It is a difficult thing for man to admit to himself that the insect or the bird perceives an entirely different world from the one that he does, and that the question of which of these perceptions of the world is the more correct one is quite meaningless.
I wonder if you know yet that you’ll leave me. That you are a child playing with matches and I have a paper body. You will meet a girl with a softer voice and stronger arms and she will not have violent secrets or an affection for red wine or eyes that never stay dry. You will fall into her bed and I’ll go back to spending Friday nights with boys who never learn my last name.
I have chased off every fool who has tried to sleep beside me.
You think it’s romantic to fuck the girl who writes poems about you. You think I’ll understand your sadness because I live inside my own.
But I will show up at your door at 2 am, wild-eyed and sleepless. And try and find some semblance of peace in your breastbone and you will not let me in. You will tell me to go home.
There’s nothing in the world that loves you
more than the space you already take up.
There’s nothing in the world that won’t
forget you faster than you forgot
the last person that stepped out from your life.
When the cat reaches up
one needled paw to drag down a book
from your desk, then another,
that’s not love—that’s dominance.
When you reach up your hand and try to wheedle
someone else’s to hold it, that’s love
dominating you. There’s no word for loving more
than you should, just the feeling of excess,
as if your tongue burst in a rash of red sequins,
as if everyone can see your stutter in the air,
staccato love you, love you, and nothing in the world
standing in that space to receive it.
It’s like Tolstoy said. Happiness is an allegory, unhappiness a story.
They hang around, hitting on your friends
or else you never hear from them again.
They call when they’re drunk, or finally get sober,
they’re passing through town and want dinner,
they take your hand across the table, kiss you
when you come back from the bathroom.
They were your loves, your victims,
your good dogs or bad boys, and they’re over
you now. One writes a book in which a woman
who sounds suspiciously like you
is the first to be sadistically dismembered
by a serial killer. They’re getting married
and want you to be the first to know,
or they’ve been fired and need a loan,
their new girlfriend hates you,
they say they don’t miss you but show up
in your dreams, calling to you from the shoe boxes
where they’re buried in rows in your basement.
Some nights you find one floating into bed with you,
propped on an elbow, giving you a look
of fascination, a look that says I can’t believe
I’ve found you. It’s the same way
your current boyfriend gazed at you last night,
before he pulled the plug on the tiny white lights
above the bed, and moved against you in the dark
broken occasionally by the faint restless arcs
of headlights from the freeway’s passing trucks,
the big rigs that travel and travel,
hauling their loads between cities, warehouses,
following the familiar routes of their loneliness.