when he asks how it ends, tell him to meet you in Manhattan

There will be a thousand lights hanging from the ceiling in a loft with hardwood floors. He’ll be standing in a corner, a half-swigged bottle of beer in his right hand. These details are too specific. Tell him to meet you in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. There will be a crowd of people. It’ll be too hard to move, much less think. Inches of space from one body to the next… It’s hard to articulate longing, even more difficult to articulate loss. You can see him slipping away, one crowd to the next. Suddenly, you’re alone and you’re thinking, “I love you. I love you. I love…” Like odd numbers are enough. Like language can encapsulate what it’s like to feel your soul drifting away. Up. Up. Up. A helium version of loss. Pop. But where will the pieces go? You studied the periodic table, calculated your mass and his. Together, it should be harder to dissociate. He talks about children, the ones he’d like to have with the woman he broke up with two years ago. Or three. You’ll look down at your limbs, trace the curve of your waist, follow it down to your hips. You’ll find nothing to keep him there. You’ll read Siddhartha into a machine. Click send. Like sentences composed by a man from the 1950s will be enough to make him stay. But it was never about him, was it? Not really. We can rewatch scenes from movies we swore we’d never play again. We’ll adjust the volume, take turns deciphering scenes. But what are we doing here really?



why am I thinking about all of this now?

I’ve been looking at pictures of old lovers. They talk to me about the past. Some of them whisper that I may have gotten it all wrong. Or maybe that’s just a voice in my own head, the closest I’ve ever come to regret.

You wrote me a letter once and sprayed cologne on the paper. I just read the postscript. It’s been 9 years and I can still smell it.

I don’t know why I’m thinking about you now. It was the summer my father left. But I didn’t know that he would. We jumped out of a plane after eating Chinese food. A few hours later, I was sitting in a café telling a woman how it felt to be afraid and alive at the same time.

There have been a lot of countries in between then and now, a lot of memories. I can still see the blue of his eyes, hear the warmth in his voice as he asks if it hurts, if he should stop.

He has a daughter now. So do you.

Time lapses and I am still writing about things that happened once. I had a red backpack slung over my shoulders. I never did make it to Tuscany. I don’t think about the things I lost. Or I try not to. I see pictures though. Liberty drowning while I’m standing at a metro station in Paris. There’s a heart-shaped crepe on the dirty floor. I appreciated the irony even then.

Dirt is caked on to my winter boots. I can no longer walk without my feet getting wet. I stole a bike the other night. I like to think I saved it from someone else, someone who would have sold it or done tricks that damaged the wheels or the handlebars. I spent one Autumn riding down a hill. It was my brother who taught me. The bike was yellow then and we were in a huge parking lot. My father worked in one of the buildings. Sometimes I thank God I lost my Jeep in the flood. I would’ve driven for hours, drifting from one site to the next. I never would have made it to you though. It was too late. I remember talking at the bottom of a dusty hill. You were in a park. Or I was. The memories layer themselves upon each other until it feels like I’m looking through dusty glass.

You ask about my life.

I spent that summer reading Eleven Minutes and watching Keith more times than I care to admit. I still want a pickup truck. I try not to look at the stars. I always notice the moon though. I don’t write poetry anymore. I still can’t look at my reflection. It’s not that I want to be someone else. One time, I was walking through the mall and the side of the escalator were mirrors. I remember refusing to look to my right. It was never fear. Maybe shame. I don’t really know the words for what lives inside. I grasped at straws, snorted lines through thin yellow straws. It was really beautiful for a while.

Or that’s what I like to tell myself.

Give anything enough time and it becomes something that happened once.

what these years have done…

I stood outside your door and listened to the way you played guitar.

I thought you were beautiful.

I can still remember the way you walked towards me that first day. It would’ve been a couple of hours before the sun would start sinking. It was disappointing. Our friendship was graceful.

The bulletin board on your door. I wrote notes I’m not sure you ever read.

You send me messages now asking how I’ve been, if I’m saving to head East.


Loving you was a sinking ship.  A shot at the moon without the appropriate gear. I lost my footing. I forgot to breathe. I see that mall and I feel the plastic of the lid against my lips. We used to drink coffee together. We used to sift through racks. I used to model hats. You were always Catcher.

