Poetry: A Conversation We Didn’t Have Yet

by: Mar Curran and Patrick Gill


Editor’s Note:  Mar Curran wrote a piece titled Things I Don’t Tell Patrick, after conversations with Patrick Gill about his experiences with a sexually abusive partner; inspired by both Mar’s work and their conversations, Patrick wrote a piece about his own experiences with a sexually abusive partners.  This is a conversation they have both had and not had.   Trigger warning for Intimate Partner Violence.  

Things I Don’t Tell Patrick 

Lake Michigan mid calf and stones supplementing spine, how I cried in the bed of the first boy who ever kissed me and you said you were sorry. The night on our first couch, my lips no longer in the curve of your shoulder blades heaving, the shame of saying I can reopen wounds like a self-made surgeon because bathroom visits in puberty taught me that flesh is just flesh and I have no heart worth more. The night on our second couch when I came to bed and told you nights apart meant I knew I was decrepit and you cried yourself to sleep; I just slept in. Wake me up before you leave, I stayed asleep for two years. This vena cava contortionist still works rooms, so I spent some time in bed. Walls are too thin for waterworks, so she told them I was unbearable as if I was something that needed to be born again. I worry I have been stolen from this birthing sack too soon and I never knew what it meant to tell someone no, but it took me two nights to write this and the tenses regarding love changed halfway through so I suppose I am growing into gunpowder now.

Things I Don’t Tell Mar 

That I said that I liked it, because no-stop-no couldn’t fit in my mouth anymore after a month of repetition;  especially after I told a friend that he used to say “If I stop now I won’t ever get off.” “If I stop now, you’ll never know how to do it right” and my friend agreed with him; maybe my inflection didn’t carry enough of my terror.  I don’t think we ever talked about that.  I don’t think I ever told him anything else.

That I just leaned in, that I got stoned enough to almost forget, before it came again, tidal, gently relentless, until the moment I was broken through; and when I could break back, how I thought, how I thought about a man back west who told me I was so beautiful and was so soft when he held me, even if we couldn’t have anything else I still had his narrow face whispering that to me.  You are such a good kisser, that soft man murmured.    I never told you that when  I could break back,  I did, with fury, with the sharpest hips, I probably told you that I stayed because his friends were so much nicer, how could someone cruel have such nice friends, but I know I never told you I wanted to scratch, to reach blood; I never did, but I never wanted that monstrous power.

That one of the reasons I wanted him, was for his snare-drum-tight stomach, one of the other reasons I stayed was that his body was such a source of envy and clout, he smoked so much more than I have  in my life, yet he never rounded out.  Never went to the gym, but he never rounded out.  Oh god, I see him, tight lines goatee firm skin, I see him, and I don’t even cry about it.  I always tell people I cry about it, I barely ever cry anymore.  I know we talked about that.

You can view Mar’s poem, and more here.

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