Waltz #2

My last blog caused an upheaval, on a myriad of levels, for which I was vastly underprepared. I’m shifting this entry to what I write the most yet choose to share the least; my prose. It’s typically very dark. This particular piece, written over a night and a day, bled onto the page with a constant ringing of “Waltz #2” in my head Waltz #2 I’m too tired to explain now why Elliot meant nothing to me then (when he was alive) but means nearly everything to me now at choice times. I still wish he was here a whole lot, though.

beth philly 1

4 am With Dorothy

Dorothy, I miss you.
I read Cummings, E.B., and Miller, and I’m wondering if you’ve read them too.
Did they shape your mind into what mine now is?
A literary catalyst between you and I.
I wonder if you really wanted that house in Philadelphia or if you had grander prospects?
I use to live a block from there. I’d ride my bike by and imagine you on the balcony, with your coffee, watching the New Year’s day parade.
I wanted, madly, to go back to that time and place and to be with you.
You know, you could still buy a house then, with an average job at which you were adroit.
Times have fallen hard and fast. I don’t think you’d like it much here now.
But I wouldn’t be qualified to know, would I?
This is my dilemma, you see. I need you now and I didn’t know that I needed you then.

They told me that I was wrong, at fifteen, when I loved a woman.
They told me at sixteen to put my pen down.
They told me (the men) that my body was abhorrent and my thoughts obscene.
That’s when the love left me.
All of it, and with it, the trust.
I remember it that way.
At seventeen there were no more cameras.
I crawled under the house one night. I stayed there for a day and two nights.
I made myself black with dirt. I wanted to erase myself.
If they couldn’t see me then no one would get hurt anymore.
I protected my abusers my whole life. I wish I had told you.
I started a fire without matches on Christmas, but I couldn’t keep my own light shining.
When I crawled back out, the only place on my body that was clean was where the tears had streamed down my cheeks.
I looked in the mirror for a long time that way. I saw you.
But I still didn’t call you. And I had so many questions.
A pariah of the family cloth; I couldn’t be the only one?
But the sex, it hurts.
My hips weren’t meant to birth.
A curse.
I never asked for them and I’d give them back.
They are the reason, the burden, the problem.
They make them think I want them when I don’t.
They think I want them.
I don’t.
I don’t.

I never got to tell you about the one who knows that I take cinnamon in my coffee.
With blue eyes and a gaze that could galvanize the dead.
Soft and focused. This creature yields and gives me my side of the bed.
I retreat, as always, and I go to the places that I don’t write about.
It’s not because they aren’t exquisite.
I’m intrepid as I shed my skin to bask in their bewitching splendors.
But I keep them for my own because they are the only things that I have left.
I know because all else has been absconded.
I go to these places and I don’t tell the ocean-blue eyes or your dead soul, and I wish I were dead too because to die there would be idyllic.
Then I remember the day in the cemetery; the dog I saw that was sobbing on its owner’s grave and I knew that dogs could get broken hearts too.
And I couldn’t do that to him.

What was it like for you, Dorothy?
Did you know all the while? Did you cloak your adulation for her from his jealous eyes?
Are you with her now? Or with him? And do you miss me?
Do you cry for me as I do for you?
For the answers. For the displacement. For the pain of purity.
I miss you, Dorothy.
I never knew you but I exist because of you, and I understand that my struggles are hand-me-downs.
Neither wrath nor roadmap. They are my own.
I simply wish that I could take your hand in mine.

I’m sorry that I didn’t go to your funeral.
I was young and I was high and there was this guy.
He took everything special from me and locked it in a devil’s hope chest.
I saw it once in a nightmare.
It was an incombustible metal with jagged edges.
Impenetrable by any means.
I tried so hard to open it. I tried and it cut me open instead and I bled. And it wouldn’t stop. And I wept. And I wouldn’t stop.
I wanted to give that day back to you so much, Dorothy.
Please know that I did.
I woke up and I looked for it; that chest.
I looked everywhere, and they looked back at me, and they gave me pills to eat, and they said, “Cool it, man. You’re gonna fucking blow it for all of us.”

I was in a room at 4 am, in a bed with two men, but all we did was cry.
I was naked and disappearing into the mirror and I sat on the floor and wrote letters to my mother.
I remember the clock torturing me with its sinister numbers. I knew it was stealing time from me. Hours I would never be able to use for anything else.
“I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry”. 4 am. “I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry.”
I scratched it over and over until it cut through the pages and my pen opened up into inky rivers of torment on the floor.
I was always telling everyone I was sorry for all of the things that they never even knew I did.
I was always apologizing to everyone else but myself.
When they found Bart’s body they found a “sorry” notebook.
That was the part that gutted me because I knew that he was, and I knew why, and I knew everything about him in that moment.
But there is no one left to punish for 4 am.
Everyone is gone.
Even you.
But your absence doesn’t trouble me, it’s how I spent your presence that leaves me discomposed.

 

 

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