POEM: I wanted to be Ethan Hawke

I just watched Before Sunrise for the first time since I saw it in the theater in 1995. I haven’t really been able to watch it since then. I also watched Before Sunset for the first time. This is poem is a true story brought back to the surface by those two films.

I wanted to be Ethan Hawke

I walked out of the movie theater / that night in 1995 / holding in my insides / like I’d been gut-shot

the drive back to my apartment / took the rest of my life / trying to write the perfect line / that would make you leave Rochester / and join me in Tucson

I couldn’t see the road with your face / clouding my eyes / I drove like the old man / I was afraid I’d become without you

why did you call me every day? / what didn’t I say / that would have made you love me?

my little red journal couldn’t hold it all / couldn’t trap the longing / free me from that parking lot / where you held my hands in yours / said “we’ll see each other before you go, won’t we?”

my last night in town was in your bedroom / on your bed (an unfortunate preposition) / a cat between us, our hands touching

you were all I wanted / but I still had to leave, had to get out / had to find my own ground

I came to rest in the desert / but 3,000 miles of driving / didn’t do a damn thing to put you behind me

eventually the phone calls stopped / the longing subsided / but not the feeling of missed opportunity

there is no train platform on which to meet in six months / no sweet reunion movie nine years later

just one of those connections that didn’t quite take / a lost chance to make a new universe

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