like it all meant something

these days
Nokyoung Xayasane

these days
you find
are so full
it makes you recall
the days of idleness
full of unanswered
questions and emails
long drives to
nowhere in particular

and sometimes you recall
the places where you felt
your first heartbreak
when the sky and sun
were so necessary
you sought out their
brilliance
with closed eyes, tilted chin
towards the heat

and you recall the streets
like ghost towns
buildings where you watched
the local punk scene
all its characters
milling about
and laughing
playing music
like it all meant something

and the house
you used to occupy
its small rooms
full of light and
air and stained glass
windows
and the city
you used to know
where everything
reminded you
of the person
you could never be

you were always
looking for an out
but these streets
these buildings
these people
they meant
something to you
and somehow
they still do

(April 2015)

What we talk about when we talk about love

cobweb in the sunshine and the last Sunday I sat on this particular porch

cobweb in the sunshine and the last Sunday I sat on this particular porch

What we talk about when we talk about love
Nokyoung Xayasane

I think I miss laughter the most.
I miss laughter, induced by another person,
or should I be more specific?
Induced by you.
Sitting on our front porch,
there were those tinkering wind chimes
our neighbour hung that annoyed you
but charmed me.
Do you remember them?

We sat in the comfort of each other,
reading and not speaking
while the hushed streets barely
whispered in the summer wind.

I miss the ease with which you live
your life,
the lazy energy of Saturday morning,
when there was time to say nothing
and do very little.

Sometimes I would look over at you
and I would try and remember
the sunlight streaming through the evergreen tree
beside our porch,
and I could barely contain myself for joy.

I miss the lazy car rides where I didn’t
have to talk and you didn’t have to listen.
We shared a silence
that only two people can share
who have said all they have to say
and need not say one word more.

Yes, I do,
I do, miss the easy laughter,
and I miss those lazy summer nights
when we were young and free
and full of something we could not name.

This morning,
riding back to our old neighbourhood,
I realized I missed
the wide-eyed enchantment
of things to come,
not knowing what was next for us.
Do you miss those things too?
I wonder,
but am too afraid to ask.

The man beside me on the streetcar
murmurs something incoherent
and I miss the ease of not missing you.

I know I can return
but I can never go back
to that place we shared
where laughter came easy
and the days were sweet and pure
and full of possibilities.
Do you remember that place
as I remember it?

I guess missing is all we have.
Those memories we shared from long ago,
they become as audible
as our old neighbour’s wind chimes
and as bright as the light streaming
through the evergreen trees
where two people read in the hush of summer.

And I realize far too late,
this must be what we talk about
when we talk about love.

(November 2015)

whatever it is we remember, we’ll remember this

The last lights of summer (Little Italy, Toronto, August, 2015)

The last lights of summer
(Little Italy, Toronto, August, 2015)

whatever it is we remember, we’ll remember this
Nokyoung Xayasane

whatever it is we remember
we’ll remember this
that once we were happy
and we held on to some sort of belief
in something beyond our bedroom walls
we once strained against the glass
that looked out onto the world
and we hoped for magical nights
when the air was warm but the wind was cool
when we gathered with friends underneath Christmas lights
that sparkled
even though it wasn’t Christmas

whatever it is we remember
we’ll remember a time
when we were young and beautiful
the world bowed to us
everything was possible, attainable
everything could be measured by the span of our hands
we held the world in our palms and
swung high into the air

the stars pushed out above
the songs from our childhood
our singing was no longer a form of helplessness
we remembered that once we knew nothing
and we still don’t
at least, at least
we are no longer afraid
at least we are full of wonder still
and the lights that glittered on that patio
that night
in that city we called home

we remember we loved and were loved
and all of it meant something
if only for a little while
if only for a brief moment
and we’ll remember nights
when time was within our grasp
but we lost it all the same
we spoke in fake British accents
in 24-hour phở restaurants
we held on to some kind of freedom
that was fleeting but we held on nonetheless

what we know now is this:
we’ll always be okay
we are sometimes surprised when
we hear our voices lifted above the tumult of noises
the traffic careening down streets that led to places
we thought we would never see
but stepping out into the street the wind lifts
our hair sticks to our lips
our bodies are nothing more than
air and dust and bone and breath

what we are we know
this will always last for us
what we know is time will stand still for us
but we wander nonetheless
we wander nonetheless

(August 2015)