a poem by katie beth for katie
This week, I feel less friendless and brooding than last, which I owe to simultaneous netflix watching and an increase in gchats with you, best friend,
I know the danger in keeping a diary: exaggeration, a raid on an inarticulated past, of which the lighter moments are a yawn, and the heavier, a needless chart of poor decisions made well, predicating and withholding my future;
then, I wonder, how many memories could I manipulate on paper, before I became someone else,
before it’s symbolic suicide?
Authorial vanity, I will write, according to the opinion of New Criticism,--the entry breaks with a comma, and I will not begin another one for several years.
I have a question for you, best friend: Which color lipstick is trending? I have another question: Are my feelings vulgar because I speak them too quickly?
Your answers, both in the same breath and always timely (always there when you call / always on time), are as convincing as they are correct,
as brutally honest and loving as we were at 18 on Halloween.
It’s Halloween again soon, but now the majority of things that I used to believe are false and Thank God for my Good Sense and our shared agreement to keep going,
the unspoken reinforcement that I require on days when I feel the need to survive myself,
and all of my bones are broken and my scar stories get jumbled--it was either a Coke can or a cat--not even my own body is as reliable a narrator as you, but
do you often feel like a series of creeks feeding into other people? To me, you are the Gulf and the Ocean, and occasionally the Straits, an agreed upon meeting place.
I googled the Straits, and stumbled upon the most obnoxious photo caption: “Patrick Hemingway, a grandson of Ernest, puffs on a Cuban cigar en route from Havana to Key West,”
cut to me romanticizing suicide in Idaho--a euphemism for the sad boy aesthetic, “He’s killing himself in Idaho,”
we’ll say while swiping left.
I feel my phone buzz, roll over, and silence my 6:30 am alarm; a fresh wave of exhaustion slaps my face an hour before it does yours. I read a missed text: Why are we so miserable? 11:37pm
you knew I was asleep. I swear, recommending therapy has replaced good night XO, but truthfully, to be listened to by anyone but you feels inadequate, and neither of us need be a shrinked violet--stoop down,
let me part your hair like blinds and hide; tucked in the crook of your neck, I bear witness to both the little cries and the heaving, shoulder-shaking sobs,
and send down my hand to hold your own and to occasionally wipe the countertop clean when you turn away
(You are messy, not a mess).
This is all to say that when I can’t sleep, when the realization hits me that I can’t predict which people will be which, I transport myself to your college bedroom,
the one next to the subway station, where many times a day, the apartment would shake and shake and shake.
At first, it irked me. I stayed over, awake at night transporting myself to a different bedroom, but eventually, the movement lulled me into a deep sleep and understanding of the habituating of things. From then on,
I knew that without my sad, soggy places, I would not have nearly as much to offer you,
best friend, also know that I worry
I feel regret so keenly it makes fear emotion more than eventual death, which is why I ask you
through drunken phone calls and weeks of silence, when an oral resuscitation misrepresents and words by my own hand lie, to please,
keep the true story of me in circulation.