On the Ride

It’s one of the first things they tell you, it’s repeated and repeated and repeated. By the instructors, the textbooks, the videos.

Keep your head up. 

Because the wind is blowing against you, even with your helmet you can feel it. The throttle is beneath your hand. 

Eyes on the horizon. 

Your first time riding a motorcycle, and it’s terrifying. I don’t care who you are. Even on a tiny little 125cc engine, you feel it go, how little it takes, and it’s goddamn terrifying to have that kind of power. You’re running through exercises, trying to remember everything they taught you. Trying to remember how to shift gears and how far out your bike needs the clutch and where the fuck are the rear brakes, anyway? 

And they tell you, don’t look at the ground, when that’s all you want to do. 

I tried this, after the first day of class, to look up more when I was driving my car, walking around the city, etc. My posture has been dreadful for years, and it’s only thanks to 2 years of bodywork and ballet that it’s starting to feel less grotesque to hold my head where it’s supposed to naturally be. 

That being said, I still, far more often than not, look down more than ahead.

And trying it, the wind blows at my eyes, making them water, making my left eye stream, (it’s never the right, for unknown reasons, like only half of my brain is experiencing some traumatic event). It pulls against where my triceps want to go and makes the constant pounding across my forehead worse. And it feels unnatural, like I’m staring everyone and everything down in some perverse contest of self importance. 

All that is to say, you remind me of riding a motorcycle.

Because I am fucking terrified of everything you make me feel. 

I told you this, one bourbon filled night, that you scare me, that having this love for you is frightening beyond measure. And you held me, my head against your chest, and told me of course it was, the fear was a part of it, and you understood. You were scared, too. 

Do you remember the night, lying on your living room floor, you looked at me and said, “I didn’t think anyone could tie you down,” ?
And I told you, “I want to call you mine.”
The cutest, most wonderful smile spread across your face, and you pulled me down to kiss you. 

I knew, I was in for you. 

But you know that you are a first for me.
The first “I love you,”
The first of so many emotional steps.
And those are much, much bigger than any physical thing we could possibly do. 

You ride on a bike, and the wind is flying past you, and you’re holding onto a machine and trying to remember to look up, to not be afraid, when in truth it is new and horrifying and why did anyone think you could do this and give you a license to do this and let you loose on city streets? 

I have survived you leaving me once before. And I keep hearing things about this girl who had you then, and try to keep my bitterness at bay. But the more I hear and the deeper into you I fall, the less restrained I become. 

I hear it in your voice, in their voices, when you all talk about her. 

Everytime you say she called, or you have to tread on eggshells because of her. 

I hear the hurt in you. And the more I care about you the angrier I get. Not just at her, but at you. For choosing someone you knew would hurt you again, and again, and again. And in that process, hurting me too. 

I understand, if you had been happy, then we would not be ‘us’ now. But I think that would be easier to swallow than knowing we both went through hell just to wind up in the same place. 

Keep your eyes on the horizon. That’s where you find your balance. 

Except, we’re not in the same place. I became somehow simultaneously more jaded, and more vulnerable to you. Found the ability to be open and tell you that you, who you are and what you give me, is what I want. Is what I’ve been wanting. And you not just found your way back to me, but are even more of what you were and who you are, and have opened yourself to me too. 

I love you, and I know you love me too. We can say this to each other, now. 

Look up, look up, look up. 

I remember the first time, on the back of your Harley, holding on to you for dear life, knowing you wouldn’t let anything happen to me. And you told me afterwards, that with the seat placed as it was, I didn’t have to hold on, I could let go. 

I will survive, if you leave me again. I will not cause scenes, or chase you down, or show you any of the hurricane that would be inside me. But I would also never come back again. I think a part of you knows that. But I can’t help remembering, when you give me glimpses to a future that might be ours, that this is not new to you. These feelings that are so true, promises made in a moment that could disappear as fast as it came into being.

I hate that I still feel this way. That I can’t let these feelings go to just believe in you, and in us. 

