These Knees


(Mario Weddell/The Observer)


(Mario Weddell/The Observer)

I guess with all the time I spend
Looking past your eyes and that
I really should just vocalize
Whatever’s on my mind
The facts, poured fast,
Like whiskey straight
But I hate those pauses when
It seems I’m caught
Trying to find a way to phrase
Every thought where the causes
Aren’t pure but
Born out of a desire to wind
The truth in a way so we’ll both
Just nod at the effects and
Then I’ll say,
“Does that make sense?”
And you’ll empathize
And that’s how it will end
Since I was mostly looking up
Or anywhere putting all together
Furtive, disguised thoughts
Until I settle on the last honest sentence
Tethered out of lies but revealing enough
Of the general feeling
Just muffled out of context

I’m reeling, tough and restless
Absorbing the place, intently
The floor, the wall, the ceiling, my hands
But never your face or gaze
Or you’d understand and catch me
Get me in a chokehold
My downfall is your clever
Way of leaning in to see
If I blink and get so tense
I draw the curtains on the meaning
And you sense the way I think
Because I have such vocal eyes
That as I stall you’ll realize
I’ve said nothing at all

And besides I’ve always felt
That people like the way I write
More than my speaking anyway
Because when I talk I scramble
For the least decisive word
But written words
And accidents
Are thought to not occur
So this way I seem honest
Pure and more sincere
Prolific with confessions
A frank and open man
Terrific and so brave
And damn it all I’m sure you will
Demand in conversation
What the hell’s the meaning
So really all I have to say is
The poem’s nothing specific

But still my flaws
They fling themselves
Off my fingers to the page
And I curse them as they dive
Survive, stare at me and sing
You’re jealous, you’re naïve
You’re a little boy in mud
Believing you’re untouchable
Collected with your toys
But when you’re scared
Your blood goes hot
At things you’ve not expected
Like a new kid on the block
Getting some attention
And unthreatened you
Seem kind enough
But when you are endangered
You’re critical, embittered
Angry, harsh and cynical
Your smile gets so hard to find
With venom in your bite

And you said something
While you laughed the way
At times you do with me
I love how he’s so funny
So as it is expected
I replied with spiteful haste
Something to the effect of
He’s stupid and I hate him
Too serious and decisive
And totally unhesitant
Now I am reflecting
Those words that I directed
To somewhere I felt threatened
Were mostly meant for me
And my boyish insecurities
Dirty and defensive
On scraped and stupid knees