The Law of Ruins (All I Need Is To Be Where I Am Known)

I was thinking about you in an abstract way 

when first faced with the urban sprawl of spillage

draped over the ruins

which were, in fact, built to become just that

many years before us. 


I was thinking about you, and thinking about the the way the city I grew up in

is all I will ever really need to feel home and to feel drenched in myself

and in u s,


that its crack and its groan and its constant noise are more u s

than the two of u s

have ever seemed when examined alone, placeless, together and without context.


It is a well known fact that you can miss a place

even as you inhabit it

surrounded by stone and sculpture and the remnants 

of stories last touched

in what by now must only be a memory


But we want it nonetheless: We want to be touched by the last touch

that brought us into being–

shaped us into something without weight or bulk but instead a reverence

for all the intricate ways in which we have allowed ourselves to be wounded. 

This is hard


the way veins streak through marble and crack it open to reveal


I always thought would be blue.


This is belonging and knowing you may lose it

with any given hitch,

crafted and delivered creator to son

leaving him alone in the vastness with a knowledge transferred

through nothing

but the metaphors of all fathers before him.

A weak dog is a dead dog


in the wild of war. 


I am wondering what life will be like when I step out of this place,

when this city is a backdrop to ancient thoughts

when I cannot find your chest no matter how hard I may look.


I wonder what you think of this

when faced with a relic we will never understand

documenting a history

we will never be a part of. 

You have walked through the badlands with a simplicity

in your gait

that would make your father cry,

that would mellow this war into a particularly fruity wine served at a meal with friends

as they talk about Michelangelo, how he saw his piece within his stone,

how he cracked it open and said assuredly “blue”.


Packed around the table, we must say this in very simple words

and you do so for me

murmuring over your meal and into my ear

that this was all built to be ruined.

You say it so softly that I know it is an act of faith, granting me your thoughts

without the volume needed to hear them first yourself.

In this way, I alone will reap the spoils of what has been destroyed, 

as was intended

all along. Nature,

now a synonym for violence. 


We build to watch it fall, of course, says the sculptor

and all are equally shocked to hear that this is not, as we thought, a game of immortality. 

Instead, this is an acceptance of memories

by soldiers, glowing carmine in the desert pitch. No one is coming out of this intact,

and it is sublime.


I am still thinking of you

long after the murmuring has ceased

and I am filled with elementary terms

for a theory

you don’t seem to fully grasp.


All I need is a spot at this table and to be close to something.

To be in a place so dark and so warm

it could never cease to be,

a place in which you would recognize me in my fullest of forms without hesitation. 


I am thinking of how you would be blue

cracked open

of how I would piece you together and carve away at your joints,

creating something smooth and many years away from destruction.


The etching would be purposeful, engraving my faith into your back:

A dog is a soldier

and burning was always part of the plan


we are not weak, we are ruined–

and that, of course, is nobody’s fault at all. 

This poem is about: 
My community


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