(A History Of Why People Leave)

You watched me as if my face
were a television I could use to charm you
into anything, like the day I convinced you to be
an electric elephant machine
with multi-function socket eyes
and ears beneath which I could hide
how I was using you -like an appliance
or a bare-handed holding test.

My guilt had a rhythm with your smile
and I used that too-
to turn the skin from my bones
so it could find new homes
against hands and holds
that were never yours.

With radio voices I would pretend in your ear
that I could be sincere,
but sincerity from me was just
sinning like I meant it. And I did
when I left you without a warning
on the sidewalk with him,
your little boy transistor faces set
with half-static intentions
on girls with faux-fur breasts and elevator ankles
who said hello like they meant please.

In that walk of my decline
of you and wherever we'd have gone,
I wore my face like pushing a square swing set
and watched hipster kids with lit cigarette fingertips
touch each other just to feel the burns.
Later as you asked me why I left,
I distracted myself with thoughts
of how difficult it would be to build a whale
and told you all the things
it was easier to say than the truth.

So we drank and danced with not each other
as a girl took video footage
to show the world how strange your friend could move
or how his fingers had grown talons of mediocre density,
but how that was enough to manipulate
a mechanical civilian's moods.

That was when the couch took you in its arms like I never would
softness welling up in your words as you
touched your fingers to my throat
and told me you "liked me so much,"
your voice graceless with modern desperation.
I looked at you like you were a blue baby I'd buried
in the backyard to see if you might grow again.

See, I might have kissed you if you hadn't been so drunk.
But you were,
so the only thing you grew
were power lines we threw into the air-
like flags that tied their countries to our tongues
so they'd have a common use for once.

Last I heard your flag was a girl
with Pennsylvania written across her forehead
who holds her fists open like solid ghosts and lives
in a skin made of soil and I
hope she holds you soft in her hands
and you grow like ivy –not outlets- from your knees
and if I see you again,
know that I honestly liked you
despite what I might have seemed.

(Last Edited: 3.21.08)