People like to comment on the power of time, like they have anything significant to say. Give it a month or two. Give it a year. It’s been close to three. If time is infinite, I’m caught in the period between loving and losing. Ad infinitum. Let’s learn a new language. Let’s eat burgers and comment on the hopeless wonder of the world.

Can we make a difference?

I will send you a story or two. Maybe type a letter on that typewriter once I purchase new ribbons of ink. You’re perilous.

I’ll tell you the names of my lovers. Their fingers never matched your eyes.

It was relentless. This love, I mean.

48 hours and counting

We’re approaching a year. I wanted to tell you that I don’t think about you anymore. But I don’t think about you any less. The moon still plays tricks. Once a month, I can feel your invisible arms around my limbs. You’re still a continent below. We don’t really speak anymore. I miss the conversations we could have had, the ones about love and loss and longing. I’m torn apart. The world is shifting. People are always dying or running. The rubble is growing. The dust is thick. I wonder about your daughter, what you tell her about the headlines. What does any of this mean anyway?

Do you still get high?

I don’t. Without the shadow of the spindle, I feel a little shy. More than a little displaced.

I miss your eyes and the way you dance. Scratch that. I miss the moments I don’t have the words for. I knew them once. Eleven minutes worth. Now, I’m 363 days too late. Or maybe all that happened was all that could have been. Still… Am I the only one who remembers the relentlessness of your gaze, our shadows cast upon the wall?

Iced coffee and maple. Lately, I’ve been asking for coconut milk cappuccinos. Always cinnamon on the foam. First-world, always first-world. My heart breaks but my body is free.

Hola, Buenos Aires. Á tout á l’heure, Dublin.

So many hello’s and goodbye’s. You’d think we listened to the Beatles. No, always electronic. Sky and sad. I mean, sand. Freudian slips are a little easier with wine.

Will we meet again? Does it matter?

A year, a year… time does nothing.

the one you’re with

If I die as soon as I fear I will, my greatest regret is that I have never loved anyone I’ve actually been with to the point of madness. The passion attached to the unrequited has proven to be unsurmountable when faced with possibility. I fear I cannot truly regret this. It is out of my control. Still… I desire the love described by Marquez in “Of Love and Other Demons,” the sort of love that compels two to trail the night with kisses and sonnets. All my hexameters have been reserved for those who will never be capable of even breathing in my direction.

I don’t feel sorry for myself. If their love doesn’t come as naturally as breathing, I don’t want it.

Still, I read Neruda and Cummings and Brautigan and I wonder what it’s like to love the one you’re with. I wonder what it’s like to feel like the sun and moon can rise in another’s eyes and it’s my privilege to be a witness to both. Not just a witness, a participant.

C’est la vie. C’est l’amour.

“You can cut all the flowers but you can’t stop spring from coming.”

Why didn’t you love me?

That’s the question I ask myself in the middle of the night. My own company is enough, I swear. But I still remember everything.

I remember but I don’t want to talk to you. I don’t want to ask how you’re doing, if you’re happy.

Maybe I do want to know though. If I didn’t, what’s the point of this?

Sometimes I wonder if the truth has gotten lost in translation, if I was too busy deciphering silence to understand that it meant you didn’t want to talk.

I don’t know.

I’m getting used to this life, the one I’ve been breathing my way through, sometimes in gasps, sometimes mere exhales.

There is someone else and he’s so beautiful that I almost choke on my own nerves. I’m ready for it though, ready to be acquainted with what can very well be.

I want you to know that I will not try to deny how much I loved you. I will not betray our memories through any sort of diminishing. You were… an impossible dream, a poem I read in one of Neruda’s books, maybe two or three. And I wonder if you remember me as the girl who loved you too much or simply the girl who could love.

Either way…

You were beautiful in a way I still don’t really understand. And when my nose is cleaved to the ground, I will always think of you and wish you the best.

I would like to…

I would like to be a little more fearless and a little less reckless when it comes to matters of the heart. They say I live in a fairy tale, that the terms of reality have not yet been agreed to. But I’m negotiating. I’d like to be a dreamer, a hearer of the whispers a little too faint for everyday ears.

I’d like to look at the moon, appreciate its beauty while still feeling the concrete beneath my feet.

I don’t know.

I’ve lived a long time with the same mind. I’m not exempt from feeling pain. I just choose not to focus on it too much, unwilling to become a prisoner of what could have been.

