perhaps what you thought to be your creativity was really just caffeine

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earlier, maybe it was 
yesterday, i was going to write 
about love. but then i ate and 
became sleepy and fell in love 
with the narcotic yawn of a midday couch. 
i didn’t sleep, as we so often don’t
sleep together, even when that 
is what we call it. 
no, i expressed my love 
for the couch by reading upon it, 
just as i would read your faint freckles
and star-spray of moles. the sighing 
ocean of your belly. you see?
i’ve done this before, 
written of love. at the very least
the love of a woman and 
her body, how her gift 
of it causes me to fall further
into myself. her body 
and how it sparks mine. and 
earlier, maybe it was 
yesterday, prior to the one-sided love
of a couch and my body, i wanted
to write of love.
there was a pot of soup on
the stove, and it was simmering. and 
this brought to mind the *slap* 
of teenaged hands on white
young belly, also teenaged. a high 
school ritual of sports teams and the way
boys, hen-like, establish order.
and my beautiful young friend, 
who even then i barely knew, he 
was slapped on his pale belly until
it was red and his pants were 
wet. most of the boys, 
especially the laughing ones, they 
were the most hurt. horrified 
at the pain they cause. terrified 
that they might let loose an unexpected 
choking sob,
and have their own love-filled hearts 
tipped over, wetted and howling
red. trampled glowing crimson
blood love red. so of course
i can write to a woman i love, and
remark with revelry about her
body and her touch. but 
how do i tell a man who i am
not sure i even now know, how 
do i tell him of my love? i am sorry
for your pain and
embarrassment. i am sorry 
we are not raised to love 
each other gently. you are 
beautiful and i do not know how
to tell you this. yesterday, or 
maybe it was just earlier, 
i wanted to write about how
deep the ocean is. how
there are fish out there that live 
hundreds of years. and 
there are men all around, faded 
and shuffling, who have glowing
crimson lovely red hearts, and 
haunted young red welted bellies.
it is difficult for me
to even tell well-known friends
that i love them. that i am lonely 
and thin, that i am afraid
of dying and afraid of the passing
time. it was just yesterday! 
or maybe only earlier, that i was 
simmering soup on a stove and 
trying to find a way to tell a man 
that i love him. time has just 
evaporated from me; 
it is evening now and i was tired
of being cold, so turned on the heater. 
i worry about the callous ticking 
of the electrical meter, i fret about 
my meager bank account. i have not 
touched a woman in 6 months now,
though i can still trace Her 
phantom with my wordless tongue.

Wilhelm Bernatzik. “Gate to Paradise”. 1906

Published by Zak

an intertidal island in an ocean of impermanence.

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