ah long day looking down it like a dark hallway, sometimes you rhyme sometimes you don't. it's the rhythm of it, without expectation to let the groove fall where it may. I'm tired of the things I can think about with my mind. the best stuff cannot possibly belong to me. I wrote a poem when I was 16 called The Stuff of Desire. It was two pages -- the first four lines, written about Meghan Smith during one of those sharp lust attacks in the computer lab, of all places, because our hands had touched over the keys. The rest was Mom cooking rice, something stolen from Corso, something else from Maureen. I had her running along the beach, out past Port Jeff. She would get into a rhythm and then I imagine gulls. Light bodies in the air. I call it autumn, make the sea do something memorable or her face. I could put her in running shorts, a nightgown - like I did at 20 for Michael Koch and when she read it she said, "Did I ever do that? Did I come into your room that night dressed in a nightgown?" She was all hysterical, laughing and little something else. The Stuff of Desire. That was her title, her words, even now they keep trying to come up on my screen, her hands meeting mine on the the keys...
This is not it, but at least I found a way in. At least these are mine.
At Frost Valley she held my hand while my head exploded with snow. It was a blizzard. We were orienteering -- finding our way, losing our way. On Shattuck, in Berkeley after the first real fucked up flashback, it was Maureen's line I took comfort in : "Sometimes we must learn to fall behind before we understand how we can go." She would never have understood this. Would she? The white robes she bought me - had made for me! - "because," she said, "you're the purest thing I know" - could she ever believe I needed her poem because my hands keep rotting on me? The first time she asked, it was like dare: I bet you've never had an impure thought in your life. Name one.
When I was 15 I wrote a poem about jerking off against the bathroom floor. I never used my hands. Even then I wanted to be tied up, and lust was something that held me down, and love was someone who would do it to me. In the silence I heard the car spitting muffled frequencies off the road and thought: if you only knew the things I think to get myself to cum. And then I said, "I can't name a single one."
It's boring to ask what if. We are in the world to love the world. I mean this one, the one I am sitting on right now, on the couch with the TV on and muted and the women in the infommerical doing aerobics backwards in the window that is otherwise completely dark. The world where I said "I can't name a single one" and the rest was history. I accepted the robe but never wore it. The snow fell around us in the woods of Frost Valley, NY. I never went back. It is the story of how I said yes to the world, and how the world said yes back. When I killed her off in the piece for Koch she asked, "I wonder if you're trying to tell me something." And 8 months later when I said No More, she asked, "What are you trying to say?" Some days the words are with you, other times the walk down the hall is long and you do it alone. She sent me my diaries in the mail with a card. She was still waiting. So I am. You always do it alone.