to Diablo, who has recently died

just when I thought
the tide of grief was receding, it
rushes in again. fuck. you
know how much I loved you, right?
please tell me you did. I couldn’t
bear it if I thought you died
not knowing.

I’m sorry that I wasn’t much use
to you at the end. I learned
something about myself and how
I’m really not much good with
the dying. you were a great little
guy, with a huge heart. everyone
who ever knew you
loved you. you tried to go home
with every delivery guy.

you were often naughty, and
that made you wonderful. you
were more like a dog
then a cat, which I must admit
I often found annoying. but you
were so smart, and so human;
I swear you understood
every word I said.

you chose me
that day 15 years ago, and
I never regretted it.

I hope you come back to me
when you’re ready.

3:20

things are different,
in the dark. in the middle
of the night when I’m
the only one awake – even
the cats are sleeping, and
the birds not even dreaming
of their stupid little chirps
for hours yet – my mind
starts to play tricks
on itself. thoroughly unfun
little games like “let’s remember
twelve times I was
hideously embarrassed”
one hopscotching to another
reaching back as far
as I can remember;
or “how many moral failings
can I count in the next
hour”; or “let’s analyze
every interaction
I had this week to see
who hates me and what
I’ve done to deserve it”
and nothing stops it because
there’s nothing else
to do.

that’s when
I get up and smoke
yet another cigarette, shivering
in the cold air from the
open doorway, feeling
it’s my just punishment
for still being awake –
if I had gone to sleep
two hours ago
like I was going to, when
I actually felt sleepy,
I wouldn’t feel the need to do this
to myself right now – but
helpless
in the face of the relentless
assault of a mind
brewing up horrors –
like when you go too long
without eating and your stomach
starts digesting itself – I
desperately take the stopgap,
in the hopes that this distraction
will give me a break.

that’s why sometimes
I wait until dawn
to sleep, when at least life
is happening.

because
the darkness breathes
at me. things that are not real
seem dreadfully, hugely
powerful, and only daybreak
robs them of their strength.
I suffer for that choice too
but sometimes
it feels necessary.

I’m sorry. I fear
you daywalkers
will never really
understand.

flawed

I’m sorry
that I’m such a passive-aggressive weirdo
who causes drama
and pretends to be
so haughty and aloof
when in fact I am a boiling mess
of seething feelings
that I try so hard
to cover up
and deny because
the last thing I want to admit
is that I still care
way too much
when it was never warranted.

there was never an us.
you’ve said it
time and time again.
I know. but it rankles
like a thorn in my paw
and I can’t bear to admit
that I wasn’t your type.

I’m sorry
that I made you think
that I no longer value you
as a friend and as an artist
when that was never
the case.

I just can’t bear
to be straight with people
when the situation makes me
feel lesser than, unwanted,
not good enough. I have way
too much pride.

you deserved better.
you were a good friend
to me when I needed it.
you tried to let me down easy,
but I insisted
on making it hard.

my whole life
I’ve had to learn
everything the hard way.
I guess
this is no exception.

those noodles

they’re amazing. so
good. and yet, in
the end, he still left.
he loved her, and
she did everything
right. but
she didn’t seem
to need him anymore.

he didn’t see
the way she looked up
as if missing him already,
as if she sensed the
finality in the deliberate way
he walked out the door. and
she didn’t see
the way he smiled
with pride and eyed
the line of customers
waiting outside
the newly revamped
noodle shop, which
somehow became
famous mere moments
after serving her first
customer.

he told himself
she’d be fine
without him.
she had her
childhood friend
to look after her,
and her shop to run
and her boy to
take care of.

so he hit the road.
with no reason
to mentor her,
no excuse to be
near her, it was
the last thing
he knew how to do.