Day 1 of 90
When we embarked
on our journey up the coast
you said to me,
“I am so sure about you
I know it’s been bad but please-
You drove along State route 1,
the name of that highway I had to look up
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,
drunk on trust.
When we got here I cried,
the moment your 96 Honda growled
across the state line from California
and all of the signs showed
the uncanny profile of
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
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
was just a stowaway,
a friend for the Staph and
my own voice echoing in the bathroom and
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
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
I talked to her in the courtyard of the hospital,
and all I could think of
as she trickled her love through the line
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.