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"A Working List of Things I Will Never Tell You"
Jon Sands

When I said I wasn’t with another girl
the January after we fell in love for the 3rd time,
it’s because it wasn’t actual sex.

In the February that began our radio silence,
it was actual sex. I hate the tight shirts
that go below your waistline.

Not only do they make you look too young,
but then your torso is a giraffe’s neck attached to tiny legs.
I screamed at myself in the subway

for writing poems about you still.
I made a scene. I think about you almost
each morning, and roughly every five days, I still

believe you’re there.
I still masturbate to you.
When we got really bad,

I would put another coat of mop water on the floor of the bar
to make sure you were asleep when I got to my side of the bed.
You are the only person to whom I’ve lied, knowing

I was telling the truth. I miss the way your neck
wraps around my face like a cave we are both lost in.
I remember when you said being with me

is like being alone with company.
My friend Sarah wrote a poem about pink ponies.
I’m scared you’re my pink pony.

Hers is dead. It is really sad. You’re not dead.
You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever.
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.
I mourn like you’re dead. If you had asked me to stay,

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.

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Comments

( 35 comments — Leave a comment )
clzair
Nov. 19th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
wow, this poem made me incredibly sad at the end.
backtograce
Nov. 19th, 2009 05:11 am (UTC)
:(
sarisynn
Nov. 19th, 2009 05:32 am (UTC)
I'm kind of stunned by the relevancy of this poem to my life right now. (Relevancy's a word, right? I guess it is now.) As I started reading I was just thinking "Oh, well, it's a break-up poem. A well-worded break-up poem, but a break-up poem nonetheless."

And then this line "You live in Ohio, or Washington, or Wherever." I just broke up with my boyfriend and moved to Ohio. From Washington.

This poem kind of gives me the shivers. I love/hate when things hit so close to home.
jeweledhibiscus
Nov. 19th, 2009 06:17 am (UTC)
"relevancy" is totally a word :)
kimmehcat
Nov. 19th, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean. When you find a poem that seems to fit you down to the very details, its an amazing, yet frightening thing.
gethenian
Nov. 19th, 2009 05:34 am (UTC)
You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.


That is one of those magical, astounding lines that could be a poem in and of itself.
famousdeaths
Nov. 19th, 2009 06:11 am (UTC)
Yep. That line gave me chills.
conqueror49worm
Nov. 19th, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
Same.
367thday
Nov. 19th, 2009 05:46 pm (UTC)
it is the line that struck me most also.
leejean
Nov. 19th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
It's stunning
lumiere_bleue
Nov. 19th, 2009 05:50 am (UTC)
Wow.
kaberett
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:35 am (UTC)
Hmm. I first read this as talking about a lesbian relationship, and I think I liked it better that way; not just because there is insufficient queer poetry in my life (my fault, I know!) but also because I seem to find his use of the word "girl" quite creepy (no, she is in ADULT, and *particularly* if you're complaining about her "looking too young"... though yes, I know this would apply more-or-less equally if it were a woman doing it).

In any case, yes, it is breath-taking. Thank you for sharing.
foletry
Nov. 22nd, 2011 05:43 pm (UTC)
yes!
tulips_and_lace
Nov. 19th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
I feel like I've read this before, but I don't think I have. It's weird. The title, and the shadow line...seem so familiar. Oh well. It's lovely anyways.
yuvia
Nov. 19th, 2009 01:06 pm (UTC)
I love it. Like one of those imperfect but complete and beautiful at time things you find sometimes and... just make you feel...you love them.
I LOVE it.
chaosbydesign
Nov. 19th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
i can relate to certain lines in this poem... and not others. The ones I can relate to, though, are painfully relevant.

wow.
cutepinkkitty
Nov. 19th, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
This hit too close to home. Ouch.
buymeaclue
Nov. 19th, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
This. Ow. (Thank you.)
finishingschool
Nov. 19th, 2009 02:35 pm (UTC)
I just broke up with my boyfriend, too, and this made me so sad.

