting, what is this feeling that i can’t name now when he moves from one room to another to another to another, so: like i am clutching him
where there could not be a clutching, where there can be nothing to clutch and so: cling and cling and what then. what then. we all disappear, still. there is no reason to apologize. your body is not mine. this body is not mine.
for a long time i did not touch myself between my legs because i was not sure what was there anymore. the salt in my mouth was so much that i couldn’t feel anything and he touched me even though i didn’t want
him to touch me and i didn’t say anything because i could not feel it. i let her do it, too. i looked at her house through the trees and thought about setting fire to it, to get even, but what is even.
what is it to say no after the yes has occurred. to transform in the middle of a sentence while saying that sentence or to wonder if you are in the middle of a sentence, are you finished.
sometimes i can’t help but feel like i have lost everything but what is it to lose anything. when someone is dead at least they are really gone. what do you do with the losses that are still here but not here. we carry
them around and we say: yes even when it is terrible to do so and we keep carrying it with us even if we will not let anyone see it because what are we doing here with it, what can we do with it, what have we done.
do you know what it is like to watch a friend sob uncontrollably while slowly picking up a bag of spilled rice from the floor grain by grain? or worse: to later watch him make her cry harder
and to pick sides? and then, to hate him, to hate every thought of him, to wonder what then to do with the memory, that first one, the pain of it, the sheer size. how do you carry that around
and can you carry that around. do you have to make something out of it, do you have to make something, or can it just be dull, can you just say, dear, i am tired, can you just let the worry wear off, or not know.
maybe i like not knowing you because then i don’t have to lose you. i don’t have to hate that you love so hard, like i do. i don’t have to hate what of me in you i see. i see nothing except your pants coming down
and hitting the floor. i see nothing but the tattoo on my arm that every time makes me think of her, that every time makes me think of all those grains of rice, and how hot it was, and how far gone i’d got from the map. i see nothing
but a zipper and a lit match and a fire i’ve been craving that only you can give me, stranger, how quick and wild we can be, how you can just make me forget i have a head on me, that it’s so full of this, this blood
and tissue and bone some. that it’s just scars on skin, that it doesn't have to mean anything now, even though every word feels like the last one so i try and try to cherish them, to keep them close. i had bandages
on my arms and i asked him to kiss them, which he cursed me for later. i did not regret it, not a moment, not a waking one. even if it was terrible to touch our bodies together, to be needing it, like i always had a fever
with him. he and i shared loved in a new way: once. we slept in songs, let the room be full of semen and smoke, and the bridges barely touched the sky. he took me to the see them. we rolled down a hill. we fucked again.
it was a city i had been in before but now not dark always, not just lack. it was different, somehow the same. he took a polaroid of me in the park. i have no idea what kind of a face i was making. i never saw it.
sometimes i wanted to be a little cruel, to say: you were just drunk and i was in the right mood to allow it even if it was not allowed. as usual, after you sobered some, you crawled homeward, you forgot my name
or at least, how to say it. but it’s sometimes easier to be cruel than to tell you about how horrible it was for me to think of you elsewhere, to think of a weight on your body that was not mine, to think of missing a moment of missing any
moment when i knew that it would be impossible to have every one of them i knew there had to be apart and i knew i wanted apart but then the thought of your body and my body and not belonging and not ever belonging.
it was too much. to realize that i could never be everywhere. to think of her rocking back and forth in a room, of him licking the sweat, of them in the trees sawing wood and making bread and putting lights up on the houses
and never would i see the lights or eat the bread or smell the wood or taste the sweat or hold her close and hold them close and hold it all so close so close all at once all at once it could not be done, it had to be separate
you cannot be everywhere you can only be where you are. and where are you and what are you scratching away at? when you stay and stay and stink? all you’re left with is a memory and a memory is just something you can forget.
i tried to keep a list once of all the different places i had slept or shared sleep in, but it got too long, i could no longer keep track. i started to forget the cities somehow, i never knew not where i was not. one had a river
in it and one had rooms filled with duct tape and one had no books, not any, never words here. here we stood and stayed, stuck. we convinced him to jump into the river eventually. we pulled the duct tape off of our mouths
and we spoke our own words, we did not need the books. all they were was heavy and all he was was heavy and all i was was carrying him and them around. if i could not carry i could always care or care less, so
i kept some and slept some and tried not to be too beat by it. still there was this knowing that never could it be quelled or made quiet, that never could collective be choirs always singing, that never could we always come
together, fumbling around it, trying to find form in one another. we could ask about how to share something but how do you share something. we could ask about how to have simultaneity but we are already having it.
i felt it all at once even when i could not name the feeling or feel the feeling full. i wanted to pound in his chest to make him feel what i felt but it was not raining it was snowing, so i caught it on my tongue and knew not what was felt.
there in the snow i fell in love again and once i said it i could not stop. i let my heart be wild and i let myself know that it was so and i stopped worrying whether i could keep it tame or timid or timed. i let it beat its own beat.
yes it was terrifying because yes two oceans and yes together here and yes not together ever and always so far yes so much distance so much space between and being in between not fitting a category not fitting a feeling.
there is nothing else to do with all of this blood. i mean you can keep trying to clean it up or you can keep trying to keep it inside you but it’s out it’s out everyone can see it and why should you even hide it what is even the point.
i could not hide anymore there was blood everywhere, there was no more white shirts kept clean, there was no more not saying it out loud. there was only what i was saying and what was i saying and have i forgot.
there are some things i do not remember and there are some things i do. i would try to talk about them. she would hold my head and keep holding, knowing. i threw up all night afterwards wondering about the shame i felt.
i knew, somewhere, not to feel it, but everything told me to. everything told me to organize it and put it away in a drawer and forget that it happened because you can’t keep it all so close. but i still woke up in a sweat most
nights knowing that maybe if i had kept some more of her hair, maybe if i had kept some more of this sand and soot and sock thread, i could have kept what it meant more, but then it still stayed so far and i still longed for it.
i wanted him and i wanted her and i wanted us all together somewhere separate. i feel like i let her get lost, but what is that to feel, what else is there to fit together, can you keep separate and together, can you keep coming
back. i tried to write a poem about all of this and it didn’t work because it was too big. it didn’t fit. i said: swimming alone in the backyard and he said: there is no water in the swimming pool. this did not
concern me. there is no way to make this sound poetic: it is not. it is me thrusting into you and you wanting it. it is me not being able to wait and feeling you up in public. it is everyone mistaking you
for him. it is the difference between us that i want so badly so that maybe i will know who i am. so that maybe i will not have to be so alone in this when i am not alone in this when i am not alone you are here with me
even if you are not here with me. because here is only a location and what is a location except a place. i had a dream we were all in one place and that night i really did kiss her when i wanted to and that night
i didn’t so much dream it as i let it fill me, it became part of me, all of it, you. i didn’t feel like the maps were quite as long and large, they weren’t looming like. we cut them up into paper swans. we folded them back over
and over until it was all together, we were all together, separate. it was not about our bodies it was not. it was not about what we could say with them because we cannot say anything with them. it was just all of us
always being near and always being apart and always being always. i mean that’s all i wanted, really. so enough of this language in the book: what i mean is that i miss you. what i mean is i will never not.