I AM SO SORRY! Your fleece—did my feelings wash out?
They did though, right? For ten hours on a one-hour flight.
That’s cat-year math…I never told you anything about me
(like that I’m crazy for the superior pet) or asked your name.
Nobody wants that though, yea? Just to not get projectile-
feelingsd all over the whole flight—or at all. I know. Sorry, Sir…
Sir feels apologetic, subservient even, like I owe/you deserve
some smallness for how overly emotional I was, one worthless
armrest between us, in violation of the most sacred masculine
proverb: Thou Shalt Never Cry! Or at least hide it—never in
public, not in the sky of all places where, a poet might say,
God’s tears mourn precisely such destructive social norms.
I wouldn’t say that. Not the God part anyway. I’m not a fan
of Dogma so much as felines and feeling whatever you are.
I say you are what you feel and you were SHUTUP! I never
even saw your face but felt it clench, like a fist ready to punch,
on the precipice of butting my nose running like you couldn’t.
You just sat there taking my catharsis and I thought: This is
a man who has never cried in public unless his sports team
did something impossible…and still just one tear he played
off as extra-ocular itch…as I snapped out of it—CANIGET
ATOMATOJUICE???? I called after the stewardess who
passed you something hard I should’ve offered to pay for
but didn’t want to look at you—you looked displeased (peripherally…)
That’s when I remembered…We always got tomato juices
on flights to LA (my partner who just became my ex-partner
and I) and I’d have to have one and a half because she was
just trying to be a cute couple she didn’t even like
me anymore… and so now I’m crying toward you, and I can’t
see or hear anything but your silent silhouette which appeared
as the specter of my self-hate and blame for what happened,
the rigid smear of you clarifying it wasn’t that she left or I
became suicidal but how hard I fought it, how ashamed and
scared of loneliness and shame and softening—you couldn’t
escape in the air, seatmate. I know how unbearable that is:
like falling with only the parachute of pretending you aren’t.
Abe Becker’s poetry has recently appeared in such literary journals and anthologies as Elohi Gadugi Journal, Yellow Chair Review, and Sweet Wolverine. A collection of his recent break-up poems is forthcoming from Lucky Bastard Press out of Oakland, CA. He has represented the city of Berkeley and UC Berkeley at numerous national poetry slams.