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The Ex-Boyfriend Saga

by Amberlee Clark


 

Until Then Goodbye


Torn between wishing/
It had never happened/
And being glad it did.

-------------------------

I’m feeling rather grey again/
In this moment of devastation./
My devastation/
At almost falling in love/
Believing I could trust it /
That I would be safe/
If I placed my heart in your hands/

Oh god/

I wanted to fall in love/

With you/

----------------------------

Will there be another/
Who will treat me with care,/
Compassion, reverence, respect?/

The evidence suggests/
No/

I’m afraid I’m much safer/
Being Alone/

Again/

Default setting./

------------------------------

Fuck/

-----------------------------

I hate that I was right/
Because I knew it was coming/
I felt foreshadowing/
Twisting and crawling in my guts/
Telling me I had every reason to/
Be afraid/
That the other shoe had to drop/
And it was just a matter of time/
And the time was now/
And the time was probably wrong/
From the beginning/

Nothing is perfect/

-----------------------------

It will be a long time/
Before I start to fall in love again/

Because now that I know I can/
I will want it to be as good/
As we were/

I’ll want the next one to treat me/
As gently and kindly as you did/
I’ll want to be as good of friends with them/
As I was with you/

And that’s a ridiculous standard/
For anyone to live up to/

------------------------------

I had so many plans for us/

I wish I could make them realities

-----------------------------

I’ll see you someday/

Until then/

Goodbye

--------------------------

(I love you)

 

Leftover Gifts of a Dead Relationship



I must divorce myself from the gifts you gave me


Little tokens full of promises

Foregone

Linger in the space that you evacuated

The space in my life I carved out for you


Now I’m forced to reclaim my territory

But it’s a minefield of remnant reminders

Of the way things were supposed to be;

The birthday gifts and shared blankets

Of our past

Intended to ensure a bright future that

Died


I must purge your gifts of their meaning


When I encounter recollections

Attached to objects and phrases, movies and games

I will shoot them on sight


How can I survive?

If every time I turn around

I’m assaulted by what I wanted

And what I got instead?


When I pull the snuggie you gave me

Up around my shoulders at night

I shouldn’t have to think about how

I gave all of myself to you

And you regifted me


So I will execute each memory

And burn the bodies on a funeral pyre

So I can keep all my belongings

And leave the pieces of you behind

Smoldering


***


I must hold onto the lessons you taught me


But I must erase the instructor



Because you taught me I can be beautiful

Despite not being a classic beauty

And that all the little, unspeakable things

That hide in the shadowy corners of my mind

Don’t reduce me to a derelict thing


That I can find love that will help me to grow

And find joy in sharing my life with someone else

That even though it’s terrifying

It is possible to trust someone

Without being afraid that they’ll break you…


And I learned that even when the person

I want to open my whole heart to

Leaves a vacancy in my life

Riddled with memories and tokens of affection

In their absence


It won’t break me


If I can just adopt these lessons

And pretend I had known them all along

Then I can plant them in all that empty territory

You left me to retrieve

And let them root and bloom

Until all I find in your place

Is an endless overgrown field

Of my own making

That reminds me not of you

And all your gifts

But of the value inside of me


***


I must divorce myself from the gifts you gave me

I must purge them of their meaning

I must hunt down the memories and leave them no recourse

I must immolate them

I must keep your lessons and erase you from my heart


So I can wear that goddamn t-shirt you bought me

In Peace


 

Man of My Dreams


What were you doing in my dream last night?

Because last I checked

You weren’t the Man of my Dreams anymore


We were a stream that parted in the forest

And flowed in two different directions

Cascading along separate courses

On to new adventures

Apart


So why were you in my dream last night?


I thought the chapter on us

Was finished.

After all, I closed the book.

And I don’t need an epilogue


When you offered to keep your word

To take me to that damn museum

Because you knew I’d love it

I released you from your promise.

Because I knew our spark

Might be rekindled

And burn the whole place down


I really don’t want

The story of my life

To be a romance


Falling in love is lovely

But there is so much more to life

I have big plans and bigger dreams

That you are not a part of


So why the hell were you in my dream last night?


To be perfectly frank

Your little cameo was ridiculous

And made no sense at all.

It would honestly be funny

If I wasn’t so baffled by your presence


We don’t talk

We’re not even friends

I never bump up against memories of you

And feel that twinge of pain

Most days you don’t even enter my mind


When I do think of you,

I think of you fondly

Like looking at a picture

In a photo album

Worn with age

And brushed with nostalgia’s haze


But I don’t ever feel the need

To reach out

Feel the brush of your lips,

Pulse of your heart,

Or the hum of your voice.


I take comfort in myself now.


And wouldn’t it be so sad

To fall in love with you

All over again?

Wouldn’t that be just like

Walking backwards?


Having you in my dream

Feels like going in reverse


We split

And flowed in two directions

Our chapter in this book

Has closed

I can wear that t-shirt you got me

Without ever thinking of you


By all accounts

It’s over

And you are not

The Man of my Dreams


So I really don’t understand

What you were doing

In my dream last night.


 

The Crossroads of Nothing and You


So

Here I am

After all these years

At the crossroads of nothing

And you


Maybe the choice should be easy

But doubt keeps gnawing

Gnawing away at my heart

Nibbling on my mind

Eating me up from the inside out


It’s either nothing

Or it’s you


And by nothing I mean possibility

The possibility of a new love

With a new someone

With no shared history or shared memories

A clean, blank canvas


Maybe I can love them, this someone

Maybe they will make me feel

The way you did

(The way you do?)


But that’s just a possibility


And then there’s you

A real person with a shape and name

With a hand I can hold

And a face I can touch

And a kiss that still lights me on fire

Even after all this time apart


Now you offer me the same love

I just barely got a taste of

Served on a silver platter

And it would be so easy

So easy

To just eat my fill



But it’s you

You who broke my heart


I worked so hard to get past you

To move on And I did

I finally did

But somehow the path forward led me here


To the crossroads of nothing and you


I never thought I’d be here

Because I never thought I’d see you again

Let alone walk hand in hand with you

Down the street for everyone to see


Somehow we found our way back together


Is it romance? Is it retrograde?

Is there something to the nonsense

Those astrology bitches are always saying?

I wish I knew


What I do know is this:

If you were anyone else

I would have already fallen

Into your arms


Maybe all this time I’ve been searching for love

I’ve really just been searching for you


And maybe that’s just a cliché

And I would be better off

With all the possibility that nothing can bring


So

Here I am

After all these years

At the crossroads of nothing

And you


 


Amberlee Clark was born in Dallas, Texas, where she discovered she had a natural talent for writing at a young age. However it wasn't until her senior year of high school, when she participated in the Young DFW writers program, that she developed her voice as a poet. In 2016, she moved to Los Angeles to study acting and received her B.F.A. in 2019 from AMDA. Since graduating, Amberlee has become involved in multiple theatre companies around LA. Also Amberlee is the creator of Theatre of NOTE's poetry slam (NOTE Slam), which has helped her to make connections with poets from all over Los Angeles.






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