If You Can

Photo credit: C.K.

Let me know when you get home-

if you can.

I’d like to leave by 5 so get here by 4-

if you can.

It’s cold out here. Grab my sweatshirt from the chair-

if you can.

Just hold me again-

if you can.

Maybe can is too much.

Always asking for one or another
and then qualifying…

if you can.

And you don’t even hear it.

Of course they can-

can call and come and grab,

if they want.

Maybe they don’t want.                                                                                                         Maybe they can’t.
Maybe they’re tired ,
of calling and coming and grabbing
because you ask for it all the time,
expect it every time,
and never consider,                                                                                                                              for a time,

if they want.

Maybe that’s why-

why this whole tangle started,

opposite us at opposite ends of it,

the bite and the working ends of the rope,

knotting, twisting,
getting farther apart
with the same length of thread between us.

if you can,
they can.

But You wouldn’t.
You don’t want to
You won’t ever want to.

But that doesn’t matter
because if you can,
they can.

Even if you don’t want,
they want,

and you not wanting,                                                                                                                   doesn’t make them want less.

Neither has anything                                                                                                                                 to do with can.

The converse, it has only to do with want.

Maybe doing so many cans
makes their want
that much more acute,
makes the want so much brighter and sharper,
and makes it ache so throbbing
and incessant that it veers from


to want…

to need;

that space to
see and feel that

they can
so they will.

And you did.
You made it through
like I made it through
that messy war we made together.

Then you found it,
the real it,
not that make-believe
shit we heard about.

And I love that for you ,                                                                                                                    not you for that,
but there is still                                                                                                                                something that
is  loved
which is irreplaceable
even if means crying
a lot
and smiling
a little.

We can do both.

But I do want.
Don’t need.

And I’ll be here.
If you want, or don’t want,

Want, if you do.

Need, if you must.

And please stay-

if you can.






Back to where, together


It hurts to be the hanged man.

You wait and you wait and you wait,
and then they push you,
one final time, one time too far.
You dangle,
you twist and you turn,
you beg and you swear,
ask forgiveness or don’t.
You hang because that’s what you are now.
Until you are gone.

It also hurts to be the noose.
You wait and you wait and you wait.
You lie in a field, and then you are cut down.
Gathered and garnered,
they twist you, they turn you,
your filmy threads become taut, thick, cords;
hard, hard, and strong enough to strangle.                                                                                              The weight of it all pulling, dragging.
So you tighten,                                                                                                                                              confine, restrict and suffocate to stillness                                                                                     because that’s what you are now,
and then, they are gone.

The noose doesn’t want to be that.
It wants to lie, loose and flowing,
exploring and feeling every curve
and angle of where it is placed.

It doesn’t want to stop,
or deny a single dream.

Its existence was bending.
Its joy was soft.

It’s been made hard,
changed and molded,
acted on by outside hands;
lost its whimsy and its nature
and turned into something
that can numb and choke
until the light is gone.

But it only wants to breathe;
to let the one inside it’s circle
Because that’s how both
get to the next sunrise

They feel, know,  they have stars and bits
of earth inside them,
and they want to return
to that, to each other.

So, the hanged man fights the drop,                                                                                                                   and the noose unravels, slips its ties and                                                                                                             both look for safety in gentle shadow and moss.                                                                                       Finding their ways to and around each other                                                                             where they can choose to entangle.

Because that’s what was meant.
When they were both under the sky,                                                                                                              green and living and growing