Tell Me You Were Anywhere

Here is how it is with you:
Every day I wonder what is missing.

Cracks in the sidewalk. I avoid them, wouldn’t
want to break her back,
smaller things, still
I would not say to you.

You are lovely and white-teethed
and whenever I am around you I feel slovenly,
like a garage sale item in a department store.

Sometimes you call, although we have little
to talk about.

We both wish it wasn’t this way. We tell others
we are close.

So here it is. Let me tell you.

There is a way that you think that is wrong. I would tell you that it is wrong, except
a big part of the wrongness of it is that
no one is allowed to tell you that you are wrong,

and this of course makes telling you about the problem
problematic, etc etc

and so when we speak nothing is wrong and there are no problems and you are just lovely as always what’s
you is me and
thine and thee and fee and fee
fi fo fum

Every day
before I speak to you
I must put on my space suit.

There are theories!
of space suit design.

There are things to take into consideration
if you want to leave this atmosphere.

The requirements of pre-breathing,
the possibilities of decompression sickness of course, but most of all —


and artificial

And how
do you construct joints

which can shift effortlessly, delicately, with the kind of care
and attention to detail an astronaut requires

under this self-imposed pressure?

Here is the formula.

(Now write that down

in your goddamn

And so we form suits out of multiple layers, first
the bladder layer
all rubber and air, airtight, sealing in nothingness until nothing can get in, (which
will not ‘pop’ like a balloon, no,
not even if punctured) then

the restraint layer
which takes the stress caused by pressure inside the suit, all
openings and folds
in their appropriate places

gores and convolutes, convolutes, convoluted

and then

the Thermal Micrometeoroid Garment —

It keeps one warm
protects one from solar radiation, and
micrometeoroids, (which

weighing less than a single strawberry
and traveling some kilometers per second
could wreak some serious havoc

on, say, some silly misplaced torso)

and last of all that helmet that melds
into the rest of me like an extension of pearl white skin

as if all of this were just one massive onesie
some kind of intergalactic pajama set

actually I’m all set for our slumber party
let me just grab my oxygen tank

Heeeeeeey. How’ve you been?

I think I saw you the other day but I wasn’t sure

I reached my hand through the ether, gores expanding, convolutes contracting into folds (it was in fact,
quite effortless, good job engineers)

to tap you

on the shoulder

you floated a slow, elegant 180
in response —

of course I couldn’t see into your helmet nor you into mine, all was

unending darkness, the reflection
of the night sky for trillions of light-years,
emptiness, unknown, the horror etc was that


Please, tell me you’re elsewhere these days:
vacationing in Florida, turning gold and silver
in an equatorial sun

sailing boats in Antartica, oh tell me you
were anywhere

but interplanetary space yesterday.

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  1. i like some of this poem very much; to my untrainedness, it seems like the narrating voice (purposefully?) loses some of its coherence around the lines
    “you is me and / thine and thee and fee and fee / fi fo fum”. as if there were two (or more) poems in this poem.

    also, have you compared this poem to the first poem you tagged “Poetry” here?

  2. Heh. I was trying to not make them overwhelmingly related, but, y’know. They are, so to speak.

    Christ, why am I commenting on my own blog at 3:30 in the morning?

  3. So, either I’m mistaken, or you think my teeth are white….!!! Crest Total Whitening will do that to/for you.

    But (unless I am mistaken), YOU are wrong about something: I do indeed listen when you tell me I’m wrong, and you should tell me freely. See, listening and agreement are two separate things entirely. I probably do listen AND agree, but the context, ideology, and reasoning surrounding these so called wrong ways of thinking differ greatly, thus creating the “wrong” way.

    Mind you, “wrong” is subjective. Reality isn’t singular but rather always correlated to the interpretation of said reality. My reality and your reality are to very different things for the same set of factual events.

    This is, of course, unless I’m mistaken.

  4. better to comment on your own blog at 3:30 than on someone else’s. or maybe that’s backwards? it’s 9 o’clock and i haven’t eaten dinner yet — now that’s crazy. also, benazir bhutto was killed — again, crazy, but i’m using that word in a different way.

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