Now and then, I have wished I lived in Los Angeles.
So I could know enough, to write a poem with you in it.
I wonder if there, would I fit, like a marionette
in the corner of your apartment in Koreatown?
And who would we be?
Would we drink black coffee on the windowsill
and save cash in white envelope for the power bill?
Would we be in love?
There I would cook rice from a box
and say things like, I have to be up at nine.
There wouldn’t be swallows or tides,
but we’d collect other sounds to remind us we’re alive.
They’d come up through the floorboards, from the restaurant below,
where we’d make love and eat take-out and read Whitman
from a used book you bought next door.
And I would have more talent
because I would have less.
And you would never talk about the wife you don’t miss.
We’d compare notes each night of what we fell in love with that day,
like two people trying to solve something with what they create.
You write the ends of your poems on the shower wall
so you can hear the words clearly, where the syllables fall
And you cook barefoot at the stove with a rag on your shoulder
We never have children but we grow closer as we grow older.
Our work keeps us warm in the dead of the night
You let me sleep in when you wake at first light.
From a cool overfilled bath I call your name
Just to see you stand backlit in the bathroom doorway.
In the summers I listen to jazz and sweep the kitchen floor.
In the winters I slip to a sadness like a boat with no shore.
But, you know it’s not a matter of how to pull me out from it,
but rather how to keep building so we both don’t go under.
When I do come back it’s to dried flowers,
and those small crackers from the store,
and you whisper in my ear, it’s okay to want more.