We Didn’t Use Our Words – Poetry by Vance Walker

George Frederick Watts – Happy Warrior

Not so long ago
(two or three decades)
we were different people
and we didn’t use our words

We used happenstance—
me near you you near me
we near we
We didn’t use our words and say I want to be close to you

We used plans—
I plan on going there
knowing your plan is to be there
We didn’t use our words and say I want to be where you are

We used rapport—
yes, I want pancakes too
no butter too
We didn’t use our words and say just admit deep down we both want the same thing

We used visuals—
this is my favorite
part of the body
We didn’t use our words and say look here I want you to look at my body
(I hope it turns you on)

We hinted—
skinny dipping is so fun
and this amazingly freeing feeling
We didn’t use our words and say how amazing it would be to be naked with you

We pretended—
what do you want to do
with a girl?
We didn’t use our words and say but what I really want is to do that with you

We disrobed—
maybe the sight of bare skin
might inspire
what we cannot use our words to say or even hint at or plan for

Maybe the act alone
the act of taking off a shirt
might be the seed of an idea
watered by sweat

Maybe your sweat
might catch the sunlight just so
shimmering to lure
my peripheral vision

Maybe in my peripheral vision
I see the first move
triggering an instant and considerable rise
in heartbeat

Maybe not a first move
at all
could be reflex
or simple subconscious scratch

Maybe if I wait
another first move
will come
clarity will ensue

Maybe you are waiting
for my reaction
I give none
but it is not rejection!

I am paralyzed
with fear and uncertainty

I cannot make the first move
I cannot apparently make the second either

Reflex be bolder!
Simple subconscious scratch rise to consciousness!

You must make all the moves
first second third fourth

all of the moves until there is no doubt
since we cannot use our words

Words could remove ambiguity
Words could claim itch or scratch or bona fide move

That move, actual or imagined
slight or morphed enormous by desire and time

Remains fodder, bank, heartbeat riser, comfort
comfort like the comfort of a touch of a long-lost


About the Poet

Vance Walker has been writing since grade school. His long poem to his mother, DEAR MOM, WHO NEVER RAN SCREAMING FOR THE HILLS, was published in the UPDATE, and the upcoming issue of the Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide will include his poem, THINK OF HIM, AGAIN. 

For the first time in nearly five years, Vita Brevis is closed for submission. Read the full story here.

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