Save your bottle rocket.
I could set you on fire with my eyes,
start the smoldering using the heat
that rolled in with the clouds this morning
spitting sparks into the hollow valley
and burning brush from these blackened arroyos.
Secrets must be told closed-mouthed.
Whispered, drawn out long and slow
like holding plums in your mouth
and sucking them dry.
I don’t fear abandonment
but I do fear apathy and chill.
I worry about admiration that ends
in organized disappointment.
I want a love that gathers itself in flames
and burns itself to the ground every night
as the moon rises and calls our names.
Hands thick with paint,
songs on my lips and a swing in my hips,
I lose myself again,
turning myself inside out
again, just to feel something that isn’t there.
Lying to myself so as not to break
my own heart.
I fear my own low expectations
and growing old too fast,
losing the wild side while time spins
softly on a Saturday morning.
Pen strokes paper,
paintbrushes sunbathe in the sink,
and the desert light drapes itself into a curtain
across neat rows of beans and kale.
I wish for harvest.
I wish for lightning.
Remember how I took your hand
and led you to my room,
to that sweetness of candle and sigh?
I’m sure of who I am and who am not.
Beautiful and strong.
I speak the truth to myself, no matter how hard.
I am nurturing and soft. I get shit done.
I can’t promise the world but I can promise
that you will never be bored.
So after all this time, I’ve still got you on my mind.
You who didn’t know the first thing about balance
which is what I loved about you and I guess is also
why you flung yourself headlong into the abyss.
Me either. Can’t balance a checkbook
or all these cogs spinning around in my brain
and it’s always tripping me up.
I’m always on the verge of falling.
Despite the fact that fall is my favorite season,
I don’t navigate falls well.
Falling off of my big wheel, out of trees, out of bed
blood pooling and nose cracking.
Falling into love and out of love
more times than the stars in the sky.
Falling into myself, that black as tar mystery,
falling away from you and from that snowstorm city.
Joy has been sharpboned and shadowed ever since
because nobody falls into it like you did.
Autumn always makes me fall
Speaking of falling,
I love waterfalls.
The crash and break of it all,
the smashing and reveling in the destruction,
the fact that we don’t have time to sob over spilled milk
and that things get lost in the churn
and wake of water,
the weight of it all. Is that what happened to you?
You got pulled under?
This shit is heavy and
I guess I always thought we’d do this together,
falling in and out of things.
Falling because see here’s the thing -
had I known you were falling I would have begged you to hold on.
I would have tied you to this earth with ropes and all the bungee cords
I could buy at the dollar store.
We could have done shots of lemon drops until we were falling off of
our bar stools and then stumbled home in the snow.
I would have told you that they’re not worth it
but we are.
now I can never stop falling.
I am still here and the leaves are falling. They call your name every night at 3am.
Remember that day when I was a spinning top
and you held me in your hands until I slowed down?
You didn’t let me fall.
I wish I had held you like that.
Like something beautiful and precious.
Like the purest water falling from the highest cliff
sparkling like diamonds all the way down, the sun
sifting its way through like so many crooked and beautiful teeth.
I would have brought you a parachute,
made you promise to sleep in it every night
and reminded you that falling is
The trees without leaves look just like spears and daggers.
So it’s fall and you might see me smile on some days,
but just know this -
nothing is the same anymore and I keep falling
over and over again into a space shaped exactly like you.
( <3 August 23, 2003 <3 )