Reoccurring Theme

Nate Jones

She left me lying on the couch
an alcohol-addled pile of flesh
with eyes staring up into spikes of drywall
and wandering toward the crevices of the door
into which she disappeared
her touch fading away like her presence
losing consciousness on another bed
without hands to comfort,
without eyes to close in on,
without any trace of these lips
or the words they spat out between
stifled beer burps just hours earlier.
The last remnants of sweet nothings
left to die in the space above her head
as they continued to hang
like a pendulum of could-have-been
over mine.

And in all the sweetest love songs
the voices of smiling faces
croon a duet.
The chant of every verse
laced with lyrics that I
could only hope to throw
onto a photograph
where all the softly spoken words
would become points of light
bathing the faces of two
panoramic lovers
sweetly composed
in a Polaroid transfer.
The words
would transpose into an experience
that wasn’t full of these sweet nothings
these phrases of wasted youth
written in notebooks
and recited
just because the time was right
just because the spotlight of her face
stared me down with eyes
that demanded substance,
that demanded an answer
to the age old question
I’d been asking for years:
“are you worth the time?”

“no”
echoes throughout the valleys
of stranger’s pillows
and strewn arms

“no”
echoes throughout the hallways
of the morning after

“no”
bounces from
the boastful bragging
between coworkers
during tired 8-hour days
to the bottle in my hands
during the long-faced night.
As I stare down the spotlights again,
I look into her eyes and kiss
my tongue searching
again
for the lyrics of that song
as if I’ll find them here tonight
in the mouth of a stranger.
But I’m just scraping teeth
and there’s no epic notes
or intros
just the taste of vodka.

I’m an alcohol-addled pile
left on a couch
on the side of a bed
on the floor
outside
in a car
listening
as the voice
from a solitude signal
sings about the memories
left in albums of
untaken photographs.