For Eileen Myles (New Generation Beat)
He licked his lips but not at me. I watched his eyes walk by, glazedly, hanging their thumbs on their belt loops oh so casual. We had only just arrived and he was already leaving but of course that was fine. I could wait. I did, and then I left.
Walked home, everything felt like burning, burnt, burn-it. I wanted to fall asleep and cry also. Can’t fall asleep while I’m walking. This makes me angry and tug on my shirt- stupid clothes and why do I wear little ass shirts that make me feel like a girl on the street walking home who is feeling like burning sleep crying cry can’t?
I like that, like the look of my shadow under the store’s evening awning, look at it, but I’m alone under the awning and look strange standing there. People in pairs wonder why I’m there, so I pretend to be waiting for someone but then I realize they’re not leaving and then I forget that I’m not really waiting for someone so I’m there for a long time waiting, getting all pissy at someone for not showing up on time again, and then I realize all the people in pairs are gone and so I can go, too, now.
I remember I’m tired. I haven’t slept much in days I think and one of the nights was on a couch because the walk from couch to bed feels lonely in the middle of the night, when nobody is in bed and somebody didn’t show up again, never on time, or ever at all. I think to myself I’ll go to bed now but it sounds all tinny against the sides of my brains so I say it outloud, really outloud, really loud. I’LL GO TO BED NOW.
Another for Eileen
I’m writing this from the toilet,
Where I had to go to pee,
But didn’t want to leave your words
I can breathe with you even as you trap me in the stale cement
And thick paint peeling in summer
From our kitchen walls
I write to you because you love me
That is my lie, for us
My love for you is not a word
I paint my lungs full of air from the space
Between your words
The pauses that belong to you
That came from within you,
That is a lie too;
A Supermarket Again; I am sorry for doing this to your poem, Allen Ginsberg
The many thoughts I have of you, your words your tree, Allen Ginsberg, as you stroll beside me having what thoughts you have about him, Walt Whitman, and we all three climb into the avocado bin to feel how it is to be buried.
I imagine us a family- you, my father, of course, reciting Howl to me, the first time it ever was recited, it must have been, it was the first time I ever heard it- and Whitman, my mother, mother America.
I do not say that to masculinize you, Allen Ginsberg, or to feminize him, Walt Whitman, but just to be true to our family, to us roaming the grocery aisles muttering I Wish I Were Hungry and being so hungry.
When we walk through the night now all three of us will be lonely, and contained within our own lonelinesses will be the distant, scattered footsteps of our family, silent cottages of lost love, and inescapable neon.
But then the morning, the loneliest memory of all- the one we have watered to oblivion. We find ourselves ashore. How did we get here? I ask the ferryman, whose name I can’t, none of us can, remember.