You like me in all the wrong rooms
for all the right reasons.

You loved me in so many ways
quietly, urgently,
tenderly, selfishly.

You met me in awkward places,
a vacant apartment, a hotel lobby
your parent's garage.

I miss you at the wrong times
tedious business meetings, awkward blind dates, a friend's wedding,

all inappropriate,
but for the right reason.

for Girldoll

She said now you like me
in all the wrong rooms
which is one of the ways
an old love still blooms
but only in gutters
and places of rot
the streets you are walking
and where I am not.

She said you are always
out there in the crowd
and calling my name
but never aloud
yet at night I can hear you
clear through the wall
so close yet removed
the prayer but no shawl.

She sits unaware
on an old empty bed
the sound of herself
alone in her head
she forgets to be thinking
and who was to blame
she almost remembers
the shape of her name.

In the night before morning
as doors remain closed
her hopes are discarded
with yesterday’s clothes
but in the room soft beside her
she lies awake certain
of all that’s behind
the invisible curtain.

I am your desired guest in funeral parlors, and at wakes
(but not birthday parties or happy hour)

You call for me in the darkened hospital room when the time is near
(but not after the brightwashed relief of the benign biopsy)

You sit in my parlor and polish your face with tear-soaked hands
Or simply sit, gathering strength in sanctuary and silence

You never want me without needing me
And I am there.
Yet you like me in all the wrong rooms

In the right rooms, I am regarded with dread
Such as a restaurant’s dining room
(should I enter one for lunch)

I know you too well.

And I know that you like me most of all
In this room (no larger than a box).
This lace lattice of time-hardened mahogany
Polished by generations of elderly women
With lemon oil and reverent hands

It separates us
It makes our intimacy possible

In this room
You tell me about the hand raised
In rage
You tell me about the head bowed
In despair
You tell me about taking off the ring
In a distant town
You tell me about the baby

You like me most of all
In this room (no larger than a box)
Where I eat your sins
In silence and forgiveness
And you leave light
And I sit heavy.

It is hard work to know your hearts
And the darkness more than the light
If that was your job, you would be grateful for faith
If that was your job, you would nevertheless wish

To be welcome in the right rooms
The ones with the bright faces and clean hearts
With laughter and raucous joy
Of familial peace and quiet contentment

More often
Than not.

For Father Mark, who actually bore up under the stares and dread and bad attitudes of the general public with very good grace and humor every time we went out for lunch at the Chinese place or to Taco Bell for a big iced Coke - we were both students at an ecclesiastical Latin summer school which turned out to be run by the Opus Dei, much to our mutual dismay. I had never imagined how difficult and lonely it might be to wear the collar, until I found out by association how the public reacts to it.

You like me in all the wrong rooms:
in homeroom, in the study hall,
in the game room, in the TV room,
in the dorm room, in the lecture hall,
in the library, in the student lounge,
in the concert hall, at the art gallery,
at the baseball game, at the ranger station,
at the shooting range, at the dance club,
at the church where you got married,
and the reception at the country club down the road,
and that one time in a motel room,
but never
in your bedroom.

The thing is, I am not a doll,
or poster to be hung there on your wall.
The thing is, it wasn't just yours,
but in the way of couple, it was ours.

If I'm gone from the house, I must be sulking,
if I was in the living room, squatting and skulking.
I was your thief in a house full of mirrors,
Trapped and bounded in your mansion of fears.

There were things I wanted: to be and to cook.
There were things I needed: my altar, my books.
There were things I loved: your face and your smile:
But I wanted to live without cringing, to have my own style.

And now I am your ghost, or so I have heard,
now that I'm loose from your terrified herd.
And now I am your demon, or so I can see,
Gone from your rooms, and finally free.

And now I've my rooms, my altar, my books,
Can live without cringing or censorious looks.
Can speak, can smile, can tell my own jokes,
Can live with doors open - without mirrors or smoke.

All of the dentists I have been to have had operating rooms that looked out on scenery. Dental pain is one of the worst things ever, and somewhere behind "dental pain" is the anxiety of the dental bills. I am on my back with a machine to my side that is a machine designed specifically for endodontics that cost more than my graduate school education. That and the fact that the room is perfectly decorated and looks out on a sylvan creek explain a little bit of why this procedure is so expensive. But I don't care, I am on the Enterprise, looking out my viewport while smoothly curved machinery whirrs around me. I am also on tramadol.

But that was a different room, a week ago. This week, I am in a different room, an open air picnic shelter in Medford, Oregon. I slept on the Greyhound Bus, and got in at 6 AM and have to wait until 3 PM for another bus. This is complicated, and looking back I can't remember which trip was which, which suicide I was mourning, which illness I had, which drug I was taking for it, and what type of misbehavior was going on in the Medford Greyhound station. The Medford Greyhound station is not the type of place to have stereotypes about Medford or Greyhound undone. I do remember that day in March, because along with all of the grittiness of Medford there was a beautiful wash of cherry blossoms along everything. There was also a mist that saturated everything. I had come to this picnic shelter after walking up and down the streets of Medford on a Saturday when everything was closed. I had plugged in my iPhone and laptop to get recharged, and started playing The Legend of Zelda, dodging in and out of the chambers of the second quest, getting zapped back to my starting point by tricky stair cases. While doing this, a homeless family came and sat at one of the other tables, waiting through the afternoon for another shelter to open up. There was a young boy who took out what must have been three dozen Matchbook cars an laid them on the picnic table while I waited in the rain for my devices to recharge. I probably looked more homeless than them: earlier in the day, after getting lost in the rain and hurrying to a bathroom, I had not undone my pants quickly enough and had gotten urine on myself. I had changed, but I was worried that I probably smelt bad, in some way. It didn't bother me, though, because I was still taking tramadol.

Eight months later, at the end of November instead of the end of March, I wonder if I should think about you. While I was in that dentists office, hoping that his fingers wouldn't slip, sending me into unendurable agony, what room were you in? And while I was in the open picnic shelter, feeling the wetness soak into my socks, what room were you in? When I in the depot, waiting for time to do what it was supposed to do, and move forward, what room were you in? I remember you hands stretched out, touching post sides of a cute little post office in Montana, and I wonder if you are in some nice cozy room right now. Or, are you, like me, in all the wrong rooms? But then I remember that there isn't a "you" anymore. I can't imagine that you are running down some parallel track to me, and some day we will finally meet, and commiserate over all the shared experiences we have had, how our lives had been some type of slapstick of parallel misadventures that we could finally put in perspective. Because as much as I would like to believe there was some narrative counterpoint to my travails, the truth is all those ugly tile floors I stared at hoping the clock's hands would have moved forward when I looked upwards were nothing more than what they seemed to be, and that all that suffering and anxiety are something I would have to carry alone.

Let me punctuate you. Now.
A call to arms,
         however late it may be.

You like me in all the wrong rooms.

        two years listening to you
        swallowing abuse and echoes
        two years of coming to terms
        with an incapability to
        solve, save, surrender
        (and thank you for the
               parting reminder)

You like              the wrong rooms.

        instigated and taken by others
        family, friends you never
what these mean what
        could we have expected from you when
        I tried to become god?


You like me    all       wrong.

        there is only one thing to discuss
        there is only one commodity we have
        one elephant left
                            in the room
                                   worth trading.
        How much of either do you have left?


You                   loved             me.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.