I like to watch, when you’re eating, meeting with associates and ex-fiancées, and I wait for what you’ll do. You always do something next.
I kissed someone else. And any actual feeling which wasn’t a ploy was a willing casualty. And, the family you’re from, you better than anyone understand what compromise is: a daily occurrence, not a prison sentence because even they eventually end, mostly.
Months later, once you’ve fucked my friends and I, yours, when you’d think it too late to try you ask, “What if?” and the boyfriend box with your name on it which I loft-shoved, barely saved from setting light, changes status. Trinkets waning in and out of use.
Because we’ve fucked, fucked five years ago or four, you think my emotions are thread pickable, place-able like buses on timetables. But if someone asked which celebrity I’d most want to sleep with, all things considered, how would you answer?
And it’s not the not knowing. There are things I don’t know about you, like, how much Botox you’d have if cash wasn’t a motivator and who you think would win between Ben Affleck and Matt Damon and if you’ve swallowed bubblegum and who you’ve kissed since 1995 and when you last ate pesto.
It’s the levelling. The Top 5 lists and history-thickeners. Facts important as Bible passages, prayer beads and meditation outfits. The names of Jennifer’s unborn children.
You pick me when I’m not me – when you think I’m someone else completely. And I always pick you.
The problem is, who you fuck alters timelines, and you fucked in the wrong order. Her first.
You don’t know what I’ve given to god and the times I’ve given it up and how many times I’ve sworn to stop something for good. But I never do. And the mere promise of it – quitting – is enough to keep me conducting for my whole life which, if I’m lucky, lasts ’til 2062.
When I ask, assume it implies I’m not a let go, forget kind of a person, and I’ll want you when you don’t want me, won’t know how to shut off those feelings simply like closing kitchen cupboards to hide disorganised ingredients. Public opinion won’t change my mind about Tom Cruise, not when I’ve seen that method, logged that screen time. And you’ll plump up exactly when you should oven-sink.
And you should be a screen door settler, who I bar better than Columbus who didn’t discover anything evidently and thought he’d discovered something else entirely, and it’s the unexpected finds that foundation-fuck and undermine plans which you shouldn’t make unless you’re ready for a lesson in fate which doesn’t exist but you’d think it does going by every decision you did make and the unbuttered side of it as it gravel-scraped.
In another life, an actual one that a timeline is living out right now, adjacent to yours and simultaneously, this this this is. But not here.
You might think an interview process with ex-girlfriends and current ones would be easy and sticky like napkin-less takeaways you eat walking. They whisper when you leave rooms and you know this because they do it when you come back in, too. And you use verbal placation, the same sentences appropriate for both people, because although those you date are different, have dated yearly, for weeks or just days, they have essential commonalities, understand each tone of you, hear it right down to the cages of ribs and the swellings of organs which shouldn’t swell and you should see a doctor for. Things which swell aren’t always euphemisms. But you don’t see doctors, and you enter into situations such as this, a girlfriend and an old one and a low spoke tension and physical lies and an unclenchable feeling that some times shouldn’t collide and timelines aren’t reversible and you wouldn’t be a traveller if it meant reliving anything because why date up when you can date down, in age, anyway. And the thrill of each ending was a story you wanted to tell, irregardless of notches, numbered on wood, before you’re dead, or after it. They’ll talk then. They’ll talk then. They talk right now.
I make you half-filled cups, in which the water barely soaks the bags I dip, and these are each nondescript flavours and you take deeper swigs than you’d need to if I brim-filled it, knew what I was doing, except I do, and the purposeful pour is control I execute over us like the lies which are list-worthy, committed to memory, in fact penetrable, confession ready, hell-takers, tie-breakers. In fact, if this is a tie, this one year, a little more, a TV time three-year fuck-up, then my rosary beads will fucking burn the scars on your feet until the on-top scars cover ones the other girls left, the girls who are women now because it’s so long since they got paid off with babies they didn’t have but did but you don’t know if they did but they did. You are so much older than me.
Play. Don’t do right.
Tactics, rules, retaliate,
deductions and make heard.
Make it heard.
Once, spirit was a thing,
Coco Pop real
and I cherished skin tags
like design label lipstick.
Now, teams are numbers’ games
and I add up better than Duffy,
any of those super-good
Because 5 is better than 4
and 4 is better than 3
and, target, I eliminate you
when you’re 15, 5 or 50.
Mess with me, fuck, I’ll
and discerning language
about you winning. Chance.
You’ll never fucking win this
You’ll never fucking win with me here
and it’s the good of somebody
at the stake. At stake.
The mistake I make
is taking advice
from someone’s authority
and again. I do it.
What I didn’t want:
rejection’s a package deal
in this life.
But they know it now.
There’s no saving. Not. Just
retaliational penalties and
“I’m glad you didn’t win.”
I’m glad you didn’t win.
Sacrifice, I learnt it, right before Communion, other people’s, and I envied white dresses, and bridal doesn’t mean what it means, and I won’t wrap myself up as an offering, and this is me backtracking Hail Mary. This is rewriting prayers. Rewritten regularly anyway, enough, archaic versions stick and I can’t eliminate thou and thee and thine but you’re gone. I close the plane door on it.