She made me feel like poetry wasn’t enough.
When we listened to Jeff Buckley cry ‘Hallelujah,’
In a dusty disused single apartment room, sitting still before the laptop laid on a worn and carved old desk,
Facing full length windows struck with fat drops of the April rain,
While gray clouds darkened the red and gold leaves hanging from black branches,
Ignoring the moving world
I sat and she leaned on me,
Winding her arms around my chest and the music soared and her heart pounded to the electric beat,
Pounded for me.
I knew only that I wanted more than anything
To write something, to do anything, that would make her heart pound like that.
I can still feel it, hot on my warm neck in the dust against the dusky rain.
I smell her breath and feel her hair,
Sliding down the front of my bare chest,
And I feel her lips resting softly against my eyes
And hear her breathe in the dark mornings
When I couldn’t sleep for fear I would lose my waking dreams.
She begged me to be real and I tried but we died and she cried.
I could not stop dreaming, could not live in the world of concrete reality –
How could I, when she, reality spun from a fervid, half-believed and worshipped dream, waited for me?
She was like tea in October,
When death is in the air and children are in the streets and you don’t care,
Because what you hold in your hands is hot and strong and sweet and makes you feel alive,
And you don’t want to let it go.
It’s hazy now, but they still come to me,
The sensual memories and pangs of moments passed,
Scenes from around the world and the promises we made.
But I wasn’t enough to give her what she gave me:
Yellowed visions of autumn days and winter nights,
Early morning sighs of contentment that haunt me even today, blackmailing me into writing this,
Even if it will only ever reach the eyes of the half that is yearning to pull away, like a mutt tied to a stake;
Even if it fails to make her heart beat hard and fast for me, for me.
© Billy Ji, 2012