Inside the Dying

Burning words keep us here

as our imaginary timelines disappear behind

when I write and you read and you feel, don’t you realize I feel and you write and I read and I feel and I know that we feel, we feel, we are in the same moment

against the wall at the dance

I watched them all

and she came up and asked me

if I would join her,

a grown woman asking a teenager

and I said no, I don’t dance

she was disappointed, smiled and

I watched as everyone there

moved with the music

and my feet were nailed to the floor

I watch and you live and as you do all of this without me I wonder what it is to be so natural, how did I miss the part where I become a real thing, I missed the call for normal

She pulled me on to the dance floor,

her dress whipping back and forth

across her thighs and she put my hands on her waist and

smiled as she looked into my eyes

I moved with her and I felt so out-of-place, dancing at a prom

I smiled and when she leaned in

I pulled away

I could have pretended to be something like all of them, I could have played a game and fit in with those around me and I knew if I did I would never really be me

I went on the blind date and I liked her but I knew right away she didn’t like me as much as she liked to look at me, the thought of me, she was creating an imaginary version of me right from the start and when it was over I called her and explained I knew that I was wrong for her

my brother-in-law asked why I couldn’t just play along,

to get some, to have some fun

and I was going to say something

but my sister just said, “no”

she knew why I was this way, she said,

“He can’t pretend to be something else… He deserves to be accepted for who he is.”

I was so paranoid as I waited for her to show up

to our wedding, as I was getting things set up I was boiling on the edge of tears

and I was half-convinced that it was all a joke, the ball was going to be snatched away before I kicked it

and then my sister helped me with my tie and grabbed me by my collar

and told me, eyes glistening,

“I’ve always wanted this for you.”

And we live these words as though they are real things,

as though we don’t have stories and parts to play

we follow our scripts and we accept our character flaws as though we were unable to change the whole thing

We are all born dying, they say.

Every day is one day closer to death.

We believe those words, but when we hear the truth,

we deny.

This life is not real. Time, distance, life, death, all ideas we have agreed to confine ourselves within

and those words are brushed off as easily as leaves fallen to our shoulders

we live these words and yet we cannot seem to understand that we write these lives

I write and you read

You write and I read

We feel and we feel the same,

crazy and wild fragments of light

pretending to be everything else

I’m writing it all backwards and upside-down, the words are only symbols and the symbols mean only what you allow them to mean

These words are life,

this life is a story

and I read

and I feel

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