“Hunger”

I no longer need you, but
I do still need
to feel the hunger
I used to feel for you,

as

I no longer need to be alone, but
I do still need
to feel the hunger
I can’t help but feel
alone,

as

I no longer need to drink, but
I do still need
to feel the thirst I couldn’t help
but feel when I couldn’t drink.
I need to create
out of that endless hunger.

Don’t think

I needed
to love you.
I did anyways; I couldn’t help it.
I loved you then
the way you need him now;

I’ve heard

the way you talk to him;
it’s the same way my poems never sounded
when you read them back to me.

Well, here goes:

I hungered for you to hunger for me;
when you hungered for me,
I was glutted with you
and hungered for her,

so

I’m afraid my hunger will devour me,
that it cannot be satisfied,

and also

I’m afraid I hunger only
for what keeps me hungry.

There’s this:

If we are afraid together,
will we be half as afraid?

And this:

if we are alone together,
will we be twice as alone?

And, of course, this:

if we are hungry together,
will you take care of the bill?

Tell me:

When the storm rages
will you let me sit,
surrounded by it,
to meet with stillness?

Yet,

why some days can I sit for hours,
patient like the mountain laurel,
while other days I am a child who waits
for a roller coaster, a child who hates
roller coasters, yet in strange ways
hungers for what he hates.

Answer me:

If I say
I cannot receive love
and
I cannot receive enough love
and
I hunger for what keeps me hungry,

will you understand?

“Emptiness”

Does nothing satisfy?
I begin the day already frustrated.
My first thought?
Whatever I do today will only leave me empty.
My second?
Nothing I do can give me what I need.
My third?
It is because I need that I stay frustrated.
Finally I ask myself:
What do I need?

I need to do something to relieve this emptiness.
If I do nothing, will this emptiness leave me?

No, whether I do something or nothing,
The emptiness remains.
It remains whether it is hidden or apparent.
Nothing relieves it.
Everything I do either hides it better or makes it clearer,
But nothing takes it away.

I cannot be relieved of it simply by leaving it behind.
What is there to leave behind?
It can’t be left behind because
It’s not even here.
It’s an absence,
One that I feel
More than I feel anyone else’s presence.
It’s a not-here
That makes me feel not-here
And everyone else seem not-there.

Would I need to be someone else to not feel it?
Is who I am formed from what I lack?

If I were not me,
Would I feel less not-here?
If I were not here,
Would I feel more like me?

If I am not even here,
What can my purpose be?
I can do nothing unless I am here,
But nothing I do can take away who I am,
And who I am is not separate from what is not-here.

Who I am is more than what is here,
But what I say means less than what I hear.
I speak of what is not-here,
But I listen for what is here.
I feel an absence,
But I listen for a presence.
What is present here is more than who I am,
It means more than what I feel,
But what can it mean if I can’t hear it?

What do I need?
I need to hear what is here;
I am frustrated when I feel only what is not.
Is there anything here
That can relieve me
Of what is not?
Is there anything not-here
That can help me
Perceive what is?

I begin the day already frustrated,
And I admit that I do not know why.
I also cannot say why
The not-here feeling always seems to linger here.

But here is the not-here.
I feel it now as I do most every day.
The not-here will be here whether I let it or not,
But this once I do not deny it or fight it.
I am here and so is the not-here.
I do nothing.
I can’t think of a single thing I could do
To take away what is not even here.