My Most Recent Poem:
Finding You in Every City: On Becoming Well-Traveled and Less in Love
It’s been some time since your boots met my dirt
Casting lines through my dust- my bones.
“I have filled this void with things unreal”
Furiously, I’m still stuffing the cracks with books and cheap frames
and bluegrass music that you never knew how to play-
You were searching for Memphis, New York- a city, a naked lightbulb with a rusty pull-switch — the whiskey woman whose lips could live on your shoulders while you were see sawing the same four stale chords with perfect fingers that were once acquainted with my face.
and I was only pretending.
“I spend my night dancing with my own shadow” and looking for milk in a stream of splinters.
I have only been in love once.
I’m not even sure if it can truly be considered love. It was more abject infatuation. After a particularly rough split from a serious three-year relationship, I met a boy who played the guitar and looked at the world through cynical eyes. I was confused and intrigued: I wanted to kiss every single one of his eye lashes and open them and show him how beautiful the world was. I was blessed with the naive optimism of a seventeen year old girl, and he already had someone kissing his eyes. He also already knew how beautiful the world was. He spent time knowing me in a way that most of my closest friends still don’t know me. I guess I realize now that we didn’t really know each other at all, at least I didn’t know him at all.
There’s not too much this boy ever gave me. I still have a book he leant me- Salinger’s Nine Stories (which I love and read at least once a year), an old t shirt, and a dried corsage that I wore to prom that hangs on the door knob in my bedroom. Perhaps the best thing I have, though, is the poetry that made a nest inside of me after he broke my heart.
I’m not sure how the heart-breaking even went. I think I found out that he had a girlfriend, got really sad, and cried a lot (the more I think about it, the more ‘right’ that sounds). My best friend, Alice, came over to my house with Finding Nemo and a sleeve of Double-Stuff Oreos, and we talked about what a jackass he was. That didn’t seem to do it justice, though. So I started to write.
I never felt compelled to write poetry until this boy. After we stopped talking, the most beautiful, terrifying and sincere strands of words started to crystallize and crawl out of me. I wrote about every single emotion and memory that he pulled from me: the beauty, the pain, the walks in the woods.
Not all of my poems are about him- Most of them are. I can’t ignore the adjectives that my memories of him bring out of me. I harvest them, and I let new things grow in their place- new words that I never knew were inside of me.
Thank you for this gift.
A (still naive, but poetic) twenty-one year old woman.