Your eyes haunted me at the end of that hallway;
Avalon brown with remnants of Al Cielo and
sparkling with indecision; oh boy, did you know
how deadly they were, even against the gray
backdrop of Ellis High School?
A locker slams as you retreat, angrily
after my unfinished goodbye-song.
Well, I'm sorry I'm not as easy to forget
as you thought, my spoiled Halloween-night.
Half-moonbeam, now you know it feels..
Yeah, I hope you know that for me, it never was a joke.
I hope you understand now that you're cold and thirsty;
sitting up in your room, without the chords from
my ukelele playing in your head, without my cream-soda
vintage lips tracing patterns along your brass-toned
abdomen, your hollow oak-stomach, that you see that
love isn't a dart-board you can shoot poison arrows at.
No, it's not even a silly concept;
a note passed around in class,
wilting daisies on your doorstep.
I know you care about me but
you're going about this the wrong way, boy.
You're expecting too much from a girl who
had to move all her life, watch mountains and
rivers; oceans and golf courses pass by
in hot-wire blue-green flashes through
the window of her dad's moving truck.
You think I'm just like all the other girls
who flip carelessly through their yearbooks
at the end of the autumn-semester,
trying not-so-hard to remember the crushes
they had on pretty fools they ogled at once
upon a time in a free-verse lullaby.
But I'm not like them, just so you know..
I stay longer; I'm like the summer,
stubborn and bright-eyed.
I never want to fade, not even when
the last gold leaf falls; crinkles
like paper, becomes a rotten apple
for all the squirrels in these tea-tree woods.
“But I never thought you were!” you claim, boy.
“I always knew you were different, a keeper.”
Oh is that right?
Is that why you strung up the moon
on a silver chain,
wrapped it around my wrist?
Boy, is that why you whispered Spanish prayers
in my ears when I couldn't
fall asleep that horrible time I fought with
my father, all because of you?
Do you remember?
You made me feel so safe,
then you took it all away..
Now I'm like a ship with no anchor.
Now I need a little more
time to see you differently; not as
the boy who broke my heart,
tore all the sheet music inside
my rib-cage but as a human who
I couldn't be more than friends with.
“Is it okay with you if
I hide that photo of us at the winter festival
at the bottom of my sock drawer?
Boy, can you try not to call me
every time you hear one of my favorite Blues
melodies on the radio?
And please stop cruising around my neighborhood;
slouching in your jeep, thinking,
“Maybe she'll answer the door”?
Because I won't, just so you know..
And no, I'm not being cruel.
I'm just returning the favor.
You think maybe I'd need some space, time away
from the sound of your James Dean voice, your
Antonio Banderas type of charm;
all arresting mystery in a southwestern hoodie,
Apache native drum..
Yeah, I'm talking about your heartbeat, boy;
the memory of it beneath my fingers, see,
I could use some time away from it all.
Daisy tombstones; oh tonight
I'm paying my respects to all the girls you scorned,
even my best friend; that
dazzling, charismatic redhead.
Oh what was wrong with her, with any of us?
“Nothing!” you insist.
So tell me; was it the fear of getting close,
the ageless worry that if one of us did touch
your sun-bleached desert skin,
you'd shatter under the genuine
weight of concern?
Did you think, boy; that everyone would know
that beneath all those layers of martyr cloth,
you're just as clueless about life
as the rest of us?
Oh but we all grow up..
Maybe I was prepared to help you along the way,
see that you figured it out a bit more smoothly.
But you thought I'd never be able to handle all
your secrets, family history of waiting in vain
for a father who took off when you were eight
and never returned.
It's so tragic how you assumed the worst of me,
boy; that I was weak and couldn't see past your
April fool's masquerade.
Oh what a shame because I did and now you only
have yourself to blame.
Oh yes, you can blame it on anything you'd like;
the icy March rain, so uncommon in the southern
part of this red-state;
on the last good day we had together before
the storm, the inevitable earthquake.
Darling, you can blame
your estranged sadness
on the fact that you're not a superhero, that
you can't save everybody in this town from
disease; cancer of the lungs, from the sun
or just plain bad luck and
somewhere along the way
between traffic-jams, skidding tires on
the lone-star ghost bridge,
you've convinced yourself that it's all your fault.
Oh how naïve, boy..
And here you were, thinking I was the angel brought
down from above.
But if I am, as you say; all
innocent and golden against the backdrop of
a Navajo sunset, in my salmon-pink dress;
then, you should know that even angels fall.
Yes, if there's no chance for a recovery
just yet; a reconciliation on that bridge
in the red-woods, where we played hooky
that time, overlooking the river with all
of its silver-toned secrets, rushing
downstream; becoming invisible, then
please keep in mind, Saratoga native,
that your citrine eyes can't win every time.
Turn me over, strip off the sleeves of
my hunter's sweater just like you did
that night I let you sneak inside my bedroom.
Do you remember; the window was
open, I was ready to surrender,
accept your urgent lips on my neck,
your warm hands around my waist,
your whole body guiding mine towards the bed.
A rush of firelight, rose-wood exposure; boy,
it was exhilarating, but now
you see the damage is done,
pieces of me on the floor; chipped seashells
and I'm no angel.
Boy, I'm only human.