Transcribed from a video recording made at the National Poetry Slam 1999 in Chicago, IL --
http://www.livepoets.com/shaneif.ram, with corrections made from a 'Perfect' recording courtesy of
I could slit my wrists on your shoulderblades and offer you my pulse... Because this feeling
isn't true or false -- this feeling is If.
If I, If I could. If I could have said have said something I could've would've should've said, 'stay.' 'Stay,' was
the word I was trying to say stay that night at the party when you pulled me away out on the sidewalk to talk to tell me
you were going away I was trying to say, 'stay.'
But I was too busy contemplating the ifs.
But if that was my darkest hour then these are my finest seconds because now I can say that I could've would've
should've said something, could've would've should've said anything, could've said,
If you asked me to
'I can scoop out my intestinal track, fill it with helium gas and make a balloon animal for you.'
Would've said, 'If you were tired of cute I would cook the Pillsbury Doughboy alive'. If the
directions said three minutes I'd cook him for five.
Should've said. If.
If I, if you, if we... The largest part of any equation begins with 'if' followed by time. And I know we're no math scholars but God, we should've calculated the ifs.
So that I, so that you, so that we could've would've should've prepared for whatever if had in store if
if had anything at all. Because if you died before me and I mean if that's the way it had to be then we'd have no
But to declare with one single voice, one voice that could shake the ground. One voice that could make God Himself look
around and say, 'What was that sound?'
And I'd turn His kingdom into a chalkboard, that's right, I'd throw God into my detention just to make Him write down
what I didn't mention -- because He'd have to cut me a deal.
Because I didn't get to tell you how I feel. And I would make Him dictate my words like they were flying to heaven on
the backs of dead birds but if wasn't going to help me, if he was just going to sit there like dust on a bible, like a
bible on a shelf then fuck Him because I will do it myself and I will make it rain tears for eighty days and eighty nights, because I know love travels faster than light.
And all I'd have to do is whisper.
Something so beautiful
, something more than a poem
, something more than a prayer
, so that all of the angels
would flood heaven
with tears before you got there.
Because if if had anything at all then I was not pushed and I did not fall, I jumped out of grace and I landed on
my face because there was no safety net...
But don't draw a chalk outline around my body yet because if if had anything at all, if I was in hell I'd still
give you a call because even if this is the greatest poem that I ever wrote I'd still have to write a little sidenote
saying, 'It is not enough simply to say I love you.' That kind of shit just ain't gonna do,
because if the universe has no beginning, has no end, has no bottom, has no top, I would jump from somewhere, I would
drop through infinity, because I'm not just saying I love you.
I'm saying I'll never stop.