TC Tolbert

When you hold me there are words for that.
I do not remember the words for that but I remember that there are words.
There are not words for when you do not hold me.
I remember that there are no words in the world so I say them.
Abolishing a line is only one way to mark it.
My throat hurts from saying so much nothing.
When I say I love you what I really mean to ask is, can I change?


You said I will pull you out of my body in 237
ways. What you wanted was beautifully to
sever things. Here love: the same things. changed.

Finally: a taxonomy of afterthoughts. As though
you were the one who was
sleeping. Breathing in the marrow of would.

You, who are a valley of no, I hear the music leaking.  (How she. 
How she.  How I.)           You say low key and I do not believe you.
I forgive everything: the perseveration of skin.

My hands that are a chopping block and I
cannot touch him. I cannot touch him
without not touching me.

Because if you leave, and you are already leaving, there are three.
But you say less than three.                And the couch, in your absence,
is crenellated. And who is going to watch us as we leave.

To add to the list of changing things: life preservers are no longer
about preservation. They have become less holy. PFD =
personal flotation device.         Endlessly possible. Unlike wood.

Stacey May Fowles wants a lover who will hit her.
(I do not believe in submission.) I want you to erase me.
This is a kindness. A kindness you tell me. A kindness I do not deserve.

On the floor.   By the bed.    Hotel Congress.    March 19, 2005.
Room #23. We are a long way from disintegrated. You said Now.

Look at me.                   And I did.                And you bloomed.

(When my mother died, I will say.
Many years after my mother has died.
But I will not believe her. I’ll be like my grandmother who

despite my parade of girlfriends and her profession
that nobody should be mean to them, still
doesn’t believe in being queer.

I don’t believe in being dead,
I’ll tell my dead mother. And just like you
she’ll repeat herself. Happy New Year. Happy New Year. Happy New.)

I expect there will be a morning when you walk up to this very gate
while I am sitting here. I know this. I know you less each time I see you.
I know this like I know you are more lonely than glass.

To your languishing. To your bubbly.
To your recent. To your hologram. To your desperately.
To your seeking. To your dictaphone. To your you.

Neuromuscular facilitation is just another way of saying
Vancouver. Always is yet a matter of roller derby. Just
in love with you. You, more than sleep.

In the top drawer is a photograph of them touching.
It is not so much that it is a photograph.
It is that it is a depiction of what. not could.

I want to tell you about my body. About testosterone
as unwitting art historian.  About recovery.  Me(n).  What it feels like
underneath there.  The part you cannot know.  but should.

Either way. It’s a house. It’s a house
like everyone else has. I take things away.
I don’t take them for good.

How delirious must we sound when we are falling.
I miss you, you can’t even imagine. And how bad
at math. Less than three. Less than three. Less than three.

And what if.              I completely remember
it wrong. What if I remember there were two
of us. And then what if. there was only one death.

I do not believe in the existence of holes
that lead to nowhere. Muscle memory remains an enigma. Still, you cannot
touch her. You cannot touch her without not touching me.

(And still) you are not not a part of me. The world is
uncharacteristically unresponsive.
I could thank you.      You stay with me. like grass.

It's raining in Tucson! The "Fab Five" is neither the Jackson 5 nor the the Beatles, although the Beatles did have a 5th wheel, aka Brian Epstein. Epstein was gay but that was a secret b/c it was a criminal offense back then. The pilot episode of "Breaking Bad" and the pants in the air. The author of these poems, TC Tolbert, can't stop thinking about these things. 

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