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Meant for Someone

I never told you the story
four years ago – I took it
like punishment, every bruise,
each fist and foot,
every word a roundhouse
to my heart: slut,
bitch, and whore. Instead,
I wore red lipstick and a smile,
laced up my boots, but didn’t run,
my courage was the snarl
of junkyard dog, and maybe
I cried, and maybe I said
I’m sorry
I’m sorry
I’m sorry – but I didn’t mean it.
Sometimes to survive, you have to lie.
Sometimes to lie, you have to take the hornet sting.

I never told you about the fights,
about the duct tape and tequila,
never told you how I stood up for things
I had no right to stand for – 
I never told you 
about the overturned furniture, 
or the brushfire in those silences,
or how I choked on the smoke
as I swallowed the ashes. I never
told you about the exit wounds,
because those scars – they were mine,
and I promised never to forget them,
and if it came down to wearing them
or losing you, I’d kiss the pain
and call it pretty.

I never told you
about the things loving you cost me,
I never counted them out,
I never made you wear them
like an albatross, because
it was my decision, my body,
my crime scene, and those burdens 
were mine
and I claimed them
as a penalty, blame
not for sale. Knives
in the throat –
that blood was mine
to lose. 

I never told you the story
of refusal, spitting out shame
like broken teeth, turning the other cheek
constantly, the bruises mistaken
for a blush – I accepted it,
because poetry isn’t always pretty,
and neither is love,
and neither am I –
and I don’t want easy,
I don’t want simple,
and I don’t want convenient –
I want broken windows
and bad manners, and kissing
that make us late for our lives.

I never told you the story, never
laid it in a heap at your feet, 
all fractured ribs and chalk outlines,
because I love you in
simple sentences, sentiments
easily understood,
my heart cracked open
without pretense or apology.

I never told you the story, 
but I’m telling you now –
because you don’t really know
how it happened, how the fight 
was never fair, and the game was fixed,
and I still put on boxing gloves,
and closed my eyes,
and took the punches.

I threw the fight,
I let it cut like surgery,
and I took the brokenness 
every single time, 
because to me – for us –
that was winning,
because the only one left bloody
was me.

you are sex
in a parked car, laughing
into a kiss, saying I miss you
with your tongue, hands healing
more than you ever knew –
tell me that you don’t think I’m worth it,
tell me now, after you know
the whole story. Go on, 
I’ll wait. 

“A million miles away, lost at sea — she burned like a fire only drowning men could see.” ~Matt Nathanson, Heart Starts

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  1. September 3, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    I can imagine someone I used to know saying these words to me. Powerful stuff.

    • September 3, 2013 at 4:56 pm

      Thank you kindly for taking the time to read and comment. I appreciate it. 🙂

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