Love letter # 446

I try not to look, even though I can; though you make it easy.

Are you unconscious of your beauty or are you aware that the sight of you is unravelling? Is this display of skin and form and flickering gesture an act, a game, or is it simply you? Am I meant to respond, to be nearly out of breath, or is it a trap? Will I be the next sexist – the umpteenth objectifier – or merely an arsonist’s blazing victory? The cinders of a smiling routine. Notch in your belt of suckers.

I ask all this because of the times; because of all the other stuff that gets in the way. And because I’m scared. Terrified this will blow off my hands, reduce me once more to a wreck. Once it was easy to desire – now it is like teetering on an edge. Love and hunger and deep fascination used to come naturally, as from a spring to a river to a welcoming sea. Today they are queered by memory and caution, tangled up in politeness and politics. Now I am paralysed, perhaps crucified – for I have marvelled at your beauty and swooned to the swish of your passing. I have even dreamt. Daringly so.

Yet here now, with these words, my biggest risk. You will read this and, shortly thereafter, I will have my answer. Tomorrow I will see it in your eyes, or worse, in quiet withdrawal. Or you will astound me, and I won’t feel so clamorous and exposed for writing.

Love letter # 427

A stray thought. Years stretch out, a yawn of time. You were eighteen then – and I was a fool. Together, we had little to no idea about anything. And yet, the soft landing of tenderness, like tentative footprints in powdery sand, has left its dusted outline. The shape of desire. Of youthful intoxication. Of misplaced hope. And of the ticking…incremental, inexorable. The brutality of memory. The mercy of forgetting. All this and more; wrapped up in the beauty of echoes. Like a faintly resounding bell, whispering in waves, having traversed an ocean to get here.

Love letter # 354

Time may well erode my memory of you but not how I remember. I have already forgotten the sound of your voice, the curve of your waist, the scent of your freshly washed skin. In truth, I can barely picture you now, let alone recall the soft weight of your touch. The factual traces are scarce. Only the bias of tenderness remains.

Is it an illusion to think of you thus? The common folly of nostalgia – the edge and the grit worn smooth – edited by years and foolish yearnings? Indeed, to think of you at all, with even a scintilla of fondness, maybe regarded as a form of poetic madness. Yet what beauty lives inside this wistful distemper. What subtle glory dwells in the act of blurred futility. For sometimes it is the knave who stumbles, lost and longing, upon the unlikely nook where treasure lies – disguised, yet still able to catch a sparkle of the remnant light.

Love letter # 413

It’s like one of those Phil Spector, Wall of Sound, girl group songs. Rapturous, romantic, almost innocent. Such an intense swoon. An immense wave of light headed ecstasy. Heart like those crashing drums, blood buzzed with overwhelming electricity. I could dance all night. Maybe forever. As long as you are near.

So yeah – that’s what it feels like with you. Like leaves will never fall and fanciful dreams turn out true. As if, in the blink between the blissed out beats, nothing is beyond us – and we are young again and everything is laid out plain as day, all the while the sweet songs play. For we are like the needle poised, ready to spin and soar and be alive.

Love letter # 535

This is how I feel in the realm of your beauty: liquid, vulnerable, naked, hungry, alone. For you are beautiful and I am not. Next to you, I am a million miles from your touch. In your wake, I walk the desert of your affection, and with each word the silence thickens. Yet none of this is your fault – merely the accidental making of your gaze as it passes right through me, an arrow arcing elsewhere.

This is what it is to be in exile. To see and hear, to inhale the atoms of your scent, and yet know nothing; except that desire is spawned in pretty flickers and love in chemical rivers. Both given and withheld without recourse to appeal or evidence. With brute appraisal. And of course, I am as guilty as you. For to long for the lovely mirage is to be drenched in thirst.

You see, we do have something in common, after all.

Love letter # 412

I write this to have it said. To give it the shape of language. Tomorrow I may think it mere venting but today I am impelled. Emboldened by your absence; or rather, by the ways in which I have lately been reminded of you. The circles around me, the orbiting others, the noises they make, the poses they strike.

They are not you – perhaps this is the nub of it. They don’t have your eyes. Your truthful voice, your subtle knowing. Theirs is a show, something they don’t mean. Words are just that – sounds with no follow through. Their spectacle of kindness is an act of violence in disguise. They approximate the rituals of understanding, but it is little more than pity, or worse, control.

I speak with them, nod and smile, raise my glass and wonder where you are. Knowing you’re not anywhere. And that I am truly nowhere with you. For here is a shell of a place.

So I walk with the marionettes, acting in their drama. The empty performance of time filling. Motion as distraction. The gestures, the lies, the denial. And so it goes. On and on. Thinking impossible things. Knowing it could have gone another way…but it didn’t.

This then, the outcome. Result of our choosing. We thought we knew better. Turns out not. Yes, this is why I write. The intolerable scourge of mirrors. No, these are not angel wings, just the dust of costume. The plain mask of skin, obscuring the reality of blood.

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