(from a prompt by Marty McConnell)
Boston, 1985, over looking the Pike
across from the South End side. A view
complete with "Hi Ryk!" spray-painted
on the wall, by a friend, trying to lift me
from depression. This is the living room,
my room's in back, overlooks lush green
in the thin alley below my window.
But I wanted to die in either room,
so the difference is mostly rhetorical.
Whom it was that used to love me
in these rooms, was gone, leaving
a dozen ghosts in the turbulence:
Phantom of Passions, Brown-Eyed
Woman, Southern Bellissima, Lover
I Was Engaged To, Lover Dispelled,
the Empty Space Who Used to Be Her
and other names I only groan aloud
when dreams force me to tell truth.
The only room I love, is the memory
of the rooms when she was in them.
This room is a seashell up against
my ear, all I hear is the sound of tides
pulling two people apart; the echo
of one person leaving the other high
and dry, shipwrecked on themself.
The never-to-be reception party lost
in sinking seas after Love fathoms.
Still, I didn't want to ever leave here,
the whole city was further haunted
by places we had been together; love
made under footbridges, willow trees,
on the roof of my building, in daylight
full view of office buildings around
us. I don't want to chase after any ghost
when, doing nothing, I can catch them,
standing still. This room wants to kill
me with the weight between its floor
of wood and sorrow, and the ceiling,
that let my dreams pass through.
I can't see through the windows,
every glance just reflects that room,
me standing in the middle, asking
what the fuck happened to us? in
so many distraught, soundless ways.
I've become a ghost in my own
memories; I inhabit a room only
I can remember. It was perfect. It
tells me stay long as I like. I can't
breathe when I'm standing here.
I grab what few things remind me
of her that don't hurt me to carry.
Which is to say, I leave the room,
empty-handed. I locked the door.
I wish I was there. I never left.