The Things You Donít Get Over
Some things you donít get over. Doesnít matter
How hard you try, how much you happen to need
That absolution, anesthesia, absence
Of mind. Take all the things that taught your soul
To rip yourself in half and throw away
The other half of everything youíd want
To be. Then think about the way you learned
What violence you have to do or suffer,
And how you have to compromise yourself,
At least whatís left of it, and all for sex.
Think how you had to give up being unique,
While holding on for dear life to the wall
Youíre up against. Think how you had to build
The prison where you keep the world,
How every part of it is part of you.
Think how you had to start to feel and dream
About a distant world youíd never seen
And might just never see. Think how your neck
Felt hanging in the noose that fed your life.
Think how you faced the wrong direction, then,
From the beginning, and how soon you came
To blood, your blood, so full of fire and salt.
Think how you first discovered something missing,
The way that absence ate at you, the way you saw
The world was made of the voracious mouths
Of everything you could imagine. Think
Of all the blows you took, not understanding
Exactly what pain is, the way you shook
In fear before the possibility
Of walking, crawling through the fire of it,
Or lying there until, in passing over,
It left you like a pile of ashes cooling.
Think how it was to be a child, the way
You learned to give up everything you wanted,
The way you couldnít be the one right one,
And how you didnít really care to keep some other
From being that, but had to learn to fight
Or die. Or think of how you lost your grip
And nearly killed another child, or nearly
Became the murdered flesh in some news story.
Think how you had to move from place to place,
Moved by the unseen forces, thunderstorms
And flash flood tidal waves that stranded you
In desert places with unfriendly natives.
Think how you cut your hair and put on clothes
Just like your neighbors, who still hated you,
Because the culture was a fabric made of lies
That used the words like "spirit," "love," and "soul,"
Youíd only partly understood before, in ways
That sucked things dry. Think how you were abandoned
By those you loved, because they wanted hope
More than the things you needed, more than you.
Think how you stood before the sunset, frightened
Of your own feelings, of what might be said,
What you might have to hear, might have to think.
Think how you ended up where you are now,
How little anything youíve done is known
By anyone but you, right now, right here,
At this point. Think how this will stay with you,
This moment. Some things you just donít get over.
Joseph Aimone's work has
been published in Arachne, The Bookpress Monthly, Button,
Callaloo, The Formalist, Free Focus, Gradiva, Hellas, The Journal of
Caribbean Literatures, Mercy of Tides, Mockingbird, Office Number
One, On the Market, Pivot, Paintbrush, Santa Clara Review, and
Voices in Italian Americana. He was nominated for a Pushcart
Prize by Callaloo. Having recently moved from Northern California,
he lives in Houston, and is a professor of English at the University
of Houston Downtown.