these are not tales of wanting to be close
but tales of need
tales of nothing else will do
tales of we are losing anyway
I tail off when we try to make sense
of what is happening
when all we have is positivity all the while
listening to others complaining about
the mundane, the unimportant, taking
suggestions from people who have
no idea pretending to make notes
in my invisible notebook – my no-book
wearing an invisible grimace as they speak
they don’t have to travel an hour to
talk to an expert, they don’t have to prepare
their bodies for impact, their brains for
impact, their nerves to be wracked
but we pretend that is okay
all the while wanting – no, needing –
to get away, to return home,
wherever home may feel today –
home is where I can tell these tales
before we trail off and stare into space
lost together but tied together
in the want – no, the need –
to be close.
when did you start loving me?
can you pinpoint the exact day
and time, the particular thing I
did to make you look at me
differently? I want to know
exactly what it felt like then,
exactly what it feels like now
that it is familiar, now that it
is normal. Show me how you
see me and we will compare
notes – reader interpretation
versus authorial intent.
I just found two poems I wrote, two and a half years apart, about two different people, and they fit together perfectly, and have almost the same title with only one word different. How very odd. It’s like one poem answers another; one person answers a call that they didn’t hear at the time and that wasn’t intended for them, yet still they appeared.
I had a dream you were with me.
we were holding hands
and people were saying that’s not what friends do
but they were wrong.
because an unnamed personal disaster
had befallen me
and I just needed someone who knew that
to be present enough to touch my skin
to hold my hand like it’s a thought that needs soothing
to ward off all others who wouldn’t understand
to be with me.
I’ve never known brotherly love.
I didn’t grow up fighting with siblings
or learning to ride a bike down my
street with a mocking grin and a
steady hand at my side. I grew up
with the knowledge that there was a
gaping hole where a boy should have been.
Where my big brother would have been.
the boys who are like big brothers to me
– even the younger ones –
are always working to fill the gap.
The boy who said I could call him at 3am
if I needed to. The same boy who dreamt
I died and called me to make sure it
The boy who can always tell if I’m not okay
and always checks on me. The boy who
supports my writing and encourages me.
The boy who goes out to eat with me and
listens. The boy who I always laugh with.
The boy who was my inseparable friend
all the way through school – Sonic,
Animorphs, Power Rangers, marbles.
The fiercest loyalty on the playground.
The boys who laugh with me even when
my jokes are terrible. The boys who make
me feel like I belong somewhere, like I’m
important. The boys who look after me
and let me support them, too.
The boys who will always matter.
I will ask if you’re okay and give you
permission to tell me the truth,
the whole sorry, harrowing,
despairing, disarming truth
and you’ll give me the same
liberties in return.
I’ll accept your words
as your reality, no judgement.
We are friends who
are free, who
in the most
brutal ways, we
see the things others
avert their eyes from, we
experience life like we’re on
fire, like it’s about to end, like
we’re on the run and we feel
it in our backs, in the
fractures, in the
curl of our spines as
we feel the weight of our
baggage and we fight it, fight it, fight it.
We are young and strong in all the best ways,
we adventure, we have fear, we are
misguided and we don’t care. This is how
we write our stories, with every
step, with every journey,
with every tattoo,
with every exhale.
I’m stuck somewhere between
an apology and a “fuck you,
this is the way it is” because
you are the way you are
with each other; there is no
look-in for me.
So why be surprised if I
don’t always turn up to play
second-string to your special
friendship? There is obviously
nothing you need from me
and that is nothing new.
IHadCancer.com Best Cancer Blog Award Winner 2016, Runner-up 2017