I kept the rose you gave me
The last time I saw you.
You said, “This rose is for a rose.”
It’s been a week.
We’ve hardened. We’ve wrinkled.
We’ve died, beautifully.
I kept the rose you gave me
The last time I saw you.
You said, “This rose is for a rose.”
It’s been a week.
We’ve hardened. We’ve wrinkled.
We’ve died, beautifully.
I cleaned today. I know you always pointed out what a mess this apartment was.
And I always brushed it off with some excuse. Blame.
But never myself.
I washed the sheets. Towels, Old t-shirts and oversized jackets.
So they won’t smell like you anymore.
I changed the bedding, fluffed the pillows, flipped the mattress.
Tried to fill in the space you left behind.’till there was no evidence, no imprint of the side you once claimed as your own.
I washed all the dishes. Same meal for weeks now. T.V dinners, Ice Cream, Self sabotage, a side of depression.
I threw out the beer bottles and bourbon bottles in an attempt to drown out your voice… but my guilt is boyant, floating —just—-above—-the surface.
I took my first deep breath, lips surrounding the colorful opening of an old pipe. Take the edge off.
It’s an Rx, you know
….for the pain?
Everything tingles and my eyes only have to be half open. My life apathy now reflected outward.
I swept the floor, retracing and erasing footprints left behind as I helplessly trailed behind you.
You showed me tenderness, gratitude, beauty in the simple things. I never stood a chance.
Tired. Thirsty. I took a break, threw a jacket over my three-day worn pajamas, braced myself for the wind chill and walked a block and a half to Pete’s.
It was the first time I’d been outside all week. The sun was already down.
Everything came easy to her when she tried, even with shameful lack of effort.
Maybe that’s why she made things so hard on herself.
She needed obstacles to justify why she wasn’t going anywhere.
Self sabotage is the ultimate excuse without a source, veiled in disguise.
You always had it, it was always yours. This is bullshit and you know it. It’s your own doing.
Nothing is permanent.
Terrifying and Freeing.
Freedom is scary.
Without limits, you might just see
How powerful you are.
She kept telling me she wasn’t ready for a relationship
But what I heard was,
“I’m not ready to let you love me.”
Because if I loved her, she’d have to believe it.
Which means, she’d have to love those things about her, too.
She’d have to see the truth in it.
And why she was so worthy of a man who wanted to repay his gratitude
To her worth.
She was out of his league…
But she was so lost in self-doubt
She walk toward any light
Never noticing that they were merely
Reflecting her radiance.
We buy clothes, ’cause they’re cool.
10 years later, replace our wardrobe, to stay relevant.
20 years later, a hipster stumbles upon your acid wash jeans at a thrift shop.
It’s cool again.
Buy 20 year old clothes for twice the amount, because they’re cool.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
It’s been awhile since we’ve spoken. I’ve felt your icy stares sting to my bone and your stone cold silence has nearly stopped my heart. Still you haven’t left.
You’re beautiful, you know.
I know I’ve been complaining that you don’t clean up enough, but you’re a beauty uncommon. You’ve put all your flaws on display. Highlight them, almost. Your refusal to hide your most authentic self was something perhaps I was too immature to handle or appreciate.
I know you know about them.
The road trips. The flights (always round-trip, to perpetuate the lies I told myself. Intentions of returning being the best version of myself with only the best version of you). Weekend long infatuations with 2 and 3 syllable names that offered me only surface-level sparkle and charm. Hiding their worst selves behind tracks, carefully-kept and defined borders; sharp angles. Municipalities, highways, industrial districts….city outskirts I avoided while getting lost upskirts.
But you always welcomed me home with open arms. Carried me home in the early morning hours when tequila and self loathing hand drowned my wit, taken my charm. You brought nourishment straight to my front door when I was ill, or sick of trying.
You never stopped your effort in uplifting or inspiring me with your sweet songs, your endless hunger for more. Do you ever stop? Do you ever shut your doors?
I don’t deserve you… you’ve not always given me your best, no, you loved me enough to give me every part of you.
You’re great with kids. You’ve always doted on them but never once babied them. You instill a work ethic immediately, a hard work ethic, as chubby legs shuffle and tumble over themselves earnestly to keep apace with your “Manhattan -walk” and grey scale mazes.
I should’ve told you just how beautiful you are every day. Lying in the warmth of a lazy sun and a half hearted embrace in another weekend “escape” in a nameless, vast, empty… in a place in which no one walks or understands the importance of strong coffee and a good bagel.. I was comforted only temporarily. What was I “escaping” exactly? I longed for you every time. You were always the image in my mind and the name on my tongue. It was your pulse to which my heart kept time.
