WRITING PROMPT #12 – Hannah Weiner on Public Access Poetry was last modified: June 15th, 2015 by Shane Jesse Christmass
June 15, 2015
The sun is setting
As I turn to walk away
Stopping long enough to see
Your smile and
One last time.
Wanting to see you
Yet knowing the day will not come
It is not because we ended things.
No, our love is too strong for the final curtain.
Life as we know it is saying goodbye,
Leaving our love to linger
In the universe.
What is left to say when love has shared all?
Let me look at you
As the sun sets.
Love is the guest of honor
This last time.
They are all invited to this party
Hovering over a world that loved too little
And sometimes too long.
I love you.
I have loved you.
I will always love you.
I believe our love will live on.
I thank you for loving me
As I thank God for our love
As the sun sets
I haven’t been sleeping
I stay awake at night for hours. I breathe the way I was taught to breathe in labor. Inhale for four counts, exhale for eight. I press the bottoms of my feet together.
I read. I try to let thoughts come and go.
I was on the couch the other day and I closed my eyes and felt sure there were people, beings, ghosts, spirits, on the other side of a darkness, a bubble, and they were guiding me, moving me, pushing and pulling me.
But they weren’t angels.
We have words for things—angel, ghost, god, but they don’t mean any one thing.
When we fall to sleep it is never all at once. It is slow or fast. A retreat. When I can’t sleep it is a backwards dance that is interrupted, I am pulled up, over and over again.
When the world ends it won’t be all at once. When our world ends, it won’t be all at once. Whether it is ocean levels rising, floods or fire, wind or a colliding planet, a hail of stone, the sun swelling, the universe rewinding, contracting, a slow starvation, asphyxiation, a gun shot, cancer, a blockage in our brain, old age, a lonely heart.
We can be erased by swells of hate and, also, swells of love.
When I was young, my father and I agreed, if there were ever a nuclear attack, we would go on the roof to watch the light encompass the city and flash over us.
I feel haunted that I won’t, don’t appreciate what I have. I can’t sink into moments or gratefulness enough. I think about my grandmother making me an ice cream cake for my birthday. I was six or seven. She liked to make things so we wouldn’t have to buy them. I worry I didn’t thank her enough. I worry I wasn’t grateful enough. I worry she will die and she won’t know what I’ve felt, what I remember. I want to tell everyone what they mean to me, how I love them, but I can’t. Sometimes it’s not appropriate. It will drive people away, all this I feel. I’ve spent my life trying to make my feelings smaller, more compact,
When I die I can feel what I want. I can love how I want. How much. How little.
We can forgive each other all at once, in a wave, for not being enough. Right now we forgive like sleep, we accept each other and then we retreat, we take it back, we pull away.
I just want you to know how I’ve loved you, everyone and everything, after the hard shells and dirt and pain and lies and all we must do to live is stripped away.
I have a daughter. Ten months old. She squirms away from me. She wants the world. To face it. To taste it. To watch. To touch.
But the other day she leaned her head against me. I curled my body around her.
I closed my eyes because I was tired. I am tired all the time. When I opened them again her eyes had that far away look, like sleep is coming. She was half way there. So was I.
I closed my eyes again and she closed hers. I prayed, please, when I die, let me live in this moment forever.
We drifted on that magic carpet to sleep and no one pulled it from under us.
At the End
We never made it to the coast.
I never saw you.
Rivers changed course without warning
or did we have warning?
Maybe we ignored the warning.
My car was swept away.
I believed I could steer through water
in the middle of the road,
I felt traction and imagined
telling you this story when we met
of how close I came to sliding
in my car with the rest of the cars
to the rocks below
and I imagined your slick jacket
against my face because you said you always
wore something like a rain jacket
because we all wore rain jackets
by that part of the century— the ubiquitous rain
of our century— and my surprise when you
bent your head down and continued down
to kiss the nape of my neck,
soft wet different from rain wet.
I thought of your lips as my car fell through the air.
Could you hear the music? ‘It’s the end of the world as we know it.’
Every car’s stereo was playing it.
How I might have laughed at our predicament.
I nearly gave up
but then the rain paused
and I thought a break in the clouds
could save us—hope is eternal, isn’t it?
I wished for a moment I would see you
and I would be seen by you
like in your dream
where we met on the coast.
What I Was Too Scared To Tell You
when they pried me open they found naught but a brain,
no inkling of the thoughts inside, no shade
of the dreams of gender death,
where i could wake up
one morning to wear a suit and tie,
& in the evening wear my beard
& a flower stained
& still be considered
me, still be considered
still be considered.
how i wished
i could get over the fear of not
being hot, being strong
being sexy. how i cried into the dark don’t call me names. don’t worry about how
i check my boxes: don’t dwell on my label: bi?/
call me Joe.
call me bright/burnt&beaming.
call me nothing & just hold me
as i hold you.
Joe Nicholas is an experimenter and experiencer, as well as the editor of The Screaming Sheep.