cut up project….

this was for my new media class in my grad program. it was originally a prose creative writing piece from “observance”. we then took our pieces and cut them up into sections and rearranged them. this is where i landed.

Before Sleep

I like to see the way the light falls
on his arms as they hold onto me
until sleep finally comes.

He doesn’t know how closely I watch,
he is too preoccupied with locking the door.

When he gets tired, he paces.
When he is exhausted, he drinks.

Both of these are taking place,
which means tired and exhausted
have intertwined, but he is still
smiling at me.

He stands with his back towards me,
fiddling with watches, leather bracelets,
compact discs, putting everything
in its place on the dresser for a
few hours until they retreat back
to his wrists, his pockets, his ears,
once again in the morning.

He is pacing again. Lighter in hand. Candle lit, and then blown out.

Shoulders; soft, but angular.
Broad, but welcoming.
Slouch is something it doesn’t know
because years of breaking music
over a drum set has kept him upright.

He is as attractive from this angle
as he is when he is looking
me dead in the eye. His back is
like reinforced steel, even when
the exhaustion is sitting on his shoulders.

turning on the fan,
turning off the fan,
light on/light off,
Chinese folding
wall shut/
open/finally shut,
cat successfully locked out of the
bedroom for the evening.

And then there is the choice of the music;
jazz/rock/sad folk…

In certain moments, I can sense his
overwhelming want to let those
shoulders settle and fall,
but I have yet to see it.
He never looks broken even
though I know that most
of the time he feels in pieces.

(The second candle that hung from the wall was burned down to nothing several months ago, and lighting just one seems insufficient).

He holds it in his hand,
circular and the color of horse hair—
brown/tan with that hint of coarseness—
and brings it to my nose.
The exterior appears to be
falling inward upon the wick
like it has been caving in on itself
more and more with each night
of that singular flame.

I smell it and say:

“too bad it is nearly gone, those candles smell amazing”.

I trace the pictures of red and black
leaves and filigree that have been
scarred into his skin as I try to
remember where the lines bend
and turn; where the red becomes
purple in small spaces until the
black takes over again. It always
seems to change like he does.

Like we do.

And tonight I know I will sleep
like exhaustion has asked me to.

The lamp stays on after a few
thoughts of perhaps turning it off.
I don’t mind because it is delicate
and doesn’t hurt my eyes and
I like to see where his eyes are focused.

……and then finally settling on jazz;
sitar jazz to be precise; Middle Eastern
essence flowing in and out and all around us.

The candle smells the way jazz sounds;
in my ears and nose like a memory
that I won’t forget. He places the
sphere on the candleholder that
had been empty since the second
candle was thrown away. Things
seem off center now as I know its
place is three feet over in the holder
it has known since I have known him.

No fire tonight.

I am lying there on the bed, watching him.


Categories: Poetry

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