It’s like that feeling when you miss a step
groping up the stairway in the dark,
trying not to alert the house to your late-night soul searching.
But instead of a step, it’s you that I missed.
My feet find solid ground,
but my hands pass through the space
where I thought you would be,
where you have always been.
And looking back on everything,
I decide that “love” is a funny word,
Because it only ever means what we want it to,
which is almost never anything at all.
Maybe we don’t need each other,
but, more than anything,
we need ourselves.
It’s been so long since those days,
and it seems even longer,
but please, stay here for just a few moments.
I want to see the step I missed, in full glory,
I want to know the things that live in the dark,
And after a while,
after I’ve had my fill,
I will turn the light back off and finish
my way up the staircase to my room,
and enjoy this midnight sandwhich.
It’s like that feeling when you miss a step
She leered, with eyes bulging like the bellies of
starved african children,
paradoxically engorged by years of disuse,
staring deeply into the harsh electric heart of her alarm clock.
“Whisper me your secrets,”
“Tell me how to be like you.”
She would hold it to her chest,
her fingers scrabbling on the plastic,
trying to catch the grains of sand as they slowly fell,
but they always evaded her greedily outstreched palms.
She would lean forward and say to me,
how much she wished things were the way
they used to be,
when in reality, they really only ever seemed that way,
and if I recall correctly, she spent those days lamenting
about how far away her future was.
Your future is now, my little lotus eater, I would say,
and she would laugh at how wrong I was.
How wrong she was.
How wrong everything seems nowadays.
And she would cry.
She cries to the clock as a 11 changes to 12,
another day of her life claimed by the
cancer that is time.
“Whisper me your secrets,”
she would say,
so I put my lips to her ear and gently said
If I could only steal your thoughts to build a bridge,
I would tiptoe the fuzzy borders of logic and reason
and the swirling ocean of emotion below,
gently bombarding the sweeping arches of
Much like New York,
the bridge would seem to strech for an eternity,
and only when we reach the end would we realize,
we’ve been seeing the same faces for miles now,
and if you stare hard enough,
you can hardly tell the difference between
where we were, and where we are.
We pause, if only for a moment,
and I begin to paint your empty face
to match the horizon:
a smile so wide and incomprehensible
that from up close it appears a thin hard line,
but as I drift farther and farther away,
I begin to realize that it is far greater than I,
the curves of it’s majesty defining an entire planet.
That’s what I like to imagine,
when you glare at me,
that that cold, hard line is only a small part,
of something much greater.
And if I could steal your thoughts to make a bridge,
I still wouldn’t understand you,
but at least I could watch the ships float lazily on,
down the river.
Right here ^
Everything that ever was will be has been
Led up to this moment, right
An entire universe of light and matter
For your hand in mine,
For chills down my spine,
For this moment in time.
If you could take the entire sum of existence
And paint it onto a canvas,
I expect it would look something like you do tonight,
A beautiful contradiction,
Cold voids and warm galaxies,
Life and vacuum,
Everything that ever was,
Is at this very second, here.
This is the end of the line.
This poem is dedicated to my oldest friend, Mariah. She has been the hospital for weeks now, battling pneumonia and viral infections, and this is the only thing I can do for her. If you could find it to keep her in your thoughts and prayers (especially prayers) it would mean the world to her.
There was such a sickening silence in that room.
The way the drip-drip of the IV rang off the walls,
The droning beeps of all the machines
That helped me breathe
The click-clack of clipboards and cheap plastic pens.
Every sound amplified my thoughts tenfold,
Anxieties and heart-rate monitors
Beating a hundred times a minute
Inside my chest.
The Doctor paused and said
“One more thing. Smile for me.”
As if I could engineer happiness,
And even if I could,
It would be more sterile than the scalpel
That they used to cut me down to size,
More tasteless than the so-called “Orange Juice”
That they bring me in little paper boxes,
More artificial than the antibiotics
That they pump into my thirsty veins.
Good, she said,
And made a little note on her clipboard.
They say that demons live in hell,
But they have never seen a hospital room,
Whitewashed and just the wrong shade of beige.
The way the shadows dance tribal dances on the walls at night
But these aren’t celebrations of life,
They are spectres of all the things
That shouldn’t be.
And we never notice how quickly life moves
Until it stops.
And here, there is nowhere to hide,
Among the surgical tubing and plastic trays,
Just you and your thoughts.
I pause for a moment,
In between bites of tasteless oatmeal,
And watch the sun shine weakly through the windows,
Playing on motes of dust.
And I am struck by how,
Even here is the coldest of tundras,
Warmth will always find a way in.
And I look over at the letters next to me,
The rose bouqets and loved ones,
And I think of all the hugs that will
Smother me when I come home,
And I know that everything will be fine.
And for the first time
Since I signed my name on the patient sheet,
So I search for symphonies in silence,
Choirs of a thousand angels holding their tongues,
For it is only in nothingness
That we may become something new.
The greatest poems are the ones
That will never be written,
And there is more beauty in one blank canvas
Than in a hundred Mona Lisas.
Yet we have become a people who fear the dark,
We have nightlights and streetlamps
To ward off the blackness,
But if we were to stop for only a moment,
And listen to the stars, they would tell us
You are not alone.
And what are we so afraid of?
Its not as if the void will come and
Swallow us in our sleep.
It used to be that the empty corners of the maps
Were the most exciting places in the world,
But now we shy away from an unlit hallway
And order the same half-caf venti latte
Every day of the week.
