Sunday, December 11, 2011

Manchester Victoria Station

I came across some of my old poetry the other day - some that I wrote in the last five years. Seems more like a decade ago, because so much has happened. It was comforting to read my own words again, knowing exactly what they mean. Maybe it's because they're still all my words, not really meant for an audience. Not an essay, a review, a feature story. Just poetry. Just words and lines, and my own goofy life between the spaces and line breaks, inside and underneath. Maybe it's selfish, but it really is something to look back, know yourself then, and know yourself now.

I wrote Manchester Victoria Station for a poetry publication in college. The critics of the publication said there was a tragedy and desperate longing in the poem. I agree, and that stinking hopelessness really is there, because that's what I thought a lot of things were - hopeless. I've never even been to Manchester. It's ironic that I would write a "love" poem about it, though, because putting the thoughts into words confirms something, not sure what, maybe the existence of that actual hope of going there someday and having the conversation. It's all forgettable and memorable at the same time. So utterly and despicably sentimental.

I haven't written a poem in two years. Now, I don't think every thought and sentence has to be poetically unforgettable and sentimental. Not that all poetry is like that or should be. But, the sappiness of my old words has probably disappeared because reality slapped it right out of me. Sometimes, though, I still think in measure, iambic pentameter, and hopeless romanticism. But that's rare now, because I realize actual love isn't held together by these things.

Our kneecaps touched on the train.
A five-hour surge soda
pulsed through my veins,
at the touch of our denims

Your lips fluttered,
smooth and jagged at once
while stories spilled out and
laughter echoed them apart

Mine put to shame,
as they were bitten
and trembling

I felt your big-hearted blue eyes
wash over me

     off the stool and 
     onto the brick.

Your warm hand
on the small of my back
the fog of air from your mouth
hazing me closer

I could only hear the song of
the tickle of our eyelashes

And your smile
draping the rims of my mouth

And our kneecaps tapping gently
as your heat filled my lungs

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