The Things I Carry

You spoke.
You went into yourself with the intention of excavaction.
You spoke.
You authored a verse that completely escaped dishonesty.
And for that, I carry you with me.

You taught me how to kick a soccer ball
and run on ice in funny shoes,
You called it skating,
You hugged me and sat outside my room till sleep finally came
insisting there was nothing worthy of my fear,
So I carry you with me.

We kissed, and you dismissed everything I knew
about my body or your body or what bodies tend to do together
I carry you with me.

I sat next to you,
and for the first time witnessed women raped,
and children burned to death
We watched a nation crumble
and found its pieces, red hot from its implosion
smoldering under our skin
So I carry you, with me.

It was with you that I first spoke with the infinite,
with you that my body became a temple,
With you that I found my knees and paid homage
to a king I would later divorce

Out of Minnesota forests
and lakesides stilled by ice
We began on our venture,
music besieged us,
and poetry laid ruin unto our senses,
We stood helpless in front of night skies
and speechless next to friends whom unlike kings
we could not divorce,
majesty was our currency, everywhere vast riches,
I watched you transcribe it all unto your skin,
I carry you with me.

It was you who declared it beautiful
all the life we have
in storms and fall winds
and the loneliness that lands us with pens and empty books
The stories that write themselves unto our tongues
that we may someday dare to speak them in a lanaguage
befitting of such fortune as this consciousness
I carry you with me

You told me angels had stolen
that which god left for us
and now our battle was no less than
the waking of our souls,
You breathed into me
a story none had heard
the glory of hope
stood atop the slow rot of greed
Honest love was your great rebellion
I carry you with me.

We romped through the houses haunted
by the thoughts we threw to exile
and plead with the spooks and shadows of our killed capacities
to rattle the walls of their purgatory
until their bodies took them back,
from each other's imaginations we cut away straightjackets
and kindled our torches with the padding on our restraints

You squeezed a handful of sand
till it stuck to your skin
and turned to the ocean
and cried quietly, "please, let me let this all in."

you take gulps of life,
handful by handful, with a million baskets you gather it,
it seems the soil's joy
just to grow for you
just to work and turn and open and reach out from the dark
to you
to trust the light
on the newness of your hands,
You leave yourself in those gardens
so I take you with me

"never reject such a gift as the sky with negligence"
you said
"and i must take you with me
so look with me now"
and i do
carry you, with me

somewhere in the gospels you were bled into emptiness
your veins abandoned their blood for the seeds of revolution
and now your outstretched hand yields not only hospitality
but forests from your forearms
from which the spirit of Christ invites,
"come and be, at peace with me, finally"
I carry you with me

it was with you that wine touched my lips
and the earth spoke
with the two of you
that i found myself
knelt before the distant and infinite night,
whose voice was so quiet
i pressed my ear to the earth,
so loud i was tempted to cower in the silent halls of self
but with you both
i emerged to listen fully to that wild darkness
and respond in kind
my own rebellion
and so i carry you with me

even as i crawl the lonely field
and stare down from cliffs the mountains have built to strand me,
as i walk city streets that smile blues and weep jazz
and holds the hearts of poets between papers in its hands
forever i will carry you with me

and know that now these people do too
that on their shoulders a piece of your goodness rests
with your spirit and your laughter
and the power of your life
to be bourne, rejoicing, into a thousand setting suns
a light the earth will carry
as I do, when
i carry you
i carry you,
i carry you, with me.


  1. erik, this is absolutely beautiful.

    i love "you leave yourself in those gardens." i love the entire piece, actually - but that line sticks with me.

    one of my favorite 'frases' en espanol is the line: "te llevo en mi corazon." ("i carry you in my heart.") i find there is something particularly beautiful about the language of carrying someone, or something, with you.

    we often think of "carrying" as negative weight, as a debt we have no choice but to carry... but *choosing* to carry something, and growing with and safeguarding that which we've chosen - carries the air of quiet strength, romanticism, appreciation, and love.

    thank you for providing me with a stunning piece to carry throughout my day - this is the first thing i've read this morning.

    i can't wait until you are the next anis/buddy/andrea! (but with your own estilo, of course) i hope its in your cards, erik. you leave people in awe with your craft.


  2. I'm re-reading this piece a year and a half later and my experience with it is different -- it's more complex, more holistic, more involved. For me, this is no longer a piece that's beautiful exclusively because of your imagery, or pacing, structure, or even the general feeling of tenderness that it evokes..

    I now find it even more beautiful because it feels so much more personal. Now when I read it, I imagine where you may have written it, at what hour of the night you might have started writing, and how your heart felt when you began. I find traces of old stories you've told me woven through your lines, and I now see to whom some of your stanzas are directed. The sky, the trees, the characters... they are so alive and I want to be with them all, in all of those moments, carrying everything with me.

  3. A beautiful piece, thank you for sharing. --Mitch