Saturday, September 10, 2016


put down at what feels like the end by jake kilroy.

you know such truth in a hot shower after a long flight home.
back in the arms of your family, as whole again as you can make it,
you breathe as if memories and hopes and schemes sludge out of you
only for stronger daydreams and harsher regrets to push their way in,
making you a silo of more than what a human is in appearance.

you think of how your bones sit inside you,
slumped over after dropping a duffel bag
to the floor of a bedroom you don't recognize.
you think of how your sleeping bag of a body aches
from a different kind of exhaustion than usual.

you dwell on how the years got away from you,
how they get away from everyone,
and how you let everyone get away regardless.

you think of the woman you exhaled for a year.
you think of the woman that was better in letters than practice.
you think of the woman that worked marriage into your lips.
you think of the woman that made love to the future
when she put on her records and read poetry in her underwear.

your muscles, more familiar in wear, creak these days
as loud as your grandparents floorboards
back when you’d tip toe out of bed
to find your grandfather making warm chocolate pudding
from a recipe his mother learned when she came to america.
you knew which planks would wake your grandmother
and you knew how you’d make it for your own kids.
but that was long before you learned how the world worked,
eons before you discovered how you really worked.

but you had to see the world.
you had to drive your spirit into the unknown
to live like the greats—or their editors at least.
you had to eat, drink, and be weary.
eventually, you'd come home
and your friends, they figure you must be lovely with bartenders.
you laugh it off, because no one believes you don't talk to anyone
and soon you realize you were better at small talk
when you were a teenage waiter
rather than an aging writer.

so you think of your early college years
when everyone was an artist
and realize you sharpened a skill
that was only a hobby for others.
and you tumble down your heart like stairs.
you miss everyone being in bands.
you miss everyone working on a book.
you miss everyone confessing their feelings
in rainbow splatters and dancing them off.

but in moments like these, you can feel every jukebox song, every pint toast,
every carnival kiss, every cigarette on the road, every handwritten letter,
every summer night swim, every holiday fight, every morning-after bruise,
every birthday wish, every dogeared page, every promise broken true,
all of that which has brought you up like guardians
who expect nothing but give everything
and wait to see what you do.

and so you write in the second person,
because it's easier to give advice
than take responsibility.
and you know that
better than anyone.