Better Than You Were Before

Stop fucking with me. Either age gaps matter or they don’t. Have you pumped somebody’s stomach once they’ve drunk a vat of vodka, crushed a tablet into it? Wouldn’t think you’d have to, that the body knows what to digest and what it should eliminate immediately. But not always. We don’t make decisions with precision like uniformed bodies, funders, parents, best friends with best friend necklaces.

I’ve compiled clips, mostly in my head, but some committed to film, my iPhone, the webcam running on my computer when you don’t know, and what I can’t figure is, why you left last time? You said you weren’t ready for kids, commitment, but you never had a shirt fit you like I do, or a shoe. I buckle to bad heels, leave room for bunions, am in tune to insteps, the requirements of insoles: I’ll work on your posture if you want me to. I want to.

So stop fucking with me. Age gaps matter, don’t. I’ve pumped stomachs, felt my way around them with a finger, sewn tears up, kept a heart beating with hands. I’m all for matching jewellery or have you forgotten the offer I made with Jack in the picture, when Alex was there? I’ll never stop asking. Forget who I slept with between, it’s not a calendar. Forget the break-up dates, arguments in waiting rooms. Remember which song was playing.

Advertisements

To Build A Home

You’ll think one day you can build your own house or home or at least own one but you don’t understand economics how you’d need to and the bank aren’t offering money and your income’s not steady and won’t be and it’s hard comprehending stories from people who built houses in their twenties, when buying shorts from Topshop now is a pretty thick consideration. Your wage will likely stay the same, and when you’re forty you’ll wonder what it’s like to walk into any store and spend cash without converting it in your head first, dividing it up into housekeeping, rent, electricity, water, gas, petrol or bus tickets, probably bus tickets if you’re honest and you can live out the next ten years knowing that some things don’t change, are exactly the same, are degenerating slowly but not quickly enough to cause alarm. No sudden drop in interest like with this season’s House, this year’s The Office. There will be ticking, constants. You’ll clock the back of a person’s head, think, “In 2006, I saw him and he had more hair,” and you’ll wonder what happened to Jack, whether he had an interesting fate, a plotted one, if he could keep alive in any climate, or if, inevitably, he died. You learnt of survival from Liam Neeson.

There‚Äôs Something You Should Know About Me

I won’t waver. Change, you sense like strangers’ star signs, like the contents of meals in restaurants, spice slipped.

Once, we got drunk together. We forget it happened, won’t mention imprints the other left.

I’ve been alone, often, and in six years you’re the only. In bed your legs look like Alicia Silverstone’s on the cover of Clueless and don’t just say that’s a viewpoint. I’ve seen you standing up too.

I like your back best, shirts skimming shoulder bones, unkempt weight. We’re not even programmed to remember what we’ve seen most, necessarily. I worked at Subway for six years and all that’s left is the smell, lingering in pits of cotton.

I watch my trailer door, even when you’re not coming. I want you to come, believe I’m not the 2006 version. That was years and so much has changed, that I know you feel in contours, cards. I’ve read your blog. And if James Van Der Beek’s due a revival, why not me?

I Wanted To Give You Everything

They said don’t dwell on could-have-beens, the teachers in schools that nuns owned, but every regret’s an unexplored avenue, a mistake that aches for conclusion.

When he was dead, I was it. Our shirts were sophomore hand holding, and I licked behind each tooth, more thoroughly than you thought, and I told your son I would save him.

Now I watch the handle of your toothbrush bright in the low light of the torch whose batteries are dying but as we’re denying the world’s ending we use each resource until its wrapper’s utterly empty, until it’s leaking acid.

Soon we won’t wake up and won’t know it, and what’s the matter with that? Every false start will disappear like an exposed negative, shrivel like the magnetic tape in a VHS set to fire.

You, my security blanket, get picked up by people you call husband. I’m vilified like no replacement ever beat out the original. But I’ve seen Crocodile Dundee and I’ve watched Gilmore Girls. I’ve wasted time. I’m playing a long game.

I Can’t Kiss My Own Neck

First, you think we all think the same. Then you realise your thoughts are similar to those of your parents and friends and the people at school who hold sway for no real reason, maybe after school sessions mean something different for them. You did your maths’ homework at Mark’s house, got the last bus at six fifty six, watched Big Brother before bed.

Parents will say, “Carve your own way,” and, “Decisions are yours,” but someone else’s hands have a stake in your brain and, often, it feels like latex-ed fingers are inside cavities created by surgeons, somewhat delicately, but not enough.

The advice you give floors others because hope is for dreams and upbringings. You say, “Die, if you want to,” and, “It hurts,” and you leave doors open when you shouldn’t. You challenge the regressive nature of the women around you who want to recoil into their own wombs, live with the fetuses they grow but shouldn’t. You have a steady hold on guns, in a totally non-euphemistic way, and why should you change your life’s direction for dish washing, peeling carrots.

Whoever said women make stability, girls create homes, never met me.

Parents in Movies

Jack says, “Families in indie films are always stifling, try to make conversation even when it’s clear you’re not interested, when you don’t visit in weeks, when you’re back to bequeath a word or a phrase to somebody, anybody, who isn’t them.”

“Perhaps if I’d acted out,” I say, “I’d get why going home’s a big deal. As it is, though, I’m not there enough when I want to be.”