Negatives

There are two of you sitting on the sofa. One of you is picking dead skin from the sides of your fingernails, and the other one isn’t trying very hard to hide the contempt in your voice. You know I’m a bully, right? There are four of you sitting on the sofa. Two of you should probably make this the last time you see each other but you won’t, because habits are almost impossible to break, especially the dangerous ones. Two of you are doing the least you can to make sure whatever it is that was once between you still exists somewhere, even if it’s only in photographs stuck to a fridge by broken magnets. Two of you need to give up, but the other two are sitting on a bench in an empty playground, laughing with heads thrown back as if you don’t have anywhere else to be.

There is one of you crying into a pillowcase that needs changing. One of you said this would be the last time you would do this, because all it does is betray your weakness with puffy under-eyes that no amount of concealer can fix the next morning. One of you doesn’t understand why you’re taking painful, ugly gulps of breath in between cries, as if you’re scared you’ll suffocate if you stop. One of you needs to exercise self-control. There are two of you lying in bed. One of you is trying to be reasonable. You got everything that you wanted after all, didn’t you? One of you is  childish and self-centered, and one of you is still trying to access that part of yourself that you are convinced you have misplaced, searching for it in overflowing jewelry boxes, in handshakes that last a few moments too long, in bite-sized sermons you throw down your throat without tasting, in horoscopes you don’t believe in. One of you is empty.

There are four of you sitting in a café. Or maybe there are only two. One of you is trying to contain your excitement. It really isn’t that serious; this isn’t one of your stories. Calm down. Don’t embarrass yourself. There are two of you sitting at a too-small table in a café. The other two left because they must have realized you weren’t as exciting as you first appeared to be. There are two of you sitting at a café. One of you is hoping you can just stay here all day, maybe until the baristas start shuffling their feet and turning chairs over tables so you get the hint that it’s over. One of you has hope beating against your chest from the inside, and the other one feels desperately pathetic– pathetically desperate for trying to bend daydreams until they resemble reality. One of you is pretending to be engrossed in theory and texts and theories about texts and time and what is time and what is text and what…and one of you has focused every last bit of your attention on the legs of chairs that have continued to shift in tiny increments and are now touching, and on how you are leaning so far to the side that you might tip over. There is only one of you. One of you wants to go on typing, but doesn’t really know how to describe the thoughts knocking on the back of your skull. One of you wants to go on typing until you’ve said everything that needs to be said and won’t have to type any longer.

One of you probably shouldn’t. One of you has said too much already.

NB: I’ve been trying a lot of different things with my writing, and if you’re reading this you’re essentially my experimental subject. I’m also struggling with and against the different genre restrictions– prose poetry? fiction? if this is a poem, where are the line breaks and verses etc??? What I’m saying is at this point, the categories and tags on this blog mean very little because I can’t seem to pinpoint what exactly it is that I’m writing. You’re probably just as confused as I am. 🙂

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