Baggage

i wake up one sunday morning,
half-open blinds streaming
white winter sunlight. you
spread a tea-stained crossword
across my lap, and wonder
if i know a ten letter word for
nostalgia.

when june arrives, it feels like
i’m looking at your face
through a rain-soaked
window, but i can still hear:
the sound of your smile,
the crunch of your morning frosties,
how you’d tune the radio to a
channel that does not exist because
you enjoy the sound of
static.

so in a tiny airport, headed
nowhere, when i’m flipping through
a book and i chuckle at the phrase,
“avocado colored refrigerator”
i know you would understand why
i bought the book in an
instant.

my summertime movies have
a side of pastries, but
your hair smelled strangely like
icing sugar and now, all
my future powdered donuts are
tainted.

and when i’m writing on the
back of my bill in a noiseless cafe
out by the river, i dip my fingers in
white sunlight and wonder if
the answer to nostalgia could be
heartbreak.

so if i see you in the middle of a
crowded grocery aisle, bagel in
one hand and chilled yogurt
in your cart, i will tell you:
my head is a messy place to be in,
so why don’t you pack your
bags and move
away?

The Wall

We were early, not fashionably so. I had my ragged notebook in hand, my sweater the color of spring sunshine. When we walked in, our footsteps curious, the slate grey floor echoed our nerves.

I found a seat in the front and instantly made eye contact with the large, hand-painted wall at the far end. It was acrylic on brick, pastel on muddy brown, stories in every crack.

I heard a switch click on, flooding the room with lights that matched my sweater, breathing life into art that smelled like a wallflower. I saw five people, huddled around a table like it was their own little secret.

Jimmy played his guitar in a corner, for friends who liked his music better than him. I saw a violin on the next guy’s shoulder, he had struggle on his face and a rip on his faded white jeans.

The man in the center – I called him Karl – had his cards fanned out in the way that experts do, and a drink on the coffee table. He gambled the night away with his two other friends, mischief hidden in his dark brown eyes.

But when I was drawn into things that were more poetic than Jimmy’s guitar or Karl’s poker face and saw heads down, hair streaked with the glow of active smartphones, words tumbling into poetry with every breath, I felt Jimmy play along, Karl set his cards down and the violin? The violin was finally in tune with our shaky words.

After Hours

I sit across from you, cross-legged, uncomfortable.
This sofa isn’t made for singular conversations that make it
through the night.
I fumble around for the remote,
there isn’t one.
So the raucous blaring of a
music video continues.
There is cheap wine, white:
I like the bitter aftertaste.
And there is music, the kind that
doesn’t stick with you,
but reminds you of an old song
you might have heard in a jazz bar
that can only be described as blue.
I laugh at our mistakes as high strung teenagers, indie posters taped over
fragile bravado, secrets stashed
below the bathroom window.
You steal a look at the book on
my night stand, I tell you it is about
shoveling snow.
We talk in metaphors, so I fetch you
a cup of liquid nostalgia and we
flirt with disgruntled singers and old
photographs that still smell
like the ocean.
The light shifts across your face,
no need for a clock. I play
with the idea of crossovers and
classic margaritas, crowned with
indecision and loud, seaside laughter.
You call me cheesy and throw my
mixtape out the window. We find
the tangled strings that lead us
to each other, and idly wonder what
would happen if we undid them.
I am struck by the feeling that I should
write about this for people don’t stay,
but poems do. I laugh at your joke
about ferries, but the whole time
I am wondering how long before
you leave, too.

Subtitles

The air sang of yesterday’s rain and clouds bursting with thought.

I sat cross-legged on a wooden bench, absorbed in bits of conversation and quiet laughter.

I watched him spin his spaghetti into little knots on his fork, and wondered if I understood true love.

Our shared glass of lemonade had left it’s stamp on our table and the ice was dwindling in the summer heat.

His socks peeked above the hem of his faded canvas shoes; they were canary yellow with chocolate sprinkles.

I smiled because they reflected his soul.

Our conversation was scattered bits of memory and attachment, it spun around in the air till it formed our very own cloud of thought, full to bursting and floating above our heads.

I found connections so rarely, without physical contact.

And as unromantic as our Sunday lunch was supposed to be, the concept was a rather romantic notion.

I felt it under my skin, creeping to the recesses of my heart and pulling out secrets I hadn’t yet told myself.

The walls of privacy crumbled slowly, but crumble they did. And I did not try to build them back up this time.

With shaky smiles and nervous eye contact, I found that true love or not, with him, my actions did not need subtitles.