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The last and proper goodbye.


This is to the stars, and to pale skin, and to tender hearts, waiting to explode, wrinkle, smash. The moon hangs huge down I-5, making sure I am well-lit and arrive safely. The critic will destroy this all, so now I write everything, a new promise for the almost full moon.

You don’t know what to do with my promises.

I cross the border. A crow pecks at a fresh carcass. I run over dead animals run over before me. I hit lumps and bumps, feel nothing. It’s a con. My sunglasses darken the six-hour drive especially as the sun drops outside of Olympia. In the mirror it’s my face and the lasting frown, all that redness against blotched white.

I never found a point to say, there, that’s Portland. I never got the chance to say, here, this is Portland. People say I feel too much. You say that. That, and I want to talk about my feelings. That, and you don’t like the way I go about it. I’m not going to apologize. There’s nothing I can say that Bob Dylan hasn’t already said.

I’m printing a picture of two people on the balcony in a theater. You thought of her. A chandelier hangs. I’m putting two strangers in a frame. I’m putting the frame on my dresser, next to the faces I look at in the dark. Don’t write to me. Don’t call. Show up at my doorstep.

You counted everything. You walked faster than me. I limped. You pulled your hair to the side. I looked at our palms. I felt it coming. In my head I’m mailing the best mix-tape, the one you’ll never get. I’m watching my inbox, nothing is coming. My narrow pale soft feet. Your wide wet eyes. I hear you say my name, noone knows. In your city I called out your name and they stopped and turned. I put things in a lock box, hid the key, but you don’t need a box, or a lock.

You say you don’t want to hear about my feelings, I say you just don’t know what to do with yours. There’s no school to learn about this and anyway we are reluctant students. This will be the last time. My hand on your arm.

I won’t write anything else here. Now I miss your freckled arm. The moon is nearly full, I pointed out the stars, like a kid, look, the stars are out. There’s toilet paper from your bathroom in my pocket, my nose my eyes. You had infections, pissed hot orange. I grabbed a pen every chance I could. I never asked what made you love the things you loved, I think I know but who knows. We listened to my favorites. Catholics. Raymond Carver. Atheists. Mary Tyler Moore. Cormac McCarthy. Liza Minnelli. Flannery O’Connor. Spencer Tracy. Walker Percy. Designing Women. Marilynne Robinson, Bette Davis. My stomach knew. 318 miles to say a proper goodbye.

You said it was bad timing but there is no more time.

I’ve been at these rest stops before they’ve always felt the same. This is different. You were talking about Spanish Fly. You in stitches, me bruised. Holding hands, walking down Main Street, you’ll wonder if I’m writing you’ll wonder what I’m writing about. Why do you make me mix tapes with songs about breakups, she said. So you’ll have something to remember me by, I said. You made it onto my dresser with the kneeling brass idols, my best love with the black and white long fur, my dresser, with the kids, and the cousins, and the things I search for in the inky night. You’ll be the fuel. I’ll be the match.

This is the last and proper goodbye. Anything else is fiction, mine and yours, only for the stages, and the pages.


Love does not at first have anything to do with arousal, surrender, and uniting with another being – for what union can be built upon uncertainty, immaturity, and lack of coherence? Love is a high inducement for individuals to ripen, to strive to mature in the inner self, to manifest maturity in the outer world, to become that manifestation for the sake of another. This is a great, demanding task; it calls one to expand one’s horizon greatly. Only in this sense, as this task to work on themselves, day and night, and to listen, ought people use the love granted to them.

– Rainer Maria Rilke, The Seventh Letter

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Janet Jones permalink
    02/07/2012 10:55

    Beautiful words. Goodbyes are brutal.

  2. 02/07/2012 11:20

    Thank you, I am awful with them.

  3. Treuber permalink
    02/07/2012 17:57

    You are honest. Nothing can touch that. My heart to you.

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