I wrote a poem for my friend Noa Celeste in July. (The link goes to her poem that led to mine.) I was considering reading it at a poetry group, so I did some minor editing about a week ago, mostly just changing words that I’d used too frequently, but it wasn’t what I wanted it to be; it didn’t have the right feel to it for what I was trying to say. At lunch today, I read over it again, and suddenly just started striking out words and adding sentences, and the length is almost doubled but it feels right now. Celeste, I hope you still like it 🙂
(Note: for those reading this from a phone, I recommend turning it horizontally so the line breaks stay the same.)
Dealing with Inadequacy
I want to take a hammer
and smash the time zones apart,
find a recipe to heal your misused heart–
maybe it’s in the cabinet
of the buildings we left behind.
I could scour the edges of the earth until they sparkle
if I found a sponge that was strong enough
to absorb the spills of soda we left in the lounges,
Let the tears seep into the fabric
with carbonated injury.
If I could climb high enough to see you from here,
maybe I could point out
something good that you can search for on the horizon
or I could see the digital truck delivering this poem.
Three to five days; I can’t afford shipping,
but I’ve found the good thing about the Internet:
it keeps you closer to me.
If you’re at a computer screen and I’m at a computer screen
Maybe it’s like stargazing at the same time.
I want to take a map
and fold it until you are next to me.
Our two little dots are only inches away,
longing for the chance to brush against one another…
Maybe if I knew enough origami, I could bring us together.
These sixteen little souls, miles and miles between,
wishing to glimpse one another,
have almost forgotten their numbers.
I wish we could count off. Then I’d have the chance to know
exactly where we belong in the line. In this life.
I want to walk the state lines like they are sidewalk curbs,
equal parts nervousness and pretending,
until I am at the edge of your house–
If I hike long enough, I will find it somehow–
and I can see you again.
I’m going to find the guy who made you cry
tell him exactly what you’re imagining me saying
because nobody hurts my friends without hearing from me.
He’s making me break my promises of loyalty!
The ends of this world are murky, unreachable, distant
Painted in watercolors when they should’ve used acrylic
An inch is still too much
Someone messed up the map key
while I was trying to see how many miles you are from me
My parents always said to get off of the curb
lest I fall and break an ankle
and your house remains hidden amid the fog–
Fog like the rain we used to run through,
Dance under from inside while it sang upon the roof
I can’t even hug you
I can’t even come over with a dangerously large
carton of ice cream
stay up on a sugar high, with movies
that remind us how to scream- I’d mail it to you, but it’d melt;
I’d send a gift card, but I don’t trust the mailman
and I don’t know your address,
I’d ask but you have a texting limit
I’d call but I don’t know what to say
All I can think to do is write you poetry
And I read yours and my dreams break and I’m angry
We seem so free,
but I can’t even leave my life to see you in person.
I keep trying to defy the minds of the people who don’t know how we’re friends
if it was so few weeks.
I want to show them how we’re family,
trace out the branches of the lineage tree that we grew
in an alarming amount of time–
That doesn’t make it less alive.
I want to show the skeptics what you are to me.
Maybe then they’ll understand
my feelings of inadequacy.