Andrea Gibson Just Takes Me

by Po, Editor-in-Chief
__________________________________________________________________________________________

NATIONAL POETRY MONTH
4/2 - Richard Siken Tells Me We'll Never Get Used To It, by Po, EIC
4/3 - William Carlos Williams: This Is Just To Say, by Layah, CD
4/4 - We Are All Writers On the Same Dreadful Typewriter 
as Allen Ginsberg, by Jenny, EE
4/5 - Pablo Neruda and the Quest for Surrender, by Elie, ME
4/6 - Let's Shake the Dust, Anis Mojgani, by Layah, CD
4/11 - Terrence Hayes, Kanye West, and How to Get Through Winter, 
by Elie, ME
4/12 - Sylvia Plath Died Before I Had Time, by Po, EIC 
4/16 - Billy Corgan Blinks With Fists, by Jenny, EE 
4/17 - Andrea Gibson Just Takes Me, by Po, EIC

I.
The night I first heard Andrea Gibson was the night I knew I was in love with you.

You had stopped feeling anything. It was the summer after your second stint in rehab. You didn’t know who you were. I didn’t know who I was, either, just that who you were was somehow inextricably linked to who I was. Who I wanted to be. I sent you “Photograph” and you called me three minutes later, crying about [redacted name of your ex-girlfriend]. My heart sank but I already had known the end of the story, of our story. I mean I thought I did, then. Who knows, now. Not me. Not you.

And I knew life would tremble
like the first tear on a prison guard’s unturned cheek
like a vet holding an empty bottle of whiskey
as if it were an empty gun in a war zone…
just take me / just take me
(-”Birthday,”)

Andrea Gibson knows the value of stories. And of human contact. “Can I hug you?” she asked me that time at [redacted establishment in NYC], when I was still living in New York, when I was still pretending to be okay and she had sat next to me earlier that night and I held my breath because I didn’t know what to say, if anything. I said no. I said I’m sorry. I said I don’t like physical contact. Ten minutes later I had tears streaming down my face and I asked for that hug. Andrea Gibson gives good hugs. The whole body.

How could I not cry? You were the first mile where my heart broke a sweat.

Just take me.

II.
The night you sent me Andrea Gibson’s book was the first night I actually understood the meaning of the word floored. We had broken up the day before and you overnighted it to my dorm, I got an email telling me I had a package and was confused since I hadn’t recently bought anything on Amazon. I ripped open the cardboard and there it was. A book. Not bootleg stolen mp3’s but a book. A real live book. I cried for how well you knew me already, even then. I cried for how real this suddenly was. I didn’t know people did this for each other in real life. Broke their hearts and then sent them their favorite poetry. Of course we got back together. You gave the best gifts. The best of all being you, of course. You, just being there. Trying to fill in the spaces.

Just take me.

III.
For three months I didn’t get out of bed. My heart hurt that much. I lay in bed and listened to Andrea Gibson. Over and over and over. When I moved out of that suite the only things I had in our shared kitchen were two bottles, vodka and tequila. There wasn’t one night I didn’t cry on the F train.

Just take me.

IV.

She was an anthem
I was a stadium full of patriots with their hands on their hearts
Honestly
My hand is still on my heart
As the fireworks announce the end of the game
and the colors of the sky chase the birds inside
Have you seen the nest they are building
from everything
we left behind
(-”The Last Poem I’ll Ever Write”)

How could she name a poem that? The Last Poem I’ll Ever Write.

We never know what poems we are going to write.

We never know what we’ll give up, how the days can seem like forever and then it’s six months since we last spoke. Sometimes during all those months I wanted to scream. Instead I was very very quiet.

Just take me.

V.
When I finally did meet Andrea Gibson I was starting to be okay. Her hug helped. Andrea Gibson always helps. She knows about sadness.

It’s two a.m.
The emergency room psychiatrist looks up from his clipboard
with eyes paid to care
and asks me if I see people who “aren’t really there.”
I say, “I see people…
how the hell am I supposed to know if they’re really there or not?”

He doesn’t laugh.
Neither do I.
The math’s not on my side,
ten stitches and one lie, “I swear I wasn’t trying to die,
I just wanted to see what my pulse looked like from the inside.”
(-”When The Bough Breaks”)

Andrea Gibson writes about things other than love, too. I should mention that. She writes about race and gender and addiction and rape, about the war in Iraq and the war in Vietnam and being burned alive for your sexuality.

And all they know of hate
Is that it couldn’t beat the love out of me.
That when they dropped me to the grave I fell
like a bucket into a well
and came up full,
carving my lover’s name into the skin of a weeping willow
that had spent its entire life laughing at the rain.

Hold me like a lantern.
Staircase my spine.

When they bring their children to my funeral to yell faggot at my dust, tell them:
I was born into this casket
(-”Ashes”)

VI.
There is no end to this article.

VII.
The truth is I’m still time zones away from who I was the day before we met. And I mean that for you, and you, and you, and you. Everyone I’ve ever met.

But I love you and you love me and this is a story.

This is a poem.

Just take me.

Learn more about Andrea Gibson on her website, here.
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Comments

  1. Beautiful piece. My favorite Andrea Gibson line has always been this one from “Maybe I Need You”:

    I loved you from our first date at the batting cages
    when I missed 23 balls in a row
    and you looked at me
    like I was a home run in the ninth inning of the world series

    Not sure why it stands out so much, but it always does.

    • oh hey i just saw this. yeah that’s a great poem. my favorite line from that is

      maybe i need you the way that big moon needs that open sea
      maybe i didn’t even know i was here until i saw you holding me

  2. Rebecca Kramer says:

    i just wrote a long comment and it got erased so eff this. Mainly i wanted to thank you for taking me to my first Andrea Gibson live performance where i heard my favorite poem “when the bough breaks”. I loved that hug, it was so pure and raw, and like your post, honest.

  3. Shoshana Margulis says:

    po,your honesty stuns me every time. keep being beautiful!

Trackbacks

  1. […] Died Before I Had Time, by Po, EIC  4/16 – Billy Corgan Blinks With Fists, by Jenny, EE 4/17 – Andrea Gibson Just Takes Me, by Po, EIC  4/18 – Famous Like Naomi Shihab Nye, by Po, EIC 4/19 – Tell Me What Is, Tadeusz […]

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SOME THINGS ABOUT US

LANDFILLS is a grassroots literary, arts and culture online collective based in Chicago. All work is original, except the featured images that accompany text posts (which are blatantly stolen from tumblr.com). Complaints should be directed to Po via Twitter.
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