I saw you sitting there, Nate
and I was speaking in my head
wanting to put hands on you as the veteran, your friend, your brother in service
spoke about suicide.
He read a poem that addressed the fact that every 65 minutes, a veteran commits suicide & that if a vet pops himself and nobody is around to hear it, you better start listening harder.
And maybe it was because my period had just struck or I was tired in the eyes, but wide awake and tangled in the electromagnetic field between our ribcages & the accelerating heart that kept trying to drive me closer
Fighting an instinct to be there with you. For you.
I don’t know you.
The limbic mammalian heart spins carousels of peach and dandelion mist
& the neo cortex halts it with context:
“You’re just trying to seem cool & like you don’t need him, but in your pride, you’re pushing him away. He wants you to sit with him. That’s why he keeps looking back” Every syllable from my beating heart pumped blood into my cheeks while the 200 million years worth of biotechnology plugged into my cranium formed a rebuttal:
“Yeah? And let’s say you do go sit next to him, put a hand on his knee – on his shoulders, wrap your arms around his chest from the back and nestle your face into his bent neck? Let’s say this isn’t actually something he’s comfortable with just yet – or even anything that he wants. Let’s say your argument is an irrational, oxytocin-doped rush of estrogen because you’re programmed to form strong bonds with potential mates so that you can ensure reproductive success for your non-existent offspring. Let’s just say that it makes your impulses biased. What makes you so sure that it would even be appropriate to put your arms so familiarly about his shoulders on the second occasion you’re meeting him as a lover – fourth occasion total?”
The passionate heart is ready to burn down cities, singing ballads as the scarlet of wreckage singes the blue velvet of the sky “Weren’t you just reading about the isolationism of American culture that forbids such physical intimacy & open displays of affection & how it’s the reason we have no value or amount of genuine culture? You are alive and this WAS a real moment, but it’s passed now and by the sounds of the effeminate guy reading a poem about his experience as a gay man in the military, it’s safe to say it wouldn’t exactly come off right, now would it? So HAVE your isolation. At least make up your mind. And by ‘make up your mind’ I mean realize that this inaction is just another thing that makes you dead. Paralyzed by fear that you might be too real, yet too proud & sophisticated to call it fear. Might let your humanity show & be rejected for it. So you would rather be fake and accepted.”
So you weave through the crowd and stand closer.
Then maybe you wait another poem & this time the legs fail when you’re directly behind him. He’s clutching his arms on a collapsible stool that you can’t imagine is comfortable, but heart pleasantly reminds you with a wink & a sneer that a backless stool affords you access to groping him from behind.
squeezing his normally too-tall head to your chest – letting the spiritual spindles of his heart strings fuck her right in the electromagnetic field – so you pause before sitting next to him, so the blood might drain from your cheeks.
Just when brain is about to reroute legs to the exhibition halls because “we don’t need him anyway. there’s a whole museum here. Just because you drove an hour to spend the weekend with him doesn’t mean you have to be here for him, or even spend time with him…”
I saw your hat on the ground. Brian was singing show tunes at this point, and nobody in the crowd really knew how to feel about it anyway.
“Before the tone shifts again…”
So legs skirt over & plopped down next to you –
eyebrow shrug & tight lipped derpy smile to ensure him that “I don’t know why I’m here. Heart made me do it. Don’t read too much into it”
Heart, still cocky from her assumed victory, continues to plot the perfect moment to put your hand on his knee while the poet inside of me considers what an act of humanity it would have been
if I had carved through the crowd, the moment it dawned on me that you might want someone to lean on,
cut through the bystanders all slack jawed and wide eyed at the Veteran’s admissions of his own suicide attempts
and put my hand on one of your slumped shoulders.