you could give me nothing more
than a two-word cutoff to my honest outpour,
i laid for an hour
on my girlfriend's floor,
knees bound tight to my chest in fetal
just hoping i could forcibly
remove from my body
the heaviness you left.
with too much room for interpretation,
i'm sure was originated
in your gift of closure to me.
but shit gets lost in translation.
as i read slowly
once, twice, again, and again,
my mind started wandering
in your words,
your lingering emotions
that slipped in
and the lingering emotions
that i slipped in.
perhaps i spun the meanings
that i most wanted to believe.
perhaps i spun the meanings
that i most needed to cling.
my hope falls fragile against reality's blows,
so it's easier to hold on when
contradictory moments, events,
details i know better than to judge as significant,
morph into my justification.
even though those encrypted sentences
it is me seeking factual validation*
for the wasting of my emotions
on dead potential.
even in my own head
i grapple for sound acceptance
of these feelings i bear.
i simply can't keep hoping for lost causes.
to do so reduces me every time
to feelings of little self-worth.
always, i begin the blame game
of why these causes failed,
i am my greatest suspect.
despite every good intention,
what you wrote to me
fucked with my heart and mind.
*validation granted by the details of my circumstance
i.e. he holds me in ways
he should only with his girlfriend.
therefore he must still feel
something for me.
thus i must still hope.
the fatigue even after sleep,
the hunger that never called,
wouldn't leave me
my own temple,
the physical location of my conscience,
i wanted to feel light and whole again,
to cleanse myself.
food had no purpose if i felt no hunger.
i went numb to everything
except the aches in the spaces without names.
i slept little,
restlessness took residence in my bones.
and the mother noticed
and told me to lose more weight.
little time was spent alone and silent.
when in the presence of good company,
under the sultry blanket of summer,
i embraced a warmth,
remembered that all this love was still mine,
and gave thanks.
but sincere laughs
and daytime joys
can only repair so much of the unseen,
can only outweigh so many of the uneasy hours.
and no one was to blame.
not my loved ones,
i simply needed more nights on my own.
the other day at the beach
she told me this conversation took place:
10 year old nephew: uncle tam, where's your girlfriend kim? i miss her. oh, no, mai is your girlfriend.
tam (laughing): no jayden, that's uncle's other girlfriend.
my first reaction was to exclaim, "that fucker,"
loud enough for all the children in the sand to hear me,
loud enough for all those children to taste early
how imperfect their world is,
how human people are,
how unpleasant language may be.
i may not have meant to,
but i regret nothing.
we benefit no one when we filter.
my blood was heating fast,
and it wasn't the effect of sunshine.
she hushed me,
then asked if i missed him.
so i asked her what was there to miss.
i told her nothing mattered anymore,
so what i felt did not matter either.
feelings had become irrelevant.
i wanted to see him,
(i'm not sure why)
but i pushed away the invitation for dinner with his family.
almost 3 weeks had passed
when i saw you yesterday.
while we planned to meet up,
something inside my ribcage
leapt a little at the initial sound of your voice on the other line.
it felt silly
but was thankfully short-lived.
there were five of us,
crammed into davis' car.
jayden's head was snug in the space
between my jaw and collarbone
and his quiet presence felt more like comfort to me
than any conversation could provide.
my own calm shocked me.
you were friendly as always,
you made me laugh.
but none of it stirred a thing inside.
i was there, but no one was home.
the familiarity that once pulled me in
time after time--
you had lost it.
i found no refuge in being with you.
you'd been evicted from my longings.
but frequently, my mind still visits you.
when thoughts of you return,
i wallow in the aching
until the numbness resettles.
your texts and emails here and there don't help much.
but i already knew letting go was not easy.
perhaps you still struggle as well.
davis kept going on about far my house was,
how expensive gas is,
how full his tank was before.
i felt like shit.
no matter how little i care for them,
breaks me every time.
tam kept yelling, "this is why you don't have a girlfriend!
all you do is complain."
so when i got out the car,
said my thank you's and bye's,
i showered them in ones through the sunroof.
that's for your gas, asshole.
i start to feel
is my process.