Monday, March 10, 2008

A Phone Call by Jason Kish

What kind of man am I?
Just got this phone call, but
I’m driving to a party with a friend.

Just finished a long day;
Won’t be much of a party,
Just souls vomiting liquor
And memories.

We’re both already very tired.

Far off, the storm breathes;
The asphalt curls like smoke.

Don’t want to drive
Anywhere else, especially not the
Hour it takes to get back home.

There’s a girl out in the storm.
Like a movie cliché, but real this night:
A young girl, running from her home.

There is no glory in her misery.

Her mother tried to kill her with coke.
She was an accident.
She was adopted later.
I think she’s still being raped at home.
Her knees will stop working
Because of the drugs, and
She will be in a wheelchair by 30.

Everyone she has met has hurt her.
Everyone she will meet will do the same.

She is still a wonderful person.
She can still feel love.

She can still smile.
She is still human.
She still has hope, religion,

She is quiet and trusts me,
But I don’t deserve it.

I want you to really feel her.
I assure you, she’s real,
Not just some character I’ve penned
Down in poetry.

I assure you, she’s out there waiting.

“Can you please pick me up?”
“How are you even walking?”

She’s tried to kill herself
Because of the wheelchair,
But always pulls back.

Three months ago she called
Asking if I could love her;
Said I’d been nice, that she once loved me.
“I can’t love anyone these days,”
And what I said was true then.

Couldn’t picture her asking me that
After three long years.
I had barely known her.

We went out for coffee a few days later;
I bought her a cup, and she told me her story.
People stared at her leg braces,
While I sat and listened in this
Dark, little coffeehouse
Feeling smaller and smaller and smaller…

Wondered if I’d ever
Feel love like she felt love;

If I could ever be as strong as her.

She’d opened up enough to show me
Something she’d written once;
A very talented writer, I promised
To let her read my poetry sometime.
And on the slow walk home,
I suggested she might like Flannery O’Connor.

This must be real. It must not be a joke.
It must not be a dream.
I know it isn’t because I’m still tired
From a long shift at a shitty job,
Because of distance and time,
Because I am feeling too sober.

Wondering what kind of man I am,
In my friend’s car, moving, but going nowhere.

And when I call her back –
When we’ve decided how to get back –
No one will even answer;
And it just went on like that…
The wait just went on and on.