worse for the wear

this is the poem i don’t want to write.

this is the poem that is not beautiful.


or maybe it is,

because it is true.


the truth is,

i wish she were worse for you.


the truth is,

i wish she would just disappear.


i wish she were not so much like me.

it would be easier to hate her.


for both

of us.


the truth is,

she is good for you.


the truth is,

she is better for you


than i

would be.


i try to woo you with

my words, mystery,





but the truth is,

i’ve never had a healthy



it feeds the


poetry, but not

the living.


the truth is,

if she disappeared


tomorrow, i would not

know what to do.


i would probably

cry for you.


and then

for me.


i am the one who

should disappear.


i am the one who

is worse for the wear.








i wake in the night to a

different realm; pulled from


my fuzzy yellow refuge. the

voices i meet are darker, thicker,


carrying something un-

speakably heavy across the


dimensions. every one i have

ever known—even my own


sisters, mother, father: sleeping

just feet from me—feel thousands


of memories away. i alone am

standing watch; am a crumbling wall


between what i thought i knew and the





i don’t know why they are

visiting upon me; but one thing


i do know as i crouch in the deep-

dark pockets of the hallway, shaking


and weeping and lost:      i am


i used to be

to take the edge off,

at least during the day,

at least during waking, non-


working hours; to go about

your routines, together but

alone, talking past each other:


slipping out to the ledge just to

see where it could all end; looking

back at where you’ve been because


you can’t imagine what hasn’t

happened yet. eye contact is a

commodity;      to hold it      is a luxury.



while waiting for your phone call

as soon as you leave

i feel it:


the immense sadness,

the emptiness, the




it makes me wonder

why i’m here; what my


purpose is

outside of you;


outside of

bringing your life into




this house, this rent,

this uneaten food in the



as soon as i’m alone,

every thing is vast and open


and possible



beautifully vacant.


it makes me think

and want to create


and fill up the spaces

with music and dance and




this piano, these poems,

this uncooked



how can something be

so delicious and so alone—


electric in one moment,

and dead the next?


it’s a long, long road,

up through this fissure


into the dark hollow of



it’s the only way

to move and be moved;


it’s the only

way—up, up—


and it’s










you are not



even when you

want to be.


you are surrounded by

a big black hole of


energy–an effigy

spinning at the speed of


the catastrophe you

place yourself in-


: again and again, just

so you can test the





i wrote that poem

while sitting in a

waiting room. every

room is a waiting

room, really: a moment

wanting to bloom, to

become, to sing forth

like a glass of warm

rum and a night of

stars. my messages to

you are one-way, like

prayers—red-eye wishes

in a bottle, floating out

to sea—bobbing, whispering:

see me, see me.


in the high note

it started out high, the sharp white zig-zag of electricity


zinging from sky to sand; people walking hand in

hand, as if nothing were happening, as if every-


thing happening between them was all that

mattered, was all they saw. i saw the ground


being split open, and shards of sand singeing to

glass; i saw a mass of people being murdered by


the elements. i saw. but i was walking alone, along the

beach, my head full of static things i couldn’t shake.


then, suddenly, a piece of me was transported to

you, to the home of your face: your eyes, your


laughing mouth, the glow of your hair sweeping

down and across as you spoke into and about


machines. i was there in spirit; i watched you pace

the floor, chew your lip, glance up through those


black & gold strands to track on the tv. i saw. i wanted to

be seen, but i knew i was incomplete, sitting there in a


vapor stupor—feeling a solid betrayal.

this is not how i wanted this to happen:


this is not how i thought it would be. i should

feel utter glee right now, sitting two feet from


you in your unarmored air; but instead i feel sick.

somehow you discover me there, place your steady


hand on my hair, smooth back my fever, whisper

gently that i need to go. i know—


i know it’s time to move on beyond this non-being;

beyond this waiting and wanting and wishing.


but—to hear your voice, to see you mime that note, to watch you

scoop up the moment with your arms and sing to the four walls—


was a private sacred beauty that will devastate me forever.