I was trying to outrun my self disappointment. Out run my apathy, my failures… I blamed you. I shut you out for nights spent glued to Netflix. Self medicating with a cocktail of Xanax and weed, until I pass out in a pile of takeout crumbs, wrapped in the warmth of an oversized gut and whiskey breath.
I love you. I put everything on the line to be with you and then resented you because you were always there. But you never changed. You weren’t the problem. You didn’t let me down. You were always available, always checking in.
You never slept.
There is nothing out there that I can’t find here… with you. You’re who I want to come home to every night. I promise to appreciate you every day. To choose to spend my time in gratitude for all you have and are doing, instead of longing for what isn’t. You’ve loved every part of me without question or hesitation. It’s long overdue that I started doing the same. Being what you deserve.
I love you, New York.
There is a charm to New Yorkers complaining about everything. We choose the grit, the grime, the smells, the attitude. We trade in space, privacy, time, convenience, silence to live in The Greatest City in the World. She isn’t the prettiest, she is tattered and torn, waif like, old, a heavy smoker and a filthy mouth. But she is also sophisticated, worldly, progressive and empathetic. She scolds hard but loves harder. She is stern and impatient. She’s dirty, somewhat unkept. She has expensive taste, draping herself in the finest cloth, yet her ears are turning green from her corner-store “gold” hoops. She refuses to hide her crazy. She will tear you apart and uplift you in a single breath. She is racist, elitist; free loving and a humanitarian. She is colorblind and categorical. She makes me feel incredibly loved and completely worthless. She adores me and neglects me.
A pulsating contradiction.
My city bonds me with the millions living in the concrete embrace as we fight to keep moving, even if it’s just”putzing” around in the shadows of 30-story manifested dreams.
New Yorkers: my brothers and sisters.
To know her is to know survival. To love her is to loathe her… but no one else can make you feel so alive.
October 9, 2016 at 12:15pm
I love this city. I love all of this city. She carries the weight of a large expectations, the American Dream, the ambitious, the dreamers….
But beneath her cape, she covers the poor, the hungry, the outcast, the struggling, the barely surviving.
I’m watching a documentary on Ed Koch right now. It is important to understand the history of this city. Every side of it. Every side of our celebrated and unsung history, and the history we smear with shame. To love her, is to love every part of her; her plump lips, her shapely hips, to the cellulite on her thighs and the bags beneath her eyes.
… To understand her, is to understand a survivor. A warrior. A hero.
An ol’ journal entry… the “J” series.
…I never was a fan of popularity.
He grew accustom to girls dancing around him in their melodic gaggle, waddling, squawking. Their giggles like quickly plucked strings, shrieking gossip like the piercing shock of an over-played flute.
He mastered The Charming Disposition (#22) when wearing the Mask of Sincerity (#78), crooning with The Caring Voice of Concern (#53). He flashed the White Pearls of Charm (#66), easily folding, bending, squeezing young, fluttering hearts into his toy chest. He lingered over the box, humming along to the hopeful beating against the entrapment. Quickly, swaying hearts latched to their unlikely chance of being his, like a calf to his mother’s teat; savoring the sweet, nourishing nectar of self convincing delusion.
His sustenance and passions always within reach, he wanted for nothing, needed nothing.
The Night gathered her winds and teased the toy box open… finding new mischief to amuse herself with. He fell victim to curiosity, toppled over himself when he noticed her.
She was not like the hearts that resided in his toy chest… She possessed the wisdom of one who had seen many moons, yet she had walked no more steps than the symphonic giggling gaggle He surrounded himself with. She possessed something He never had before, something He could not identify.
Unfamiliar with her ways, The Boy displayed his Best Mask (#77), voiced his best rehearsed Concern (#53.2) with perfect pitch, flashed his Pearls (#60-69).
The Woman did not find validity to the Grande Presentation, but the persistent, Wicked Night Moon got her way. Curiosity took over for the unmatched pair.
The Night sighed a breath of relief. Of Release. Nearly erupting through the seams… long overdue.
He found himself in unfamiliar territory. He knew sex; he possessed a self-proclaimed crown in the matter. But this was strange…Her force, her commanding presence. She had a desire for more than pleasing him. She met him, surprised him, demanded things of him, challenged him. She showed him sensuality and self knowledge. His chest felt tight as she grabbed something intangible. The two took a breath and dived in.
It was awkward.
At times, painful.
He was unprepared, insecure, incompetent. Underwhelming. Vulnerable.
He was cold, uncovered. Naked. Exposed.
He held on to her as he glided into sleep. Trying to keep the moment, the feelings , the magic, the Ecstasy, the indescribable.
She slipped out of his grasp in the early rays. Long before waking hours, maybe moments after he drifted to sleep. She wouldn’t return. She wouldn’t say goodbye. She wouldn’t see him again.
