Jason Purcell

Posts tagged with “prose”

the distance

Don’t go yet, you’ve left too much behind. You left the scent of your skin on the sheets, the phantom feeling of your fingertips on my hand. Twice already I’ve turned to speak to you without you being there. My eyes are searching for you around corners and behind doors and even though I know you won’t be there, I hope you will be. You’ve gone from my home for a little while, taking my heart with you and I long to hold you again for a little while longer, kiss you just ten more times, only twenty more times, whisper things, “I love you,” and, “please don’t go.”

on understanding

Perhaps the saddest thing is that all of the things that stir inside me are unable to be transferred to you. For example, this song I’m listening to is not just a song, because inside the guitar and the timbre of her voice are whole memories, entire geographies and ages that don’t exist anywhere but within me. I could take you to these places and point and tell you that it was here that this happened, and this is where I felt this way, but the air was stranger then, the trees held different leaves. I was different. The buildings are unchanged, except maybe worn down in places unnoticed. The trees are growing older and taller. The squirrels run. And this is a whole world, it’s one of mine, and even if I try to share it with you, there will always be the gap between us, the place where we breathe in and out, and the parts of me that I want to share will only blow away on their way from me to you. I want to find a way to explain to you or make you feel the things that I feel at times, when I am aware of my heart inside my chest, so fine, an unmissable and precise thread from the core of me to all of my fingers. I want you to know the parts of me that make me quiet and want to be alone, that make me love autumn when the weather turns cold. It is a place I am lonely inside. I can play you a song and search your eyes and wait but it’s not for you to understand, just as I could never understand the inner universe of you. But we try, and I suppose that is more than enough.


If you deconstruct these buildings then it is possible to begin to understand. Through this window I’m watching them tear the street up, huge shards of concrete breaking off, plates colliding, mountains forming. There are roots under there. And I am shocked to be shocked. What did I expect to be under the street? This is the earth we caged, after all, roads all over, linking like chains. If the earth is pulsing, it’s too faint to feel. The roots are there unmoving, never expecting to see the sun. But here it is, a break in the chain, a temporary removal and a return to the world this used to be - all earth, seas of grass, a forest wall. I know there used to be bison here, and this was Cree land, and maybe they exist still under this city, but who can say?

sunday, 12:56 pm, wanting october

It is July but it is cool and I have opened all the windows. The chilled air blows in one and out another, as though this house isn’t here at all, and I like the thought of that. It wasn’t always here, after all. Only twenty years ago there was marsh and grass here and the wind could blow freely, no obstructions, nothing to pass by.

It feels like October. The rain gentle and pitter-pattering against my window, the birds making their call from tree to tree - it is October, somewhere, if only inside of me. My heart believes it is October, my favourite month, and because of this I am happy. I am happy when the heat is gone and the air covers my skin and tells me I’m awake. It feels so clean and fresh and I am back inside my own mind where I am against trees and stone buildings. I want a slow walk in a light jacket. I don’t know everything yet. I am not settled.

Hush, little one, there is no hurry, no rush at all. Take your time. Good things will come.

my mind

This is all a great waking, a very long sunrise, welcome after the rain that woke the birds in the night and made them sing. This is leaves unfurling and leaves tucked in leaves. A glacier groaning, a sharp moving stone.

this is what she thinks of him

His hair is thick and coarse. I part it between my fingertips like branches, making and unmaking a maze. I twist it absently into tiny curves and I call it ivy, tree trunk, bird’s nest. He murmurs in his sleep.

why do i love you so?

It was inside the small kitchen inside the small red brick row house that we would dance. It must have seemed so small to them, with the corner dinette occupying so much of the kitchen, but I was a child and so to me it was perfect. There was only the three of us, my sister wasn’t even imagined yet. My father was thinner and my mother smiled more, their laughter bounced off the walls of our tiny home. There was a stereo on top of the fridge, and whenever it started to play our song, I was picked up and held between them and we three danced the whole song through in the small space, singing loudly and between laughter. (Oh girl, I’d be in trouble if you left me now.)

When does a child move from being a happy one to an unhappy one?

the sad intermission

Before the bed is made and before the boots are buckled; before the final look around the room that you now exist alone in (hadn’t you always?); before the bus is caught, before the plane has taken off, you can imagine you are with that person and nothing exists beyond the swimming of your imagination. You are in bed, on the beach, in the kitchen, in each other’s arms - isn’t that the only place that matters? Isn’t that the only place you want to be?

But your heart is like a numb little knock, saying, "Yes, I’m here. I feel things. Let me be warm on your words, your beautiful voice."

I don’t mean to say goodbye this way.


The morning will come with a hiss of steam and a deep gurgle from the coffee pot. Hello, love. It will be sunlight through the curtains, an open window and a chilly autumn morning and a car on the street outside. It will be my hands and yours. I will kiss you and you will make eggs and I will make oatmeal with honey and raisins. We will sit.

It will be autumn and we will walk through a park together in scarves that maybe I knitted for us. Apple green, rust, navy blue. I will carry a basket, filling it with pine cones and soft autumn leaves and twigs broken at the base of the trees. We will bring them home and fill our glass vases with them. We will buy small gourds.

Once home, we will begin to cook dinner. You will change while I finish up and I will change while you set the table. You will uncork the wine and turn the porch light on. Music will be playing and our friends will arrive and you will be mine, I will be yours, what will be our home.

You are not so different from me, but you are a man in your own way. I love you.