Day 1 of 90

Day 1 of 90

When we embarked
on our journey up the coast
you said to me,

“I am so sure about you
about us,
I know it’s been bad but please-
just trust.”

You drove along State route 1,
the name of that highway I had to look up
even now,
because at that time
and even now,
I was so naive even to the roadways
of the nation I inhabit that
I took your hand and ran blind

up the coast of California,
through San Francisco on a scenic route,
watching the sunset over the ocean
from a jacuzzi

with my heart in the boiling water
around our bodies that used to
tangle in soundwaves of lust and
lie mute in the presence of love.

I was so ready to escape that I
did not hesitate to ask,
where are we going and why?

Who am I going with and
will the sky be the same sky
I knew in the desert-

so high like our eyes with no irises
busting with color at the edges
in a pool of all black
and stars so brilliant they knock
your concept of beauty to the wind and
all you’re left with is the breath within
your lungs so scarred by smoke
that you regret you can’t feel it
the way you want to,
you breathe in deep but you choke-
like an unworthy fool
left smiling in blue delight.

I wasn’t sure about the sky
and I can say that I was right but

I was so sure about you,
about us,
drunk on trust.

When we got here I cried,
the moment your 96 Honda growled
across the state line from California
to Washington
and all of the signs showed
the uncanny profile of
infamous George,
my eyes started leaking and I
couldn’t explain why.

You took that as a personal slight and
when we went to the beach and
the biting bugs got me so bad
that I was ill,

It took me throwing up on the grey sand
beneath the grey sky
in the grey mist
the grey spit of you and I,
for you to stop,
look at me,
and care that I was suffering.

We lived in a hotel room for over a month,
and when we finally found a place
that accepted us
we said,

This is it,
our Forever Vacation,
we made it out of the desert and
to the coast but

nobody warned us that the coast
was crawling with vermin
of every size and type.

You were like Columbus in a new land,
afraid but wielding
the mighty dollar in your hand
sampling the fruits and taking your stand
and I
was just a stowaway,
a friend for the Staph and
my own voice echoing in the bathroom and
the bedbugs,
it seems.

Did I have hopes?
Did I have dreams?

Did I imagine that you and me
would fall into each other’s arms like before?

Right there on the carpeted floor
of our third story economy ubiquity
with thigh highs I bought with my meager tips
wrapped around you
with the comforter we bought from Walmart beneath us like a tablecloth for our wilted fruit-

Those stockings were a gift
from Lonely me to Empty you,
black satin with bows at the border,
my new thinner thighs that you
couldn’t help but ignore,
culling your love like a harvest to adore
and concieve so intentionally like
our child,
your seed,

that you planted so carelessly yet
suddenly when He
was growing in me
you said that I was everything,
always had been and why couldn’t I see?

You’ve always been looking at me?
Don’t I know that nothing is free?

And babe I believed with the survivalist in me,
in an instant I was Bear Grylls
drinking my own pee
to conquer dehydration
so everyone could see
that it can be done-
for our daughters, our sons,
for this great nation.

An act of humanity,
An act of love.

When our son was born I suffered alone,
in a dark room connected to monitors,
rolling my gash on a rubber ball that was
meant to help him come along,
or meant to help me manage the pain

of wolves gingerly nibbling
the most tender parts of me and deepening some nameless stain that we all know
by heart and you,

you were sleeping because
you’re always working because
time is money and
we need it to survive and

don’t I know
that ain’t nothing free but

I was terrified,
I could have died.

My mom called me on the phone
to hold my hand from across state lines
and
I talked to her in the courtyard of the hospital,
and all I could think of
as she trickled her love through the line

was

Caleb,
some boy I knew from work
whose eyes were bright but dark the way I like
who liked jazz music and you know,
he rode a bike like
it was the new vintage cool.

He was too young for me I remember,

but in this moment as my body was in mutiny and you were fast asleep on the couch
in my temporary room,
I could only think of him kissing me and

that kiss removing me from this contract of pain and
retracting me back to seventeen,
glowing and sweet and cavalier
with just a touch of sardonic wit.

If only, if only
dreams could be it.
Could take us away from the wretch of
our candles left unlit
by the lovers we
trusted in fits of despair.

Lover I loved you
from the in to the out,
I ripped myself a brand new spout
from which a new well of my love
for you flows,
it’s foreign and ugly but it’s out of my control.

And you’re still asleep on the couch.

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6 thoughts on “Day 1 of 90

  1. Hi K.,

    This is one of your best, maybe the best. It is a real part of you and that is the essence of poetry, that is what so many poets have a problem with, showing something real about themselves in an innovative and lyrical way. You have done that with Day 1 of 90. It is a big poem, rambling, interior, heart-felt, unexpected, and empathetic. You carry a bit of all of us in the words. Today has been a lousy one for me, but this poem gave me some hope as the sun goes down. Thanks. I know you know this song, but there is something in it that reminds me of the poem and you. Duke

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is gritty and real like Duke says. The last line is an artistic masterstroke, because it shifts the perspective from one of wistful recollection to a raw, present moment burst of emotion scribbled down on the nearest piece of paper. Perhaps it was an old receipt from a dollar store, or maybe it was a brown paper bag that concealed a can of beer at the end of the pier. Whatever it was, it became the canvas for the painting you painted while watching your lover dream his own dreams on the couch. And was he actually your lover, and why was he on the couch? Did you dream up your life together as you watched a stranger breathing the deep unconscious breath of sleep on the chesterfield in the local library?

    Great stuff, Bijou.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi K.,

    The poem is still here, it didn’t disappear. THs has absorbed it and made it part of our wall. I started tearing up about one third of the way down. Like I said yesterday, there is much here of a human nature, part of our struggle to be understood, to reach love and a good life, safety and warmth, a future that is not so shitty. Oh well, good luck. Thanks. Duke

    Liked by 1 person

  4. “Lovers we trusted in a fit of despair” – I’ve been there too and made a trek filled with equal parts hope and worry and ended up in a grey place sans friends or family. You caught the resulting despair perfectly. We somehow know but don’t listen or just plain need to flee. After I read your piece, I needed to build something with hammers and nails and screwdrivers because that’s the way I deal with sorrow I can’t contain. I echo Aaron – great stuff!

    Liked by 3 people

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