is that it hurts here, the way feelings
are bigger than we are, and a woman’s face
in the third-story window, her limp hair
and pots of red geraniums luring you
into her suffering until you’re walking on roads
inscribed in your own body. The maps
you never speak of.”
Stop ringing her. Stop messaging her. Stop making excuses to see her, to drop by her place.
Erase her name from memory. Remove yourself from her life, more completely than you would like but as completely as she deserves. Move on, so that you can allow her to also move on. When you close your eyes, you don’t get to see her face. Not anymore. You don’t get to think about her lips, the warm glow of her skin when she rests next to you, or how she squeezes your hand in her sleep. You are not allowed to remember the smell of her perfume, that she only drinks mint tea (with two dollops of honey), or that she loves you.
She loves you.
She has been in love with you for too long.
So, forget how she says your name. Forget how she calls your name. Forget how she screams your name. Forget that time you got sick and she stayed up with you all night, letting you lay your head in her lap and holding a cold compress to your forehead. Forget how her hair feels in your fingers. Forget how she looks in your sweatshirts.
Know only that she existed at one point in your life, but relinquish all hope that she could exist at another point — sometime in the future that you are unwilling to specify because you don’t know what you want. Yet. It is not fair for you to swoop in and out of her life as you choose. It is not fair for you to say that you are satisfied with “things as they are” and you will have time to “figure it out” later. Let her stop investing emotionally in you. Let her pour that love and care into the people who deserve her.
Don’t tell her that you think about her all the time. Don’t tell her that it bothers you to hear about her with other people, but that you’re willing to understand as long as she likes you more than them. Don’t tell her that this isn’t the right moment but that there will be a right moment. There is not going to be a right moment. She shouldn’t have to wait for the right moment.
Don’t tell her that you can’t handle ultimatums, that you don’t like the idea of finally adding finality to your relationship — whatever still remains of it.
What you are telling her is that you want to keep her on as an option, that you are taking her for granted, that you want to know she will be there, that you can depend on her at the end of the day. When you find that no one else has stuck around or that those who have are less interesting, less thoughtful, or less doggedly loyal to you.
Doggedly loyal to you.
That is what she has been to you, for you almost as long as you have known her: a constant emotional crutch, the guarantee of stability, a safety net while you reachvout to grasp objects that sparkle and shine far greater than she does. All that glitters is not gold, haven’t you heard?
She is fire. You are ice, and you are afraid that her slow burn will smolder your cool, hard demeanor. That’s what has driven your decisions, your actions all along: fear. You are a coward. You are a hypocrite. You are terrified to let her go, but you are afraid she is too good for you, that she could drive you wild, that you would choke on her flames. That she is too much for you to handle right now.
But if you choose not to love her now, you can’t choose to love her later.”
Lawyer: Did he rape her?
Witness: Yes, but she was drunk and passed out.
Lawyer: That's not what I asked. Did he rape her?
Witness: Yes, but she was wearin-
Lawyer: I didn't ask what she was wearing. Did he rape her?
Witness: Yes, but-
Lawyer: I didn't ask anything else. It's just a simple yes or no answer. Did he rape her?
Laywer: Yes, he raped her.
Rape is rape is rape, no matter the context.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall and classical muzak is playing,
you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but "I" am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, "I understand the semiotics of that" when I said, "I
had a little personal business to take care of.”
I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you when you’re not getting drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it’s so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I’m a strange backyard and you’re running from the
cops, looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I’m just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel like I’m a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace as the little turn the blood in the
syringe takes when you’re shooting heroin, after you pull back
the plunger slightly to make sure you hit the vein.
I love your mother, she’s the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection to you, even
though we’ve never met.
I love your tacos! I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes using the knots you
learned in Boy Scouts, and when you do the stoned Dennis
Hopper rap from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother, even though I’m nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren’t for that I know I could really, really love you.”
what I’m doing with myself,
how I’m passing the time,
what I’m doing with my legs now
that they’re not swinging on the
train to your place.
I am waiting for you to come back to me, that’s what I’m doing.
I am waiting for you to pick up the phone
and call me.
I am pulling teeth.
I am plucking them one by one
and trying to forget what they looked
like pressed into your shoulder
or clinging to your neck.
The truth was an ugly thing
that I kicked out of our bed,
only to watch it climb back in
and take you from me.
I think you’re a coward
for letting it.
I think I could have loved you
better than anybody,
and I can’t stop making lists
of all the times I almost told you that.
That’s what I’m doing.
I’m twisting our story until
it stops remembering you
just so I can sleep at night.
But I’ll always be here,
hands like a broken record that skips
at the sleepless night before you
crawled back into yourself for good.
Just know that I’ve been waiting.
Know that you’re the first time I ever
swallowed my pride and then spit
it back up.
I hope you remember what your
bed felt like with me laying
honest in it.
That is what brave looked like.”
I will take you to
museums, and parks, and monuments,
and kiss you in every beautiful
place, so that you can
never go back to them
without tasting me
like blood in your mouth.
I will destroy you in the most
beautiful way possible.
And when I leave
you will finally understand,
why storms are named after people.”