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"COMFORT"

Harborview Medical Center

I'll take my chances under a grated floor in a bar in Berlin. We take for granted that we could move on, but we never do. It clings to me. I smell it on you like perfume.

I think of the clock he watched on the kitchen wall as he tried not to call you. I think of the moment when the man on the other end wasn't you. There was no "hello," just "Harborview."

I retrace your steps, you into the street and me to the sea. I catch some disease from Commencement Bay, as it washes another away.


Things You Love


You fear that you're right, that it lives in the attic rafters. You fear it holds the thread, thread that stitches us together tighter each day. I can bring you your tea. I can sit at your knee. I can turn out the lights. I can close the door behind me.

The things you love gather dust in the corner. The sheets keep you warm as they nail you to the bed frame again. I can bring you your tea. I can sit at your knee. I can turn out the lights. I can close the door behind me.


Safety


You wrote me a note that you didn't sign, scribbles on the side 'cause the pen was dying. It felt you lying. You think I don't know where you go?

You open the door for anyone, never occurs to you to not. And now what have you got?

You wrote me a note that you didn't sign, scribbles on the side 'cause the pen was like us.


Time Heals Nothing

When sleep is a hobby that you've given up, and hygiene is a plan that you've abandoned, that's when you start looking for and- surprise! surprise!- you find me at your door singing.

It's something that they probably didn't tell you then. And so since I'm a friend, just so you know, don't let them tell you it's not a lie, 'cause time heals nothing.

It kicks you now just like it kicked you then. It's vivid now like it was vivid then, Vivian. And at 1am, it slaps you awake. It perches on your chest and it steals your breath just like a cat.

It's something that they probably didn't tell you then. And so since I'm a friend, just so you know, don't let them tell you it's not a lie, 'cause time heals nothing. You tried to put your father's face on mine, but I'm not tall enough. And I don't like to work on bikes in the living room. Er, and I don't like you that way.


The Bedroom Ceiling

Dappled, the light on the bedroom ceiling. Icy, the cheek on the bathroom tiling. Smeared is the stamp on your inside right wrist. Blank are the boxes on your move-in checklist.


5810

It isn't powerful to yell at your son. It isn't difficult to pick up a gun. And just when you think you've won, real life will make you dumb.


The Warfield Theater

You dreamed he might pull you from seat V22 and say, "I've always wanted a best friend like you." It's not like you really expected he would, but the tears on the train home sing, "Somebody should."

It's the last time, the last time you'll pay to see him sing. It's the best reason not to let yourself dream.

You handed your heart over to a song, and never expected that you might be wrong or just reckless when you're one of thousands in line. Oh, but slowly, you're learning that music is blind.

It's the last time, the last time you'll pay to see him sing. It's the best reason not to let yourself dream.


Hangman's Door

How do you pick up from the butcher's floor? From the hangman's door? From a losing score? And when do we wake up from a dreamless sleep? From the charge we keep? From an endless beat?

You rolled out of your town on a flimsy excuse, with a minimal fuss, on the dirtiest bus. We didn't believe you when you told us you were halfway to Sacto and then halfway to Fresno.

So tell me how you want this story to end.

While we were home thinking of the LA morgue, of headlines and policemen, of blood and diseases, you were alone reading a newspaper at a diner in Burbank, waiting for your grilled cheese.