Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Do you still sleep with all the windows open

Do you still sleep with all the windows open and the sheets over your blue and tired face? Has there been any improvement in the way you cook or shave or start a conversation? I don’t remember what you said to me when it happened, that first exchange of syllables, the first line of spoken poetry that lead to us becoming very different people sharing a very crowded room. Has there been anything at all that you’ve done for the world? For the memory of me? Do you still stare at paintings longer than it takes paint to dry? Have you gone mad in your crazy quest for glory in the palm of your hand? Do your shoes still smell of strange and foreign rubber? Do you still forget to dot your i’s? I wrote you seventeen letters the first week I spent a morning without you. Twelve of them began with It would be against my better judgment to address you as anything Dear, you were an ass. But I still love you. The other five are more discreet in my mounting bitterness. I am homesick for your faded blue jeans and your night terrors. I am homesick for the idiot I was and the happy girl I so fondly remember being in the space of your architecture. You still creep up on me. In the folds and shadows of my skirts and my open books. I read a page or two. You are always the narrator. You are always declaring your love for me in famous dead words secured in museums and graveyards. I remember how much you loved those grey areas of history and reverence. Do you still wish it had been someone else at the door? Do you still hope it will be someone else in twenty years. The radio is always left on now. I never change the channel on the television. Every color looks the same now, every song sounds like a brigade of out of work musicians. I am out of work. I am out of touch. I am out of your view, off your street corner, not under your umbrella. Remember the distance it took us to get from the door to the bed. Remember the glove compartment and the toy hand gun and the police? I do. And I still use your tie as a bookmark.

***

In every wish there is a tree where flowers break and bloom,
like hearts on strings and puppeteers on Sunday afternoons.
On lakes of ice and beds of nails the lovers dance their song
of incandescent melodies where the devil sings along.
In every book, on every page, in hands, on trains, in time,
there is a certain harmony that plays a broken song.
In summertime, in hills of green, through tunnels and the rain,
a child plays the violin in gratitude and shame.

***

It’s a hot afternoon, the rain has gone missing. The flowers are aching in the heat of the moment. I wish I could write you, I wish we could wander, but the streets are so strange now and our stories don’t matter. I still read sometimes, by a lake or on a train. The conductor doesn’t mind that I skip all the parts about easy love and drunk Hawaiian sunset. The air is very real here, because of all the ghosts colliding into me. Sometimes it sounds like birds singing, sometimes it sounds like the static on the radio, sometimes I don’t recognize your voice until it’s too late. Until you’re back on the other side of the mirror. Until the wax has melted and the flame has gone out. Until the movie has ended and I’m waking up from your dream.

***

The flowers bloom in Barcelona in a dome of widened light,
that’s what you told me in a letter on a hidden Wednesday night.
The evening drips with circumstance in photographs and rhyme,
my shirt sleeves stained with ink and spells from a forgotten space and time.
The movies that we used to name, the books we used to read,
are coming back in ghostly frames of paintings and red beads.

***

The name of you, the thought of me, a button on a string.
The irreplaceable demand of holding hands in spring.
The brisk moon air, a fallen leaf, a tumbleweed delight.
A night in June in trodden Rome, a mystery of fright.
A cable car, a written poem, a tentative place and time.
A letter written to a girl to fill her up with wine.
A pristine thing, a hidden song, a cinema in Spain,
a ballet dancer’s poetry of moving in the rain.

***

There is a dream that comes to life in a dimly lit cafe. An old man slumps on a stool and prays for perfection, he always sings out of tune. His signal is lost, his transistor radio is broken. Lovers from Madrid kiss the bottled wine, praise the architecture of falling deeply, landing softly. Silver spoons and coffee cups change into something you could write about: This is about caring, this is about love, this is about misunderstanding. This is about the little things we miss.

Now you’re in it too. Collar up and heart undone. Two buttons for eyes and history books without the love letters, without the names and ghosts and children. And you’re emptying out your pockets, with the rest of the stuff that you call junk and that I call happy endings.

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