Five Sneaky Things
I’ve only ever seen your name typed in conversation, but I imagine you handsome:
tall, dark hair, maybe black curls that fall over your forehead and eyes in the way
that makes women come along to brush it behind your ear with their fingertips.
Did you idealize her, too? Make her everything in your world – get down on no
knees and unpropose? Was the pedestal on which you placed her too high, and
she lost her footing, smacked her head on your hard ego? Did you shout your love
for her in the parking lot of Goodwill, and the next morning devalue her feelings
because she was unsure, uncertain of the insincerity of your declarations?
When she said to you, “I want to take care of you, but I’m scared you won’t let me,”
did you hear her, even if she only said it with her eyes? Or did you turn your gaze to
another, away from her beautiful soul and her beautiful songs.
Did you climb that pedestal she fell from and publicly shame her? Tell the world
she was a villain and you her victim. Did you feel the weight you placed upon her?
How heavy the guilt she carried for your betrayal of trust. She was the source
of your supply, the object you tossed into the fire, pulled out, kissed with sweet
cold water, and tossed back in again. Did you tell the world she was toxic,
forgetting about your own contaminated soul?
When she sat on her bed and cried, accepting the ugly that you told her she was
did you grin with satisfaction at a job well done? Did you pick up your phone,
spend hours flirting with others, blaming your behavior on her insecurities?
Did she, too, question her on instincts, wonder if her own interpretations of
events were wrong. Did you make her feel crazy, the kind no one wants to be?
After you made love did you remind her how cruel she was to you, like the way
one shamelessly drowns a litter of puppies on a farm with too many animals to care for.
When women weren’t sweeping soft curls from your forehead, what did you do?
Did your harem consist of virtual lovers only, or did you prefer the feel of a real
fuck to the one handed screw? Was anyone’s salt enough, was it just the taste
you were after?
How did you lure them to you? How did you lure her? It couldn’t have been with
words or song — she’s so superior. But maybe you convinced her yours were better.
I can only imagine now what shapes you shifted into for her, which ones for others.
I’ve watched the chameleon change colors as quickly as Brubeck banging out notes.
Did you smear her identity across the page like he did? Or was your public shaming
out at the bars, late at night when she was inside with a headache. Or maybe while
she was singing on stage. You whispered into your neighbor’s ear, demonizing her
beauty, while she stood tall in front of you, singing a love song to you.
Did you bide your time with someone else? How many triangles did you create?
Which angles did she navigate safely and which ones did she slice her heart on?
Did you provoke her with songs of another lover? Did she take the bait or swim
cautiously around the wiggling worm? How did it feel to play puppeteer?
When she opened her wounds to you did you cover them with bandages or
scrape the insides with the dripping ink of love for another? Her jealously
was the red button under your thumb, the smooth edge you encircled
under the pad of your finger, pressing whenever you felt insecure.
How many times did she return to you, ready to give her heart again, under
your foot, under your thumb, under your ego, against warnings and better
judgments? How did it finally end? Did you let her go? Did she finally
see you in the colors that others told her you were painted? How much
cognitive dissonance was needed before your abuse became clear?
Certainly not before all of those beautiful songs were written.
Where are you now, handsome man of the stories I’ve been told? Are you
still validating your ego by eating the nutrients of others? How does it taste?
I imagine you now: remorseful, sad, longing for the love that you discarded.
But you’ve probably picked out a new woman from your harem, and she’s
lying next to you, tucking dark curls behind your ear, stroking your ego.
/ / /
24 May 2015