I’m still playing with punctuation, but…
She says. She says I shouldn’t bring up the bad memories, the bad thoughts in my brain about all the yelling and the screaming and the fighting and the times when she didn’t look at me at all. The times she hated me. The times she called me “monster” and said she’d rather be with Jimmy at the bar called Jungle Jim’s down the street. She felt ice cold, then—the times we made up after, because I knew that though she whispered “sorry” in the dark, I knew she meant it when she said she wanted him. Jimmy wasn’t me. Jimmy was better than the monster that clawed to hold her in the night. She calls me sentimental, though, because I draw to many sentiments; draw too much sentimentality from too many songs long gone. She says. She says I try too hard to match our lives to pictures, try too hard to match our steps to the movie stars on the boulevards. She doesn’t know she is my Hollywood dream. So now we take the morning train to the shipyard and as the whistle blows three times, we know that we’ve arrived. It’s our goodbye. She says I should wear a coat when it’s cold. I watch her go to Jimmy as I sit along the bank and cut valentines from my heart. The red droplets stain the snow, but I think the patterns are Rorschach mementos I’ll keep to remember her in summer when the sun gets far too high. I like how cold she used to be. I remember what she used to say. She used to say “monster.”
That is actually based on this old thing:
Winter in my Hemisphere
We can take the morning train to the shipyard.
The clock will chime four times
and we’ll know that we’ve arrived.
We’ll crowd the docks
and fold tugboats out of paper
we’ve cut from one another’s heart.
You’ll think the red blots ruin the snow;
I’ll think they’re Rorschach mementos
I can open in my head
to remember you in June when
the sun makes it far too hard to see.
You’ll like me running through ice barefoot,
and I won’t care because
if it makes you laugh,
I’ll be okay to cut up my Achilles.
So I’ll bleed in the shipyard;
I’ll spill myself on the canvas—
you always said I’ve never
had the guts to be so weak.
Your eyes will hurt, but
it’ll be like singing in the darkness:
There’s no one there to hear you,
even though you sound like you could fly.
I’ll just pray it’s good enough for you,
because my scissors are too rusty
to cut a new me from your heart.