Latenight Nostalgia

This was what we wanted,
I think,
when we sat on your back porch
and planned out our futures.
This was what we wanted,
and I say it with no bitter
no malice or regret.
I remember standing
against the post
with its peeling blue paint--
brown underneath,
to imitate wood--
and watching you smoke
yourself to the filter,
cigarette unlit
between your frail fingertips.
Blisters on your lips.

Does it ring a bell,
to you?
Your voice on the machine
this morning set the claxon
mad within my skull.
four advil
in the palm of my hand.
I still take mine dry.
They go down like
words left unspoken
and we loved them that way,
you and I,
in the strange love that we had.
For things,
for each other.
I play the message once more.
Post-it notes,
ink running,
left tacked to the door.

That was our last hello,
and our last goodbye.
Better than the telephone,
traditional in the way
that the back porch
was traditional.
In the way that Mettallica
was traditional,
or walking after sunset
in the dirty part of town.
It must be different where you are,
because the city is bigger
and the hearts,
I hear,
are smaller.
The back porches tend
in places like that to be smaller.
You left a number,
but you know I hate telephones.
You left town,
but you hate being all alone.

Seven numbers
have always been farther
than four blocks,
or four hundred miles.

This was what we wanted,
I'm sure,
when we sat on your back porch
and spit
at our futures.  

September 19 2003