the cage 2.0

as a natural predator,
you must be able
to detect
how my heart flings itself
like a finch, near
suicidal with fear
against the curves of my rib
cage when I see you.

I see you
lying there in the grass
trying to look
like an innocent thing,
but we both know
what you really are.

we both know how
easily you can scent
my tiny mouse’s heart
racing, my cowering blood
lively and delicious
with terror, all you have
to do is taste the air
with your forked tongue.

the science of saying goodbye

you don’t want
to let go. you’ve held on
for this long, it’s got to be worth it
in the end. you think if you
can only rewrite history,
invent a time machine,
just go *back* and fix
what you did wrong, and
maybe by some miracle she
will hear the light,
see the error
of her ways, she’ll just
love you enough, in
the right way
to be the person
you wanted her
so much to be.

this can’t be
the end; your side wasn’t heard
enough, the story
didn’t give you a chance. if only
you could make her
understand your point
of view, everything would
be okay. you think
about what you would say,
rehearse the conversation
in your head
over and over, argue it
so many different ways
like a lawyer before a judge
or a rabbi debating
the Talmud. you know
in your heart
if she would only listen,
you could talk her around.

but.
the person you’re talking to
in your head never existed.
it’s not her, and the real girl
is gone. talking to ghosts
and creating thought forms
to fill your loneliness with avatars
never did anyone
any good.

you took on her problems
as your own, because if
whatever was wrong was
your fault, your responsibility, your burden
or you could have done more
then you can try again, you can
mend the fences, and somehow
make it right. but here’s the thing:
you can’t.
you couldn’t. sure you
could probably have
tried harder. but in the end
you were still only half
the equation. if you
could have fixed things,
they wouldn’t still be broken.

the scariest thing
about letting go
is admitting that
there is nothing you can do
to make the other person
think
behave
believe
want
need
or feel
the way you want them to.

if you want a proof against God,
there it is. no one is coming
to magically fix things,
to make life fair.
you can’t change her mind.
nothing you do
can make her other
than she is. stop hoping.
stop praying. cut off
all the ties
of thought and energy and love
that are pouring out of you
every second you spend dreaming
about things being
other than they are.

leave her be.
maybe she’ll find
her way back to you
someday. but no force
of God or man
will make that happen.
it’s beyond your control.
save yourself before
the dead child that is
your relationship
drags you down to the
bottom of the ocean. cut
yourself loose.

you’ll find that eventually
it gets a little easier
to breathe, your burden becomes
a little lighter,
without that albatross
around your neck. or you could
dance with her ghost for the next
ten years. the choice is yours;
I know what I’ve done, and I don’t
recommend it. you too
can learn the science
of saying goodbye.

arm candy

I get it now. you want a girl
that looks pretty
on your arm, that does art
but only insofar as it doesn’t
compete with yours.
you want a girl
that you can write poems about –
about her beauty and about
what it’s like to have sex with her,
that’ll make all the dudes jealous, for sure –
but who definitely won’t
write any back.
the last thing you want
is a girl who will write an ode
to the back of your neck
at the drop of a hat, a girl
who isn’t always
perfectly coiffed or styled or
perfumed, a girl
who talks too much
and too loudly, a girl who might
take attention away from you.

whereas I want a boy
that will write poems about me but
also appreciate it
when I reciprocate,
who will have a show with me
where we both read the poems
we wrote
in competition and in collaboration
via correspondence.
I want a boy
who will encourage my art almost
as much as his own, who will celebrate
me as much as I celebrate him.
I want a boy who
likes me for me and likes himself
enough to let me love him.

so
I guess you’ll have to look
somewhere else
for your arm candy, and I’ll
have to look elsewhere
for my Real Boy.

our kids

if we had children, they
would be geniuses.
this much is quite apparent
to me. any child of my loins
would already be
blessed by my most
excellent genes – maybe a little
bipolar, slight chance of being
a raging alcoholic, and
almost certainly have ADD – but!
she would be smart enough and deep enough
to handle those minor
issues and use her problems
as raw material to
become an artist.
not better than me,
of course,
but she could thrive
quite comfortably
in my shadow.

and you! you’re not too shabby
yourself. you’ve got a first-class
brain, a selfless and noble heart,
and eyes that are pretty
cute, the way they
twinkle when you smile.

yes, our children would be
a true boon and blessing
to all humankind.
it’s too bad
that I have no desire
to throw away
18+ years of my life raising one,
(let alone more)
and you presumably
have no desire to father one
on me.

posterity will have to settle
for our brilliant art,
hilarious jokes and
exciting personalities.
such a shame about that.

changed

something is different about me
tonight.
is it my outfit?
(dressed down for once)
did I get a haircut?
(shorter and blown out)
is it my mood?
(calm, cool and collected,
for once I’m not flipping out.)
actually,
it’s all of the above.

did you notice?
oh. wait.
I just juked the stats
by asking you to your face.
you noticed one out of three,
or at least the one I asked about.

never mind.
I’ll just have to wait
for the next time I do
something different.

the wall

I think
the thing I love most about
trying to love you
is the way you stand firm
against all my battering and striving.

I can throw myself at you
with all my might
like waves in the ocean
ceaselessly crashing
against a sea wall,
and you withstand it.

if you showed any signs of weakness,
wavering, or hesitance, I would
have had to be afraid
that I could actually
realize my dreams and desires.
that is not a prospect
devoutly to be wished, at all.
it seems the more hopeless the outcome,
the more I want it.

this is why I’m glad that your maze
is so very big and wicked. I can fight
it all I want; there’s no getting through.
a whole different fear
would suddenly appear
if I were to make it through to where
you live inside your castle.
that’s the place
where I lose all my bravery
and my armor. luckily I’ll never
find out, because you’re a great Wall
and I’m just the lonely,
ever-seeking sea.