Monday, November 23, 2009


Those benches look as if they could talk to one another.
Now, granted, they would have to shout
Being separated by such a busy street
But talk, they would
If talk, they could
And oh, the things that they would say
About us.

Those fading lights on tepid evenings
That sank us deeper into our cigarettes
And each other
As honesty lifted in the smoke that swirled above our heads
And each passerby pretended not to look
As we made it seem to them as if we actually had something to whisper about
Rather than just something that even we didn't believe ourselves
Even as we said it.

I asked first
On more than one occasion
A role that never should have been my own
But I swallowed
And silent
On more than one occasion
And you soothed my troubled thoughts
With a collection of movements between:
Your head on my shoulder
Your hand on my thigh
And your eyes locked, hard, onto mine
Daring me to continue whatever it was that I was saying in the first place
...Whatever was I saying in the first place?
Whatever you wanted me to say.
Because truth be told, I only wanted you to stay.
And ask me to do the same.

But still
And silent
You never did
For more than one night at a time
And as we would walk from those benches
Feigning our own surprise
Hands clasped together for some kind of warmth
or strength
or pretense
I would already know what morning was going to bring
What morning was going to be-
An honest walk back to where I belong
But further away from who I am
And who I want to be anymore.

And so, I will let you go
I will get you onto paper and out of my system
Off of my fingertips
So that I can breathe in something else for a change
And occupy my thoughts with higher things
Than what it is that I wonder you to be doing
When you don't ask me to come around.

You will walk away
And I won't stare at your back for any longer than it takes
To realize all that I am gaining in your absence now
All that I am finally able to embrace
All that I am finally ready to become.

Out, out!
And I will make you into nothing more than black and white
Shapes and symbols
Tone and tongue
And I will take back what I tried so hard to give to you
But you were not strong enough to hold
And instead, kept at arm's length
Too afraid of what would happen should you draw it closer to your skin
Let it crawl inside and settle down within.

See, I know that there is beauty in this dark room somewhere
But I can't take the time to search for it anymore
The sun is rising and as always, that's my cue to leave
So hear me out just one more time before I do what we both need:
I have never been any less than all I needed to be
And that is so much more than nights like this will ever let you see.

The Long Journey

Everything in me is hating this. Absolutely hating this.
I keep chewing my gum just to keep myself busy- to keep my mouth occupied so I don't scream.
I have no control over this entire situation and I can't stand it.

I stand on the subway platform, surrounded by teems of people- each, quite obviously, in the exact same frustrating predicament as me, and yet, I feel no brotherhood. More like animosity. I'm unsure of why exactly this is- probably simply because my own instincts are attempting to tell me that I don't belong here. That this wait at this platform at this hour was meant for these people- but not for me. So why the hell am I here? When really, what my brain is trying to keep my conscience from asking it is, what right do I have? What sort of privilege do I own at all that allows me to spin my own reality to tell me that inconvenience is allowed to happen to anyone else but me?

A few days before, I moved out of my familiar, comfortable, convenient apartment in Brooklyn in order to sublease it to a friend in need, and save myself from a month's rent that I couldn't afford. So, without fully knowing what I had gotten myself into, I moved a few necessary belongings and my state of being up to Astoria- what I would soon find out to be a strange and distant land, heavy on the distant. The opportunity was offered to me by a generous friend who graciously opened up her home to me for the next month at no cost me. And though I am grateful, I am adjusting and I am uncomfortable. I lament over this decision and how the train changes and my lack of knowledge about said train changes are going to cause it to take me an ungodly amount of time to get back to that place I am sleeping these days.

But there is a place I am sleeping these days.

And every time another minute passes at a different transfer and the train doesn't come and I feel my spirit and legs growing wearier and wearier, I think to myself:
If I take a cab from here, it will only be...
If I take a cab from HERE, it will only be...
And so I consider my options. The very real and viable options that, although financially inconvenient, are actually fairly financially feasible.

But they are my options.

Time passes and I slowly make my way to the home stretch: the final transfer. Finally finding myself above ground, the cabin fever starts to wear off and I pull out my phone to read some news stories and occupy my time, as I have completely lost interest in my book. And as I sit inside the last of these trains that have had me silently complaining for the last two and a half hours, I discover that the number of chronically hungry people in the world how now topped one billion. And that cities across the United States are dealing with a surge in shantytowns as more and more people are losing their homes and are forced to make do with tent shelters on the streets.

I feel the world start to spin again. This time around it's rightful object of orbit- and that's not me.

The train stops. I still have a walk ahead of me. Once again, I consider a cab. I opt that because I have legs, I should probably use them, but my boots and the holes in them seem to disagree. They were unprepared to handle the rain I didn't know was going to fall tonight... and neither was any other part of me. Collectively, we drudge ourselves along these last few blocks as I feel my thoughts spinning inside my head. I hardly feel the cold misty rain on my face anymore. My steps seem to be taking me faster than I remember them taking me before, and I barely even notice the water seeping in and slowly soaking my left foot.

I climb the stairs and enter the apartment and collapse on the bed almost at once, but before I let sleep take me over, I remember something. I'm still chewing that gum. The gum that I had started chewing that night after the long and wonderful dinner I had with a good friend just after getting off work from a job that I enjoy while working with people I love.

That gum that kept me such good company on that long journey to where I needed to be.

I get up. I spit out the gum. I lay back down in the comfortable bed inside of this warm apartment, provided for me by a dear friend.

And I realize:
We have such a long way left to go.