:(
amnotcute
Nov. 19th, 2009 03:35 pm (UTC)
Oh wow. This is amazing. Thank you.
makemeapologise
Nov. 19th, 2009 06:11 pm (UTC)
like everyone else, this was amazing. speaks right to the heart.
kimmehcat
Nov. 19th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)

I have a growing queue of things I know
will make you laugh and I don’t know where to put them.


That I can relate to.
klaen
Nov. 19th, 2009 10:31 pm (UTC)
I read this poem a few weeks ago for the first time and this wasn't what I related to; now it is. I feel you, for certain.
alzzers
Nov. 20th, 2009 12:10 am (UTC)
I love how complex and confusing the end is. This is my favorite though:

You are a shadow my body leaves on other girls.
coughtupbydeath
Nov. 20th, 2009 12:53 am (UTC)
Wow...just, wow.
stargirl0
Nov. 20th, 2009 03:08 am (UTC)
I think this might be the poem I've been trying to write. Finding it is both exhilarating and disappointing.
(Damn you, Jon Sands...)
inmyth
Nov. 20th, 2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
I found this poem a month ago when going through a rocky relationship. She asked me to say and;

I would not have said no.
It would never mean yes.


I didn't say no, which is probably why it ended the way it did just a month later. I didn't mean yes.

This poem makes me ache.
crazedazed13
Nov. 24th, 2009 08:59 pm (UTC)
Gosh, what everyone else said. I feel like the overall emotion of this poem is how I've been feeling lately and struggling to express to other people. I feel like I mourn everyone I lose as if they're dead... This poem has a few wonderful lines.
nice_poptarts
Jan. 13th, 2012 04:50 am (UTC)
This poem made me cry. It's a combination of the stark reality it portrays.. so relatable.. yet not mundane.. and the Otis Redding I'm listening to..
asdfmatt
Apr. 6th, 2012 06:31 pm (UTC)
I see it as a case of when you know you shouldn't be going back into a certain bad behavior "after we fell in love for the third time" and i can relate to this it hits very close to home. i have the bad habit of seeing my ex's and it isn't necessarily "about the sex." "i would not have said no./It would never mean yes." It is sealing the deal--buying the wrong one that drink, telling yourself that it is actually a good idea when it is not.
Terry O'Connor
Apr. 16th, 2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
Very much enjoyed. Touch of sleazy Bukowski to it, but more vulnerable.
iLady_B
Apr. 17th, 2012 11:42 am (UTC)
hey there,
This might be odd or unexpected. But i literally 'stumbled-upon' ur poem last night
& it moved me to the point where i wrote a reply, almost wearing the character of the woman
in your poem.

I hope you don't get it the wrong way, & i hope it doesn't offend you that i wrote on her behalf, but i felt she
needed to response & here's what i wrote
http://iladyb.blogspot.com/2012/04/working-list-of-things-i-will-never-be.html
exceptindreams
Apr. 18th, 2012 01:30 am (UTC)
Indeed, unexpected but not unwelcome. Thank you for the link to the poem. I loved it. I must clarify though, I am not Jon Sands. I merely posted his poem here to share it with my readers, so I have no reason to be offended. Honestly, I don't think he'd be offended either. I think he'd be honored that his poem moved you so much that you had to respond (and that you did so in such a unique manner.) Thanks again, and feel free to comment to any of the other posts.
goose_wobble
Jul. 17th, 2013 07:43 pm (UTC)
I've had this poem bookmarked on my phone for over a year and read it occasionally. It brings me nearly to tears still, every single time. I wish I'd written this. So great.
exceptindreams
Jul. 22nd, 2013 02:00 am (UTC)
I do too. There is just such truth in this poem and not universal truth, but the personal truths that are hard to bear and yet important to recognize.
( 35 comments — Leave a comment )

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