Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Size of the Past: An Ode to Sharon Van Etten (And Me)

I used to write these poems,
They weren’t good,
Really, I know that they were
Nothing that made much
Sense at all.
I’d mix in some words
In between a couple videos
Or pictures

And to me,
It was beautiful.
I swear, it made perfect sense
To me,
At least.
Almost no one would
Remark about these—
In fact, one friend said,
(and I can’t be mad at the honesty):

“I don’t really get it;
I just like your stories
So much more.”

That’s fine,
I guess.
The thing is,
This was a story
Just the same,
And sometimes it’s easier
This way

Like, to me,
It seems ridiculous
The way Layla won’t just
Hop on the bed:

She sniffs,
And sniffs,
And shuffles up to it,
Until, satisfied,
She makes a giant leap
And even then, she sniffs me,
My book, my arm,
Like she’s never seen me before.
Then she kneads her paws,
Slowly, steadily
Until she’s satisfied,
and she'll curl up in my arms,
her paw on my hand.

It’s totally ridiculous,
But it’s just her way.

I wrote this essay
About my ex-best friend
And how I cut her out
Of my life
But I was angry with it,
I kept sniffing at it,
Not sure what to do.

Found all these pictures
To go with the words,
But they didn’t make sense
Like this won’t make sense.
Because it was about her
and about something else

("It wasn't about me, so I didn't care,"
he said, without a hint of irony.)

You get that, right?
Tell me you get it.

The thing is,
I don't expect anyone to get it, really,
other than me,
And I know this time
you won't care to stop me
and say anything;
in fact, you probably won't read it at all.
That's fair; I get it,
I swear, I do. 

But I’d be lying if I said
I didn’t secretly hope
You’d look at me
And say:
“I get it; I always got it”

Because while I never meant to linger
I never meant those looks
Sometimes I can help it
And sometimes I can’t help but not.

It’s totally ridiculous,
But it’s just my way.

Tomorrow I’m going to see Sharon Van Etten sing
I already know the slightly
Mournful way I’ll feel
If and when she sings
“Give Out”
cause it’s just like
when you don’t look at me

and all I'm doing is looking (and you know it) or you do look at me but I can’t bear to look up (and you know it) 

“There was your breath on the back of my neck/ The only one holding/ The only one I had felt In years”

When I looked up from the table,
You were devastating.
I remember the way I watched you
That time,
I was late (I'm always late)

From across the street
I waited for the light to change
You were there,
Just waiting.

It scared the shit out of me.

Like how it scares me that you get me
So completely
Yet don’t,
Not at all.

You’re right, you know?

But still: You’re wrong, you’re so wrong.
As long as I think that, then maybe I can still be right.

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