spring 2016 poetry.

I finally dug this up again. For a few years I’ve been trying to write more poetry and so keeping a drabble file for each semester (or thereabouts) in which I just write whenever it occurs to me. My 2015 files were lost when that computer died, but I still have the hard drive and I do mean to try to recover them if I can; we’ll have to see. This is the spring 2016 stuff, and it’s honestly not particularly bad nor good, but I did write it, and that’s been hard sometimes. Fighting past the fear of vulnerability is something I need to do more of. Obviously, most of this is “damnit I miss my boyfriend” poetry, but what else are you gonna write when you have a boyfriend worth missing and a whole ocean holding him back from you?

spring 2016
I. valentine’s day is in two weeks
i haven’t seen you in far too long
and i feel kinda dead inside
too many days since i kissed you
or held you while you cried
i’m doing fine without you
but it’s occurred to me
that a piece of me is locked up
and i think you kept the key

II. phone call
you called me
when you couldn’t sleep
(i can’t tell you
what that did to my heart)
and said can you please
read until I fall asleep
I said sure
grabbed Plato’s Republic
and wondered but didn’t ask
why it belongs to Plato
if Socrates is the only one
to say anything of worth
in it
and thought briefly of
the passing on of dreams.
and I read about two-thirds
of book six
stopping halfway to ask
“why is it that the ancient Greeks
thought everyone went to hell?”
(out loud this time)
but you didn’t answer, I don’t
know if you were asleep by then
but when I reached the end of the book
I asked
twice
three times
maybe four
if you were asleep, can you hear me?
sweetheart are you awake?
and I heard you move
and realized that my voice
was echoing in a room
half a world away
and you were there
and I was not
and how I want to be home

III. a desert in the wintertime
I am lost for meaning
the sun isn’t coming back
and this room is more
shell than surroundings
and yet terrifying, the venture out
am I enough to do this
without regretting it?
and why does nothing feel
like I feel it anymore?

maybe it’s the foot of snow outside

IV. special delivery
so this morning I was missing you
in my lonely little room
and a buzz came at the door
and I went down the hall
“erika?”
“ja”
“du har fått blommor”
“jaså”
delivery man walks away
“tackar” says I
inspecting the paper cone
for a name other than mine
only a few people have this address
several layers of torn paper later
how did you know
I like red carnations
when I never told you that
except in my head
I knew it was you
before I turned over the card
and now my room is a little brighter
with your love blooming in my window
(the vase is a thermos
but never mind that, love)
the universe knows what it’s doing
when it comes to you and me

V. better days
there are birds tweeting
a dark curtain has risen
between me and world

VI. sadness
you say
you don’t want to make me sad
how can i respond
1. too late
2. it’s okay if you do
3. you don’t
three is a lie,
one and two together
are mostly true
it’s okay if you make me sad
it means i love you
it means you are a human
it therefore means i love a human
reassuring, i suppose
but darling don’t worry so much
life is
life will continue to be
i don’t ask you to
smooth the road for me
i just ask you to
walk it at my side
it is enough that way
you are enough for me
you, as you were made

VII. in the third space
yes i know
i took my headachy day
and gave it to you
and expected you to be
excited, i guess
but thank you
for reading to me
(even if i did correct your pronunciation)
and making me giggle
you wheedle secrets from me
that i forgot i had
and then tell me the adorable story
of what happened after i walked away
the day i met you.
i never felt so happy
as i fell asleep
after spending the night with you
in the third space
between the phones

VIII. haiku
I miss you always
in the night but never so
much as at breakfast

IX. hometown
I stood on the pavement today
the smell of cigarette smoke
and the fizz of someone else’s diet coke
half a world away
bubblegum pink hair on the girl walking by
and I thought about the deep old bonds
you share
with the people you know in your teens
and remembered the boy I didn’t know
who committed suicide
when I was a sophomore.
People still write on his Facebook wall
and I remember Coach saying
he was a good kid.
I didn’t know him.
His friends wrote things like,
“I remember when you told me to take it easy,”
“I remember when we listened to this song,”
“I remember going driving on the back roads,”
“I remember dancing all night long,”
(probably at senior prom in the gym with a load of other sweaty couples in the spring night air)
and it strikes me that though you never
quite know what another person’s life was
sometimes, when you share something important,
you can guess
you can guess the late summer drives
and the chill in the twilight air,
you can guess the laughter and the friends
and the gladness you found there
you can guess the nostalgic feeling for every spot that you drive past
it’s all too bad it doesn’t last
and I’m here half a world away,
talking to people who grew up
speaking other languages
living in other towns
where the story wasn’t the same,
and yet I remember this boy I didn’t know,
and now someone who remembers him
is half a world away

X. floating in limbo
we met
we fell in love
which can take
anywhere from three seconds to three years.
had it been three years
before I left
we probably would be fine
had it been three seconds
we never
would have seen each other again
as it was
I had three months left
but I fell in love with you
in three weeks
and the remaining nine
are a sweet
torturous memory
I would not wish on anyone.

XI. a story my mom told
to my mother one year
for christmas
my dad gave a necklace
of the prettiest blue
you ever did see
and my mother,
in her beauty and sarcasm
and strange cackly sense of humor,
said that it had happened
like this:
“some shady dude
beckoned your dad over
to the trunk of his car and
said ‘hey, bustah…
i gotta deal for you.
what color are your wife’s eyes?'”
and dad just smiled
and that was love

XII. if i were guinevere
if you died
or disappeared
and I never
smiled again
that’d be sad
and all of course
but wouldn’t things
be easier then?

XIII. springtime
yesterday it was warm
and when i went for milk
and tripped headlong into a bookstore
my jacket up round my ears
was too warm
so when i left
with a book of poetry
i tugged it down
but today it is snowing again
and all i can think of
is wild raspberry smudges
on my bare summer wrists

XIV. lonely up here
i have spent too long
looking through windows to
other people’s loves

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