The sun used to rise, and when it rose it would rise red, like a book painted, read, seen from all angles one can see from a speckled human perspective, sat on the horizon. Then I met you, and the sun didn’t rise red anymore—it rose blue. Then we saw all there was to see and from every angle it was clear: our vision was blurred, dizzy. We used to laugh as if jokes could be told like lies; honesty came with tinted spectacles. We looked and looked pink. We saw and were ghosts.
The language made mountains of molehills, made us sad, upset, made no sense, made no space, fell out from between our teeth, taking time to assemble and terrorize and tumble out some more, tumbleweeds blowing across the desert landscape, our tongues tangled, tied into twisted notions of maturity and truth.
The truth is, I don’t know. I have no words to describe the fear I feel, fear manifesting itself inside of me, bubbling up from deep within me, speaking through my lips like it knows me. I don’t know why I think of you and am afraid. I don’t know why I see you apart from me and am wounded. I don’t know why my aloneness here feels exacerbated by your togetherness there.
I am proud of you, my love, as yourself, my love. I am proud of what you will become when you are outside of my mind, but I think you only exist there (my mind) because I cannot conceive of you not in relation to me, in there (my mind). Most days I don’t even see me in there (my mind).
They say we don’t live in a vacuum. He said, “Nature hates a vacuum.” This is because all things exist in somethingness, positively, so we exist positively in somethingness. Positively in somethingness, you exist in there (my mind). Everything exists positively in somethingness so that nothing exists in a vacuum so that nature doesn’t hate us. So we all positively in somethingness exist so that everything else can do the same so that nature doesn’t hate us, so I exist in somethingness positively for you and you for me, and nature won’t hate us because we are.
But sometimes, my love, I am in a vacuum of my own creation; nature turns her back to me and I’m swallowing my own tongue for it. The truth is that I can’t even conceive of a vacuum I create for myself in myself because how can something imagine nothing? Something is something unconsciously and is nothing by that same unknowing. If nothing happens after we die, how can we be afraid? It will be like falling asleep stoned. Undreaming, unknowing, unbreathing, unthinking, unbeing. Like this vacuum I am inside of that I can’t comprehend…love, I can’t even begin to describe it. I don’t have the words, or the unwords.
When we used to wake up together, we’d wake up to thoughts in our own minds of the other and found those thoughts to ring physically true shortly after. I woke up in fantasy, thinking, “Her skin is soft, her arms wrapped around me, her legs against mine, her body is warm, and we are warm together.” Then my eyes opened. They would open, and when I looked down at our bodies, what I saw confirmed that I was living and breathing in a fantasy, and the fantasy felt like you and smelled like sex and tasted like salt. Remember that?
The truth is I’ve forgotten— I am sorry to say, the memories run through me (sand in a sieve) and are filtered out (the world through 3D glasses) and lost somewhere deep inside there (my mind). I’m sorry to say the brain I have does me no favors. When I’m trying to drag up the scent of your clothes, I am dragging illegal fishing net across these vast stretches of ocean floor and coming up with all the wrong things, the things I can’t eat, the things I can’t survive on, things that will sting me if I touch them—I mean, bad memories. The truth is, those are easy to recall. Those fish are easy to catch and sour to the stomach. So I spend my days trying to learn photosynthesis, but the plants aren’t talking. The pictures may never be enough.
Our love was that sun—rose red, rose blue—and the distance is this tiny, speckled, spectacled perspective, the thing that makes us ask,
“Are we the center of the universe, or is that?”
The truth is, we don’t know. Life has tied us to each other with promises and copper rings and tattoos. Whether these things are sturdy enough to hold us together like this forever or not, it doesn’t matter. Today I am yours, and time doesn’t really exist. Nature hates a vacuum.
So I say to you, lover: treat me like we are today and no more, no less. Love me like loving me any less would be a betrayal of being you. Love me like our lives depend on it, because they do, since we have to exist here positively together in somethingness so that nature doesn’t hate us. How could she hate us? We make each other all the time.
I hope that you love me today, and tomorrow if it exists. May the sun rise red once again over our buzzing bodies braided together by her gentle hands. Nature is your friend.
Polimana Leilani is a 21-year-old writer with fingers in many proverbial sauces. She grew up in a large family of Mexicans, Navajos and Samoans on the tree-root-cracked cement outskirts of East Los Angeles. As a child, she loved reading and writing and would incessantly bother her mother to take her to the library (thus reversing the conventional image of parent dragging child to place of learning); it was due to this early exposure to many diverse artists, thinkers and poets that she became fixated on the idea of becoming one herself. Now something resembling an adult, she spends her days composing prose, as well as pieces of music and lyrical matter, most of which are inspired by her multifaceted cultural upbringing and her resultant struggles relating to a confoundingly black-and-white world.