Here Am I
By Anis Mojgani
We all wanted that high school sweetheart
We wanted to be young in the fifties
with meatloafs and sock hops
and lawns so perfect
they looked like Clark Gable was kissing them.
We wanted to be thirteen and alive
and meet a girl that was thirteen and alive.
To walk with her past the grandstands.
To sit and hold hands with, to sit and talk with,
to sit and kiss with, to sit and sit with
like this was something you lost and found.
But that never was.
We once wanted to be poor but not too poor.
To connect this country like Kerouac and thumbs
pulling small town waitresses
into back seats and trailer park homes
where the two of you would find passion expanding
between the locking of your bones
until morning would come to find you out on the road
with your pockets empty except for your hands.
But your hands would be overflowing with your soul.
But that's not what happened.
We once climbed into a bed as though between the sheets
was a valley where dinosaurs still lived.
And how we would explore them with a flashlight
catching these triceratops and brontosauruses.
But even he was opened with the dripping teeth of reality.
With the smoke that rose out of the homes
on the corners we once climbed through--
the streets and footballs with which we once threw--
the school desks upon which we once drew--
the windows that sat open,
through which we once flew.
And the outside world of parking spaces and dead friends
came flooding on in, and we forgot what we wanted
and became what we become.
Waitresses and bartenders.
City employees and temp positions.
We are junkies and one-kiss poems
and we cry the stars.
As we write our scars
on dumpsters and electric boxes--
because the only thing we can hear is our hearts
and the streets are the only ones listening
to this blood that breathes through the letters we leave.
We dream to rise out of the burning buildings,
but instead we get buried somewhere beneath them.
Because I know my life is like some high school kid's notebook--
that kid who goes back and forth between school and home,
stacking the letters and the pictures too close
for anyone outside his imagination to read
because it's through the ink that his heart beats,
that his heart breathes--
and we all wanted to pass these notes--
check if you like me
check if you don't
check if you'll date me
check if you won't
Because we all wanted the love songs to be true.
And we all once loved dinosaurs.
And we wanted the stars to hold our hands--
to lick the teeth
to fuck us
but they ended up fucking us.
So let your smiles twist.
Like my heart dancing precariously
on the edge of my finger tips,
staining them like that same high school kid
licking his thoughts using his sharpie tip
writing, 'I was here.'
I was here, motherfucker.
And ain't none of y'all can write that
in the spot that I just wrote it in.
I am here motherfucker
and we are all here motherfucker
and we are all motherfuckers motherfucker.
Because every breath I breathe brings me closer
to the day when my mother will die.
And every breath I take
takes me a second further
from when she caught my father's eye.
And every word I carry
is another stone to put into place
in the foundation I'm building to ease the days
and help erase something I never saw--
what all of us wanted and what none of us got--
what we all had and have and what we all forgot--
that we all wanted to be something--
that we all became something.
And it may not be what we once thought it would be,
but something is still something
and like some cats say,
something's better than nothing.
Feet are smarter than an engine,
and dreams are stronger than thighs.
And questions are the only answers we need
to know that we are as alive
as a time when I held the mind of a child asking:
Why is 2+3 always equal to 5?
Where to people go when they die?
What made the beauty of the moon--
the beauty of the sea?
Did that beauty make you?
Did that beauty make me?
Will it make me
Will I be something?
Am I something?
And the answer comes:
You already are.
You always were.
And you still have time to be.