Never Become A Writer

August 26, 2014
You’ll want someone exotic and marry a Romanian. He’ll tell you to dye your hair and you’ll do it, then make chewing on its multicolored strands a habit. You’ll kiss him once and say he tastes like wine. Wine, no? he’ll say with a grin. Only gentlemen drink wine. You'll leave him because you won’t like cliches.

You’ll find a shadow behind a counter (because that’s the only way to describe him). You’ll watch him clashing silverware around in drawers like cold piles of bones, and he’ll give you a free slice of key-lime pie and say it’s the best in the state. You’ll lick up its tanginess on the prongs of your fork and decide that it’s not, but you won't pull away from his eyes that will remind you of your favorite crayon. Then he’ll look you up and down and say, another? You’ll decide to love him because anyone worth loving is worth a free slice of key-lime pie. You’ll make him kiss you even when he doesn't want to by threatening to put him in your novel, and then he’ll press his lips to yours right there under the spidered glint of the sun’s smothering smolder.

It'll be two years and you'll marry that shadow. (He'll know all about what you do by then.) He'll know that you pick away at life’s cadaver which has long since gone stiff and cold. That you wade through the platitudes and search its chalk skeleton anyway, hunting for the similes and metaphors that glint like chipped glass. You will tell him that you’ll stop when you can build a world, but not that you've already made one. He’ll let you. But he won’t be able to watch when you’re starved of words at two am. He’ll yell at you because you were defining love in your sleep, and you’ll write an angry poem on a napkin in a diner about how you don’t care. You’ll lie. And you’ll try not to care.

But you will write all of him down until the bump on your middle finger bulges. From his rusted hair to his eyes that will shine like oil to his honey-dipped lips to his hands too loose for his body; and soon you’ll hate every word because you’ll realize that you like the paper version of him better than the real thing. You are going to write about the fuzz of peaches because it will remind you of his hair, about those white, jingling shells on the beach because they will remind you of his keys in his pocket, about those wedges of geese in the sky that shift and cross effortlessly because they will remind you of his fingers. You’ll read about the billions of stars and planets to him on the spiky, stiff grass in the dark until he says he feels so crowded he’ll suffocate and you say you feel so endless you’ll burst. You’ll be unable to stop yourself from reaching into his drawers and beneath his bed and reading his poetry. It will be bad, but you won’t say so (he’s not the writer, after all). It’ll be the kind that compares eyes to stars, wishes to stones. But you won't mind.

There will be times when you have to write; when you screw up bad with him, when you’re dry of idioms and surrounded by pages of nothing to say, when you cut off all your hair and cry for a day, when your skin wrinkles but he says he doesn't care because his is retreating too; you’ll write about it. His shoulders will curl with age and you’ll make him wear a blanket around the house even though he'll say he’s not cold. Years will follow each other as quickly as days and you’ll read the vomitings of dead poets to him until he sleeps at the sound of your heart, until the dead night drops down at its knees, and until the sun torches the leaves key-lime. You’ll hand I-love-yous across glacial sheets that feel like newspaper and he’ll shakily toss it back. You won’t want to, but you’ll write for his voice which will turn husky with drought, for his loose, trembling hands that will turn to roots, for his face full of similes, and for his quiet that was always there like a shadow.

And you’ll let it all dribble out of you until you’re empty and aching for more, the crook of your elbow no longer itching, your neck softened, released by the icy shot of words through your veins. It will hurt. More than any simile can describe. And you won’t be able to stop.





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