I want you to bite my lip until I can no longer speak
And then suck my ex girlfriend’s name out of my mouth just to make sure she never comes up in our conversations.
I’m going to be honest, I’m not really a love poet
In fact, every time I try to write about love my hands cramp… just to show me how painful love can be.
And sometimes my pencils break, just to prove to me that every now and then love takes a little more work than you planned
See I heard that love is blind so, I write all my poems in Braille
And my poems are never actually finished because true love is endless.
I always believed that real love is kind of like a super model before she’s air brushed;
It’s pure and imperfect, just the way that God intended.
See I’m going to be honest, I’m not a love poet
But if I was to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that I really wanted to write about love I swear that my first poem…
It would be about you.
About how I loved you the same way that I learned how to ride a bike: Scared
But reckless with no training wheels or elbow pads so my scars can tell the story of how I fell for you.
You see, I’m not really a love poet
But if I was I’d write about how I see your face in every cloud and your reflection in every window
You see I’ve written like a million poems hoping that somehow maybe someway you’ll jump out of the page and be closer to me
Because if you were here, right now
I would massage your back until your skin sings songs that your lips don’t even know the words to.
Until your heartbeat sounds like my last name and you smile like the Pacific ocean
I want to drink the sunlight in your skin.
If I was a love poet
I’d write about how you have the audacity to be beautiful
Even on days when everything around you is ugly
You see I’d write about your eyelashes and how they are like violin strings that play symphonies every time you blink.
If I was a love poet
I’d write about how I melt in front of you like an ice sculpture
Every time I hear the vibration in your voice so whenever I see your name on the caller ID my heart
It plays hop scotch inside of my chest.
Yo it climbs on to my ribs like monkey bars and I feel like a child all over again.
I know this sounds strange but every now and then I pray that God somehow turns you back into one of my ribs…
Just so that I would never have to spend an entire day without you.
I swear, I’m not a love poet
But if I was to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that I really wanted to write about love
My first poem it would be about you
And after all of that she was like, so how do you feel about me?
And I said, put it like this:
I want to be your ex boyfriend’s stunt man. I want to do everything that he never had the courage to do like… trust you.
I swear that when our lips touch I can taste the next sixty years of my life.
And some days I want to swallow stacks of your pictures just so you can be a part of me for a little bit longer.
If I could I would sample your smile and then I would let my heart beat
Do the bass line, we would create the greatest love song of all time
Whenever, we stand next to each other, love I was the only one made for you and you can be at last my Etta James
I’ll be oh child when you’re in pain or you could be candy coated drops of rain
Even though it never rains in Southern California
And together, we could be music.
And when my friends ask if you’re my girlfriend
I’ll say no.
She is my musician
And me… I’m her favorite song.
I am not the first person you loved.
You are not the first person I looked at
with a mouthful of forevers. We
have both known loss like the sharp edges
of a knife. We have both lived with lips
more scar tissue than skin. Our love came
unannounced in the middle of the night.
Our love came when we’d given up
on asking love to come. I think
that has to be part
of its miracle.
This is how we heal.
I will kiss you like forgiveness. You
will hold me like I’m hope. Our arms
will bandage and we will press promises
between us like flowers in a book.
I will write sonnets to the salt of sweat
on your skin. I will write novels to the scar
of your nose. I will write a dictionary
of all the words I have used trying
to describe the way it feels to have finally,
finally found you.
And I will not be afraid
of your scars.
I know sometimes
it’s still hard to let me see you
in all your cracked perfection,
but please know:
whether it’s the days you burn
more brilliant than the sun
or the nights you collapse into my lap
your body broken into a thousand questions,
you are the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
I will love you when you are a still day.
I will love you when you are a hurricane.
That night, we peeled fruit and then each other
you licked mango from my mouth where I sunk chin deep
and I tasted bitter tangerine on your tongue when we kissed
loneliness didn’t feel right against my lips so when we emerged
reborn from the fall, aching and hopeful
I knew what it felt to be Eve
lips stung red with cherries and plums
tumbling straight out of heaven into you
wine-like, gentle and frothing
‘do you know what it’s like to hurt?’ You asked me.
