I like to think I read people well, but sometimes I am completely (well, maybe that's an exaggeration) blindsided by huge character flaws I should've been able to pick out from miles away. And so, a poem concerning the most recent of these situations, written in LAX while I waited on a flight that was delayed for over two hours. The writing was cathartic. A red-eye being delayed is another story entirely.
All in preparation,
I poured whatever I could find
and good sense
into the approved bottles
but none of it helped.
I left the gate 3 times to smoke
and with each cigarette,
I couldn't help but look down at the band-aid on my forearm
and wonder if we played chicken
because we knew we'd hurt each other anyway.
I met you in a cloud of smoke,
a house with walls worth of apathetic cave paintings, obscenities in poster paint,
passing around a glass flask of Jim Beam,
a glass bowl of forgetful, of smiles, of rose-colored glasses.
I was wearing my heart on a chain around my neck
and through the haze
you looked like you hadn't eaten in months;
you looked at me like you hadn't eaten in months.
Like all you knew was Jim Beam and dirty floors and poster paint obscenity
but you looked at me
and that was more than I knew to expect.
I left with no intention of coming back
but I left you with a secret.
With my index finger,
I traced my silence into the wall under the front window
in the shape of the ink I carried under rolled shirtsleeves.
It was a riddle you would eventually whitewash and never solve,
but I left it there
hoping you'd at least get hungry enough
to wonder a little.
my hair grew back,
and the house shifted and changed,
residents coming and going in guitar cases.
Thirteen, thirty-one, things moving backwards and forwards like the Seaside Heights tide,
a flophouse, more like an arcade, more like a dive bar, more like
the crash and burn rubble of an asteroid science fair experiment.
In the summer,
you kissed me with Franzia-stained teeth
pressing me into the walls you made white in exchange for a security deposit with liquor-swollen balls.
I had stopped leaving my heart in such obvious places
but you grabbed for it,
settling instead for collarbone.
With your glasses askew and smudged
you looked sweet enough to trust
but I left anyway,
driving home half drunk on the turnpike
with a rearview mirror missing
hoping against hickeys and sunrise
hoping I hadn't been seeing you through haze again.
And now I'm lying on the floor of LAX
waiting out New York thunderstorms,
waiting on you.
All through with my bottles, my smoking.
Just staring at the slow-healing mistakes on my arm
and thinking of us
side by side on a blanket in the wet grass
weighing the options
and deciding that instead of waiting until after the dust settled
we would get the hurt out of the way right up front.
It's still in rough form as of yet, but I'll be working on it, just like I'm always working on everything. Packing to move is a bitch. I wish I had more than four days to accomplish everything I need to get done. But we make do with what we have I guess.