In this attempt or thereabouts | Glenn Diaz

 

I.

 

The film major says you never really loved until you ran after a beloved in the rain, shouting, unaware of your waterlogged feet. When he leaves you notice it: your shoes soaked, your clothes sodden, fastened to skin.

 

But there is no urge to mount a chase. No itch to lift your heavy feet. So you stay put, drenched. This is how you, at 17, made sense of it: the rain meant for lovers braver than you. Six years later, he tells you he wished

 

you were more spirited. You tell him you didn’t read the script.

 

II.

 

You remember the writer when a motorcycle hits your cab, the body flying like a directionless Superman, then some blood. It is 3 a.m., the traffic lights sowing confusion and not enough light. He used to sing

 

you French songs. You never understood and didn’t ask for translations. The body forgets to flinch: ten seconds, fifteen, then sixty. It was never safe, this thing. He could be singing gibberish, maybe just repeating

 

one sullen French sentence. Him: untranslatable. Oui, oui.

 

III.

 

But other nights, the city, without people, emerges, beautiful. The one with the Russian name, you walked and walked, your Nike, his Chucks; things scraping: hands, elbows, soles of shoes, egos. From him, you know

 

love is the longest conversation, two years to be exact, but still not nearly enough. His hair, you part, and inhale the morning air with smog. Then breakfast: pancakes, ribbons of honey, oranges. This is what

 

they mean, to find it. This is what they mean, a favorite thing.

 

IV.

 

There was a moment there when you said yes to the lousy deal. Saturdays were yours: menthols, frozen margaritas, his left hand. Once, he even gave you his jacket, to help you with the cold. Looks good on you,

 

they’re yours. You think, this is not bad, love can be kind to those who pretend. The indie actor lives in a tenement, where once or twice, he said, he saw men jump to their deaths, bodies conjuring an italicized lower-

 

case t: two legs aligned, arms splayed, hugging the ground.

 

V.

 

You faced the last one armed with lessons, definitions. Something steadfast, like your vow to get it right, in this attempt or thereabouts. Unlike you, the city cannot choose its paths, the rivers that will be made

 

of its streets, the noise that will ring in its ears. Now you know surrender is key in this city. Composure amid its labyrinthine face. Tonight, no rain, his lips curled to a tenuous oval, humming tunes that drown

 

your will, your useless definitions. Love is, love is, love is.

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