Elizabeth Ellen published a long sort-of-poem of mine over at Hobart last week. I wrote this in ~February of this year. It initially started out as only the to-do list and my friend Natalie Chin helped edit and suggested that I expand it a lot. Anyway, very happy with how it turned out and very happy to have it at Hobart.
I BUDGETED MY LIFE FOR THE REST OF 2012. I INCLUDED PROJECTED INCOME AND PROJECTED SPENDING. I THINK MY PROJECTED SPENDING IS ABOUT RIGHT BUT I AM AFRAID MY PROJECTED INCOME IS HIGHER THAN WHAT MY ACTUAL INCOME IS GOING TO BE. THIS WILL BE NO GOOD AND ALSO I HATE MONEY AND EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH IT, I HATE EVERYTHING.
HOWEVER I FEEL IMMENSE JOY ABOUT THE FACT THAT I AM GOING TO MEET A LOT OF MY ‘INTERNET-BASED’ FRIENDS IN NEW YORK DURING THE NEW YEARS HOLIDAY. JUST WANT TO SIT AROUND AND BE IN THEIR COMPANY FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE (IN REALITY THIS WILL BE ~3 DAYS BECAUSE THAT IS THE AMOUNT OF TIME BETWEEN MY BUS TICKETS IN AND OUT OF NEW YORK).
I CAN’T STOP LISTENING TO THE MUMFORD & SONS PANDORA STATION. IT’S AWFUL.
MY STOMACH HURTS.
I NEED TO BUY A WEBSITE FOR MYELF.
I MEAN MYSELF.
I DON’T HAVE AN ELF.
I AM LYING ON MY SIDE IN BED AND TYPING THIS WITH ONE HAND,
I’LL INCLUDE A PIC, HERE:
I AM GOING TO GO SHOWER AND THEN GO TO THE MOVIES AND WATCH THE HOBBIT AND THEN I AM GOING TO GO TO WORK. AFTER WORK I WILL COME HOME AND SLEEP. WHEN I WAKE UP TOMORROW I WILL GO TO WORK. AFTER WORK I WILL HAVE DINNER WITH MY PARENTS. BYE.
I don’t love New York.
Why should I?
Of all the places
that have broken my heart,
yours was the break
that hurt the most.
We watched “The Day the Earth Stood Still” in IMAX
and afterwards we walked around to look at all the
Christmas lights on the tallest buildings I had ever seen.
The movie was only good because of Keanu
(I don’t know how to end my childhood obsession)
and the night was only enjoyable because of the caffeine.
Caffeine? It was definitely the caffeine.
Even the good nights leave me with a bitter memory.
I always put too much sugar in my coffee.
We managed ten dates over my weekend trip to New York.
We hadn’t met yet, but I had heard great things,
and I had seen wonderful pictures of you, your friends, your hair.
We both said “Hi” at the same time and laughed,
but not in a cute first-date way.
I was off to a horrible start and couldn’t focus
as you told me about your parents and your sister
and your grandmother who had died last year.
You were somehow charmed by my vacant eyes
and asked to see me again, for a real date.
Date one was nice.
Date two was better, and we held hands.
On date three you said my name for the first time.
Date four was fast and over with before I even got comfortable.
Date five almost didn’t happen, but after a few rearrangements, we worked it out.
Date six was more fun than date two, even though we didn’t hold hands.
Date seven was quiet because your sister was home.
Date eight was okay, because you were tired, and
date nine was worse because I was drunk.
Date ten was awkward because I couldn’t stop crying.
I realized I’m not a good dater in New York.
I show up at all the wrong moments
and make you laugh when you don’t want to.
And yet, you even started to like the way
I pronounced your name,
and smiled every time I forgot
what country your grandmother was from.
Our walk to the train station
was sobering and cold,
and as I climbed aboard,
your grandmother was Somalian.
There was nothing funny about the way
you took my words so seriously.
Traveling at 90 miles an hour,
to meet me at a wooden bench
on a cobblestone street,
only to eat the worst
gourmet macaroni and cheese
either of us had tasted in our lives.
We should have ordered the fettuccine,
I’ve heard great things about their white sauce.
We held hands while you balanced your bike
with your left hand. I don’t even know
why you brought that thing,
you knew you’d just be walking
by my side the entire night.
Unless I could sit on your handlebars,
but New York is no place to try that
for the first time.
Too many manholes,
too many men.
I listened to you complain about your girl,
while I idly remembered the argument I last had with a boy.
It was recent enough to still be able to picture
the weight of tears in each of his eyelids,
but not important enough to care why he was crying.
Why would anyone feel the need
to show me a softer side?
“I wish she would just have enough self esteem
to act like a normal person.”
But don’t we all.
We turned the corner and the summer ended,
and we traveled south trying to beat the cold,
but it caught up with us anyway.
Gloves covered the fingers that used
to trace the skin over your knuckles,
scarves covered the neck that welcomed
the warmth of your mouth.
Layers of sweaters and coats
covered the body that I never let you touch,
except when we were too cold
to sleep alone.
Except when we were too tired to say no.
Up four streets
and over three,
we were soaked
through by the time
we had traveled
a block and a half.
I wish I could say
we stopped to buy
but we figured
the damage had
already been done.
I was shivering and
your hands were pruning.
My makeup was running and
your metro card was soggy.
I tried being mad when
we finally reached the
cover of the subway,
but your brown eyes
seemed to cool me down
and dry me off.
We realized we walked
all those blocks
by accident when
I took a second look
at the map,
but we laughed
it off as I rang out
The sneeze I have now
holding your hand
in the rain.