He awoke, with tousled sheets and a slight imprint as the only remains of the night before. The only evidence of his journey the human portal to the divine. It was real. It was bigger than Him.
He softly caressed the lines where her body had lay
“Lie”, his mind echoed… he was without his mask and his eyes burned with arrival of pure, first morning light, untainted by the day’s abuse, unsaturated by his tinted lenses. Seeing everything for the first time, He realized: He was alone.
He always had been.
His toy box tumbled restlessly. The boy opened the lid, forgetting his Song of Concern. His Charm tarnished, his Mask cracked and frayed.
The young hearts surrounded him, but their once soothing melody was now a cacophony of superficiality. The hearts took turns soothing and comforting The Boy without effect. He lead them back into the toy chest and shut them in again. Clouds covered the golden morning light until the room appeared dull and colorless again. It was dark. The music stopped. The boy buried his head in his hands and cried.
An old journal entry to an old friend. Long lamented, never sent.
Someone once asked me about the closeness of female friends… sisterhood. This might be something like it.
March 2014- New York, NY
You look so beautiful lying there. So serine. So peaceful. It’s nice to see your shoulders down and free of stress, even if you have to be unconscious for it. I’m glad that you at least have your dreams to run away to.
You’re paler than I remember.
It reminds me of when we were little. You: Blonde curls dancing just behind your pokey ears. Even as a child you were so sure, so graceful. Me, round red Irish cheeks exploding with laughter as I tripped and toppled over my feet and stumbled with my words to express ideas. We’d stay up late nights on our weekly sleepovers, giggling, secrets escaping our lips in hushed whispers, safe in the cover of darkness and a Winnie the Pooh comforter.
It’s funny how long it took us to be friends. I always admired you. You thought you were better than me, and I believed you. This gorgeous, smart, talented, graceful, fearless force. Even my Mom wondered ((aloud)) why I couldn’t be more like you. And boy, did I try. But I always fell just beneath the shadow of your radiant successes. Your courage, your maturity, your fierce independence, your unwavering self confidence, your ambition, your hunger for adventure were the weights coaxing my heavy sighs.
You held my secrets, you were my laughter. My sister. My heart. We grew up together. Faced life and death together. Gave away our hearts and mended them back whole again…together.
You protected me from hash realities no little girl should have to face. You cried the hardest at my mom’s funeral. Because when I lost, you lost. When you hurt, I hurt.
I’ve always compared myself to you. Measured my self worth with your accomplishments.
You were an endless, untouchable flame. You were going to take over the world, and I believed it!
I imagined us at this age, you, off discovering new lands and species and curing cancer and foundations and families and living and full, fruitful life filled to the brim with the viality this world has to offer.
You were the adventurer.
I, timid, awkward, ready to follow.
You’re my best friend, My love for you is immeasurable and incomparable to any other. Because it is endless and unconditional. It’s not obligatory because of a blood union. We are united by spirit. We have no choice.
My radiant friend is trapped inside with closed blinds. My adventurer lost her curiosity to explore.
*A sigh of stagnant, lifeless air. *
I don’t want to lose you.
I can’t lose you.
You are my entire coming-of-age story… you’ve painted every memory with me, danced through life lessons, you’ve been my anchor, my muse, my biggest competition, my best friend and my worst pain in the ass. I love you.
I remember you used to tan this gorgeous hue of gold effortlessly, any time the sun was out. You coaxed me outside with the promise of endless summer days and boys. You mastered athleticism the way I had mastered sarcasm. With a hair flip, you dominated everyone in your path. You threw on a pair of jogging shorts and a tee shirt we probably found at a thrift somewhere, and easily maneuvered the large city park field like an Olympian. And I, overly, poorly made up (and always dressed inappropriately for the occasion), would sit on the bleachers, skin sizzling into a deep red (to match my unfortunate shade of blush) and wonder if the “ultimate” part of Frisbee was the glistening, shirtless high school seniors.
But your skin is now an unrecognizable shade of marble-gray. Deep purple hues hang on your eyes forcing them into a half-conscious, swollen gaze. The girl who once embraced the vibrant energy of the living world around her, now has to numb herself just to coexist with it.
Have you eaten?
….Please just fucking eat. How can I care for you from miles, years and identities away?
I know it’s my fault.
Every phone call I never returned. Ignoring the signs. Taking you for your word when you told me everything was “fine”. Pretending you sounded the same. Pretending we were the same.
You sleep in the fetal position, as if holding together what is left of you.
… I keep my promise, crawl over to you, and hold you. Protect you. Love you.
I will hold you for the rest of our lives if that’s what it takes.