You see, Nothing is Beauty, and
Beauty is Nothing,
But somewhere along the way,
From cave paintings to
Scribbling our initials on subway cars
We have come to this conclusion
That is we color inside the lines,
And stay away from sidewalk cracks
That things will somehow workd out for us.
And so, I search for symphonies in silence,
And fill the pages of my notebooks with nothing,
In an attempt to find Peace,
Or what’s left of her.
And while I stand in awe at
The ghoulish calm of a winter morning,
Everone I know cries at songs,
That do nothing but try to fill the void.
That void lives in all of us,
No matter how we try to run.
So turn off your radio,
And put down your pencils.
Listen to the angels sing,
Take my hand, and walk into the dark.
There’s Nothing to be afraid of.
Good morning December!
It has been so long!
To be honest, though,
I haven’t missed you.
With your icy fingers wrapped
Around the skinny neck of the Year,
You spell out
In shiny Christmas tinsel
On every snowy rooftop.
With mirth and cheer
You proclaim an to end that all was good,
And squeeze the joy from everyone.
You bring fat men in sleighs
Who call me a
Ho, Ho, Hopeless
Your death-rattle sounds with
The sounding of party favors
And the bitter ending
Of Twelve months of sweat and tears and joy
Is set to the cheers of millions
Down in Times Square.
‘Tis the season to be jolly,
So fuck off, December.
I’m sick of snowmen and cold sheets.
Go ruin someone else’s month,
Because I won’t let that happen to me,
So, I was walking down to the life store,
Musta been, what, 3 or 4 years ago,
Dejected, my head was down in the dirt,
In my arms was a box full of me.
Of hopes and lies and fears and dreams;
I grabbed everything I could get my hands on,
Stuffed it in, Taped it shut,
Slapped down a sticker with “This side up” on top,
And kicked it down the stairs.
Clunk. Clunk. Clunk.
As it hit the steps,
It pulled the ripcord on my heart,
And with a yawn, it came on,
A sputtering two-stroke motor,
Stuck in first. Hate.
Hate you, Hate her, Hate this, Hate that,
The government, The world, The pope, Myself.
When the box hit the ground,
I slid down the banisters,
And, right before I got to the end,
I jumped, wanting to fly,
But instead I hit the ground and cried.
After an hour or two,
Maybe a week,
I got up, weak to the knees,
And bleeding and shaken and god please,
I needed something to work out for once.
So I picked up the box,
And went to the store.
When I walked in, a little bell on the door went,
I frowned and looked around,
Afraid that someone I knew would see me there.
I placed the box on the counter,
Looked at the clerk and said:
“Gimme everything you got.”
He opened the box, Looked inside,
His eyes went wide and he leaned back and sighed and said:
“You got it all already here.
A brain, bleeding fear,
A heart, torn a part,
A pair of kidneys, screaming for love.”
“Then build me a castle.”
And he did.
It touched the sky, with towers and steeples,
Teeming with dancers and artists and peoples,
Flags fluttering facetiously,
Freaks performing freakishly,
They came from miles away,
To see the gory success story,
Of my former glory, stacked up in
17 stories and an aviary.
But, yesterday, it collapsed,
The walls came down,
The bricks and the building littered the ground,
And all around were little bits of my broken heart.
Now, in pieces, finally freed,
My heart gave a start and upshifted,
And all of the hate and the fear disappeared.
And I turned to love instead.
I love the dirt,
I love the pieces of my castle,
I love the pain and the people I hurt,
But most of all,
I love you.
So I picked up the box,
From so many years ago,
And walked down to the life store.
The bell on the door went “ting-a-ling”
When I walked in,
But I didn’t give a damn
What anyone else thought anymore.
I slammed the box on the counter,
Stared the clerk right in the eye,
“Gimme all you got.”
He opened the box, his eyes got wide,
He leaned back and sighed and said:
“This is an empty box.”
And I laughed and said:
“Now that’s more like it”
I had lived my entire life inside a cave.
Dark walls and damp floors,
Hiding the light of day.
No color, No wind, No light,
I lived in a cave.
Until I saw a single point of light,
Far, far away.
I was afraid, my eyes shrank back in terror.
What was this?
I made my way over rocks and ravines,
Cutting my hands, blistering my feet,
All in pursuit
Of this magical little thing.
After weeks, a lifetime maybe,
I reached the source: A hole, just wide enough
For me to pass.
I made my way, cautiously, into the blinding light.
The wind, for the first time, softly kissed my face.
And I stumbled, blinking, into a meadow.
A field, filled with flowers,
Reds, Greens, Yellows, Blues:
A million colors I never knew existed,
All smiling foppishly at me from below.
And that’s how it felt,
The first time that I saw you.
It has been said,
By many men much wiser than I,
“You are not your thoughts.”
Which is true,
You are not your thoughts,
But you are so much more,
You are the way your smile dances around your lips,
Before it comes out to play,
To light up my life.
You are your laugh,
Everytime I make a dumb joke.
You are interested in the hard brass tacks,
of genetics and astronomy and the whole wide world,
And that is so beautiful to me.
You are your thoughts,
Your actions and habits,
Your loves and fears and dreams and
Everything in between,
The way you make me feel,
Every cell in your blessed body,
All of it, thrown into a blender,
Put on “Liquify”
And mixed into a martini.
And you are the olive on top,
And the glass I use to drink.
I am not my thoughts,
But I think you should know,
I love you.