July 27, 2009

{johnny halfway january.09}

i can’t talk sometimes without her tumbling out it doesn’t happen on purpose. i used to remember her when she was sleeping right next to me so i could open my eyes and immediately know relief. i let her trace “hero” all over my body but. i was always so scared to touch her. i thought maybe she would feel someone else in me or maybe she could feel that i would never lie to her i was eighteen but still too superstitious to say her name out loud. things got uncomfortable before i was ready but i felt it and i felt her stop… i felt her stop something from across the divide. i tried to squeeze back into the skeleton i wrapped her around with numb fingers when we were still strung out on each other but backed down, i tried with everything i had but i kept listening waiting to be let in, i lost my balance when she exhaled.

i spent weeks next to windows telling myself i should have seen this coming when i let her apocalypse-dream beside me, telling myself i meant every sound except for the words. i locked myself in clean rooms and i unclenched one glazed eye in the springtime to find that everything was angular and disjointed and nothing was flattering. i went home and my sentences got shorter for the first time. Folded around muscle and bone i convinced myself that this, what i encapsulated between two callused palms, was all i could ever really know for sure.

i saw her after a spring and summer of isolation, internal remediation, i fell right back into step. out of nowhere she existed before me, i turned the corner and she was spot-lit with the long list she taught my piano when she used my lungs--
and when i listened to you, anonymous in the crowd, i heard my words knife out your mouth and i felt safe because at some point, you were here and i felt safe because you knew what hurt is i want to tell you everything like you’ve been wearing me backwards this whole time, we’re all made to switch places just let me see that i’ve had some impact and i imagine that you’re listening to all this, letting me pour my words over and letting them roll down your back and maybe, maybe stick all-morning-after like to your hair your clothes just let me see i’ve left a mark--

deep breath.

some nights after she showed up with a bottle of wine and promised adventure but we just ended up following empty September streets and when there was nothing else to say i said too much. i let her justify everything because even though i prayed for her to blister with lack of me, i didn’t know how to stop waiting to hear the right thing, it wasn’t smart i don’t like to talk about it but. my skin still remembers everything, i still have scars from when she pulled me too tight and all i could breath was her so i grew gills and i still have marks from when she pushed me too far and i stayed up all night shivering skylines but.

here between these two callused palms i’ve created my own constant in the incredible tension of breath when i’ve run out of things to do to myself and i’ve run out of things to look at. i would have wrecked myself eventually. it wasn't just luck that it was for her. but then again, there’s no clean way to sound the hollow.

One fist clenched and both lungs blackened i met Johnny Halfway in a moment of truth, of forties, of fabrication. She dampened my teeth but dreamt of soil as i aligned my spine against her foundation. She mismatched our elements beneath taught skin and slow knuckles.
Johnny Halfway, last i checked, kept her mattress on aching floorboards, teetering below the Holy Father and a bent bottle cap collection. Behind her back i drew myself into her freckles, behind her back i scathed my bones.

Johnny Halfway held her fingers under the table and counted to 3 before i knew it.

Johnny Halfway was never up to any good.