Not you



What lies between you and me,
is not you, nor me
but something like us,
not quite you perhaps,
but striving to be like you.

Like a centre is not a centre
because it has no centre,
you are dear to me
when you are outside yourself,
above, below, beside, all around yourself,
but not yourself.

You cannot just be just yourself all the time,
how ridiculous if it were so simple!
In fact, you are anything but,
you can be everything, anything I swear,
but not you.

Even when I have you in my arms,
I am quietly struggling to define you.
If there were no language to murder you
my dumbness could make you eternal, maybe
and not leave me content,
with everything which is not you.

What shame that I have to erase you,
stifle and drown you
in speechfall,
to find what is not you!

If I can’t find you,
I will have to derive you
from what is not you, but like you,
or rather, like what you were.
How can I find you
as if you were an image, born in stagnation,
when you are constantly moving?

You can be anything the next moment
and I wouldn’t know,
I wouldn’t know how you look,
what are you or will be,
for I am always arriving late,
when I recognise your perfume or the moment
I know you were here,
holding onto the traces,
I tell myself this was you.

Amidst this present which is everything not you,
you are a history I’m holding onto,
forever receding through erasure
and travelling backwards
through soft chronology,
to the moment which was you.

Maybe you are laughing at me now
and I don’t recognise you
for I don’t know you.

I can only say this was you,
but this is not you,
you are not here,
and when I recognise you,
you will be gone.

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