It’s the ten-thousandth poem I’ve written for you–
Your memory is a grain of sand
Stuck in my heart;
It hurts and it won’t come out.
All these words, songs, stories, thoughts,
Are nothing more than layers of pearl
I wrap around it to smooth it out,
To make something beautiful of it,
To make it less bitter, not a waste of time,
As some more calloused fool would have it.
It’s raw, the wound bleeds, I have to keep moving
The pen across the page and let words flow,
Lancing a boil that keeps refilling
No matter how much I let go.
Every morning still, I wake and it’s there
Somewhere, smaller now, but still
I feel you, not you, a living memory, a ghost of you,
A recognition that you and I are somehow one,
That hating you hurts me too, yet
Somehow all these words don’t matter,
All accretions of pearl, like lullaby tunes
To set a howling babe to rest.
I pray sometimes, someday I’ll forget
I ever met you, forget how it went;
That wish floats by and at its tail
Comes swimming up a bigger prayer
That even after death I’ll cherish how it felt
When times were good and peace of angels
Hovered overhead and joined us.
A poem is such a formal thing, inevitably
Any trace of form or grammar seems fakery,
A cheap theatric staging, a teenage drama raging.
But such is the creation of a pearl,
And such is all the workings of the world;
Better to risk seeming false and foolish writing this
Than be reduced to caveman grunts,
Madness and subhuman filth,
Spend my days shivering in a cave
Made of my collapsed imagination–
What kind of man is that,
To let myself fall flat
And spend a lifetime face-first in the mud?
Still, I could say I’m sorry ten thousand times,
I could beg you to restore our bond, try again—it
Better, maybe, I stay away,
Let this grain of sand like a razor
Become as priceless as a pearl–
It’s priceless as a soul,
And if you ask, annoyed,
Why I don’t just let it go-
I don’t know…
‘Cause that’s what life is made of.
I might as well say “Fuck the world,
Fuck you, fuck the ‘soul’”.
But no—I said I was in love with you;
It was as close to truth as words could come.
Someday maybe this pen will run dry;
Someday maybe all creation will be done.
Grammar and syntax collapse from here on in,
The subject/object dichotomy falls apart,
And at the heart
Is a quantum, infinitely small,
An infinity enclosed inside, naked and raw.
And the language before Babel that spoke it all
Is really nothing more
Than the period at the end
Of this poem-to-you’s last sentence.