The poet confesses
I’m still alive,
in that my heart still pushes
the blood through my veins,
and my lungs continue to
suck in oxygen and expel carbon dioxide
but it’s been a long time since
But you—you could make me
something close to sacred.
That is what poets do.
We note the galaxies in your eyes,
the nuclear shadows in your heart,
the battlegrounds and scars littering
the prison of your flesh and
the overripe beauty of a healing bruise
and god isn’t that a world so beautiful?
So… don’t be a person,
be a poem!
Inspire revolution and grief,
adoration and fury—
Be a mirror, be undefined, undefinable?
Reflect each individual’s beliefs back at them?
(You will never be an individual yourself.)
Become eternal, etched in ink
on paper and skin.
Then there are countless copies of you.
They are each important.
But, poor thing, don’t you know
the poets lie?
You can’t be a poem.
All of us are dying,
in the end.
We’re just trying to
keep ourselves from going mad on the way.
But—but I want what they—
what you write about.
I want to feel whole in a way I haven’t in years.
I’m so fucking hungry for love,
to have my skin peeled back
by someone with gentle hands
who will watch the darkness pooled in my veins
dissipate once touched by oxygen,
and not turn away.
I would devour the pomegranate whole
and promise myself to the god of death eyes open,
trapped beneath the earth,
crushed by dirt and unable to breathe
to fill that vacant spot that still haunts my soul.
There is no darkness
lurking beneath your skin,
and the pomegranate will
never grant you salvation.
I know you struggle with being human,
trapped in your body, but
you are not eternal. You are mortal.
You are brief, ephemeral, and you are flesh and blood.
You will not outlast the tides or the fighting.
Then why do you torture me so,
offering me visions and worlds and feelings
that I’ll never even approach?
Because we have to say something
to pass the time.
We have to say, I am here.
I have felt this.
We have to connect. We have to express
the inexpressible so
we come at it sideways.
Things are not as beautiful or as broken as they seem,
but how else can we make you understand?
So why can’t you make me into a poem, then?
Oh, I could write you until you’re bleeding ink.
You’re beautifully easy.
You’re waiting so desperately for more,
so cautious that the next hands that touch you
that you never let them settle at your waist.
You’re so fucking hungry for love, sure,
and you’re still like a child, clutching at its skirts,
watching wide-eyed and wondering and wanting,
You’re a human being,
this is the world, and
I can’t reduce it to sounds and syllables,
metaphors and haunting imagery.
It’s not always nice, what I say,
and it’s not always true, so
why don’t you stop trying so hard
to be a poem
and remember that you have a life to live?
Because I don’t think I can survive this world.
None of us do.
included in And My Blood Sang