You’re not a bad man. You’re full of potential. There are moments when you feel like you have a power inside, that with each cell-border flex or capillary pulse the universe finds its permission to be real.
There are orange lights in the distance. There is petrol in the car.
But don’t sink into these connections. Instead, think about seeing her again, how wet she gets. Use the memory of those sky-reflecting eyes to trigger strong pulses. You have the potential to bring the ocean under control. You could teach clouds how to fill and gather.
Perhaps with this one you can finally be sated. Keep at the brim. Find some peace.
Pull back and readjust. It’s not working, because you are not a cloud, an ocean. She has ordered a lemonade and you were hoping for something warmer, perhaps leading to a tipsy kiss in this loud-cornered place.
Hold your focus. Nothing is happening, but that’s fine. Remember this is a numbers game, where the left hand holds the promise. Think engagement rings. Or don’t. Just keep your eyes limited to one side of the page, and always remember how equations love to be filled, to balance like flower pots on a windowsill—and with just as much tragedy if you make a mistake. Broken heads for the baby walkers, pushchairs in the road.
Gravity helps. Gravity is another of your pulse-gifts to the universe, as are mass and acceleration. Apply them all here, because water isn’t working. Just bend your head to glance down her dress. Understand why she is wearing a black lace push-up. She has weight and direction, knows which way to go when walking to the ladies.
You could be like her and keep your promises. Be a body made of water, a mindful mass accepting flow across equations, balancing in heels, left to right, waiting to dance. Prettily impatient with potential.
You’re not a bad man. In all probability, you would be an excellent man if not for the transfer of expectation. Potential is, after all, a map with an x, bringing its myth of golden chain mail, links of gleaming connection, heat-hammered and worn by warrior horses. Or so they say.
But once you set out to dig you invite disappointment, chances of cave-ins or theft. Of someone else getting hurt, which is unacceptable. You know this is your last opportunity to be a good man, so message her back about Saturday’s walk.
Sit on the plan. Examine the markings daily, if you must, but then replace the map under the cushion, its existence pushed to the back of your mind. You don’t need another action. You can let the horses sleep for a few centuries more, far over in their left-hand field.
You’re not a bad man. Between the moments you must control the universe, you are capable of giving pleasure, perhaps chasing with a dropped glove, or offering a hand for a pushchair on the bus. You can admire the flower pots, the horses. There is petrol in the car, and yes, before you turn the key you sit there and consider potential, but isn't that enough? It’s not like you imagine a spark, or dream about some a hose-tip match giving permission to the universe.
You are doing everything right. Keep contained, like a potted plant, a paddocked horse. Be a buried cavern, cool and damp, where soft-slither shapes and scuttlers escape the desert’s fire.
You’re not a bad man, but the snip of her lighter made you want to slap her face. It was easy to sit upon this potential. She might cry, and such small water won’t do any good when there is petrol in the car, pushchairs in the road.
You need a new expression.
She is sitting to your left. The smoke from her cigarette turns the air into a ruined mesh, bringing the taste of chemical consumption into your mouth. There is still some heat among the embers. You push your finger into the wet hole between her lips. It’s warm in there, but, you decide, not enough potential.
She crushes out her cigarette, leans in for a kiss. Her mouth is a flower. If you had hit her, she would now be wearing your bloom upon her cheek. Perhaps blood, if you had caught her teeth. When you touch her tongue with yours she shivers, and again you want to strike her. But what would be the point? Only your bruises have power, can serve as the entry-point for some new universe. Everyone else is just darkness, waiting for permission to be real.
You’re not a bad man, but you’re a bad man sometimes. The firework through the letterbox. The petrol from the car, enflaming.
This was always going to happen. In one explosive moment the universe forces you into being, where pulsing cells breach the borders of capillaries. It’s not your fault. No one mentioned that equations sometimes work in this direction, or explained that what gets pumped in can be syphoned out.
There is some pity for small water and regret for a limited bloom, but it’s not the end of the universe. Skin was only made to feel. In the end, she wasn’t so hot. Wasn’t too wet to burn.