i remember when we were fourteen
and i said you couldn’t dance for shit
because your laces were untied, and you tripped
over them again and again,
your smile a lighthouse, and i said
god, i hope this lasts forever, otherwise
i don’t know if there’s much to look
forward to in twenty years
i remember when we crushed the
heads of dandelions in between the
asphalt and the blue marbles that my
brother found discarded in the alley
behind my house, milky dandelion stems
and the smell of dogs
outside of the elementary school
when the sprinklers were all turned on
i remember when i was only eleven
and you told me to take a leap of faith
into piles of leaves which stank
of hennessy and mildew
and of newborn autumn — leap in!
like it was a tank of citric acid
and i was a photograph
not yet developed
Except I don’t remember any of that,
because none of it ever happened, mind you.
It’s just a bunch of words which conjure
some kind of empty, formless nostalgia,
some churning in the mindless depths for
a life everyone wishes they had, so we can
look back at our alleyways and our elementary schools
and think it was all good things.
You don’t event exist.
I don’t know who you are.
We never crushed dandelion heads together.
We never danced at fourteen, partially because
at the time I was too afraid to ask you,
but that’s all just the backstory of an imaginary beast.
There are no words that can change the truth:
you’re the face I can only see with my eyes shut tight —
and that serves you right for trusting
a narrator you can neither see nor hear.
Serves you right for reading poems, knowing that
you’ve heard this all before, believe me, many times,
and that’s the danger of lying, because once you begin,
you can’t quite stop, tell me, will they love you
more if you say you were found in a cardboard box?
And will they love you even after you close your mouth?
Ah, give me a break, go and cry
to the panel, to the jury, to the judge.
Go and see if anyone else can hear you besides me.
I need this lonely fraud, these false stories.
I need you, and your nostalgic conman charm.
I need these lies to pay my tuition.
So, my oldest, cruelest friend,
go and make yourself useful for once.