The more texts I type out to you and never send, the less I remember about your voice. The less I remember about your voice, the more I realize there are entire things I have yet to say to you. Like how ferris wheels make my whole stomach laugh and my knees ache for ground. Like how Las Vegas is the city my father fell in love the second time, except this time with the queen on the back of a playing card and not the one waiting for him at home. Like how I am dozens of lifetimes away from forgetting but always seconds away from forgiving. Like how I miss you. Like how I don’t. Like I how I lie sometimes.
You are a bowl of cherries in the lap of a schoolboy. You are the reddest juice leaking from between his teeth afterwards. You are the moments he stares at himself in the mirror and mistakes it all for blood. You are the second his mother sees him run by in the hallway and mistake her baby boy for a murderer or the murdered. We are all making guesses we know are wrong. We are all always throwing our lives into cages of hurting, even when they are not built for us. You are the way we never stop. You are the way I never seem to stop.
Tonight, I am tripping on flat surfaces and learning to become faceless. I am watching the corners for shadows other than my own. I am crossing my fingers for a day when erasing your name from the margin of my notebook means I will never be able to scribble it back in again. I am waiting for the day when I can walk past a row of cages and not feel as though these arms need bending into them. Tonight, I pull out my phone and it waters my eyes with its glow in this dark and through the blur I type, “Fuck you. Come back. Fuck you.”
The things I write about you are not pretty.
For example: You are the ugly way I feel about Los Angeles, mouth a smear like sunset singed with citrus burns. Hollywood hill is a smashed pomegranate against your scorched teeth. All the stars walk the red carpet while I write sonnets to your mouth. It’s been too long since the last time we spoke, I’ve forgotten what everyone else looks like — your hands are trees made of smog, and they have taken root in my lungs. I wish this city would burn to the ground.
For example: The last time I fell in love, I broke all the dishes in the kitchen and bled out on the floor. You were not good for me. You held the bandaids, but I told you to put them back in the drawer. I loved being so broken for you — your heart was a hospital without the healing. My parents never taught me that being loved for your wounds was wrong.
For example: Tonight, I am falling asleep without you. I’ve had bad dreams ever since we met, things about dark-haired women that die because they never ran fast enough. I never ran fast enough. I’m still learning what it’s like not to find your face etched into the wood of my floorboards, and I’m failing miserably. You were not good for me.
For example: You were not good for me. You were California burning, and my lungs couldn’t take it. You were not good for me. You were a broken spine I couldn’t set; I was a scab you always picked. You were not good for me.
For example: Get out of my poetry, nobody wants to read about the ways we broke. Get out of my poetry, this isn’t about you anymore. This is about Los Angeles and how much I hate the sky. California wasn’t good for me — nothing about dying is pretty.
I let it be. If the words are being stubborn, I let them be. I leave them, I watch a film, I read a book. Other stories do everything for my inspiration. The other day, I watched Atonement for the millionth time and I felt so warm afterwards and felt as though I was ready to write. If the words don’t come, though, I wait for them to come back. I be patient with them, always. Writer’s block doesn’t make you less of a writer. It makes you more of a human.