Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Caw, caw, caw: Strike a prose

I wrote this on the 6 train early one morning, on my way from home to work.


The thing I hate about winter is that there's no sounding rain. Lots of snow, plenty of snow, but I miss the pounding of the water against my panes. The sound of the rain is like the forward motion of time - it never stops, until it does, and then you have no choice but to accept the silence.

I've heard lots of sweet words from sweet boys in my life, but yours stole all kinds of pastries. "Your name hangs in my heart like a bell," you said. "Found myself a picture that would fit in the folds of my wallet, and it stayed pretty good," you said.

But your words were secondhand, usurped from past brilliants, on loan to me for a limited time only (LTO). A faulty loan at that, motherfucker, since the words weren't even yours to give. In retrospect, this angers me. How dare you? How dare you take those words from their creators, then haphazardly give them to me? Not even you could make me hate something so beautiful.

Not even you could make me hate you. Months and months passed, and all I wanted was to hate you. You launched more borrowed words at me, and with every blow I remained resilient. I couldn't hate you, I couldn't hate you, I couldn't hate you - though not for lack of trying. When the final blow came, finally a set of originals - I love someone else - the cannon shot echoed off the Southern hills. Then a deafening, ringing silence. The snow came. I crouched, and looked around, but you were already gone. (The only thing worse than a giver of borrowed words is someone who doesn't understand the impact of his own.) The fog remained, my wound still hemorrhaging, and I curled up in a little ball and licked it for hours. I found in my last traces of consciousness that I truly did not care if the bleeding stopped while I slept. I did not care, and then in the last glittering moment before sleep blinked me away, I did.

When I woke up, I had some of my strength back. I stood up in the melting snow, and saw the meat of the land poking through the dead grass. I gathered my things and was suddenly aware that, for the first time, I felt nothing. The love I had for you, the words I had said to you and saved for you - never borrowed, always my own - everything was gone. All I had wanted was to hate you, but this was better. Anything could happen to you, you could take your borrowed life and your borrowed words anywhere you wanted, and I would not care. The wind had taken them while I slept. They belonged to no one. They were finally free.

It was warmer now. There was still no sun, but at least it was warmer. I began to walk.

The snow turned to rain. This clearing was much bigger than I remembered. I made my way home, knowing I would never see you or hear you or feel you again. My long brown hair dripped - when had it gotten so long? - and I wondered if I had possiby made the whole thing up, like maybe I invented you from all the songs and poems and plays I had loved in a past life. Perhaps you were some new sort of phantom made of skin and bones and veins and teeth. How do we know what is real?

I stopped walking. Something inside me told me to stop. I sat down in the field, in the cold and the wet, waiting for the carrier of words. I'm still sitting here, though I move around sometimes so no one knows that, still, I wait. An army of love surrounds me at all times. And I know he will come because truth attracts honesty. So I will just keep waiting.

Overhead, a black bird cries, and the squishy tears roll down my cheeks as my dark hair, now drying out, blows in the wind. The bird tells me (secretly) he has never borrowed or loaned anything in his life, except for his breath, on loan from the gracious universe, to be returned at an unknown time. Just like the rest of us.

Someone else can have your borrowed words. I can subsist on creating my own, until he arrives, and we co-pilot as birds ourselves, never borrowing, only living.

Caw. Caw. Caw.


  1. I am fairly new to your post and know no history here... If what u wrote on your train ride is taken from what has happened in real life, well its affected me.... I am going thru some hurt, hurt that I didn't think I could go thru again...Yes, I went thru it 2 years ago and gave this person a second chance.... In his mind he may think I think nothing has happened.. They say action speaks louder than words and in the two weeks he was w/me, it rang true... He gave off certain clues even my cat acted differently and my son questioned me about how he was acting......Even if this is not a true story, I so can relate..

  2. Wow, this is really touching. I've also known people to use other people's words like that. It hurts, really, when you find out.

  3. this is absolutely beautiful. now following on twitter!

  4. I missed your prose. More writing and fewer pictures of hats and cats, please!

    (Just kidding; I know we all get busy, but this was really refreshing).