I want so badly to lean over to the woman in the seat next to me on the airplane and shut the window. She has the window seat and it’s 11:28am so it’s very sunny. I feel like her face is hot and she wants it to be cool. Earlier she started to close it but then realized I was reading and might have wanted the light to read, so she stopped midway through. I didn’t need it and wanted to touch her hand gently and say something like “don’t worry about it–you’re totally fine”, and then close the window, but I feel like she would be uncomfortable with me touching her hand because not everyone is as tactile as I am. But I can’t stop thinking about closing that damn window. Why do I feel so compelled to do an act of kindness for someone whose only relation to me is that we both happen to be flying to Cleveland on flight #387 and I’m seat 7B and she’s 7A.

2min after writing that:
The flight attendant offered us both candy canes (it’s Christmas 2012) and we both accepted. I gathered up the courage to say “hey, I was going to mention earlier that you can shut that window if you need to,”
She said “oh okay,” and gladly shut it then said “I just didn’t want to take away your natural light,”
I said “no no, you’re totally fine,” while thinking “do I look pale or something,” and then spent the remainder of the flight wondering whether or not I looked pale.

when i woke up this morning all i could think was that i needed to keep leaning forward and kissing the back of your neck
next to the tattoo that you love
it seemed like something i had read about that was romantic
so i kept doing so
i didn’t want you to wake up
because you might think it was a mistake
or you would just pretend like ‘it was just a fuck’
i was afraid you wouldn’t be into it
like i’m into it
our mutual friend who had introduced us only two weeks prior was trying to set us up
but she kept repeating over and over
‘don’t get feelings for each other’
and things like
‘it’s college’
but earlier that night at the concert when you were standing in front of me
i couldn’t help but feel that I wanted this to be more than just a fuck
because you looked pretty
in your jean jacket
and when you stood in front of me during the show
you seemed perfect
then
after the show
outside of the venue
we smoked a cigarette
and i felt like we were together
somehow
but i wasn’t sure about it
i didn’t know if you were into me or not
later that night we headed back to your dorm
we hung out with your friends
i showed you stupid pictures on my phone
you said you were tired
i felt it too
so we went back to your room and you laid down next to me
i felt excited that you were close
you were wearing your night clothes and it felt like a statement that said
‘i am comfortable with you’
or maybe just
‘i am comfortable’
i was wearing boxers and my t-shirt
i felt naked
i was naked
you touched my chest
you touched my dick
you took off your shirt
i kept thinking about telling you that you have a very attractive body
and that i was into you
but i didn’t
instead i just kept making goofy comments about the size of my nipples
so after a while we put out clothes back on and you told me about your life
your mom
your anxiety
your abusive boyfriends
you were a string of sentences
your life was falling out through your teeth
and as we lay in the bed that you made us on the floor
from a bare twin mattress and precisely 2 comforters
i just wanted to kiss you again
and tell you that you might be the only perfect person i know
and that i could have created you with my hand and my pencil on paper
you were saying sweet things in my ear that i didn’t expect
it was 5:30 am now
and you said ‘i’m tired will’
i smiled when you said my name
and you were the good things
you were the words that had been needing to come out
you were the ink that gets smudged on my hand
when i try to write about my feelings
you were a perfect image
a perfect metaphor
a simile
idea
but i realized that i didn’t want you to love me
i want to love you and pour over everything about you
i want to write about you
in notebooks
and maybe on my computer
i want to feel mused by you
i want to obsess over you
but i don’t want to be anything to you
i want you to want me to love you
and let me do so
and then you can break my heart sometime later
because vegan sam who lives down the hall is a sweet boy who treats you nicely
and you like him for that
but i want it to be that way
i want things to be complicated
i want to send you books in the mail
with footnotes that say ‘this passage reminded me of you’
and you will send me a text with just a smiley face
i want to see you once every few weeks
but every time i want you to act like my girlfriend
and walk down massachusetts street in the fall with our arms intertwined and i’m leaning forward and laughing
just like the cover of that bob dylan album i love
just like that
and i want to feel excited when i talk to you
when it’s 3 am and the radio is on and i hear a song that says something funny
and i’ll text you to ask if you’ve heard it
and whether or not it made you laugh
you’ll text me back and say
‘no
‘but i’ll check it out’
but i never want you to love me
the way that i could love you
it would be too scary
to know that someone feels the way i do about someone
but that someone is me
i never want you to love me
because it would be different than it is now
and right now seems perfect
so i will write it all down
as a collection of clunky and awkward statements
about you and me
because i’m not sure what the right words are
but i know you’re worth writing about
and as you are getting ready to pick up your dad from the airport
i’m bleary-eyed
half-asleep
thoughts won’t organize
but i’m okay with it
because
all i can feel are these words
which you are now reading
and because of this you will live forever
in this moment
and you will live forever with me
in this notebook
until one day
you’ll flip to this page
and you’ll read this
and you’ll remember something about me
or us
then maybe one day
years later
you’ll feel sad that nothing ever happened between us
but you will take comfort in the fact
that you were a poem i was about to write
and then did

There are some days when you wake up and feel happy to be alive
And you go to class early
to sit in the parking lot and write poetry in a black notebook you keep under the seat
Your friend texts you something funny and you smile
Then there are those days when you want to drive slowly but everyone seems to be angry that you’re doing so
They honk at you in their trucks
And then pass you and you forget about it
And there are days when you listen to Leonard Cohen’s Chelsea Hotel No. 2 over and over again and you get on the computer and Google the lyrics, then maybe post them on a social media site
You drink hot tea and try to feel like you might be able to write something as perfect as that
Then there are days like today when you don’t feel like any of this
And your friend still texts you but you don’t smile
You sit in a parking lot trying to write in a black notebook but no words come out
You sit on your back porch and read a book that you told yourself you’d read 3 months ago, only to be saddened by the ending, even though you saw it coming
You try to write something of value and feel sad because you know you’ll never be as good as Leonard Cohen at writing
You think of words that mean a lot to you like ‘converge’
And try to somehow include them in this poem
But it doesn’t sound good so you quit trying
Today was one of those days
And there’s nothing I can do to make it better
Except to sit on the front porch and drink beer by myself and smoke cigarettes like Clint Eastwood’s character in Gran Torino
Have you ever done this
It feels like you are the only person alive
And that
Is the best kind of feeling

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