Friday, February 24, 2006

THREE POEMS by Sara Vogt

It seemed we all felt the same way. We all absolutely needed to get out, but oddly enough ,we had done absolutely nothing in our actions that reflected this feeling. We had stayed. For years, in groups that never change. And it can be compared to holding a saturated vomit rag to our mouths. It was warm, but we didn’t like the taste. We were all startled, and it seemed we would stay here forever. Although, there was that one exception to all of this. It was that girl who had those maps falling out of her pockets.

This girl had new eyes, you could just tell. It was never showy, just a general understanding of the way stuff worked. She had pictures and plans and it looked like she could breathe new air in constantly.

On her way up and down the world, she’d meet us in bus stops and airports. And she’d sit us down and tell us how purple the sky could really get under a sun falling. She’d describe the feeling of standing under a tall building, and the way cities lit up made her feel like she could do anything. And we listened and wrote everything she said down. We memorized and studied and it was almost like we were alive too.

Although her trips home were frequent at first, they lessened with time. And I had always expected this. Because it’s just what happens. The other kids gave up completely. They threw away the copies of the pictures and with them, the plans and the feelings of ever getting anything bigger. But I was addicted.

What turned out to be her last visit home, was just her and I in an isolated bus terminal. And I realized then if I could never get it together to take the first big breath it was just going to be this house and these, more or less these twelve streets I knew, and I’d never see anything else for myself. I knew what I needed but wasn’t sure if I could get it. I told her that these blankets stapled in my cheeks were so heavy. I said I wasn’t even positive how they had gotten there in the first place. She said she had no idea what I was talking about, and after some well-mannered conversation, got back onto her bus and gave me a wave through the window as she pulled away. I realized then, you control your own blankets. You have to unstaple yourself.

Some nights you remind me of one of those fighting fish, glued onto a piece of aluminum foil. Others, you live inside walls with your hands glued to stovetops. Your melted skin, a puddle, getting into the gas jets. Your hands look so pretty they way they’re all lit up like that. It’s like you’re almost touching all the spaces between the structures that none can ever get to. You’re halfway in and out of everything. And I just want to hang from your elbows. I want to make you see what this looks like from outside windows.

It’s almost like there’s going to be this night. And it’s coming. You’re going to get hit at the exact angle, and you’re going to fracture all over. The size of your surface area is going to scare everyone away.

Standing over, or behind of, an open window I can picture the way we look on blocks and avenues. The way the buildings make your face show up. I’m melting candles in tin cups over open gas jets. The matchbook is almost through, and I think I am beginning to understand the feelings of putting this whole city right next to your liver. You want to touch and swallow everything.

The wax is liquid now. Before it hardens, I’ll use these feathers I’ve collected. They look nice between your shoulder blades.

The way the skyline looks in your rib cage.

I want to hold your hand while you open up the window, but you tell me, The physics of the matter just won’t have it. And then we bite our lips because it’s a long way down, and somehow its an even longer way up. So lately, you’re trying again, but I’m saying no. I’m saying, we just weren’t built with this ability.

But, maybe if we turn the table upside down, and sit on the underside, we can think less like we have wires behind our eyes. Maybe when the sun goes down, I’ll provide the prospect of another attempt. I understand the way you need this.

It had always been harder to make coffee with gloves on,

but I did it yesterday (only to be able to say I did).

And while pouring the milk into my mug

I took notice of the expiration date

and observed it matched another date,

I thought of you in that moment

And the way your birthday always made me feel

Like half finished experiments saved in tubes,

And how

You looked from behind candles burning.

I wonder whose kitchen you’ll be making wishes from.

I wonder where all the smoke will trail off to, upon blowing the light away;

And how you will look on a street corner in the cold that very same night.

Do you

Still wear that coat?

I am still in these

flypaper gloves.

Sara Vogt is nineteen years old. She is currently a student and has a piece in MiPO