It’s only a story, after all


And there I was again, of course, four in the morning grasping my pen as though writing were the only reality I was in. Like many writers though, I spent my time writing and throwing away as though reality was nothing but crinkled paper
in a bin.  
That is just It for a poet, I suppose/I am suspicious.

There was he, too, like me always in the night though most call it morning.
His name was Sin and he was my best friend. We both liked to be alone, but being alone together felt no different.
     ”I am coming up with a story,” I told him. It was numbingly foggy out, 
there was 
to see; we questioned whether
anything still existed, the sky felt like hiding, no doubt, like Sin and me.
Winter’s lethargic lucidity enticing.. 

“What’s the story?” Sin did not mind
hearing the maniacal ideas that I often did not ever come to write. In the light,
nobody could tell that he was mangled and wise.
He was at every moment so, so tired. 

   ”Well, it’s about us.
   About how we are night-ghouls of the day’s leftover rust.
   It’s about a boy named Moon and a girl named Nova 
   -you know, like a supernova, a star meeting death.
   Like a disease, their lack of sleep turns everything into a dream.
   Sometimes they become bottles on the shelf
   sometimes spoiled chocolate milk;
   other nights they become children
   stomping up the stairs whispering
   excited to be free from authority or whoever watching.
   They begin to dream strange happenings:
   dreams of fog coating everything like crumpled tissues
   and loved ones’ faces gray with wished i love you’s and i miss you’s,
   drunken blackouts replacing childish bouts.
   They begin to dream the same things. 
   Nova, she is a writer; she tells Moon that she wants to write
   about the magic 
   they discovered only exists at night,
   only if you are unsettled and cosmically quiet.
   Moon asks her, ‘What do you mean? You want to write about me?’
   Nova tells him, ‘Of course. You and me,
   we can become new things: children or pots and pans or dreams.’

   She begins to write the secret script of their rituals in the night.
   In Nova’s story, a boy and a girl who do not sleep  
   begin to dream the same dream. Outside it is winter
   and each morning is coated in nicotine smoke;
   the fog is only (to the tired sky) a Sinner. 
   Their dreams are in a land of fog, too,
   like the gray curtain of the morning’s no-sleep has descended from reality
   into vague and restless blues.
   The boy’s brows are always furrowed, and the girl’s
   lips are always bleeding.
   She loved writing for his and her secrets burrowed,
   so she stayed up until the sun rose
   telling the story of their foggy realities
   on a piece of paper 
   only to be thrown
   to the waste bin like pointless solemnity.
   The girl woke and changed her mind,
   checked the bin only to find
   there was no story ever written at all,
   it was only in a dream.
   And so she grabs a pen and answers the poet’s call; 
   writing all as it happened
   (a dream about a writer’s story about a dream 
   deep within a writer’s story of dreaming to write a story about dreams- 
   maybe it’s reality or maybe it really all is a dream 
   or maybe it’s only a story, after all; that is just the nature
   of existences like these).  
   Then, mid-composition she forgot whether she called
   the boy ‘Moon’ or ‘Sin’ or if his name existed in reality:
   suddenly she can’t remember anything:
   when is the last time she had sleep?
   which is a dream? and why was it she that the fog is following?
   Whatever It may be, if It is there at all.
   She looks for ‘Moon’ 
   or ‘Sin,’ that boy she swears she knew.
   It is the morning, at two, she thinks.
   He cannot be found
   so she searches around the quiet house
   (white with fog from outside)
   but the boy is not running
   up the stairs, chain smoking in the outside chairs, 
   is not spoiled chocolate milk, pots, pans, or silverware.
   Not tonight, he is not there.
   She sits, dreaming a reality and really living a dream:
   where is the boy, has he forever fallen to sleep?

   And so, no, she cannot write;
   the last of her paper half-scribed and flooding the waste bin all night.
   Anyways, that’s when Nova realizes she’s dreaming again,
   and she’s already written that same tale every night
   a million times before.
   When she wakes again she sees the irony,
   her cycle of lost reality. She realizes that she Is the story,
   and the story is just a dream
   about a story about a dream with no start or ending.”

I took a deep breath, coming to terms with how long I’d been talking.
   ”Sin, what do you think? Have you even been listening?

 I finished my story, suddenly realizing my eyes closed
 with blanketing weariness
 some time while I was writing this out loud for him.
 Upon opening my eyes, still sitting on the hazy porch outside,
 a cigarette between my fingers that I forgot to light,
 that’s when I realized Sin had disappeared. 
 I wrote my tale quickly scribbling before my idea turned half-written
 and thrown in the waste bin as usual, again.
 Then, I began searching for him.
 The longer he did not return,
 the quicker I lost my mind.
 Where has he gone, did the smog make me blind?
 I walked in circles and suddenly came to find
 that I could not remember where he lived
 or what time of night I was in
 or whether his name was ‘Moon’ or ‘Sin’.

Having no night-friend, anymore, though I could not remember who
or why, 
my story suddenly lost its will to care.
As I reached to crumple and toss it in the waste bin,
I saw that this story
was already wrinkled and thrown, waiting for me in there. 


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