Friday, April 27, 2012


you’re gone, your goneness
fills me, even though I don’t understand it

I have consented to a hypothetical understanding, but the understanding won’t come.
my brain twists towards a working interpretation of your goneness,
but the interpretation devolves into surrealism,
and your goneness takes the shape of a non-sequitur,
and I will try again tomorrow, try again the next day
and I will keep trying until the surrealism becomes the understanding

it is three in the morning and there are infrequent sounds issuing from route nine,
the cars like sparse waves crashing and their lights lay quick shadows on my walls,
and the shadows fall onto me and the shadows are with me here and I am lying awake

crafting your permanent memory with a thoroughness I rarely achieve,
your hot pink backpack and your boots on your Physical Body

I wish we were still working at the dining commons together, eating at a dirty round table,
covered in other people’s discarded food and listening to the Pixies blare from the dishroom radio.
I lay awake and watch my brain attempt to trick itself into flawed but comforting
belief systems and modes of thinking
and I wish it would succeed 

I ask myself over and over “if the modes are comforting, then why should I care if they are flawed”
“what is the incentive to privilege logical belief systems over comforting ones,
if logical ones make me miserable”

dan I have a confession, I am a lousy atheist when I remember you

tonight I sat in my car in the rain in downtown Amherst eating pizza at midnight.
I drove around for over an hour.
I played my music at a high volume and I stopped at a red light
and then a street light in front of me turned on. my first thought was “it’s you”

my brain is inventing a grace period for you, a grace period during which the remnants of you are so strong that they are permitted to yield a temporary spirit that can communicate with me,
can watch me cry as i struggle to remember what food we brought on our picnic at the pond last summer. these small details seem so necessary right now and when I finally remember
your bread and fruit I feel enormous relief, like I have fought hard to win back that moment
when you opened your hot pink backpack and said “I have bread and fruit,”
and now that I think of it there was beer too

and now that I think of it we went swimming as the sun sank
and now that I think of it it was cold but we never said so

and now that I reread these letters you wrote to me in the summer of 2010
my eyes grow heavy with a novel exhaustion, and the return address on one letter is
“unnamed dirt road in California” and on another “gas station/domino’s in Wyoming”

and I nod off to your cross-country musings on the best moments of your life
and your admission in one letter that you’re bad at transitions.

can I admit to you now that I am also bad at transitions,
that your return addresses make me laugh

that I’m asleep beneath your letters, remembering your smile
in pond water and on the modest shore,
asleep beneath the quick shadow of you

[this is for my friend dan haley who was hit by a drunk driver two weeks ago. read at the rao's reading on 4-27. no title]