and so they ran faster

Home / home / and so they ran faster

At eighteen, I waited outside a room full of strangers, too scared to knock on the door and go in.
It’s a strange place for a poem, or a friendship, or whatever this is, to begin,
But we went in together.
I was too scared to seem nervous; you were too nervous to be lost.
We were tossed together like water and flour but rose into phoenixes.
We found there was nothing that could not be solved with sandwiches and Kleenexes
And an ample supply of sardonic wit.
There were some things that didn’t fit,
Could not be healed with tea or plasters,
But when the demons caught up you taught me to run faster.
We made a good team,
And I seem to always remember you in that red parker and torn jeans.
I’m not sure what that means except you definitely had presence.
Damn straight we should get jerseys,
‘Cause I’ll always want you on my team.
I mean I always want you there to play catch with my shattered nerves and scatter them
Like poppy seeds
‘Cause poppies always grow in rubble,
And even poppies bleed
From dark hearts,
Like they know bruises are inevitable after so many false starts.
I’m gonna see grass stains on my new boots
And think of you, ‘cause nothing says ‘indestructible’
Like picking yourself up after every tumble.
Know that failure isn’t the strategic retreat
From where you thought your dreams and plans would meet.
Failure is missing the warning signs before you coast off the edge in the final scene,
Like in Thelma and Louise.
This is not defeat.
This is knowing that survival is winning,
So we can send all that shed skin of who we were
Spinning golden thread to sew a new map of who we’ll grow into.
I’ve never been to Venice but you brought me back a mask,
All harlequin and jester bells just asking to be worn,
And I have sworn,
When I’ve looked into its hollow eyes, I’ve seen all my tomorrows dancing by.
And that’s what I’m gonna do when I miss you,
Imagine you dancing by like a ballerina with scar tissue on your soul.
I’ll look up into dark bowl of the night over a black sea,
And imagine you grinning right back at me
Across a battlefield full of slain dragons, under a Cheshire Cat moon,
And soon the pain of this parting won’t feel so raw.
Or maybe it will, but still,
We’ll always have cartoons and movie quotes,
And hand soap that smells like head-lice shampoo,
And knowing that only you
Truly get me
Like only you truly understand when I say stuff like
“A song can be a colour, and a colour can be a song,
And song can be a road to some feeling I can only half articulate…”
I hate saying stupid half-baked shit like that,
But you never laugh when I say stupid things like that.
You never turned your back,
Even when I lacked words, and dreamt in colours swirling from black to blue,
When my whole body was bruised
From life kicking me too many times in the face.
You showed me the meaning of grace,
And beauty,
Showed me, through your green million-mile eyes,
That never learnt how to lie;
Through your kaleidoscope smile;
Showed me shapes like landscapes that grow inside the mind.
You make me want to climb the mountains of your spine,
Taste sugar-spun synapses,
Just to see how you brain works and if it all collapses
Like a house of cards under the weight of that guilt you carry,
Like you’re married to the ghosts of failures past,
Like you wear your cigarette burn like a caste,
But I read about Karma,
And darling, if it’s true,
You got about four million tonnes of honeycomb and hummingbirds
Being sent in the mail to you.
It’s long overdue.
I wish I could shake you by the scruff of your empathy,
Make you see the house I built in my tree,
So you know you can see me whenever you like,
And I hope right now your hope is a kite,
Gripped tight,
Like a promise with a hundred thousand miles of string left to unwind,
Like a hundred thousand smiles just waiting to be kind.
Don’t ever stop being kind,
Because there are people who will need it,
Like a storm-cloud needs thunder
To chase lightning,
Just to prove it’s fighting back,
And it’s a fact that your smile really does light up a room,
Like there’s just more…room there when you arrive,
Like you make the light strive to shine further,
Like you hold fire in the curve of your palm,
Calmly nurture this glowing ember that makes us remember we should always be honest. Honestly,
You make me want to be better – –
Better at baking and singing and dancing and thinking,
All at the same time;
Better at making truth mine and the only thing I should wear like a badge,
The only flag I should fly.
So don’t say goodbye,
What’s saying goodbye?
It’s going away.
And I wish you could stay.

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