I’ve never been to San Juan. I would love to. This is an older poem and it’s written about a relationship that feels perfect in every way. Often, early in relationships, before reality sets in, couples talk about places they’re going to go together and do together. In this poem, its San Juan. They imagine as this safety blanket, this magical place, where they are going to have future romantic encounters. There were a couple of things that were important to me when I wrote the poem. I did not want the poem to be as much about how they fell a part, as it was how this dream sort of held them together. The narrator states, ‘he didn’t show.’ This could be physically, but more emotionally. He could not show up in the relationship. The poem is a poem of longing, of what might have beens. It’s also a poem about nostalgia, what exists after you lose a major relationship. In this poem, the narrator still has San Juan. He goes to the images frequently in his head. There’s a piece of him that wants to believe in some world or form it could have came true and there’s a piece of him that knows ‘it was just too perfect,’ and was a dream. Still, he remains connected to her by going to these visions of them, in this place he’s never been. I think it’s something we all relate to in some way.
Everything that was to have happened
Now, he thinks, he knows what autumn light feels like to a rose,
to a grapevine, to divinity in the eyes
of an always sandal wearing Jerusalem.
On the records he listens for
where the chlorophyl of love, colors in the tree of our life
and brings beach sun promised bronzed perfect skin.
Sand warmed perfectly for our naked feet to make footprints in.
Now, seems like the wakeful hours in a sleeper’s eyes,
You and I,
our fondness of each other,
so never knowing, so all telling…
Another Cereza grape dries on the vine,
nobody was supposed to know.
still waiting, still wishing, still wanting to go.
What you wore when I never showed,
the dress I imagined you in,
light as some tropical butterflies beating wings,
pales lightly in the construct of new clarity.
The salt would have touched your hair,
if I would have been the sea I promised you I’d be-
the villa in San Juan
for you to harbor your security.
I watch sleeping travelers from high above the earth,
writing poems around this place in the center of the page
images and images of
I drew your heart like some careless kid with a stick in the sand,
beautiful mornings with promises that never end,
beaches that go on for miles
perfect for long walks, hand in hand.
Never letting it go…
it’s still there, baby.
Somewhere off the coast of I don’t know,
the San Juan
I promised to be,
the perfection wreaking of all the reasons
It could never be.