I want to feel the engine beneath me and soar up the hills. I want to look out to the sky and enjoy the ride, without fear, without a sense of impending doom. 

Loving you has been less scary, with every passing day. 


I can only hope the bike will be the same.

On A Drunk Text #2

Does the liquor bring my name to your lips 
The taste of smoke 
The sweetness of the oak 
Does it remind you of me 

Does drinking make you think of me 
Of your whispers in my ear 
My skin under your hands 
My softness against your strength 

Because I think life has done me an unkindness 
In that those people that meant the most 
Came back, eventually
In one form or another 
The grief both dissipated and compounded by a never ending presence 

And time flows like honey 
All at once, more quickly than you anticipate 
Then slowly, drip by drip 
And I’m watching the end of the spoon, waiting, as it crystallizes before my eyes 

Waiting for your message 
Your call
Your anything

Why am I only this eloquent when I’m not sober 
The words, the emotions, buried
Like the French long forgotten in that December so far past 

Je voudrais parler avec toi
Je voudrais passer de temps avec toi
Parce que tu me manques 

And I know you will come back 
Eventually
But you know I will leave
I have left you before
Forgotten you in summer nights
Shut you against the cold of this city

So I’m left with that song
The lick of the guitar
The taste of rye an assault against my throat
Your name on the tip of my tongue 
And swallowing it down and down and down 

And pretending I don’t miss you
Until you appear again, with that simplest of questions
“How have you been?”

You are like an itch in the back of my skull
A place I can not scratch without you there
No matter how much I pretend I’m getting over you

So, my love, tell me.

Is it just the bourbon talking

Or do you miss me too?

On Springtime

On a chilly dark night
You walk beside him on the street
“Just for a few blocks,” he says, “I’m close by.”
And you talk, and you laugh, and you shiver in your jacket.

When you get inside there are books, and things to look at. Things to compare.
There are candles, and dim lighting and music comes through speakers
A list you suggested and he likes
There are curtains that could be closed or not, windows that could be shut
You say no
Because in a few moments his skin will be on yours
And you don’t do well with sweat

Then it’s sighs, and moans
Fingernails scraping skin
The tickling of his scruff against the inside of your thigh
“Please,”
“More, please,”
Hands everywhere, gripping, pulling, supporting
softness of lips against the feeling of your hair being pulled back, and back
“Such a good girl,”
And he says your name
A whisper as he’s done.

An arm is draped around your shoulders
You lean back against the couch
And you discuss things, improvements for next time
Kisses, then more kisses goodbye
They are different than before, less restrained
“You’ll see me around,”
And he sends you on your way

And you’re walking back down the street, to a bar you know
That will always be open for you
And you sit back with self satisfaction

You won’t think
Well, you’ll never see him again
You could have said no, let’s go out another night.
Let’s go get a drink first
Treat me like more than a booty call
Because that was what you wanted
You wanted him on top of you
You wanted him to make you scream
To make you feel
To know that someone like him was not out of your league

So you’ll leave it, for a few days
And assume he’ll message
But
Eventually
You have to decide
And you think
Oh, he’s probably traveling
He’s busy
He’s with someone else And you hope
Well, maybe he’s just as awkward as you are

But you’re not awkward
You know what you want
And so you send a message, a joke, an olive branch
You say hello, in a way you know how
And your phone will stay black
And silent

You will come home, and light a candle
The scent of spice a reminder of another season
Of a past time
When things were changing
And leaves were dying
And you were hurting from new things and healing from old ones
And you will want to retreat, but you no longer can
Not the way you used to

You can no longer run and hide from things
From how you feel
Or the idea of feeling
And you what you wanted that idea to be
You will breathe in the calm air, the humidity will cling to your lungs
As you try to understand
That you were weaker then

Because to be the one that says hello
Is admitting that you want to talk
That they were on your mind
And all your time hiding in the dark, refusing to try
Did nothing to prepare you
For when you finally tasted the sun.