Recorded by Mike McGee. Produced by Mike McGee and Garret Potter
When I reach my end,
short on time and breathe
only enough strength
to utter one final phrase,
I want to know it before I have to.
I only wanted intimacy.
(that's) Nine syllables, nineteen letters, three spaces,
No. (Backspace). Not yet.
Around one year of age, I first learned to speak,
Brain signaled nervous system,
stimulating heart to send oxygen filled blood through lungs,
to exhale carbon dioxide past vocal chords
creating volume to travel through nasal passages and mouth,
maneuvered by jaw, lips, tongue, and cheeks
to enunciate sounds with meaning--
And when I murmured that first noun,
—a word almost synonymous with intimacy—
it served as a means to most any necessary end;
but not quite enough,
so I like you was forced to acquire more of these
so vitally narrowing the scope of my emotions into messages
"Carry me!" or "Hold me!"
that one is two syllables, six letters, one space, one exclamation
requiring use of breath up the back roof of mouth,
opened wide, then lowered down into rounded cheeks and diaphragm exhalation,
quick touch of tongue to roof
then gums above front teeth,
(with a) momentary pause…
closing mouth, sealing lips,
exhaling air past vocal chords to exit the nose at first
before thrusting open lips in forward motion,
then quickly transferring friction to upper throat
and back roof of mouth,
lowering bottom teeth
all to utter: "H o l d - M e !"
and yet so much easier to understand
than all my wordless cries before.
I cried for intimacy.
Each of us cries differently:
releasing tears, mucus, saliva, and sound
in vocal, facial, and bodily eruption--
a response to a mind overloaded.
The first time I felt pain, I cried;
sensed hunger, I cried;
felt lonely, I cried.
Someone told me "no" and I understood what that meant; I cried.
Someone called me stupid,
and their expression was understood as a question of my intellect and esteem; I cried.
My brother kung-fu kicked me in the still forming testicles, I cried.
A girl (named)/Jennifer expressed her lack of romantic sentiments toward me; I cried.
I took the leap from all that I knew into the cloud of unknowing
to express faith in God, I cried;
I saw Oregon (in the Spring time, with my own eyes); I cried.
My friend Greg died; I cried.
I studied ancient religious history
and told God I could no longer believe and practice the common form(s) of religion; I cried.
I had sex for the first time,
with one person, uncertain if in love,
yet sharing innumerable expressions of intimacy; I cried.
I admitted and apologized for my lack of chivalry; I cried.
(Sometimes) I choose to pray,
in the name of a God
whose story of sacrificial love I do not know existed in history; and I cry.
And it is possible that here, now, recounting these overwhelming moments, I might cry.
I cry for intimacy.
I cry without it.
I cry overwhelmed in it.
Intimacy is my cry.
But if I only get to tell you one final phrase
it will not be (that) I only wanted intimacy.
I want intimacy. No.
I have intimacy. No.
Love is what I have. No.
Love is what I need. No.
Here…I…am. Love me. No.
I could ever need to tell you,
Garret Potter has come from nine states and Japan to find himself a familiar name in the international Poetry Slam
community. He is cursed with consideration which he has learned to turn into gifts: heart-pounding, mind-delving inquiries and observations on vulnerability, community, and sustainability—poems. He likes moments with new people, movies, and food, old friends, books, bikes, and forests...more