What the tweet could not fit – for Tyler

What the tweet could not fit – for Tyler

A powerful piece about the suicide of Tyler Clementi whose roommate secretly filmed him with another boy and posted the film on-line in 2010. The exposure led to Clementi’s suicide.

The first weeks of school the sourness
of his sheets crowded our whole room.
I could smell them from my side.
He left his eyebrow
hairs like lonely commas in our sink.
I tried to ignore him. I tried.
He pawed at my cake, at the wax droplets and all,
stole the day off “Birthday.”
My mom made my favorite,
drove hours to give it to me.
I’d have given him a piece if he’d asked.
If he’d just asked, I might have even said
Sure, you can film me, whatever.
The steady green light,
a part of me knew.
End of summer, end of home.
Mom drove me to every major bridge in this city
so I could pretend I’d become
an engineer, an architect, some day.
Now I search for handholds that aren’t crusted with birdshit.
This bridge trembles, arches up to midnight.
Mom remains amidst this crisp metal.
Rust in my mouth that whole last day.
Trucks rattle across the sky.
This city fans out before me, tenses my legs
as if to stop the wind from pushing me
into what I already want to do.
Heat mirages hover by the bridge’s entrance.
Summer’s gone. You can smell it on the wind.
If he wanted to film me he could have asked.
I killed that second time.
The first step into the singing wind
I’ll become a dove in the updraft,
a flash of iridescence, pigeon purple,
my sneakers, seagull white.

Will I drown first, my ribs accordioning into themselves?
Or will pylons impale me?
I only ever wanted to hold another boy,
to feel his life pump into mine.
He didn’t even own a razor,
chin softer than this clanging wind.
Now he and I have gone viral,
so many hits per day.
How many hits until you’re dead?
How many moments until I become
the breath of this wind, the roll of that whitecap?
How many seconds before I turn into
this flickering green, that taste of city light
and not just the boy on the bridge
into the air.

By A.M. Shaugnessy