when you said my name,
said: to utter words so as to convey information.
when you spoke my name,
spoke: the bars or wire rods connecting the center of a wheel to its outer edge.
no, no. that’s not right. i’m sorry. when you write, you absolutely must
make every word count.
even when i speak, i think
hello: an utterance of hello; a greeting.
“utters” “uttering” “utterance”
others utter under their breath no fuck
but by the time i realize i haven’t even said “hello,”
i get this look like,
who is this guy, i’ve never seen him before, he’s ruining my dinner at fuddrucker’s.
but when you…suggested to me my name,
i felt something tug at the corners of my lips.
i smiled. i was happy. it was quiet.
i knew i had to talk to you. to tell you all the words that i knew.
music. television show. books. the weather. lyrical flow.
you shared yours with me:
dance. wine. dine. apocalypse. failure. separation.
i had to know more.
i went up to you holding dozens of pages of notes of small talk tucked away under my arm.
some days i felt like a stenographer,
recording and remembering and reliving and reciting as much as i could
with all i had, which was five to ten minutes.
“watch someone else dance” “metaphorical nicotine” “hit him with a bat”
“not necessarily in a ‘date’ capacity”
and the hairpin curve of your lips, oh, the hairpin curve,
what perfect words,
but someone else has already used them.
someone else continues to use them
because i was quiet for too long.
but he doesn’t actually say those words, no,
(noncommital asshole bro gravity boyfriend happy yes)
it kills me that someone who doesn’t even think about the meaning of the words he gets to say
i can’t – i don’t – i won’t – i’ll never –
he calls you
a person who designs buildings
and in many cases also supervises their construction.
but he only handles the contracts when they’re all laid out in front of him.
i’m paid in cough drops when i’m with you at night
so you can sit in front of the mirror and complain about how lovely you look in sweatpants.
then he comes in and calls me “bro”
bro: alpha male idiot obnoxious partying male friend
we’re not friends he looks at me like
who is this guy, i’ve never seen him before, he’s ruining my dinner with her.
usually, when i try and talk to someone, i feel words cramming into
the folds of my brain.
cramming so full that they burst
through my ears, out of my mouth, running down my hands and onto my paper
over two beers and a cigarette at three o’clock in the morning.
i haven’t seen the white nothingness for so long.
i want to wake up every morning thinking about what words
i won’t get to say.
what words i won’t say because of the hairpin curve of her lips.
what words i won’t say because i smiled. i was happy. it was quiet.
but i can’t breathe, i can’t breathe,
i can’t breathe because i think about who else is kissing her.
i can’t breathe because he utters
“i love you”
“bro” without thinking about what they mean.
i can’t breathe because i can’t speak,
and he can.
there’s so much i want to say,
but i guess i was quiet for too long.