YOUTH WASTED ON THE YOUNG BUT NOTALGIA IS THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH.

Roommates

We shared an apartment
Even the same bed
We did not have sex
But we still made love

She wanted my body
To gain access to my soul
She foolishly wanted to possess
Something she already owned

Like standing in the center of a room
Wishing to enter
She was lost
But already there

The ringer on the phone gave her a headache
Though she blasted music from my 5-disc CD changer
Kept the windows open that overlooked 9th Street
And shouted at me for talking too quietly

Her closets were empty
Floor carpeted with clean and dirty clothes
She was more honest than me
I hid behind my well-organized bookshelf of literary prose

I tried to woo her with Kahlil Gibran
And convert her to Christianity
She said there was no truth
In all my “well-rehearsed honesties”

We mostly saw each other in passing
Leaving sticky notes in the kitchen
Somewhere between Lakota and the Music Cafe
We’d hook up as if for the first time

She was in law school
I was the proverbial starving artist
We were both clichés
Spoiled suburban angst-ridden Gen-X

I survived playing solo acoustic gigs
Three and a half hours for thirty bucks and tips
It was enough for rent, some old man shirts
And a stack of new used from Acorn Books

Her ex-boyfriend was a street musician
Left-handed with the guitar upside-down
He had a three-legged dog and the voice of an angel
A fallen angel who regretted following the devil

I toured in my Army green Volvo wagon
With no working speedometer or odometer
In hindsight it serves as a good metaphor
I had no idea how fast I was going or how far I had travelled

She dressed up as Eve for Halloween
And offered me an apple
There was no irony in this symbolic gesture
I felt guilty even though I didn’t sin

She came home drunk
Like an amateur production
Threw down her purse and keys
Stripped naked and went straight to sleep

I stayed up all night reading Merton
Listening to Over the Rhine
Slept in, spent the day in my pajamas
Smoked cigarettes and wrote songs about my ex-wife

She hated what she loved about me
She desired what I could never be
I loved her by not loving her
Withholding the truth of our incompatibility

By winter, I moved out
Nashville was the new promised land
I left my key by the living room ashtray
There was a note for me written on a book of matches

It said, “Love, when you go
Close the door gently
I miss you now
Already.”



3 May 2019
9:00 AM