"And you wonder how it ever got to this. How in a city of so much warm blood and skin, you brambled such a thicket of razor wire around you, that you find yourself so impossibly alone.
New York City: it’s Broadway, it is bright lights, it is the ultimate door that most of the world won’t dare knock on. So what are you doing?
The nights you stay behind; too much lipstick, an extra bourbon, pretend the baseball game in this bar is a language you actually understand. The nights your eyes become magnets, when you hurl your body last call like a promise.
I mean, how did you get here? Was it the divorce, the bankruptcy, the nervous breakdown? Was it the six years of waiting for someone, anyone better? Or was it your mother drunk at the bottom of the stairs? The emergency room lights, the friend that plummeted seventeen silent stories like a jet engine, the night sweats, the way the rats seem to recognize your shoes, them cold New York winters adding up like tick marks on a chalk board, the birthdays, and the endless string of not good enough, not smart enough, not enough. And how did it ever get so drunk? And drunk. And lies and fight and dawn and drunk.
How long since someone gathered you broken in their mouth? What I mean is, when last did someone pull your hair tight, curve you like a swan’s neck? What I mean is, what won’t you do for five minutes of someone’s triceps, tongue, pressed into yours? These boots are for unlacing. These eyes are for sail. These legs are for flight. This mouth is a distraction. I mean, I miss your hands. Thank you.
These tiny thieveries: push into the gentle tug of a barber’s hands on your scalp, brush a cashier’s palm against yours, trace footsteps in a crowd, find the warm, still-damp spots on subway handles. I’m sorry. Thank you.
I mean to say, come home with me. I mean to say, skin is a language. I mean to say, I do it because I’m hurting, because I’m alone, because I’m weak. I met you last night from behind. I didn’t know your name. Did I say love? I meant name. I meant rumor. I meant lone girl on a long run and my joints don’t bend right. I mean, what is your name? I’m sorry. My name is thirst, is starve, I made this for you. I wanted to tell you about my father, how his eyes like yours are a forgiveness. I’ve been places I don’t want you to see, I just want you here. Just sit. When my leg brushes yours, I mean to do it. The long nights and these same hands I have been using for so many years. I mean to say yes, my name is now. My name means thief, means ache, means move, swell, brick, means live, means please.
- Thank You by Jeanann Verlee and Adam Falkner