Falling in Like
Every few weeks, based on how close my hands are to midnight,
I talk at you
I hold things until I hear you
fight to be myself, spend our hours searching
for new ways to describe feelings I struggle
to accept and/or forget
Sometimes I fail to forgive
I sit alone alongside all the boys I’ve been, looking at the men I may become
people I love and have loved
have fucked over and been fucked over by
we encourage me to swear
I paraphrase all the words and pictures I have inhaled
to escape cliché and having to say things like ‘I failed’ or ‘I feel’
Some days I answer with nothing to say
Those days scare me but I recognise now
I have always been brave
I want you to like me
even though you imply I’m not supposed to
I move through the agenda in my mind, watch hands wave our time away
So… that’s all, for this week
Like it’s our first time, you ask
if I would like to hear your voice again
sincerely, like I am bound to believe
that I am finished, not in need
of knowing kindness will flow through my phone to me
I have held scars to the light, inspected them
from the angles I can contemplate
I have survived.
I donate money as if it could repay
all the parts of me I now embrace
and walk back into life not quite in love
but a lot more in like
with all the pieces of myself and everyone else
I am yet to understand
I’m thinking of all the ways
men don’t say I love you
the ratio between kind words and slurs
we speak to one another
how alcohol loosens our jaws
as oil softens an engine.
We can say, You were missed (by who?),
never I miss you
embrace to celebrate unexpected goals —
hardly ever goodbye or hello
talk topics alpha pre-approved
via sentence openers safe to use.
Mostly omit weakness:
we are not the time nor space
to apologise and mean it,
admit to not being ok
recount any moment
we did not rise to meet.
To cry? Our tears are rainwater
we cup to carry in our palms
and bury deep in darkness
till the next time we are blindsided
by rejection, fear or defeat
and our rage rises.
I’m thinking of all the ways
men don’t say I love you.
We tell our fathers only
when they cannot say it back.
Under our Sun
‘I was flying past the stars on silver wings,’ Matilda said.
Is that your favourite song, you ask
as I sit elsewhere watching the film
thinking how your brain
burns differently, wondering
what I’ll eat next
when you whip out wonder
education has conditioned me
not to expect
I pause, weigh my words
their effect and cause
on this moment, the next
opt to tell a truth
of black and white
no grey areas or conditions
big, little, smart, dumb, wrong, right
I say, It is, but can’t resist, Why
Because you were REEAALLLYY quiet!
you reply with killer smile
which translates as
‘This is the first time all movie
that you actually shut up.’
Your ability to convey
sensitive and difficult
your scythe through shite
is beyond almost all the adults
I’ve had the misfortune to have met
you rarely wound
curious is an emotion
sad and mad afterthoughts
I am lost in conversations
I have with you and my ignorance
of who you are before and after and during
across all dimensions especially imaginary
that we stumble upon on a rainy Tuesday
when I am supposed to be teaching you time
while you paint the light of a shooting star
and flag down truth with your free hand to hitchhike
I follow, strapped into a red sofa
hurtling through time and space
resenting earth forever breaking our fall
Freud doesn’t have Twitter
This is a walk in darkness
while I speckle our demons with flashlight.
We may stumble on the fact that
I am not compelled to verbalise
requited, unconditional, timeless
together, apart and back
because I realise paper means nothing,
speech is too easy
but I will work to understand
that I have been guilty of falling
for a woman you sometimes pretend to be.
I love who you are —
may be next week; newly wrapped
in joyous relief you will share you with me.
We have grown.
Forgive me when presence
is all I have to give
This is not a love poem
I want you to understand
that I have retired
from sonnet life,
falling in love on paper,
forcing history to rhyme,
from writing itself, yet
you draw me out of myself.
My pen is no longer a sword
I wield nor wand I wave
at women who will never love me
beyond the page.
I don’t know what us is
and bits of that terrify me
because I don’t want or need
to sketch those dreams,
to prescribe, define, or control,
I cringe to write it but
I’m going with your flow.
I am far from it, still, but
beside you, I am whole.
William Patrick has been stockpiling words throughout a short lifetime spent writing, editing, and on literary study. He writes primarily in response to his own feelings and experiences but hopes these will resonate for anyone brave enough to read him.