Recital by Author
  Art by John Barbato

'Cartesian Rift' © 2006 Artist

 

Did You Ever Watch Me Sleep?

 

I screamed two months of my life into porcelain rims and ruined paint. I went crazy. Every day I walked uptown. I went into this church on 68th and First and cried into wood not my religion, prayed in space I never grew up in, lit candles to statues I had always thought were cartoons.

And you? What did you do?

When we were, did you ever watch me sleep? Or was it your true love - your fear, your anxiety, your ambivalence – you watched in dreams and over toast, pretending oh this domestic ease we waddle towards like stupid ducks is so much nicer compared to that vast cannibal called Loneliness and when would I be leaving so you could get on with your life and hopes of a magical woman I clearly never was and I digress into rage, but even then, did you ever watch me sleep?

The several/too many nights of one last fuck before goodbye I'd sleep awake in fear and a sad monster clawing my insides and I'd watch you breathe noisily, grind your teeth in panic of the prefab futility you ordered for yourself.

I'd watch you sleep.

And now we're just buddies. We don't even have to return each other's phone calls or keep the important night of the weekend free. No. We visit on Thursday night before we can get on with our separate buddy-like lives. I watch you and me drink too much together, give each other secret adolescent glances of oh-I-miss-still-wish-we-could-suck-each-other's-various-body-parts. And I talk about God and you talk about flips and throws in your martial arts class. And sometimes, inevitably later, you flip and throw me around and I giggle past the hurt nerves and bruised knees so that I can touch you, feel you grab me hard. Pretend you want me that bad.
I don't even allow the sound of my own rage hit repainted walls and a cleaner bathroom.

Did you, did you even once, get up from our brief bed and as the night lingered around your eyes, for a moment, watch me, desperately curled up inside myself, sleep?