Tuesday, 6 December 2011

[this is what i should have said]

 [The Smiths]

Midnight walk, we were bundled in our wool coats.
I remember you told me:
“We don’t have to listen to The Smiths anymore”
But I like the Smiths I said.
I understood what you meant,
I’m listening to the Smiths again.

I remember lying in your bed,
The sheets mummifying my bare legs,
Us listening to sad French music.
I remember sobbing and not knowing why.
I remember every moment of pain and sound.

I think I’ve been solitary forever,
Your ghost arms never existed.
I remember you haunting me night after night,
Lying in bed with the sheets mummifying my bare legs,
Crying and lying, crying when I shouldn’t have.

I recall your lips on my hair
And the dip of skin under your neck,
Your legs so long and wrapped around mine,
Like you were afraid I’d fall off the planet of your bed.
I lay and cried when I shouldn’t have.

“She loved me, she was in love with me”
you told me.
You lied lied lied,
Lied as your legs touched mine,
Swinging on the beam so high in the barn I could have fallen.
Delirious, I focused on the creases in your cords.

Want want want, and miss,
You said
And lied.
My eyes were misty from all the lying and crying
That I shouldn’t have done.

I wrote poetry, pages and pages
That you didn’t deserve.
I waited and waited with Holiday and Simone,
Adding too much Italian parsley to my meals because
It tasted like you.
I waited and your hair got shorter and your eyes wilder
And the tenderness was gone.
Heat was on my back and you lingered still,
The ghost of you that never existed
Wanted to be
So badly
So so badly.
But the lies got deeper and
I knew.
I knew that I had woken up
And you had dissolved
While I lay and cried.

I remembered we had discussed what our children would be called,
While we walked.
We walked everywhere in one place,
We never walked forward.
But I remembered it differently.
I remembered how wide your lips stretched
When you smiled
At me.
But I forgot too,
I forgot the haze of your face,
The one when you wanted me to be someone else.

I remembered winter and my wool sweater,
The one you called boxy.
I remember wanting to leave my body;
If I stared long enough at my wine glass
I would be the one you wanted.
I remembered it so differently
All those times
I lay in bed and cried when I shouldn’t have.

I remembered looking at myself
But ignoring my reflection
Thinking it would change,
Knowing you wanted it to.
Seeing Helen’s gaze,
Your smooth white eyes
“I love you.”

But I kept remembering it so differently
I kept remembering you passionately,
Talking about Camus and Morrissey
And the farmhouse we’d have.
I kept remembering drinking white wine in the tub,
Your pale legs surrounding my body,
Frail with delicacy, with your insecurities.
I’d remember Miles Davis and dancing in the kitchen,
While you cooked,
You always cooked.
Broken bottles of wine on the sidewalk
And your green corduroy shoulders,
“I’m heartbroken.  Nothing is as sad as a wasted bottle of wine.”
Oh, but things are,
Things are as sad.
As I lay crying in my bed after you,
My ghost.

I remembered all the wrong things as I tried to forget,
And feared all at once.
Anxious for your arms,
Never realizing that they never existed at all,
Forgetting that they were false arms,
False praises and kisses,
Meant for someone else.

I would rage, I would storm,
Then I would fall into gutters,
Walk miles just so I wouldn’t feel my legs,
The ones you had once touched.
The places where you touched me burned.
Then I would curl on the edge and cry,
Curl like a child again,
Innocent, like I could take it all away.

I smoked in my windowsill,
I did,
Even though I got nothing from it
But brooding
And bad breath.
And I knew it wasn’t me but thought,
Maybe you’d get it.
Maybe my billows of despair would mean something to you,
But I was thinking of someone else.
Just like you were too.

- Then I left.

I escaped my body, hoping to escape my mind,
But your ghost followed me and spoke French,
Played me French music as I lay in my bed,
Farther farther farther,
But still thinking of the lies and hoping to make them truths
In another language.

I connected jazz and wine to you,
To your legs so gangly and crossed,
- I always remembered those legs!
But I couldn’t hear your steps anymore,
When they approached me and I would pretend not to notice,
When I acted oblivious to your beauty.
I guess I lied too.

The fleeting thought of you would come back,
Never dead
But I wished you were.
-       sometimes. 
I wished you’d met someone else,
Told someone else how cute you thought she was,
Sticking your tongue in her ear,
Half proposing
But only being half-crazy enough to do it.
I wished you would have done it to someone else,
Not me.
And I guess you did too.

I remember you telling me she was your soulmate.
“But it could never be like that. It could never be.”
Do you remember the way that canonball hurled into my chest?
No, you don’t.
You had made me believe I was your soulmate
But that was one of your lies.
I swung my feet on the beam in the abandoned barn.

You had wished my last name were something else,
Your obsession.
My childish ways were too much for you,
You hated when I sighed (my foundation was being eaten by moths)
You imagined I’d grow into you,
But I never did.

I was so broken by you,
I remember that.
I was so angry!
So hurt by your lies
-       this poem can’t express how hurt!
I remembered, but learned to forget
As I lay in bed and stopped crying.

I remembered that I didn’t want to be her,
I wanted to only be me,
Boxy wool sweaters,
Too many dresses,
Hair that kept growing without your permission.
I decided I liked it.
I liked forgetting and remembering,
The memories folding on each other like layers.

I liked forgetting your crooked nose,
Leaving it to her,
She can have it,
It grew longer with all your lies anyways.
I liked smiling and knowing my legs were mine
And not yours.
And I liked my legs.

Your memory would pass over faintly,
Like a song,
Like a ghost,
And I would wonder if I had only been dreaming.

(This is what I should have said)

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