God of the sun

Even his name was reminiscent of my past- of feuds that burned and still glow quietly. It means “god of the sun.”

We rode the train halfway across town. He sat next to me and never asked for my number. I laughed quietly as I waved, stepping off the train to his tortured expression of shyness. I realized later that he had gone 10 stops past where he needed to go.

A friend whispered to me with that mischievous glint in her eye that she had passed my number along to him.


Your room was equipped with only the following: a mattress on the ground piled with mismatched blankets, thick and dark curtains drawn at a weak attempt to ward off the light and noise from the streets, and books tastefully stacked all around the room. Which really are the only requisite things that I look for in a man’s room, obviously.

You’d labor over the kitchen counter to serve us caipirinhas that were sticky with sweetness and too much cachaça, and I’d flip through the books that you had carelessly left on the tiny dining table as you ran to Duane Reade to buy too-expensive limes. You’d quiz me on the concoctions- on whether the batches were too sour or too sweet- with all the seriousness and exactness of the mathematician that you are. I love men who measure things, because I measure nothing and spend my life on estimations instead. Which is why I constantly find myself trying to correct my errors in calculation.

That night we snuck a shitty bottle of red wine and two mugs up to the rooftop that said “entry prohibited” – the rooftop that creaked with our steps and stained our clothes black.
You ran downstairs to get an old towel for us to sit on.

I scooted towards the edge and swung my legs off the side of the roof while staring at the lights of the Empire State Building, looming large enough to reach out and put in the palms of my hands.

You are wary of heights so you sat awkwardly a foot away from me, eyes kind of yearning for the bravery to get closer. I threatened you with that silly habit of attempting yoga poses in precarious places – and you dove for me in panic, almost pushing us both off into the middle of Macdougal Street’s revelry. We laughed while you placed my head on your lap to kiss me in such a casual manner that I almost believed you were cunning enough to have planned it. You continued kissing me beyond the relief of not falling- over and over, as if to desperately forget your fear of heights by falling in other ways. You fumbled with the rubberband and couldn’t stop touching my hair in that way that said you’d waited months to do just that.

Later, on the mattress in your room filled with books, I leaned back across your pillow with my hair twisted back up and watched the orange of the streetlights filter across my legs.

Secretly, you watched me with equations in your eyes, god of the night.
Secretly, I smiled back with the solutions in mine.

For some things, there are no wrong seasons.

I love basking in the words of the ones that can’t bear to hold it in, the ones that actually talk about it. Out loud, on paper, to my face.

I’ve always stumbled and struggled with speaking, talking, articulating out loud. My damp eyes betray me, my voice shakes, my grasp of the English language wavers.

I write, though. Not well, though sometimes I write in the face of rejection. Sometimes I write in the face of non-response.

But mostly I hold in too much, for fear of being unable to keep anything at all of myself.

All writing will tend towards what’s important in our particular worlds. A lot of news stories report on risk, tragedy, doubt, war, anger, threat, defeat. Perhaps we must be patient and look closer, or even beyond — perhaps we can break through the negative and create a different examination of what is happening.

In photography, a negative is an image in which the lightest areas of the photographed subject appear darkest and the darkest areas appear lightest.

I don’t think of it as repetitive to talk about heartbreak again. It’s truthful and compelling because it’s one of the unavoidable human conditions.

So is love, though. So is joy.

There is that.

* * *

I remember that sunny afternoon, walking past the abandoned warehouses, the rusty door locks, the broken windows. Wandering toward the water (ever towards the water and light). J crooned, “Baby let’s not ever get that way, I will drive you to the ocean every day,” and I thought to myself that I would be ok with that particular kind of forever.

You took photos of the buildings, the sky, the boats, the walls, the horizon. Aimed yourself attentively towards everything but me. A purposeful exclusion, I suspect. We walked home amicably at orange dusk, flower petals falling around us, the sun burning holes into whatever was left unsaid.

* * *

Despite my very best efforts lately, I still feel all this sadness wrap around me, this sense of how the last flower petals feel when clinging to the branch while all along knowing what comes next.

The tree whispers quietly, “You are part of me. Stay awhile.” But it’s only for a season, we all know this. The flower petals sigh with the weight of that gravity.

There is a man blowing soap bubbles on the street corner. They float in the air awhile, luminescent in the full sunlight. The wind blows them towards me as I pass by. They are beautiful for awhile. They even fly. I feel them collapse gently and disappear with barely a sound when hitting the backs of my knees. 

