Thursday, October 25, 2012

Languages and Literacies

I once taught my students how to pick words up
and examine them from every angle, the way that people
fought and formed and spoke and laughed and hurled
sounds and syllables with gentle or angry tongues at one another,
using conversations to create communities,
and how actions and values, beliefs and statutes, all held hands with
ideas and claims and reasons, the camaraderie between them.
I've taught and taught years and semesters of students
who never seem to age and who always seem to look up
at me with that same uncertain, sometimes distrustful gaze,
while somewhere deep in their hearts later (hopefully)
thanking me for the directions in which I pointed them and planted them.

And yet, among the hubbub of the languages and literacies
toward which I sent them, I myself failed to pick up
on the words and choreography you laid down at my feet,
opting instead to use my own meaning to write stories of
anguish across my heart while ignoring the pain that was
written across yours.
For that, I am sorry.
For that, I promise
to stay in tune with your languages and literacies,
your sounds and syllables, so that as time grasps us in its arms
and we form a part of its own delicate dance, I will be
a native speaker of your tongue, and learn to bask
in both your silences and your celebrations, with you,
helping you form the person and communities you
wanted to be all along,
the very man I loved,
from the moment you spoke your first word to me.
Are you going to ask me to leave
and wash the hope off of my hands?
That's the one thing I left clinging to my skin,
when I had tried to leave you behind
and couldn't keep myself away.
But I had failed to keep you then,
and maybe I've failed now,
but it wasn't through a lack of trying,
but a lack of knowing who you were,
who you wanted to be, and who you saw me to be,
and how to differentiate those images and those actions
from the words that came out of your mouth.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Just Move.

Sometimes I've imagined you and I
in parallel poses, hurled under blankets
or crouched in the dark corners of our rooms or our minds,
refusing the acknowledgment of words,
mistakes, misdeeds, misgivings,
or just refusing to stand up, afraid to make the move
that could make the difference
in how either one of us could see the other
or the world around us. Both paralyzed,
not talking, not seeing, just waiting for one another to
just move.
Heaven knows I'm waiting for a you
who won't collapse into apology
every time I ask for proof of your affection.
Perhaps from me you're waiting for the knight
I may once have been
to re-enter your bedroom on a giant steed,
to rescue you from your own nightmares
and crises of identity.

We don't mean to pass judgment,
but find that we're always asking for affirmation that,
in the end, we can only give ourselves.

And then, perhaps all we really need are arms,
and each other. Or, maybe all we need is time.

But still, in these quiet hours,
when your lover is crying,
who would ever not attempt to move
both heaven and earth to dry those tears,
or destroy the demons that seek so hastily
to destroy the light inside their soul?

Or why - I suppose I'm asking - wouldn't you?

Our hands entwined,
our bodies mingled,
No words were needed in our exchange.
The memory of you
in my arms rekindled,

and now all is slipping, slipping away.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

3 AM

You spoke in certainties and absolutes,
Your "always" and "nevers" and "impossibles"
Pouring out of you as quickly as the tears
that leaped from your eyelashes to smear on your
glasses as you cried to me in the driver's seat of your car.

We were parked outside, poised and ready to go in,
to have coffee together, to have that talk we had
been saving up for one another, like a trust fund,
emotions and words building up and up and up
just waiting to be cashed in. We had both been

hoping for the right moment and weren't even
aware when it presented itself, until that car ride
at 3 AM, where we didn't even make it to that cup
of coffee but drank deep all morning from each other's remorse.
And now, here we are, here I am,

hoping to assuage your absolutes and teach
you my grey matter. The "sometimes,"
the "unknowns," the "maybes," the words
that speak to the nuances of the possibilities
of endless optimistic versions of our futures.

But all I could do in the car was cry with you
and hold your hand, steeling my walls just a bit more
while at the same time feeling my heart
soften back into the putty
it once was, as I held you in my arms,

waking up in the same position in which I fell asleep,
looking into your eyes and wanting, wishing, hoping,
that it was all just a bad dream and that you and I
were still where we had been, in love,
but knowing, understanding, and growing from the

knowledge that it wasn't the same. And even though
we aren't where we were, we are where we are now
and have determination to grasp where we could be,
amidst the jungle of absolutes and qualifiers,
of tears and cups of coffee, of sleepless nights

and the uncertain, yet promising future of endless tomorrows.