Lover, I did not tell you that the very first time I saw you
my body changed itself for the drop
I plummeted down like a loose winged helicopter
hollowed out and new, spilling over the edges with keening cloying
desperation, so I nodded my head and told your cheek
“I know what it’s like to hurt, when we are not close, I am jealous of the air you are breathing,
the way your lungs keep you more than I can
my arms twist themselves into terrible shapes
looking for better ways to hold you.”
they say there is violence
to every new beginning
so let me love you gently —
as if you & i hadn’t been both gravity-
& catapulted off the seesaw of visibility
or found our bodies buried in far-off
distant hillside cities
with Leviticus breathing down our backs—
let me love you in olde english,
or family recipes
in every language that hasn’t yet ruined
the season’s first snow or
the meaning of Yes
let me love you
the way my grandpa loved whiskey:
shamelessly & with abandon
let me make watermarks in your
bump my glass hip to yours.
there is a four poster bed in my chest
with your handkerchief knotted to its banister,
& i am splintering, bent, & bowed low
like a tree in monsoon season,
proposing with all of my 26 rings:
how about Oklahoma. or Utah
maybe a rocker in Southern Georgia or
porch steps on the coast of Maine
because you & i? we have both
done it Right
too many times
& I want this, so
Baby, get messy with me
let’s do it all Wrong.
leave the tired to their ruts &
invent something other
than the wheel with me
I don’t want anything labeled,
processed or pre-wrapped,
don’t want Forward
if it’s toward what we already know
i want slow motion;
let me slow dance you in the kitchen
while the artichokes boil over,
I wanna boil over with you.
paint the kitchen the color of our water
I wanna raise a barn with you—
put hammer to nail &
barrel-buckle our bodies to community
I want the blister of handmade
on my heart &
the dirt of homegrown in our bed
& if it’s true that only fools rush in
then fuck — take my hand
and my whole life, too
because you have made me bold enough
to think that even backwards is better
than what we’ve tried to bend ourselves into
& it’s true that i’ve got
fistfights in my belly
for every coward that’s handcuffed
their hurt to loving you
& i know you’ve never charged extra for baggage
but this body is a suitcase &
i don’t intend on letting you carry it, no.
walk beside me.
let your brack & tweed
stand alongside the midwestern yearn
of my urban swoon,
show me your swagger just by
pop & locking your garter belt
i want to write your name
in the dust of a train car’s exhale
somewhere south of the Mason Dixon,
kick wasp nests deep into the hills of Julian
where you found that bomb &
still made it back to show me how to ball yarn
& crowbar myself open wide enough
for the helium of your hearthatch
to hot air balloon us
into the chariot of every afternoon’s
so let’s go —
lungshock headroll off the dock
& into crisp lake water
of the next sixty new beginnings
all hands &
You don’t fall in love like you fall in a hole. You fall like falling through space. It’s like you jump off your own private planet to visit someone else’s planet. And when you get there it all looks different: the flowers, the animals, the colours people wear. It is a big surprise falling in love because you thought you had everything just right on your own planet, and that was true, in a way, but then somebody signalled to you across space and the only way you could visit was to take a giant jump. Away you go, falling into someone else’s orbit and after a while you might decide to pull your two planets together and call it home. And you can bring your dog. Or your cat. Your goldfish, hamster, collection of stones, all your odd socks. (The ones you lost, including the holes, are on the new planet you found.)
And you can bring your friends to visit. And read your favourite stories to each other. And the falling was really the big jump that you had to make to be with someone you don’t want to be without. That’s it.
PS You have to be brave.
I’ve fallen in love with a curious one.
Maybe one day he will take the train back home
and be curious enough to read one last message from me
carved on a seat.
let me talk for a minute
about how i want to spend my life
undoing the knots in your back
i want to suck the juice
from the ripe underbelly of your plum
my words fail me
again and again
how do you explain in simple words
what it feels like to look at someone
and see their humanity?
here are the facts:
i am trying to get to a better place
you love me as though i am already there