Another man is creating horses out of clay that thought it was shapeless two minutes before.

A little girl is cartwheeling down the hill. She falls a lot. My friend whispers, “Now that I know that I’ll fall every time I try, I don’t do cartwheels anymore.”

A man at the grocery store walks up next to me with his headset on and says quietly into the microphone, “How can I make you feel better, love? I’ve got pears for you. The sweet kind that you like. The organic kind.”

The organic, sweet kind, isn’t that what we hope for? In growth, love, life. The passing of days.

It’s hard here. I don’t want to compete with the pretty girls in expensive gowns with youthful, perfect bodies and eternal nights. It can be tiring, you know, the feeling that it will never be enough. I like to wander outside with my head in the clouds in my old shoes and ratty T-shirts, belly getting soft from homemade bread and too much poetry.

I feel unstable in my footing, perhaps ever stretching beyond my reach — but as Carl Phillips says:

Let those plants
that can do so lean away on their stems, toward the sun.

A friend wrote this recently and deleted it. I’ll borrow her anonymous words and hope she forgives me:

The thing about the boy is that I can see how hard he is trying. Trying to love, trying to be good. But it’s hard work, having to convince yourself of something like that. It was easier when we were apart, because there were fewer questions to ask. Just dealing with it. Now there is the question mark of a future; no light at the end of a tunnel.

You know, it is harder to keep somebody around than to just get rid of them.

So what can we do? Try harder in the direction of where we hope light exists. Bloom anyways, despite not knowing when we will fall. Open until we break so that we may stay open. Make our own light at the end of the tunnel. Dig ourselves outwards so that there is no more tunnel. Remind ourselves of sweet potatoes and pineapples, of cold midnights during which the sun never sets, of the blue hues that expand as time passes.

The organic, sweet kinds.

As Miranda July says, “What a terrible mistake to let go of something wonderful for something real.”

And every night before sleep, Mary Oliver helps me in my attempts to swallow harder my penchant for letting go of the branch before the season is done.

For some things
There are no wrong seasons.
Which is what I dream of for me.

* * *

Also I wanted to be able to love
And we all know how that one goes, don’t we?

The depth and mystery of you has ruined me

The depth and mystery of you has ruined me —

Like the liberty (luxury) of jumping in the deep end and not having to fear that I’ll hit the bottom;
trust me, you beckon- there are great barriers and reefs to swim past yet.
The kiddie pool just won’t do, we’ve grown out of it —
And the shallow end, I can see down to the floor —

What use would I have then of diving?

It’s all impossible:
Humidity that doesn’t glisten upon the waves of our summer bodies’ heat;
Perfect shades of sky that disallow us from taking it all for granted;
Time that doesn’t pass in the blink of an eye when you’re by my side;
Sunsets that don’t eventually turn into unseeable darkness;
Hope that isn’t wildly misplaced;
Irises not growing in anticipation at looking into yours;
Loving you;
Letting you love me.

“Bear with me,” I ask.
“Bare with me,” you plead, perhaps not knowing I am already here drowning in your sea, bare and vulnerable. All of me.

Siken reminds us, “Tell me how all this, and love too, will ruin us.

“It’s ok,” I whisper back. “You need not tell me anything about ruin.”

I don’t need reminding. You’ve already finished the job, and I’m willingly lost at sea.

More of an exhalation than an entire breath

“And in the end, we were all just humans… Drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald


There was a boat, and there were only small amounts of wind. the water was too cold and the air was barely salty enough, and we paused too long for lack of breeze.  But, well, nothing worth anything ever happens without some amounts of interruption. There was music at night, my toes against his thighs. We walked and stood in line, we ate pastries and pasta in the wrong but ever-so-right order. At night, the dark knight appeared as well as so many questions in our fingers. 

And, well, there was only one way to find out the answers.



It was more of an exhalation than an entire breath– 

We were unprepared for it. but we folded it until it felt small in our hands and held it quietly in our mouths while exchanging questioning glances. 

It felt too late. but really, it was exactly how i had hoped. it was gripping, the humor and the exaltation. no roof, stars, impatient water, interminable road, infinities that felt familiar, unbearably tangled hair, warm hands, muddy dashboard. And blue. 


“If something anticipated arrives too late it finds us numb, wrung out from waiting, and we feel – nothing at all. The best things arrive on time.”
– Dorothy Gilman