It Was Really Something



 
 
My friends find ways to give me money without making me feel bad
I feel my pulse in every node of my body because it is fighting infection
You tell me depression feels different this year
That it is less in your head and more in the sun
When we went to the concert we didn’t want to see we were trying to be good
The night turned bad because we didn’t listen
I force myself to sleep in order to erase what I haven’t done yet
I agree to take care of many cats even though I am allergic to cats
You’re awake while I’m asleep and I don’t notice
I make a plan to read my friends a story
I don’t say goodbye when I leave because I am afraid it will scare them
I spend all of breakfast trying to be useful
I make a grown man cry
Dead goose in the middle of the road bleeds from its head
You send me pictures from across an ocean
It takes no time for them to reach me
My friends are together in Colorado
My friends are together in Seattle
My friends are together in New York
My friends are together in Mexico City
My friends are together in the same plot of ground
How marriages sometimes end
How marriage sometimes changes where people get buried
How people’s husbands get buried and then they marry new husbands
Where do they get buried then
I couldn’t understand the comedy show without understanding it as a poem
I gave you permission to stop writing and when you kept writing only to me I felt tired
I wasn’t sick I just needed to be alone
The way other people arrange their closets makes me cry
Extra towels grouped by size and color
The one messy drawer no one is supposed to open
The comedian made me want to do a better job enjoying not having children
Even though things are getting really bad out there I still want them
My life keeps waiting for itself to happen


///


Songs that list the days of the week in a minor key
The shadow a tree casts on itself
I miss my teachers
No one here gets paid to ask me questions
Being a little psychic causes vivid and unreasonable expectations
I like it when dinner takes a while to be ready after the guests arrive
I don’t want to make poetry easier for anyone
What kind of fire does it take to burn down language
I can’t find anything private
I saw a hole and you named it window
My chest lightens like fluid being drained from a wound inside the body
Plastic tubes
The color when they do that is more tropical Starburst than you’d think
Plain sentences are the only thing that has appealed to me for a while now
I wish I didn’t feel like making things permanent
The emails I’m owed are tallied on the wall
The phone calls I haven’t been making arrive all at once
I open the drawers of some filing cabinets and get glad it’s the future
I wish normal paper went horizontal for longer
My friend is relieved because there is probably no cancer inside him
Even though he hasn’t done all the ways there are to check
Mourning doves really do stay together all the time
And the pair of ducks that lives down the block
A few sidewalks around run diagonal with water underneath them
The water in my head is heavy
I can tell I’m going to need a lot more fire


///


You don’t always know who is in the room
I wait to hear a good number
When I am told to stay in a place I want to leave it
Nothing belongs to anyone really
People end their marriages and wait no time to be in love again
The food I bring to my face has been gathered for me
The face I see across the table is one I loved once
I leave early
I blush for explaining so much
Growing up is learning how to ignore people you know in public
I learn my friend is getting rid of their books
They are not really my friend but I hope they will send me some
All the houses we’ve lived in pile on top of each other
I imagine them in a trash compactor
Then I imagine them underground
As geologic layers we walk over without realizing it
All weekend you say the same handful of sentences
I am given a book called LIGHT WIND LIGHT LIGHT
I try to think of what else doesn’t exist without moving
My pen explodes
I wanted to write a letter to you but I write one to myself instead
I make a list of less pretend ways to interact with who is dead
Some friends stay around


///


I say I love you after five days
I’m not ashamed
It’s my best way of trusting a stranger
Love is boring mostly
An inch-long burn almost horizontal across the wrist
I shear the thorns off every rose I see
Your friends start to like me
I don’t kill the morning spider traversing the windowpane
The people our friends get into relationships with change them
I get really excited about a yard sale
I dance around different versions of myself
You’d think that would be worth something
A kind of metaphoric recalibration
My childhood’s Platonic form of bird stops outside the window
Its neck is red
I am getting used to making a good thing hard because no one has died lately
It’s not a pattern I hope to lean into
I hear a couple of the right songs in a row and everything seems okay
Little leaves unsticking from each other into the air
The spider stays around for the whole poem
Moves up the window frame to some higher panes
I turn the volume down until it is one notch away from off
Listen for you to wake up


