Without further ado, then.
let's start with careful compliments upon appearance, especially the things that have changed: the hair, the jacket, the new pair of shoes. you can smoke cigarettes to fill silences; i'll postpone them with nervous laughter, and a hundred different jokes.
these, then, our first few steps away, together.
'cos i'm watching the doorknob for any sign that it's turning
and i'm listening for the driveway gravel crunching as you drive in
so i'll just say it's because it's one am
and these blankets don't feel much like you
i'll try to forget just how little this changes,
that i'm the weaker of the two of us.
'cos i'm gritting my teeth through a pledge of always, forever
sung without any trace of doubt or irony
so i'll just say it's because of the radio
and the late-night stupidity they play
i'll try to forget just how cynical this is,
that i'm the doubter of the two of us.
well, i guess the night's over 'cos the sun is returning
and i guess that we are too, 'cos there's no sign that you are
so i'll just say that this all came out of nowhere,
that all of this took me by surprise
i'll try to forget how i saw all this coming,
that i was right about the two of us.
holes punched in steel plate
subtly vary across its surface,
to become pictures of selected past:
dancing girls from expo 86 smiling down on me.
cambie's traffic continues, unaccosted
by construction's carefully shaped hills of aggregate;
rush hour has its own will and desire to survive.
this fence by the water, buttressed by public art and concrete
rising behind: new foothills,
guard towers set to reclaim the false for the strong.
i would return at night with a friend in tow
to watch the fall of a close star, now outshone
by a streetlight: photons raining down on us from above.
it's four twenty-three in the morning. it's not the streetlight by the window keeping me awake. it's the tossing and the turning and the slow realization that i don't want to be here with you in your bed tonight. and i'm sorry to tell you that things have ended up this way: the pouting, and the scowling, and the love of being martyred, and a pettiness i wish i didn't have. but i don't blame you. this is not your fault. i wanted to say no, but i chose to stay; now i'm angry with myself. i'm only angry with myself.
i thought somehow it would be okay. i thought it would turn out all right. i thought i would just go to sleep. i thought i'd just tough it out. but now all that i can think is that your hair is in my face, your breathing annoys me, and your bed is far too small. still, i don't blame you. this is not your fault. i wanted to say no, but i chose to stay; now i'm angry with myself. i'm only angry with myself.
if i can only hold my temper -- if i can only hold my tongue -- if i can hold you to your side of the bed, i can hold on 'til morning.
i miss the eloquence
of our language,
the way words would glide
from your tongue to mine
and our hands were never in the way.
i miss more
the talks our legs would have
beneath sheet covers
twining in a dance
that the morning never saw.
your pale skin i could see through,
your freckles winking at me
in the sunlight.
your sleeping face,
older than me
but somehow not as tired.
i'd like to bribe a parking meter attendant to ticket your enemies
i'd like to sort out all your pocket change and change in all the pennies for you
i'd like to make my fridge into your favourite car and make it take unleaded
i'd like to appoint a world-wide good taste committee, and make sure that you head it
let me do these things
let me prove my love to you
let me make a bet with bill gates that i'm the only one who can truly afford your love, baby
i'd like to train my cat to rewind your tapes just using a
i'd like to paint the moon in fake wood panel so that it would match your den's colour scheme
i'd like to write your name across the sky with helium-filled marshmallows
i'd like to give you a diamond-encrusted set of platinum fireplaces bellows designed by chaneltm
let me do these things
let me show i love you so
let me draw your portrait on my roof in shingles
visible only from spy satellites, baby
oh, but paper-ya still draws me and fills me with plans. like when i wrapped the cookies in string and a leaf. the teenage girls laughed to see the things i gave. i thought it would be new, but you recognised the gift. i didn't stop by your old work, 'cos really, what would i say? i hate awkward moments. so i stopped short instead; got a couple donuts from another teenage kid who looked just like the one you would talk to after work. you kind of laughed and shuddered when i told you where i'd been, how it was more or less the same, how strange it was not to see it at sunset on a winter's night.
i will say that the extra lyrics at the end are not my own, but are from the sukka remix on the original 12" single. how's that for an obscure reference?
you can always listen here.
it took you a good five minutes to dig out your keys
and another two for the elevator to come
but at last we were standing in the hallway of your apartment
and a good thing too, 'cos we both had to go
and i thought, hey
this still looks familiar to me
i still feel like i know your place
even though both our tastes have changed
and i still think i like it;
i'm pretty sure i still like this.
it took a lot out of me later to leave you
and a sheet of paper from your desk to slide your key back under the door
but at last i was on the street, head still spinning
wondering what the hell i had just done
i found another cab, and a good thing, too
because i never really learned this part of town
and there wasn't much that i could see that late at night
to point my way back home
and i don't know if i like this;
i can't tell if i like this.
it only took two rings for my answering machine to pick up
but i let it go through all the work anyway
there really wasn't much that i could think of to say to you
not much, evidently, for you to say to me
and i thought, hey
this never was familiar to me
i always thought i'd always want you here with me wherever here might be
and i don't think i like this;
i'm pretty sure i don't like this.
so here it is: some angled little crawlspace
by the richards street car rental place
some random kind of sparrow kicking up the dirt behind me, landing hard
clay's working kitty-corner at the fido office
behind him curves the library
ford centre compliments it nicely
(but i still think the looking glass will kick its ass)
and there's a smell
above the sound of the pollution
that i'm pretty sure is ocean
and over that's the haze today
and aimless james has finished playing on my little walkman
thanks, john, for the tape --
do you think he'll sue us both?
and the compliment that you and arwen gave me still pushes me
like right now
like right now
'cos right now it's thursday
my first show's on saturday
and i've only got twelve days to get my rent
my notebook cover's holding on by a single thread, no lie
no complaint, no metaphor, no exaggeration,
just a simple observation
and my handwriting looks a little more like clara's every day
my signature like my father's
and while those are simple observations too
and no exaggeration, there might be some metaphor there
if i only had time to think about it
but right now
right now the cars are wheeling
and my parade boots shining
i've got a job interview at two-thirty
and twelve days to get my rent (did i mention that?)
and just enough time to drop my books off at the library
that curves away in front of me
the cbc beside it
the looking glass on the other side
and clay's still working kitty-corner
i think he may have made a sale
and he's facing the car rental place
and the angled little crawlspace
and we're back to me
'cos the little sparrow's gone now.
i pour my litre of water to ward off hangover, sit down, pick a tape, put it on, lie back and think of you and what i feel -- what i don't. 'cos my affections have left me tonight, and that scares me shitless.
is it normal? and since when have you and i been bound by that? is it usual? do these things pass? am i too eager to leave, to trade you in for an anecdote, dolefully told, called the friendship that wasn't meant to last?
all the artifacts surround me, all the drunken diary entries, all the email on disk. all the history is here tonight, but it feels remote, like i'm wearing gloves around my heart.
and i know that the last time i felt like this was when i was half-drunk, half-asleep, half a week ago tonight. in vino veritas -- my ass! i've never wanted perspective more than i do right now, and $2.99 a minute is starting to seem like a deal to me.
i don't know. and maybe that's the wisest thing that i can say right now: admit it, lie back and let my liver do its work. i'll see you later -- when i've slept, when i'm sober, when i'm caffeinated, when i've thought it over and puzzled it out, when i've talked it through and listened to advice, when i'm ready, when i've decided.