here first. until we are there.

fragment

today, a list.

1. Perfect things (surprisingly, they’re not mind-blowing) sneak up on you. I think it is hope that floats, happiness well it just is. The way you know your heart, the way you know your mother is gone, the way you know that living is the only response to everything and anything. And not in spite of, but because of. 

how strange that the happier things that have come have always been tinged with some sort of sadness. sunlight has a touch of the dark, only because it always holds you. only because love is infinite.

2. It really is easier to hate yourself, than to always say, “No, I will not let you do this to me anymore.” Too many voices have tried to tell us otherwise, and too loudly and with too much certainty. Also, no matter how much dye goes on my hair or lipstick on my lips—it takes courage to truly say, “Because I’m worth it.” 

It here means everything. I’m worth everything. And in that way, nothing too.

3. Oh love, may your heart break everyday, may it never be completely whole. 

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years pass, not to heal, but that they do.

In Place of Emotion


120 pounds of absence weigh heavy
on the body. When they said, depression,
they meant as opposed to elevation;
not a case of psychiatry, but one

of topography. Death, they did

say, would shake, shatter the world,

yet there were only fissures, only ruptures,

as if land does not believe in endings. Only the slow

release of grief, as steam unfurling into the air.

Just sadness writing its own space, its own geography.

While beneath, blood curdles
thick, a compression of the living

that is left to be done, to its own.

and years pass, not to heal,

but that they do. A study in geology.

A map now reads new countries

in pink relief on brown, worn skin.




i still catch myself in the act/of performing

I would like to write a poem
About how my father taught me
To ride a bicycle one soft twilight,
A poem in which he was tired
And I was scared, unable to disbelieve
In gravity and believe in him,
As the fireflies were coming out
And only enough light remained
For one more run, his big hand at the small
Of my back, pulling away like the gantry
At a missile launch, and this time, this time
I wobbled into flight, caught a balance
I would never lose, and pulled away
From him as he eased, laughing, to a stop,
A poem in which I said that even today
As I make some perilous adult launch,
Like pulling away from my wife
Into the fragile new balance of our life
Apart, I can still feel that steadying hand,
Still hear that strong voice telling me
To embrace the sweet fall forward
Into the future’s blue
Equilibrium. But,

Of course, he was drunk that night,
Still wearing his white shirt
And tie from the office, the air around us
Sick with scotch, and the challenge
Was keeping his own balance
As he coaxed his bulk into a trot
Beside me in the hot night, sweat
Soaking his armpits, the eternal flame
Of his cigarette flaring as he gasped
And I fell, again and again, entangled
In my gleaming Schwinn, until
He swore and stomped off
Into the house to continue
Working with my mother
On their own divorce, their balance
Long gone and the hard ground already
Rising up to smite them
While I stayed outside in the dark,
Still falling, until at last I wobbled
Into the frail, upright delight
Of feeling sorry for myself, riding
Alone down the neighborhood’s
Black street like the lonely western hero
I still catch myself in the act
Of performing.

And yet, having said all this,
I must also say that this summer evening
Is very beautiful, and I am older
Than my father ever was
As I coast the Pacific shoreline
On my old bike, the gears clicking
Like years, the wind
Touching me for the first time, it seems,
In a very long time,
With soft urgency all over.

“Like Riding a Bicycle” by George Bilgere, from The Good Kiss. © University of Akron Press, 2002.

it is monday morning, i am at work but still thinking of the dream from which i awoke, angry and sad that even in my own subconscious i still believe that betrayal is in my cards. and realizing that in the end, for all my harping about the importance of weakness and vulnerability, i still trust no one enough. i have hidden in the veneer of clever chatter and really good make-up the fact that i am still a thirteen year old.

because to allow myself to be truly affected by someone, to say you will affect me and will affect me deeply, means that your disappearance or loss will force me to learn a new way of breathing.