when we drove through endless new jersey
in search of a sunset neither of us wanted
to see: you sang along beautifully to the radio
and i sat quietly, fingering myself through the hole
in my favorite pants, chiming in to sing along, monotone and
deceivingly unenthusiastic to the few songs i knew the words to.
you told me what made you sad and why it made
you sad and what it was about life that made
you want to fuck it away.
you told me where you wanted to be and why you wanted
to be there and how being there would make all the
difference in the world.
i counted cars that only had one illuminated headlight and told
you not everything has to be so shitty.
not everything has to be so shitty.
once i almost touched your hand. not because i loved you
but because i thought you had fallen asleep at the
wheel, when really you were probably thinking hard
or trying to remember something far away and just closed
your eyes because you forgot you were driving and
you needed to concentrate.
and at one point i knew exactly where we were but
told you to take a wrong turn because i wanted
to get lost again.
we drove across the bridge they were
doing construction on last year, and made a
left onto the beach, probably about four in the
morning. i took my shoes off before i could
even smell salty air because i knew
we were getting close.
earlier that day we smoked macanudos on a picnic table
in a large white gazebo in pennsylvania.
earlier that day we sat in the laundromat and
read old newspapers and cut out funny pictures
from magazines and wore the
clothing other people left behind and drank
sodas from the only machine on the east coast
that still only charges a dollar, waiting for the dryer to
warm our coats.
earlier that day you told me about your green
earlier that day jimmy eat world came on the
radio and after the second verse of
a praise chorus i opened the window
all the way and took off my glasses before
i stuck my head out into to the night
and screamed so loud i hurt my throat,
not because i was happy or because i wanted
to feel alive or because i was in love,
but rather because that was just what the
moment called for and no one else was
earlier that day we were in new york.
we drove through three states
and every time we crossed a
border we took the most beautiful
part of what we were leaving behind
and now i’m running, even though i’m barefoot
and bleeding with a girl who’s really
in switzerland, or sweden or scotland or
some stupid fucking country with an ‘s’ that’s
not new jersey, or new york, or pennsylvania
and i want to hurl myself into the ocean
i see before me, not because i’m angry,
not because i’m in love, not because it was
what the moment called for and no one else was
doing it, but because maybe, i thought
it’d be easier to float home and i didn’t want to
put my shoes back on.
and because not everything has to be so shitty.
and while all of this remained unspoken between us, i had
to apologize to my dentist and explain that the
reason i fell asleep in his chair was
because i had been up all night counting cars
that only had one illuminated headlight.