I think about courage.

Was that what it took to watch you walk out of the door and into the car that weaved you out of my life?

I would like to know what it’s like not to second guess myself. One insecurity too many to take the chance and ask for a second or third coming.

My God, I love you. I mean, I think he’s fabulously attractive and all but it’s you who keeps me up at night. Do you remember all the nights we went out? Do you remember the way I exchanged his arm for yours and we walked straight back to your house? Do you remember the night after we broke up, how we went out and you stayed up all night listening to music with me?

Nina Simone has a beautiful voice, hey?

I wish you hadn’t tried so hard to prove I didn’t affect you. I wish I had tried harder to make you talk to me. But it wasn’t as easy as memory would have me believe. You rolled your eyes, made it seem like I was a nuisance instead of a dreamer searching for strings.

So… is this the first month in a lifetime? Will it get easier? What do you think about before you fall asleep? Was our time together as inconsequential as you would have me believe?

It’s hard. Some nights are harder than others. The past few have been nearly unbearable. But I trust that… I don’t know… Honestly…

it’s hard

How are you? Are you happy? Did it hurt to leave?

I’ve been staring at the moon. I’ve been wondering if you take the time to notice how beautiful it’s been. Maybe it’s cloudy where you are. I know the streets are occupied with the seeds of a revolution.

I woke up at 4 AM last night. I recorded a 4 minute and 20 seconds voice message that I didn’t send. I spent the next two hours trying to find my way back to peace.

See, you weren’t the greatest. I mean, you talked about yourself and rarely asked any questions about the nature of my soul. Then you cornered me against a wall and a door and said all these things that made it clear that questions had never really been necessary.

Between us, there was liquid heat. It pooled at our feet. I tried. We drowned.

People say you’re not good for me, that even the thought of you could trip me into despair. But I’m already sad and you’re too far away to read the stories in my eyes.

I want to move on. I’m not entirely sad. I just think about you sometimes and I get restless. With wonder, with defeat.

I worry no one will ever look at me the way you did. I worry that no one will ever have to go to the second floor of a building because he knew his eyes would give him away.

I regret the loss of opportunity. I regret the way you cared more about fulfilling an idea than creating a new reality.

See, the truth is… – well, there are many truths – but I suppose the one that is most relevant is that I am afraid my future is more beautiful without you.

tell me where you left them

It’s been nearly a month since we last spoke. I can’t believe I’ve made it this long. A part of me feels like this is normal for you, like this is what you wanted all along. I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know if I’m comfortable with the silence. There are the questions I’d like to ask, all the words I’d like to share in permutations and combinations I’ll never send.

I met someone. Well, I like someone. He paid attention when I told him that the moon was beautiful. He looked through the stained window, glared at the fact that he couldn’t appreciate it.

He’s not you. But we’re not together. So, maybe that’s a blessing in and of itself.

I don’t know.

How are you? Are you happy? Does it matter?

You’re still standing in the dark, reaching out for lights that danced on the white wall I leaned against.

I’ve grown tired of convincing myself that you cared. I mean, really, there was never any doubt. But caring doesn’t make up for silence. Most of the time, the things you do mean more than the things you say. I did everything I could. I’m left with words. As beautiful and intricate as they may be, they don’t weave a path to you.

I could bury the dreamcatcher and the hamsa but the other day, I was walking and saw a man with your smile. I guess what I’m asking is this:  where do the memories go? Will you tell me where you put yours?

I need to learn how to move on in silence, not decay.

some more questions to hurl at your closed door…

What is the half-life of love?

Am I getting closer?

Are all these words a form of decay?

Will I always want to know what our future would look like?

Why does it still hurt?

Do you eat apples?

If you do, what’s your favorite kind?

Do you miss me?

Will I be able to wake up soon without thinking of you?

Was it me?

Will I ever be able to wear that necklace again?

When you come for me, will it be too late?

Are we capable of being real long enough to form a decent relationship?

Have you forgotten the way we used to look at each other?

Do you look at her in the same way?

Why wasn’t I enough?

Why am I the option, never the priority?

If it’s not you, will the one I end up with make me feel a fraction of the best I felt with you?

How long will that conditional, “If it’s not you…”, linger?

Would we always find time to dance on bridges?