Now it’s getting to the point where I see a bench or a parking garage or Christ, a garbage can we passed by once and I am so overwhelmed by missing you that it goes all the way right down to my knees and I don’t want any part of it. When I’m singing I’m singing to you as loudly as I can in my head. Strangers come up to me and check my forehead, under my tongue for signs of a fever. I can’t go anywhere and make the mistake of thinking it’s safe. We said love and pinky swore over Italian ices, colored juice running thick down our chins. Parking lot a shimmering mirage beneath our carefully linked hands.
Hi, hi, hi! First, thank you for your kind words about my writing. Second, I hope you don’t mind if I answer this publicly just because I’ve gotten several anonymous messages already about Chloe’s identity and who she is to me and why I’m writing serial poems that involve the name specifically. I will say that, aesthetically, I love the name Chloe. Always have. I just think it’s so pretty and elegant and glamorous and rocker girl chic and I’ve always just been drawn to it. ALSO, I do know several Chloes personally and one in particular kind of really inspired these poems. She’s kind of a mess (both the Chloe I write about and the Chloe I’ve gleaned a little bit of inspiration from) but I think that’s okay and I think she’s relatable and I think at times she’s kind of not relatable at all and that’s completely fine. I’ve already had an alarming amount of Chloes on Tumblr message me about these poems and how they can’t help but to think of themselves or the Chloe in their lives and how they see really shocking similarities between themselves and the girl I’m writing about in my poems. A lot of the time, though, honestly? Chloe is me. I am Chloe. Kind of like a messier, much more emotional yet still annoyingly nonchalant me. I’m writing to myself. My past self, my future self, my present self. But I’m also writing to Chloe. Your Chloe. My Chloe. All Chloes. And I’m writing to you, the universal you, you as in the readers of my work. Trying to bestow a little bit of wisdom but coming off more so like an older sister who still hasn’t really quite gotten her life together but thinks she knows better than you. She doesn’t, really, but she’s trying, and I think that’s okay. I think that’s sort of wonderful.
We didn’t say goodbye because it wasn’t, and goodbyes are kind of really just awful and we knew, even when we were kind of crying but kind of laughing, that we’d be seeing each other soon. I think that’s a huge part of what love is, and what it means to be intimate with someone when your relationship isn’t a sexual one. It’s letting a person leave so that they can come back. It’s singing to each other in the car on the way home to a song that portrays absolutely every single thing you can’t put into words and holding each other for only a second after because anything longer might last forever. It’s knowing that it’s always going to be hello, even when it feels a lot like goodbye.
first THANK YOU because i’ve gotten so many messages about my chloe poems and i’m kind of overwhelmed by the things you all are saying about them and i kind of just I DON’T KNOW. i’ve actually written nearly 20 poems so far in a series that i hope will be 25-30 poems long but IDK yet because Chloe kind of won’t leave me alone. she’s in my head, she’s with me in the shower and when i’m out with friends. she sneaks into my bed at night to try to warm her toes against my legs and sometimes she brings me flowers but honestly a lot of the time she’s angry and leaves me knives instead. she’s a handful. she’s demanding that i write faster but honestly she talks a lot and never about any one thing for long. I AM TRYING TO GET THESE POEMS DONE AS QUICKLY AS I CAN. send all hate mail to Chloe, honestly. she’ll read them and probably burn them all and eat the ashes after.
Last night was that dream
again: me and Jesus
pulling nails out of our feet
at the lip of the Mississippi
Delta. Somewhere, Coretta
is calling for Martin
to come down from a sycamore.
He’s just a boy, here, but
he weeps and the sky
is ripped at the belly.
This is always what I hope to do with my writing. Thank you. Thank you.
Chloe indulges in strawberry soft-serve
and licks her fingers after and this feels better
than the time she let a boy put his face between
her thighs, this feels better than when she took
three Tylenol for a headache, this feels better
than when she finally accepted her imminent death.
Chloe doesn’t remove her jeans before bed
and doesn’t believe in prayer. Chloe wakes up
with her mascara smeared and four new texts.
Don’t you think it’s time to stop romanticizing
un-sharpened pencils, Chloe? Don’t think
you’re fooling anyone with the broken eggshells
stuffed into the kitchen sink. Chloe will hold
the hand of someone who is very important to her
before the end of the week but for the life of her
she can’t stop crying into her coffee over boys who
don’t care. Sometimes she almost forgets her name
but then she finds the CD with it scribbled on like an
afterthought. Chloe, I know how sad you are.
I hear it every time the needle skips.
Even if it’s in the way you hand them a fork or tuck in their tag, find a way to tell the people in your life that you love them and that they matter and that they are important and wonderful and mean moons to you. There is so much love in your lives, I promise. There is so much warm bread.
We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here - that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?
Rest in peace.
Tumblr kindly reminding me that this blog turned four years old today. Time has gone by so fast it’s almost scary. Thank you to all of you for being here and for your support and patience over the past four years. I wouldn’t still be here if not for y’all. Love each and every single one of you so, so much.