Updated: Mar 21
What should I do now that
you seem to be set on building
that wall, brick by brick around
your feet, then your face, almost gone,
lost behind the clay and the fires, and
when I can no longer see you, shall I lie?
And say I never did see those lights and
that sky or feel the rain that fell like feathers
on my arms when I first heard you,
when I first heard you speak,
when I first felt your hand
reaching into my chest and
grasping my heart, taking it
whole, and it was wonderfully
warm when we first kissed and
the second and the third and
again, shall I lie?
or shall I
die is a word for the living and
I live still, but shall I leap? Into the
dark, dark mess of these thoughts these
memories of you linger, for the only way to
forget would be to lie.
February 1, 2010
How do people forget? I often wonder, because it seems to me that I do not. I remember when I wrote this, the poem I wrote around it. I was heartbroken and I was falling in love again. I knew the former, but not the latter. I remember how it had been months and I was better, but I still found myself crying -- yes, at night, and yes, when I was alone. Did I forget when I realized I was falling in love again? Did I have to forget so that I could know I was falling in love again? No, and no. I still remember and I have fallen in love again several times over.
I still remember you, Peter Pan.
You were not the first boy I fell in love with, not the first boy I broke rules for, not the first boy I hid secrets with. You were, however, the first one who read my mind. I remember. I remember looking at you from across the room, looking at you dancing in the cold air. I remember you sitting beside me with your guitar and knowing you were reading over my shoulder as I wrote notes in my notebook. I remember you looking up at me as I was going up the stairs on the side of that hill, you in your black and white patterned hoodie, hands in your pockets, and your eyes knowing. And you knew that my temperature rose and I could not sleep, because I was waiting and waiting for you. I remember you. I remember the sky was pink that first time we kissed and we sat under an umbrella, on the grass, and the grass was damp with the dusk and a drizzle, but we did not quite care.
Years later, I found better words for what we had. I learned synchronicity and quantum entanglement. Still later, I also learned the historicity of truth. Oh, we were connected, we were bound, but we burned through that bond quite quickly. We did not have enough fuel to burn, we had not yet gathered enough of life. You taught me what love was and it was easy, poetry that writes itself. It stopped when we had to write it ourselves and you needed to write your own story first. You broke my heart, but I understood. In fact, you do not know, but your words ring true until now. Day after day I tell myself how I must write my own story -- a lesson I had to hear again and again, from many others -- but you and that heartbreak was first.
And this is where I first learned that forgetting has no place. To write my story, I had to write you, remember you, and continue. I remember standing in my bathroom, because it was the only place in my house I could be alone. I remember standing there with the lights off, eyes closed, arms wrapped around myself -- because it was painful, it was painful to feel the loss of you, that space of you-no-longer-there, which was the exact shape of you and the exact scent of you and the exact heat of you, but not you. I remember how I looked into that space and made myself look deeper, through it, past it, and then I saw it. I saw myself. My loss of you had left me myself, and oh, she needed comfort and I wanted to comfort her. It was she who felt this absence, but here I was feeling her. I reached out and held her, close, because she was my own, and I loved her. Forgetting has no place, because I needed to remember this, her, and so, you.
So I wrote you into my story, and there you are still. I can reach back and remember, but I also allow myself to turn the page, to write the next and the next and the next. I allowed new love in, to be written, and so the next and the next. Love and heartbreak are as such, the gathering of life and whatever fuel it is we burn so we can work things out are as such, lived and written, and lived and turned to the next. This is what truth is, and truth is that I loved you, and still do, so long as I remember.
Only, you are no longer part of my story and so I only love what I remember. And, yes, the only way to forget would be to lie.
March 11, 2020