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"Not Easy"

Venice, 1958 by Gianni Berengo Gardin


Not Easy:

(If I titled this poem the name of your band it would be too obvious)

I want you to be

loved. I want you

to be loved

the way you loved

me. Loved like

I love you now

but I can’t tell you and it can’t be


The one and only one who--well I just I don’t think you’d be very--well, there’s just no calling anymore to say hello, let alone... These days my voice would be a stone on your boat. So the phone,

I put it down. Loving you now can’t make a sound.

(Barely a poem.)

Loving you now: I can’t even remember what I said the last I saw you,

I don’t even remember

how we said goodbye.

The last you

I remember

I saw through

a window.

I was outside

beaming proud I was

that they’d come

my friends

all the way to Jersey

just to say goodbye to me. Send me off. Bon

Voyage. Hip hip hooray

My going away party.

They there

meant so much more

because no one ever came

west from the big city.

More than

you always came

every time and every distance always

just because

I remember us

two at the four-top.

Our first date.

I was seventeen

when I felt, then, that love

was like the movies


and just as easy.

And when you loved me,

it was confirmed.

(Maybe) that’s why

I ended it. Movies end. If my life can’t be

one long

action adventure romantic comedy then

I’m ending it. I was twenty-one.

There’s no forgetting crying like that

lying with you in the little bed

in the little room white and blue

with the doorway I was born right in your mom’s house.

You said

not yet stay.

I said okay.

We wallowed in sadness

until I couldn’t

take it anymore.

I got up. You reached

for me.

I left.


the party was

four years later.

I was twenty-five

saying farewell to

a yardful of


before taking

off on

my next action adventure romantic tragedy.

Four years

we were “friends.”

We each had our reasons to pretend.

I needed

you for comfort stability a gift (you were)

the cake I didn’t eat


you’d say yes to


You hoped

I’d come back around.

It could be like it was.

It could be love again. I could come back to you.

We never actually said it but--well,

It didn’t matter how

wrong--I knew

I couldn’t stop.

I needed

those things you

gave me! and


made it so easy.

You hoped I’d come back.

I went

only further

until I went furthest just before I left.

I was outside

that window. You were right there.

The kitchen! of all places

I was laughing happy

they came for me!

Forty minutes

out of the apple

core of the universe

What magnanimity!

to say goodbye.

Laughter silent from the kitchen Goodbye! Goodbye!

Oh, it won't be long!

I don’t remember what we said. (I love you.)

I don’t remember how

long I hugged

you. Going away

party. My party.

My day,

My friends and

me. You,

the most


person of

My life, I ignored.

The one


I don’t remember.

To my


I do remember

what was

is what exactly where I was when--

Out on the road,

two months or so, in my black boots with the laces, with the blue dress, red hair wind-messed,

kicking my tires

in the sunny drive of some new friend’s house in Jacksonville, Florida.

The call only lasted about four minutes.

You said it was the day.

I said okay.

Why does this feel so easy?

Your question on the edge of

tears expecting me to be the way I’d always been.

It’s the least I can do for you.


That I remember exactly. That

you deserve to be loved

better than the way I loved you.

I am twenty-nine

years and years get

easier and easier

for you

I hope.

I pray my only prayer.

For me,

it's not

so easy to

see time

and distance

love you better than

it’s too late for


My mom

My grandma

My friends--

Everyone who ever met you

Anyone who ever got a glimpse of who we were

Everyone asked

“Do you regret it?”

Everyone said

“You will.”

And I do

some but not the big reason (that)

I needed time and distance

to love me too. God

bless that tiny pin of truth that stops this

red heart from snapping shut,

but belly up its cracks instead

lap white and blue.

I know there’s no home

to go back to


I no longer belong where (I know)

I’ll never get to return

your love

to you.



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