The pieces of plastic inserted into shirt collars to keep them stiff and help hold their shape are called 'stays'.

He smiles at you, makes you feel dear. His eyes are bleary saucers of vodka regret. And yet, his friends are speaking, twirling around him in circles, making you feel small but sincere. You look at bricks surrounding down on walls and form sculptures in your brain.

By now the only one you know has left, has gone home – the rest are strangers, enveloping, exempt, forcing you aside. But this is not about you. You try to speak and find your mouth dry from lack of liquor. Your lungs are only luminous when coated with that alcoholic sheen; otherwise something grabs your voice and roughs it up. You need paper. You need something indirect. To bounce off the bricks at just the right angle.

Slaps on backs are echoes, secluded. There is no one in sight. He waves them away: certain. When smiles fade you aren’t sure what to do; flesh always feels clumsy in your arms and falls out. You hug yourself, taste leather. Look up.

When the clock strikes lonely he licks his lips and frowns, then falls like a collapsable figure, forgetting his earlier vigour. I fucked up, he says. He says, I’m freaking out.

You think, I’ve never had someone sob a hole into my shoulder.

You can feel his chest move – uneasy, like a record skips. You can feel how thin he is just before he turns around. You let him go in time for him to kick the wall instead of you, the bricks instead of bones. You try to hold his head away, afraid he might knock himself out. You remember what he wrote.

You didn’t believe him then. You aren’t sure that you believe him now, even as he scrapes himself against the wall. You aren’t sure you want to see an angel fall. You say, what can I do, full expecting, half hoping him to pull away. And instead he whispers, stay. Just stay.

So you do. You hold his hand and once again wish you were drunk so you would know how to handle yourself. You feel like a flightless bird as you watch him struggle. Then, in a burst, he breaks away. He runs, as fast as he can, away from you and around the corner towards the road.

You are scared but remember his words. You grab the phrase, hold your breath, and follow him.

Where the sidewalk ends, for a second, you think you’ve lost him. You think he’s gone inside, outside, disappeared – to puke, to forget, to fly away.

Then you see him at the gate: head down, shuffled feet. He is going outside. He is dealing with this the only way he knows how, and before you let him get away, you hear something push anxiety aside and shout his name. The something is determined to be of some use; the something will be damned if it lets this boy face the black by himself.

So it shouts again: a knife in the dark. And it hooks a hand that motions, slowly, in your direction. You hesitate. You feel one side of you shove the rest of your soul into dust. You see his face through bars: behind. Your body slips between them – thin enough, just barely, and your brain follows, confused.

It’s late and the pavement shines sticky with oil. Neon glows pompous in the fog. He grabs your hand and pulls you to the curb beside a set of car wheels. When you both face the surface street, feet set apart, sitting with backs to the loaded black gate, he says, I can’t believe you’re still here.

It feels like a snapshot; you want to write it down. Tears grace his face like bleeding ink. You use them to write answers to all he says. You want to hold up mirrors to his mind and say, see. To pop this with a pin and alleviate the pressure.

You spend an hour with your chin against his knee. Sequences of silence, speech, silence again silence. You swallow his words and share a few of your own. You quote others because your own repertoire seems shallow.

The desert night deepens. The sidewalk becomes cold against your jeans. There is a large rose garden a few streets down. He says he wants to go there. To the rose garden. You can tell he wants to go alone, but when you ask, he gives you the choice and your own sense of need.

You’ve almost forgotten that you have desires. You don’t remember what you’re wearing. You try to wipe your eyes and realize you have glasses that fogged up when you weren’t looking.

You should sleep, you say, wiping them with your shirt while the world waits, blurry. He says, I haven’t slept in days. Sleep is strange. Words feed the air, involuntarily wrought, from both sides: I hate sleep. Sleep is such a waste of time. I wish I could stop sleeping. His eyes are sleepy. You’ve woken up shortly after sleepwalking into this surreal dream.

When he stands up he stumbles and almost falls over. You grab his shoulder, hold him there, afraid, suddenly very aware of your own body. It’s thin, flimsy, useless support.

Still, he hooks his arm through yours. Still, it steadies him. Still, you begin to walk, and you feel his sense of stability change. Even when he stops to scream, to stomp his feet and shout FUCK into the air, to throw things in the street – you stay. He always comes back, and you lead him silently home.
I should explain? I should explain.
Swords become words and words become wounds.
I've mixed this up, I've mixed us up.
It makes more sense this way, in the end.

you're not in my mind and i think it's a reasonable qualm
i'm gonna keep you anyways
i was laughing when i vanished
actually, i bore of this conversation

i'm unlikely to ever explain to people
i only went to get bread
i think it's a reasonable qualm
i don't like this, i want to stay with you

i want you and i am unlikely to change on this point
you're better than i deserve and it's kind of hard to explain
life has been so good i was laughing when
i read your email this morning and i vanished

actually i don't like this and it's kind of hard
i want to stay with you you're better and
this music has been so good, honestly
you're not in my mind and i think it's kind of hard

i want you and you seem lately to listen a lot
but i'm gonna keep you anyways
i was laughing, do you want to stay with me?
honestly, i'm so happy i read your email this morning

i want to listen to a lot more
i was laughing, it's kind of hard to explain to people
you're not in my mind, i don't like this
but i'm gonna keep you anyways

i think life has been so good to me
its given me you

Stay (?), n. [AS. staeg, akin to D., G., Icel., Sw., & Dan. stag; cf. OF. estai, F. 'etai, of Teutonic origin.] Naut.

