The first day I met you,
you told me you had never loved someone.
You looked at me like you had
never felt someone’s name burn in the back of your throat like swallowing a fire coated first and you told me that I tasted like the sun.
Like you had,
never had lanterns hung down the rows of your spine like planted kisses that grow each time I say I love you.
Never knew that someone could make you feel like the ocean is an extent of your body and could make your heart shake like subway railings.
The first time you kissed me,
it was under a tiled sky, with white marble floors and I gripped your belt like a cliff and climbed my way up to your heart,
past other guys names and never returned phone calls.
I curled up to the crook of your chest and let your heartbeat sing me to sleep.
The first time you broke my heart,
I watched as you sent me lies like damaged postcards,
saying all the places you had been but you told me differently.
Your heartbeat changed as it stuttered through the New York alleys drunk off freedom and pride,
and found itself in a bed all too unfamiliar next to a person who looked a little like me but I’ve heard love is blind and not too picky,
especially after a night of drinking
so I didn’t expect much-
I never forgave you.
But I wish I had.
I wish I had ran down those streets listening for your heartbeat,
I wish I could have recognized it.
I wish that God believed in second chances and that love had a GPS so it never could get lost,
I wish you would lay down next to me.
I wish you would whisper secrets in my ear and place your body on my skin like a new cologne.
I wish you could kiss me speechless and wash off all the pain with a bucket full of your words,
I wish your love never came with an expiration date.
You tell me you never have loved someone,
and you look at me;
Now I hope you know how it burns.
to the way the bees buzz above the balcony covered in my flowers and vines,
listen to their little wings.
Beating like boxers in a ring, throwing fist after fist of air through the moonlit sky.
You are a flower,
I have seen pain and seen suffering and they may chop you down, life may pluck you from the familiar earth and plant you in an unfamiliar place but do not wilt.
Burst into color and let your light shine as if you are a thousand Brooklyn blocks, and love just as loudly.
Pay attention to the environment around you,
pluck the weeds that threaten your growth and never forget that life is fast and you are young.
Mistakes will be made.
And if you ever feel as if your head is filled with rain and your weight is heavy upon your knees, be free to give it to me.
My knees are much stronger and the curve of my stem has bared much weight over my time here.
And when you love,
do not forget to take forgiveness with you like an old friend. Shelter your heart in an armor made out of the metal strength that I have given to you.
Love is a battlefield, and too often you lose more than you gain.
Do not constrain yourself to boxes, the world is such a large place and you, after all, are so very small.
Treat everyday as an adventure and become anything you want to be. You can do anything, grandson.
Do not forget your roots. Do not forget where you came from and who raised you. Always hug your mother every time you see her and let her know that you love her.
She is a person just like you and people make mistakes.
Do not leave your manners on the bedside table and do not take your smile off like an old coat after you get in the front door. Smiling cures heartbreak.
Do not lose yourself in the tunnel system of your own heartbeat and don’t forget that I am just a phone call away.
You will always be my grandson. I will always welcome you like a Sunday morning no matter how many times you break my heart.
Do not forget that the love I have for you is 40% unconditional and 60% endless.
And remember that even as the light behind my eyes fades away, and my strength wanes like a tired sunset;
I love you. And I will always be right by your side.
And if you forget that I’m there,
All you have to do is
What my grandmother has taught me - Grayson Herrg
Next time I leave before I am left.
I calculate sighs: how long, how sad.
I read eyes: how tired, how bored.
I taste lips: how desperate, how hungry.
I feel you: how in love, how hurt.
I leave before you can leave me.
I listen to the curve of your spine.
I decode your language of stuttered apologies,
Wake up a queen hidden in your bedsheets
Before I pack my things and escape out the
Back door with your flannel shirt. No.
Not this time. I caught you in the act –
Caught you losing your grip,
Counting the seconds,
Checking your phone,
Checking your emails,
Checking your pulse.
I leave before I am left –
Before your veins turn black,
Before your eyes turn glassy,
Before you fall out of love again.