A Poem: No Vacancy

The summer I was eighteen

I wanted one thing — a boy named Tommy LaRue.
He was my first boyfriend.  My first kiss.
I learned three things from him.
What is a French kiss? To drink cheap Champagne. That I was expendable.
In those days, I knew nothing of myself.  How to be with people.
Life mystified me.  What was its purpose?
I had no aspirations.  I didn’t know what I was meant to do.
And that scared him.  My dad
who wanted more for me. More than
whatever it was that I wanted.  That I hadn’t figured out.

The summer that I was nineteen

After sleeping through my first year of university he told me

“You will go there.  You will do that.”
You will find more than whatever it was that you think you want.
I didn’t know that I had the power to say no.  Or the power

to think or want anything.  And so, I went.  I did
As I was told.
And slept

through two more years of university.  Literally.
Mostly.  Not. There.  Not really anywhere.

My junior year I was told

to choose.
“What is it that you want?” they said. “Why are you here?”
I want nothing.  I have no aspirations.  I have no
Hopes, dreams or desires.  Life mystifies me.

This coma that was my life became clear
Twenty years later.  It was a slow awakening.
Thawed by unconditional love, I found
Safety.  No one was telling me
Where to go.  What to do.  Who could have known, that I needed
S p a c e to figure it all out, whatever it is that I wanted.
For I did want
More.

Ever since I can remember, I have
spun words.  They were flying out of my mouth
Faster than I could think them.  These words, the flying kind,
Cut flesh.  They hurt the people I loved over the years.
And all because I was too afraid
To say anything to him.
And so
I stopped.  Speaking
in that manner.  I gave up
my voice. That was easier than saying
anything.

When he died it began.  The trance was over and it was a
Dreamy awakening.  A discovery.
Almost trembling I came to understand.  No longer
Could he tell me — anything.
And for a while, with no one telling
Me anything, I was lost.
And then though I was afraid
Of hurting, and afraid of his ghost that watches
And lingers even now. I began
to unearth my voice again. No longer
Is this a vacant place inside me.
I have dreams.
I have words.
And I use my words to heal.  Yes, I have found my purpose.
This moment, here. These words.
Now. There is no vacancy.

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