A large, strong rope, employed to support a mast, by being extended from the head of one mast down to some other, or to some part of the vessel. Those which lead forward are called fore-and-aft stays; those which lead to the vessel's side are called backstays. See Illust. of Ship.

In stays, ∨ Hove in stays Naut., in the act or situation of staying, or going about from one tack to another. R. H. Dana, Jr. -- Stay holes Naut., openings in the edge of a staysail through which the hanks pass which join it to the stay. -- Stay tackle Naut., a tackle attached to a stay and used for hoisting or lowering heavy articles over the side. -- To miss stays Naut., to fail in the attempt to go about. Totten. -- Triatic stay Naut., a rope secured at the ends to the heads of the foremast and mainmast with thimbles spliced to its bight into which the stay tackles hook.


© Webster 1913.

Stay (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Stayed (?) or Staid (); p. pr. & vb. n. Staying.] [OF. estayer, F. 'etayer to prop, fr. OF. estai, F. 'etai, a prop, probably fr. OD. stade, staeye, a prop, akin to E. stead; or cf. stay a rope to support a mast. Cf. Staid, a., Stay, v. i.]


To stop from motion or falling; to prop; to fix firmly; to hold up; to support.

Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side. Ex. xvii. 12.

Sallows and reeds . . . for vineyards useful found To stay thy vines. Dryden.


To support from sinking; to sustain with strength; to satisfy in part or for the time.

He has devoured a whole loaf of bread and butter, and it has not staid his stomach for a minute. Sir W. Scott.


To bear up under; to endure; to support; to resist successfully.

She will not stay the siege of loving terms, Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes. Shak.


To hold from proceeding; to withhold; to restrain; to stop; to hold.

Him backward overthrew and down him stayed With their rude hands grisly grapplement. Spenser.

All that may stay their minds from thinking that true which they heartly wish were false. Hooker.


To hinde; to delay; to detain; to keep back.

Your ships are stayed at Venice. Shak.

This business staid me in London almost a week. Evelyn.

I was willing to stay my reader on an argument that appeared to me new. Locke.


To remain for the purpose of; to wait for.

"I stay dinner there."



To cause to cease; to put an end to.

Stay your strife. Shak.

For flattering planets seemed to say This child should ills of ages stay. Emerson.

8. Engin.

To fasten or secure with stays; as, to stay a flat sheet in a steam boiler.

9. Naut.

To tack, as a vessel, so that the other side of the vessel shall be presented to the wind.

To stay a mast Naut., to incline it forward or aft, or to one side, by the stays and backstays.


© Webster 1913.

Stay (?), v. i. [163. See Stay to hold up, prop.]


To remain; to continue in a place; to abide fixed for a space of time; to stop; to stand still.

She would command the hasty sun to stay. Spenser.

Stay, I command you; stay and hear me first. Dryden.

I stay a little longer, as one stays To cover up the embers that still burn. Longfellow.


To continue in a state.

The flames augment, and stay At their full height, then languish to decay. Dryden.


To wait; to attend; to forbear to act.

I'll tell thee all my whole device When I am in my coach, which stays for us. Shak.

The father can not stay any longer for the fortune. Locke.


To dwell; to tarry; to linger.

I must stay a little on one action. Dryden.


To rest; to depend; to rely; to stand; to insist.

I stay here on my bond. Shak.

Ye despise this word, and trust in oppression and perverseness, and stay thereon. Isa. xxx. 12.


To come to an end; to cease; as, that day the storm stayed.


Here my commission stays. Shak.


To hold out in a race or other contest; as, a horse stays well.


8. Naut.

To change tack; as a ship.


© Webster 1913.

Stay, n. [Cf. OF. estai, F. 'etai support, and E. stay a rope to support a mast.]


That which serves as a prop; a support.

"My only strength and stay."


Trees serve as so many stays for their vines. Addison.

Lord Liverpool is the single stay of this ministry. Coleridge.

2. pl.

A corset stiffened with whalebone or other material, worn by women, and rarely by men.

How the strait stays the slender waist constrain. Gay.


Continuance in a place; abode for a space of time; sojourn; as, you make a short stay in this city.

Make haste, and leave thy business and thy care; No mortal interest can be worth thy stay. Dryden.

Embrace the hero and his stay implore. Waller.


Cessation of motion or progression; stand; stop.

Made of sphere metal, never to decay Until his revolution was at stay. Milton.

Affairs of state seemed rather to stand at a stay. Hayward.


Hindrance; let; check.


They were able to read good authors without any stay, if the book were not false. Robynson (more's Utopia).


Restraint of passion; moderation; caution; steadiness; sobriety.

[Obs.] "Not grudging that thy lust hath bounds and stays."


The wisdom, stay, and moderation of the king. Bacon.

With prudent stay he long deferred The rough contention. Philips.

7. Engin.

Strictly, a part in tension to hold the parts together, or stiffen them.

Stay bolt Mech., a bolt or short rod, connecting opposite plates, so as to prevent them from being bulged out when acted upon by a pressure which tends to force them apart, as in the leg of a steam boiler. -- Stay busk, a stiff piece of wood, steel, or whalebone, for the front support of a woman's stays. Cf. Busk. -- Stay rod, a rod which acts as a stay, particularly in a steam boiler.


© Webster 1913.

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