Bent Words

Bent Words

February 11, 2020

March 13, 2008

There are days…

When I just remember and simply love. I tell a tale and spin a memory about the room like a solo dancer, so close to the ideal partner that I can almost feel the trepidation of his touch and the light brush of his unkempt hair in my face. Carried away with the recollection of this passionate dance, I’ll feel a little less alone.

I’ll feel… alive.

Those were the days when we could make the walk across a room and intimately recall the feeling of every step that closed the distance. The moment when our hands were wiped away of that heaviness and lifted with a new deliberateness toward the figure standing before us. We held onto the shadows for sanctuary, how they fell upon the curves of our faces or disappeared the slight shaking of our legs, but there was no hiding the unblinking light held deep within our eyes. We never looked away, we never turned our heads or covered our faces, as though we feared that in that act we would somehow lose the intensity of our truth.

We saw each other beyond our expressions, we felt each other beyond our skin, we knew each other beyond our boundaries and above our resolutions. The captivation of our existence was an addiction - perhaps we never knew just when to quit.

There were days when the disappointment dripped from walls in which we stood. For all the world he was not sure what he should do and I watched as his emotions crumpled his heart like a piece of used paper. My inability to strip him of his burdens, to cure him of his questions, to calm the darkness which crept into his senses grew evident and there I was; drowning in helplessness.

It was never my decision to make.

There are days…

When I cannot contain the anger and I simply sink. When I cannot dissuade the questions from returning in all their fury, when I have no recourse or handy explanation, when the world won’t fit together no matter how many hours I spend scrutinizing all the pieces.

I fold the pictures carefully into a file - the ones he would not place upon his wall. I struggled to hear the voices of his loved ones who never had luxury of another face to forget. I see the temporariness of it all - of me.

The filler. The inconvenient truth. The imposing passion. The side job. The other thought. The “good enough for now.” The mistake. The vice. The ghost.


Skipping idly over those stepping stones of love and life to something new - a different shore entirely - while I’m left blinking against the reflection in the water.

Perhaps a sob story better left untold but all I can say in my own defense is that I simply had nothing else in mind. I did not make other plans or picture other places. I saw no brighter skies, no purer feelings, no deeper meanings. There weren’t any patches of greener grass to behold. There wasn’t anything before you and certainly nothing could compare beyond…

Those days.

Written at 11:50 p.m.

October 08, 2008

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for the solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on this earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could." -- Ouise Erdrich, The Painted Drum (274).

If she doesn’t get this right, at least she’s got provisions. If the wrung out words drip implacably on the page, if tears aren’t tingling her eyes and if daring emotions are not suggested or at least summoned, she is full on ready to spend the night trying. Equipped with the perfect pen and paper, a full freezer of ice cubes and Captain, a melange of musical refrains in her mind and the willing backdrop of darkness at her window, she is ready.

There he stands. There he stands with the same obstacle of distance burning in his eyes. That wall of impossibility looming above their heads, which they are both eager to overcome but as equally they are incapable of following through with the first step, standing between them like a dare as massive and as thrilling as the first real breath after the longest, most stagnant pause. His chest is overwhelmed with the swollen words of his desire, the anticipation throbs against his nerves and his silence stares her down. There are no words spoken quite as audibly as that which they communicate so thoroughly from within, mirrored in their eyes.

His lips. His full and ready lips pulling her in as though they were a singular destination, alluring from any low plain or high plateau within the world, begging to be tasted, longing desperately to be reached and realized, and there they fall. Into the deep and penetrating darkness which wipes away the rest of humanity and leaves at its core only two - the two of them - standing, floating, and swirling and losing themselves in the space at hand, the diminished space between their bodies, where no one else dwells. Where passion swarms like a maddening rush with an unforgiving pace and there is no control or want thereof, where muscles bend and bristle, leaning into and out of submission; the once whispered rush of the evening air is entirely hushed by the heat of their features exploring tenderly and hungrily that which they have longed to know. Reasons and resolutions explode into the air, shot down and forgotten and foregone - lost is all the apprehension and anxiety of what might happen, traded in for the risk and the rarity of this moment. This one moment.

When all of what could happen fades into what has happened and warnings and wonders and predictions are disarmed for the brevity of this feeling. This kiss. The risk of pain and failure, the risk of worry and wrong, the risk of it all is worth this moment - this one true moment of elation. This madness, this deep-rooted desire, this tossing away of mediocrity and calm, it’s well worth the price they might pay.

His hands. They seek the smooth surface of her face which carries the fullness of her absolute adoration, they reach out to firmly grip the light which radiates from her soul whenever he rounds the corner and enters into her sight, they search for the meaning so apparent to her which has somehow eluded him for so long. They long to contain the secrets she holds like sentimental gifts meant only and always for him. His rough, hard hands seek to envelope that which equals his own passion.

And that’s what she wants.

She wants the force of an evening of a long since ended kiss to remain tender on her lips well into the morning and late afternoon. She wants to feel the memory strong on her body as she does in her mind - that passion, that perfection, that potential - she wants to revel in the lingering light of that kiss, that deep red, unforgettable kiss. That taste! So sweet and substantial. She wants the whisper of his name from her heart to fall without fear, unabashedly, sincerely, repeatedly from her lips. She yearns to tear down the walls of suffocation brick by brick, breathe life into hollow desire, shock propriety off its legs with spontaneity and be swallowed up in a moment by beautiful abandon.

Written at 4:01 p.m.