Leaving You: A Poem in the Form of a Letter

I’ve written many letters to you in the form of a poem. May I write you a poem in the form of a letter?

I want to try to say goodbye as sweetly as I tried to say hello to you. This is not an easy thing, because I do not want to do it. You might say that my heart is not in it.

Strangely, I almost want to delay on purpose because this quick reply may be taken as a sign that I welcome the result, relieved by it; that I quickly embrace it before it is taken back. I conclude that such is not the case. I hope you believe this and I trust that you will—just because I ask you to do so, while promising to you that what I say is true.

Rather, I want to seize my present and seemingly clear perception, and act upon it before I am once again confused.

The problem of course is that the issues are (always were) clear; only self-proclaimed “smart” people could invent enough to bury that clarity for so long. You correctly (at last) articulated the options. Only one of these is acceptable to me. This result is inevitable, as it turns out, as neither of us is cut out to absorb much more of this.

The game is over because I won’t leave bad enough alone. You must not blame me for this; I don’t blame you. (Can I divert blame by saying that?) I love you for all of it. Part of what I love you for is this pain I now abjure.

Did not one of us say that this night will be remembered for a long time? Something like that—you know that my memory for the pieces constituting passing hurt is shallow, the detail of those things I do not remember very well.

You once said we really should get to know each other and be friends. I want to do that, make that deal. Sometimes I think I can do that. Then I sometimes think you can. Then I think that you cannot. Then I stop thinking, to not reconsider my own ability to be reminded of the bad and call it good.

Maybe it’s all about me. All in my head.

I love you. Or did for a very long time, and I am sure that I will again, in that same old-longtime way.


Just with a smile.

And a distant admiration.

It’s not that you didn’t love enough.

It’s not that I didn’t love enough.

It’s just that I can’t write poems without the “I” in them.

And I still have trouble, leaving it all behind.

The smug in me wants to riff on the movies,

Say something sardonic,

Call myself Jake and tell my self to let it all go,

To fade out thinking its only Chinatown….