I went to Ireland two summers ago and took pictures of a painting that covered an entire side of a building in the middle of this alley way and I felt as if I was part of that medium, as if I had submitted to it in some way, like the boy in the Irish pub who bought me a pint and called me lass with an a sound I could not identify as hard or soft, but something that stayed in the mouth. I asked him questions about where he went to school, his girlfriend, and where he grew up. What he kept from me I imagined in between the spaces of his stories, like the spaces between buildings, or the distance between two people almost reaching in an embrace.
“I cannot always recall dreams,” I say as the boy who visited me all the way from where we met years ago now during my first stint in graduate school, during my MA program, asks about how I have been, my days, whatever, as I stir this drink in this bar endlessly, feeling endless. We are here, as if we are alone, talking about things that matter to us, those intangibles.
“My dreams are always concrete,” he says, “they are real. I can see the backgrounds of things.” He doesn’t drink, he never drinks, and so unlike me he has nothing to touch, gently raise to the lips, and so he turns and looks at the grey out the window, and the leaves moving like shadow.
Between us there are always these pauses, existing, and we don’t mind and have commented on them, as if they are unusual and other people in other conversations never pause.
“I’ve been having these nightmares,” I say.
“About what? Comps?” he asks. He then reminds me that he would never get a PhD and this is reason number 43 why and I honestly don’t care.
“No, not about comps,” I say, “but I am sure it is related. My nightmares are anxiety related. The last nightmare I had, I was riding on the outside of a school bus that was swerving and moving too fast. The weird thing was,” I added, “I kind of liked it. I liked the chaos, but I knew all the same that this was a nightmare.”
“It is because you feel out of control of the outcome,” he replies in a self-assured way.
“We can never control outcomes; we can only do the best we can.”
I look back down at my drink, now half gone, and touch the cold glass and think of the ice that will soon form along this grey.
& looking around (through)
small places, holes hold
grimaces like memory, me-
morized lines from old stories
no one (ever) talks about