I took some of you with me, you know?
Like Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young,
That obscure Led Zeppelin album
With “the object” on the front.
A tribute tattoo for your late father:
A handsome man that let himself go.
I carried around his funeral program
Folded up in my back pocket for over a year.
It reminded me of the couch we burned,
The Berber carpets that we ripped up twice,
Carried out to the woods with tears streaming,
Doused it all with gasoline and stepped back.
The gold-embossed crucifix on the front
Slick under my fingers like the sweat on your palms.
I squeezed you until my knuckles blanched
Looking to you with my broken eyes,
Wondering if you could feel my hands in yours
Screaming with existential agony.
I never knew that my reaper would come soon, too,
In September, wearing black jeans and a suit jacket.

We took all the strings off first,
Used the heat gun to pry away the silver frets,
Sanded the board smooth and filled the imperfections.
Stayed outside for hours breathing sawdust,
High on the scent of wood fillers and acrylic paint,
Painting lime green custom detailing
Up the neck, and down the curves of the body.
The girls at your shows just couldn’t resist,
“I’ve never seen a white man play a fretless like that.”
Maybe I should’ve been a little more worried
If you hadn’t shot all my nerves already.
I thought us living together made us safe,
Unknowing that you invited the intruders inside
With warm tea and vinyl records to charm them.
The more they entered the more I was pushed out,
My own home, an entertainment venue,
The wood in my fireplace heating everyone but me.
I took with me your ability to say “NO”
To anything and everything that I did not want.
You remain my biggest denial to date.


You showed up on my doorstep to surprise me
With a bouquet made of pity and colored daisies.
You took me out, let me talk your ears off,
Even paid my way into the bowling alley.
I was impressed, and it really didn’t take much.
I was quite literally pushed into your lap,
But it wasn’t the first time you’d thought of it.
Before long, it was like you had always been there
It was absolutely terrifying, given the circumstance.
I wasn’t ready, I said it over and over,
But neither of us wanted to listen.
We got tangled in each other too quickly.
I made you feel sick to your stomach,
You sped to me to demand an explanation.
I didn’t have a very good one,
So you slammed my door in my face.
Took “I’m not ready” as “I don’t care.”
I wish I could’ve spoken softer,
Said something more eloquent,
Because I never intended to hurt you.

I drove over an hour, past 11’o’clock for consolation.
When you didn’t answer, I had a meltdown.
I thought you had done something drastic,
But it was just me projecting onto you.
I should have ran in and kissed you hard,
But instead I was blind and furious.
I threw grandma’s loaf of bread on the table,
Flung open the screen door and bolted.
I had never seen such grand passion
As you ran after my speeding car, barefoot,
And clutched my window, panting,
Begging me not to leave so late at night.
I apologize until the end of time
For being so accustomed to apathy
That I couldn’t be grateful for your love.
A terrible night would have been more well-spent
Looking at pictures of birds,
Calming ourselves down,
Kissing each others’ faces,
Making love until morning.

How did I love you so long without knowing
That you would take all that pain
And let it immobilize you?

How did I love you so long without believing
That someone could take all my pain
And love it anyway?

It retrospect,
I guess I’m just a sucker for a funky bass line.

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