jason, named for the argonauts ˑ the firstborn and second gone ˑ in which we give you more credit than you’ve ever deserved
I remember you.
a portrait written in hi-hat drum beats and tuned-down guitars –
drop-D chords through Logitech headphones, loosened ties and rumpled shirts
split-second personas writ large between the furrows of your eyebrows,
between the set of your jaw and the curve of your smirk
between the hidden stubs of Zaphod concerts and empty whiskey bottles.
we used to lie on your bed, staring at the posters on your ceiling –
Gantz, Elfen Lied, Trigun, Neon Genesis –
you’d tell me exactly how each one would piss off our parents, if you’d
ever watched it, or done more than buy posters with tits and ass.
(I don’t know if that was ever true – after all –
the names of characters fell so easily from your mouth
you actually cared to remember them
more than things like our concerts or events,
but it wasn’t your job to make up for our father’s failures.)
I remember you.
you took me for a drive before you were really allowed –
strapped me and Cassandra into the front seat together
warned us not to tell, before you hit the accelerator
and whipped our words back at us at ninety miles an hour
I have to wonder, if I’d looked at your face for long enough
if I would have seen the rot take hold
if I would have heard the poison starting to seep
if I would have witnessed your metamorphosis
at its beginning instead of the unquiet end.
– that’s assuming that I’m reminiscing, remembering,
a version of you that ever really existed.
something more than a mask, an invention, a frescoed hope
it depends on what you (or me, or anyone)
really think comes out for the worse.
either you were always a monster wearing a brother’s skin
or the light that I loved in you is snuffed out, dead and gone.
I remember you –
some version, some fairytale, some helpless hopeless photograph
I hold onto the negatives and hang them in the dark
I hate you, I hate you, I practice the unpracticed in my mouth
and I do, but it’s an unfinished and unclear statement.
I hate you, but – it hangs there, cut off at the root
a wound without closure, without stitching, without salve.
I remember you – the shape of your hands on my stomach,
on the backs of my legs and the ridge of my lips
and there’s no use this late in trying to spit you out.
my fingerprints, my hesitant kisses, live somewhere between
the set of your jaw and the curve of your smirk
lost within the deep furrow of your eyebrows.
I hate you, I hate you, I hate you – poison in my throat,
a love that stings to touch, hurts too much to hold.
you’re just a photograph hanging empty in the dark
the light in you I loved is snuffed out, dead and gone.