This poem has traveled with me forever, it seems. In some ways, I feel like we grew up together. It was the first prose poem I ever wrote. It was written before college. It was originally a poem I wrote in my parent’s basement, fingers freezing, listening to records. It contains some of the teen angst that the poems written at the same time as it does, but it’s not ‘over the top.’ It went to college with me, attended some workshops, was read at some readings. I, believe, I found it about a year and a half ago. I was writing a collection of poems, and I sometimes go back to journals I kept while doing this for phrases or half-finished poems that I might see differently that just never worked out. I ended up going back to a journal, which I believe was handed in during my undergraduate education for a poetry class that documented what I’d been working on and editing. It had been edited in school, and with a few minor changes, I felt that it could go in that collection. The relationship I have to the poem today is vastly different than the relationship I had to the poem when I wrote it. This becomes the case in many cases, but it’s not always true. There’s a lot in this poem that probably felt like ‘truth’ when I wrote it. Now, I barely remember being the teenager who wrote it. Reading the poem, the things that I chose to include brought up emotion then. Now, it’s an interesting look at what made me feel at that time, as I barely remember who the teenager was that wrote this poem. I have a fairly good memory; however, when it comes to the years I was in high school, in particular, I don’t remember much. I remember things broadly and the specifics sort of aren’t there. From college on, I can remember very specific things, but those four years of high school sort of all blur together. It also contains memories from my childhood, which are different than high school, in that, I only remember very specific details or stories. I feel like I remember my childhood all in details. I grew up in the same room from the day I was born. Everything that occurred for the first eighteen years of my life, I processed in that bedroom. The sadness of things that hurt me, the joys of new experiences, the strange things I did to entertain myself. I think we all have lists of those experiences. This is mine. In sharing my experiences, it’s my hope it’ll spark memories of your own feelings, in the rooms you grew up in, whatever shades they might have been painted in.
When I listened to those Prozac CD’s. Then I was Little Boy Blue with a broken bugle and a hemorrhaging fascination with escaping my life. When I laid in darkness listening for death. When I kissed the Tulips as they woke up. When I was the crooked eyed child who talked to leaves. When I laid in bed sweating my mortality. When I was listless in your arms, unable to move. When I faked a smile to show you I was fighting, even though though I was fighting to be dead. When I stared out the window for hour admiring evergreens. When I shut my blinds and danced alone pretending my bed was the stage, my closed fist a microphone. When I called and said those words I love you and what seemed like hours a waited a response. When I planned how to kiss you. When I cried because I hated being away from London. When I listened through the walls to hear my father crying. When I went to lay down after I found out. When the first poem came. When I thought you had ended my world. When I realized I might live. When I packed my bags to go overseas. When I watched a girl get raped on our front lawn. When we made mixed tapes together for the first time in the heat of summer for our barefoot to dance to in the backyard. When you and I made out for the first time. When I painted my room white after a week at camp. When I wrote letters to friends I feared never seeing again. When Tim slept over for a month cause his mom ‘went away.’ When we’d stay up all night talking about girls. When I came home to find my mom crying over losing her job. When I got nose bleeds. When there was nothing that could keep my sheets clean of blood. When I recovered from surgery. When I slept off the pain of losing my Wisdom Teeth. When I carefully selected what pictures would come with me to college. When I though life could not get better than a concert. When I found out Princess Diana was dead. When I made up with friends. When I perfected my dancing. When I met Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird in fifth grade. When I attached to a song. When I attached myself to a lyric line. When I would crash after working at day camp all sunburned and secretly in love with Heather. When I used to sleepwalk and fall down the stairs. When it was always icy in my dreams. When I would have nightmares of the Incredible Hulk. When I regained my strength only to find a new weakness. When I listened to you read me The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and How to Eat Fried Worms. When there was still a grandma to pack a suitcase to stay overnight at. When we’d get up for church and pancakes. When I slept through alarms. When I would pray the rosary bead by bead. When I would stumble in drunk. When I would listen to my father snore loudly after working two shifts. When I would wait for my grandpa to talk back to me after he died. When I puked up the peas you made me eat, the night I was supposed to play Joseph in the pre-school Christmas pageant. When I lived in that blue room.