When I was a boy I learned
not to cry. I don’t know how.
I needed a wall, so I built one.
It was easy. Later I learned
that you can’t tell everyone
who you are. There are shapes
to fit in public places. Two walls
with a door. They told me
I shouldn’t sound so smart
if I wanted to make friends. You
have to drink, you have to have
fun. Four walls with a roof.
When I went out, I left myself
inside. I wore whatever costume
was expected of me. It was easy.
I learned to hide my anxiety, to
play parts. Bolts on the windows,
the shades drawn. What was
crying like again? I am a social
butterfly. I am a chameleon.
You will never see me bleed.
You will never feel the bruises
in my ribs. You will never even
make it to the front door.
Memory Rewritten According to the Way I Wish It Happened
Manhattan drives 18 hours through the night
from California to see me. I ask what’s wrong
and she tells me. She tells me everything.
We open to each other like doorways. We kiss
and the last two years melt away. It’s like
she never left. When we make love, our problems
don’t follow us into bed. There is no fear in
either of us, no hesitation. We wrap like vines
around each other’s trunks. We fall asleep.
The next day, we walk around the lake. She says
she never stopped loving me. She’s sorry and
so am I. If only we had been braver, if we hadn’t
run so far. That night we cook together and
the silence is so full of her eyes and lips that
I could die right now. “You don’t have to leave,”
I say. “Stay one more night.” She says, “Okay.”
Erasure of a Depressing Poem to Reverse Its Effects
Every morning I wake up to an empty
bed, feeling rejected by the night before.
Every minute is a fresh heartbreak,
every sunrise an opportunity to burn.
It takes most of the day for me to
feel human again. My body whole,
my mind in its right boxes. But by then
it’s bedtime, and I lay down naked,
alone, in the darkest dark I can
Eric Raanan Fischman is the incredible changing man. By the time you read this, he could be a bird, or an alligator. A faculty member at the Beyond Academia Free Skool, his work has appeared in the Boulder Weekly, Bombay Gin, and in the recent Punch Drunk Poetry Anthology. His first book, “Mordy Gets Enlightened,” was published through The Little Door at Lunamopolis in 2017. He is probably a chimney right now, but he might be a caterpillar, or a crane. He might be dust.
Photo: Zane Lee