The Language Between Us
Diana Ruzova

Summer 2022
The artist-producer argument.

Can there be two artists?

art·ist /ˈärdəst/: A person who creates art.

I think we are going to drive each other crazy

Said one of us early on,

After sneaking glances between bites of turkey leg

During a joust at Medieval Times.

It’s fall in Los Angeles and I’m sick.

I’m rubbing eucalyptus balm on my chest.

I smell like a tree.

I want to write a book with that in it.

If I write a poem,

You can make it into a song.

Your poems, they’re not ready yet.

You tell me in an email.

A poem must be rewritten over

And over and over again you insist.

Like the songs you write.

Like all art.

Like life is rewritten each time we wake up,

Each time we are born.

I wake you up one morning with you in my mouth.

There are sun beams all around us in your basement bedroom.

You don’t like to be wanted this much, so I spit you out and go back to sleep.

You order escargot

At the French café by the bookstore where you work.

I think you’re trying to impress me.

This is the one place in LA that feels like Europe, or somewhere else

Until a celebrity like Fred Armisen walks by,

And I am reminded of where I grew up and why people move here.

The café is al fresco.

That cloud. So good. I think to myself.

The snails are slimy in my throat

Like I expected them to be.

Too much garlic, masking nothing.

You look like you wish you were anywhere else.

Back in Evanston helping your mom put the angel on top of the tree?

Back there,

At the café,

I wasn’t sure how it went.

You can see all I feel on my face.

I transition from expression to expression too quickly.

You don’t like this. I don’t like this.

I need to learn how to feel, inside.

A big heavy moon hangs in the sky.

Moon! I text you.

You don’t reply.

I am a cat that acts like a dog.

You are a dog.

Or are you a cat?

Perhaps I won’t know you well enough to ever find out.

I stand in a crowd at your show.

You sing and play guitar while I bop my body side to side.

I’m there to shake the metaphorical tambourine.

The flower-gardener argument.

Sometimes you are the flower.

Sometimes you are the gardener.

But can there be two flowers?

It smells like blooming night jasmine outside.

What's jasmine? you ask, the Midwest still on your teeth.

Walk me to my car and I'll show you.

Our shoulders rub against each other,

As we try to dodge the heaps of trash.

No Dumping the signs says,

But no one listens.

Did you know Saturn has 82 moons?

I say, desperately trying to make it work.

The divine symmetry of a circle.

The distance between us is round.

Like the rings of a tree.

Like the edges of the moon.

Maybe we’ve met before?

And are chasing one another like a dog chases its tail.

Maybe you’re right?  Maybe my poems are not ready yet?

Occom’s Razor: the simplest solution is the right one.

Would you ever live here? you ask.

Me? I do live here. You?

Yeah, I could see myself living here alone with a dog.

Oh, I say leaning into the jasmine bush like that one Homer Simpson meme.
Suddenly I notice the smell.
The jasmine, alone, is somehow too sweet.

Monday Nov 5 2018