Jersey City looks different here

I’ve never written a poem about romantic love, and I’ve been in it as many as four times depending on who you ask. I just watched a movie that took a spot as one of my favorites and in it one of the characters says all poems are about one of three things: life, death, and love. Now, I write a lot of poems about life, hence:

“shoes become more than shoes, days will start to taste like peaches and the cold winter air that robs you of boundless heat feels like a gift,”

See? Thats life. Or the way I see it on good days at least. Some would argue that it’s death too, but I’ve got something better than that:

Maybe nothing happens after we die

because the universe is tired.

Which just might be one of my favorite lines I’ve ever written. Upon reflection, mostly everything I write is about life or death. Watch…

My days are drying out like peaches.

I can feel each writhing away from my skin.

one day I’ll be the dead dog

That one is pretty obviously death.

Your parents are superheros when you’re five

and you’re in love with the world

the way that there are always People

around

Obviously life (and quick side note I’m very proud of that one because people always being around is such a nice way to frame being alive — I give myself props).

but each morning I wake up

with a crow

perched on my chest

gnawing at every chamber

of my heart

until the last inch

of my white sheets

turns red

death death death.

THERE IS A SUN

THAT RISES

EVERY MORNING

TO REMIND ME THAT

I’M ALIVE

Life! Life! Life!

So I ask myself, “Why is this?” And I have an answer. Actually, have had an answer five months before I even asked the question. In August I decided I was a pretty shit writer. Not because I can’t write technically, but because I was lying. Everything I had ever written was a lie because it wasn’t thoroughly honest. Writing is about telling the truth, the whole truth, and always valuing being true over the preservation of my reservations. In a way, I’m probably still lying, actually I can tell you without a doubt I am still lying. I’ve just convinced myself that what I have here is more entirely honest than anything I’ve ever written. Which is probably accurate but it doesn’t make what I’ve said true.

In August I noted, “I write as if the whole world is going to find it, and tear it apart. So I tip toe around waterfalls of thick sadness and dense forests of muddled fear and everything is incredibly shallow. Like trying to be known solely by appearance. Everything I’ve ever said, and let be seen, could likely be found out by just looking. There is nothing deeper, ” and I can tell you I was afraid of this:

one day I’ll be the dead dog

With more insides outside than in.

Out of breath like coins at an arcade.

Lifeless in a way that’s less like stone

and moreso a painting

that’s still holding onto the life it once

held in its arms

which crushes me like a dog by car.

Which is freaky, I admit, but one of the best (and obviously honest) pieces I’ve ever written. My biggest fear… Kicking the bucket.

But here’s the thing! That right there is the lie! My biggest fear isn’t just kicking the bucket, it’s doing it alone. That poem is about my dog that preceded my current one. He died all alone, by car, and I was and have been so worried that he left this green earth without knowing he was so loved. Without someone next to him saying, “I love you so much.” What I’m really afraid of is doing it all, the relentless life and even more relentless death, all alone like him. In the piece I didn’t tell you that, not once. Wouldn’t it have been that much better if I had?

Truthfully, it’s been easier than I expected to write about death, even easier to write about life. I’m now more comfortable with the two, in their respective stickiness than I ever have been. I haven’t tackled love because that’s what really scares me. Thats what makes the living and the dying too messy for me to want to deal with. But I want to start dealing, because if I want to write I want it to be good and it won’t be good until it’s the truth. (I hate myself for what I’m about to say but I won’t get better at saying it if I don’t just start) the only reason why I enjoy life so much is because of how deeply in love I’ve been with other human beings. Not places, or things, or feelings, not this time. People. I love every minute of it which is why each of my days feels like peaches and why I don’t want to get crushed like a dog by car without it. On the bad days I still feel lucky to experience it deeply enough to even have lows, and I obviously love the good days because love fills me up like a stream fills a lake.

To return to what I had written in August, I had promised myself to be more transparent, and I won’t sell myself short because I definitely did that, I just only made it halfway. If I’m going to write something ever again, I owe it to myself to finish the race.

I love you, goodnight :)

Robot @ nyu