“More Than This,” a poem by Tim Carrier

Tim Carrier

More Than This

Yes, I liked it when we had abundance. Liked its love.

Like we were sitting up on the roof rolling thin white cigarettes, with a pale tobacco, very light on the fine white paper. Ryan climbing up to the long flat roof with a bag of Fritos. Karen in her faux-hide boots, with shining gold circles for buckles, & her white wine in one of the glasses she brought from L.A. in her little black Saab—floating up behind him.

Soft tarpaper in the evening & a little blanket in dark blue stripes.

The long sage & scrub running all the way up to the mountains & their little blue hills. The moon & there. The little boombox & Ryan sorting his cassettes in their plastic cases with the little insert covers he made from pages he cut out from Spin. Listening to Roxy Music & Yaz & there’s the old cottonwood next to the house, just hanging out.

We’d sit there for like two hours only feeling. I was there in a little landscape. Here’d come the summer planets & stars, & we’d map them from the Night Sky Program Chart in Karen’s star-book. Here’d come Orion the Three-Brother Star. Karen saying, It’s been stadium tours for a while now, I’m ready to play some small clubs. & Ryan rolling her cigarette, his real soft smile.

So lately, I think a lot about collective endings. Sorrow, loss, & hidden time, says my teacher. I’m not afraid to understand how I did everything I wanted but a long time later. Ryan, I’m not tired of me yet.

Once before you began to visit—driving out with Karen in the old black Saab, with a plastic bag of mixtapes—you said in a letter, It sounds so beautiful. But Tim, do you feel lonely? I roll a thin cigarette by the old copper tree, this is beautiful.

Mercury is appearing west of Jupiter, in the soft low rising line along the hills. This feels like Karen is exhaling. Little cedar lit by bronze.

Yes I did feel that, but Handsome, I was changing. Ryan, you have a clearer sound.

Tim Carrier is from St. Louis and lives in Los Angeles. He earned his MFA at the Institute of American Indian Arts (attending as a white/non-Native student). He’s been a Lambda Literary Fellow and a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and was awarded the Galway Kinnell Memorial Scholarship at the Community of Writers at _____ Valley. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals including Cordite Poetry Review, Foglifter, Hinchas de Poesía, The Offing, and Poetry Northwest.

Author statement: “Some readers (beloved ones!) of these new poems have asked, How do you feel writing about ‘love’ and more personal loss during this time of tremendous upheaval? That might not be totally true, I don’t know that anyone has actually asked me that, more imagined. It’s a question I’ve been asking myself and worrying that readers would wonder. It’s some guilt, except I realized some while back that guilt is only a veneer and a way to not feel. Shame is real, and is ok, because inside it is more love and we get there. Trusting the voice and where it goes is a good way for me. So mostly I feel grateful to be working on these poems. Audre Lorde says, ‘I feel, therefore I can be free.’ Poetry Is Not A Luxury! Radical love as a practice is awesome—but love was already radical in its nature a long time before we got here. I believe the reason we’re here as human people is to take care of one another, that’s what we’re fighting for. Feeling makes me readier for the fight.”

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