my days away from you

I think you don’t quite understand
the strange way
my brain and heart work.
I spend my nights in company –
lately mostly yours, though
not nearly enough
alone time (tête-à-tête, if you will,
and oh, how I would love to)
to satisfy my heart –

and then I go home
to find that one of the cats
has puked on the bed
and there’s only leftovers
to reheat and reluctantly,
eventually eat. I play a sad song
fifty times on repeat, smoke
too many cigarettes,
compose, post and delete three poems,
four selfies, thirteen tweets.

and by the time I lie between
the sheets, my mind
ranges far and wide,
reviewing every moment
every look
every dumb thing
I said and/or did
every friend I insulted or offended,
every other man
I led on and talked to, flirted with
I couldn’t bear being
in the same room with you
without being with you,
but especially carefully
I must test the memory
of every accidentally
-on-purpose touch
and imagine the faintest hint
of your response,
seeking to detect the slightest bit
of warmth in your eyes
softness in your voice
electric resonance in your skin.

I feel again all the sensations
and my skin is tingling
as if I’m holding a live wire
but this time I am safe
from myself and from you.
I can’t do anything about these
delicate, intense, intimate
feelings. there’s no danger
that I’ll say something
stupidly real, no risk
of my hand grenade heart
igniting some long-banked
answering fire in you.

eventually I wear myself out.
sleep ambushes me
and I dream fragmented shards
of a mirror world
where we are both brave. waking up
feels like being dragged
up from the bottom
of the ocean; I rush out again
with the tide’s swift and certain need,
drawn by you, my lonely moon,
and by the time I
see you again in the flesh,
I’m so exhausted from all my
solitary imaginings
and agonized reviews
that I can barely hold up my end
of the conversation. I’m sorry.
I’ll try harder to be more present
in your presence
and less intensely tortured
by your absence
when we are apart.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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