There are times it becomes painfully
obvious that you are a novelist’s son:
when the words you feed to me come
off as sickly-sweet, a deceit held up solely
by my desire to believe the vision,
lucid and luminescent,
I sense at the pit of our passion — times
I realize how much I lose of me when
you recast scenes through your narrative
conceit — times I question our standing —
times I see you would prefer me
as another pretty absence.
I never asked to wage war
for control — and at your core,
you know that has never been the goal
of poetry, nor a part of me at all. I cut
my tallness to tinder; I boil and bake
my calling to scrawl you odes
and sonnets. I bawl.
Honey, my aches are made of more
than broken nerves and ligaments,
made of more than cold. I beg you
to understand me: I am trying
to give romance some soldiering
chance between these insecurities, to fight
the vanity, the half-captivity we breed.
You do not fight for me.
And it is not enough, any longer,
to base sureness nor fondness upon
knowing you do not always
fight against me. I have never
been your enemy. I am no imposing
army. I tended to your need.
I can dine all I like on the shining
platters your present in recompense,
but it renders them no less empty.
I’ve had my fill of meager
feasts and barren feeling.
I was wrong to have come.
I once, twice, far too many times
asked you to let the tight clasp
of my past, the fist of dreams,
to pass by our bedside quietly —
a request yet denied. I do not wish
to hide from love, simply to move on.
You no longer witness my grace,
nor silence my song. You remember,
when you met me, so much made you
angry — you seethed at my terror,
mocked me, bared your teeth.
You want me to live beyond trauma:
beyond the fright, the night screams,
the might of another man’s life. But
you wish this in order to possess me.
You want me to veil my shame, obscure
the ways it has marked each part of me.
I cannot reassure you beyond this further
living. Such a thing requires time, not vows, and is
itself a promise from which I must bow out for
now, one I have been warned before that I may
lack the power to keep.
I know now
the true farce in that mythology,
and have climbed from the understory
in order to breathe. I will keep climbing.
It does not matter if
you were ever behind me.
You see, darling,
still means something. Do not be fooled
by the gravity held in my echo, by any
lack of footing. My word creates my holding
place. It is a city. My word does not weep.
It means something.
It must, or else all the ink I’ve braided,
plaited, looped and patterned across
pages does not matter. It must, or, shattered,
their meaning will scatter. It must, or the sweat,
tears, and paint I’ve spilled like blood to frame
will stop my very heart.
Mine is still
a heavy will.
Honestly, honey, I’d love your side
of the story: tell me there is some
truth in us. Show me your love.
I am no one’s cover-up.
I am a rope to hold you close.
I am a sunrise blush.
I stop your tongue.
I am more
than you ever
gave to us.
Show me your love.
Angel, I do not ask for much.