///


While I read the essay about the baby my friends lost
I bleed onto my mother’s chair without knowing
The spot is the shape of an about-to-open magnolia
I wet a dishcloth with water as cold as it will get
Blot until my blood lightens enough to look like nothing
In the kitchen you compose a birthday card
Two times on paper once in the card
You leave the house without me
I take a long time to leave it too
I arrange flowers I stole from the neighbors
In small vases and in cups that used to be jars
I make everything as beautiful as possible
Back at the comedy show we eat slices from a cake
Decorated with the word ABORTION
Everyone makes jokes about the babies they haven’t had
I want to leave because I can feel myself peeling away from myself
The myself I let win every two-player game I have played alone
Leaves the room and I am left with the myself that stands in
While I dream or when sex goes bad
The next morning you make coffee and scrambled eggs
You put the coffee in a thermos so it stays hot
The last of the cream goes sour so I pour it into the sink
The white of it takes a long time to disappear


///


I am quiet
I sit outside and get sun damage on my face
The dress I’m wearing is black and see through
I know this but when I look down my nipples are real
I run as far as I can without talking to anyone
We fight in the car before the party
I meet many people I don’t know and some people I do
We leave the party to take a break
A plant I put in soil once has a little pen on it
We turn our pages at the same time
Reading at the same pace is sexy I realize
You learn about different ways to fry a chicken
We fight in the car before Easter
We make an agreement that it is OK to fight
I eat barely anything that isn’t a vegetable
I am in love with the idea of forever but not the part in between
On the drive home I look for the moon
Our neighbors do laundry in the same place we do laundry
When I hear them moving I think they are coming through our door
I think they are walking toward me into the bedroom
I want the noise to be you and when it is I put down my book
We make up a number of future fights we are allowed to have
Sex spills out of us and onto the floor like a cartoon puddle
All night my dreams are of war


///


I am told to make it to June
We find places to walk and we name them
It is a lot of pressure
I try to make where I live new while my friends make it old
A fire burns the upstairs out of an apartment building
It is what I was asking for
Neighbors draw their curtains
One place is called Fire Slabs and one is called Water Dream
The house that is supposed to be yours takes days to walk through
I have to imagine myself into each room before I can move
I listen to my teacher even though she is far away
With our feet in sand you tell me what it’s like to feel normal
The ocean isn’t here and I like that
I remember a white dress but not a wedding
You put a stone on my shoulder
A couple of hawks block the sun
I say what is true then I apologize
My face lights up
What I want is an open oven outside in July
To keep making it until the world is sure of me


///


My friend calls me Grief Friend and I correct her
I put flowers in the bathtub
I pee in there with all of us until it’s time to get out
It’s always about that song
“Someone dies and it’s no surprise”
Being a pretend adult is wanting time to speed up then slow down again
I find other ways to be destructive
A friend dangles herself over a cliffside for a day then tells us about it
We try to connect the beginning to now
People can have a hard time with commitment
Plant matter collecting in the drain
Trees let their leaves out like fountains
First whale spout then lake
The real trick will be to see what happens with the river
If you start drowning you have to pay to get rescued
It’s true there are signs that say it
Save yourself better this time


///


I take the inconvenient side of the road because the sun is there
It takes me awhile to warm up to being visited
I like the house to be clean when I wake up
You are allergic to what I bring inside
But we both like beauty more than comfort
As the weather gets warmer I blush less often
I do not ever answer the phone
All I want is to walk
Clean the produce section right out of citrus
Like when my last friend died
And I spent $40 on fruit
This isn’t about that
I get out of bed in the morning
I stand on my two feet and say joy is possible
The city starts to make better choices
It gets easier to go to work
I try to be welcoming
The sun


///


Another version of me is prepared for continuous panic
Sand all over the house
I dream of a pregnancy test you can reuse and of almost stepping on baby ducks
I dance really well so that someone will ask me to dance again
My friend calls me Arabesque Hand and I do not correct her
I add things to the middle as a sort of spell
Only count planes that are flying up
Something on the news is a little bit interesting
I try to find things out myself instead
Learning the names of the mountain ranges that surround each of my friends
I pull scabs from my face
Sandia Zirkel Mummy Front Range San Gabriel Cascade Owyhee
No one pulls the car over to check where they’re going anymore
You remember something I said like it was a song

CL Young  (she/they) is a writer, artist, and intuitive currently facilitating Sema and TUNING. clyoung.info