All posts by Paul Ransom

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.

Love letter # 599

It was just one kiss. Polite, not passionate. Yet your lips lingered a little longer – or did they? Now I can’t tell; though I do hope. My pulse is quickened, my judgement blurred. I’d play it cool if I had any left. Instead, what I have is the memory of taste. The echo of sensation. As though a storm had passed, the earth still slick with heavy scented potential. The air abuzz with the promise of flowers. On this I shall sleep, perhaps to wake in a world I have dreamt.

Love letter # 355

Now, with all these years between, it finally becomes clear why I was drawn to you and why my actions were misguided. You had a fire in you; and so did I. But I tried to smother mine.

Was it because I thought that’s what you wanted – an anchor of sorts? A counterpoint? Someone to stand between you and them. To provide cover. Or rather, was it that I was scared? Not of you, my love, but of the flames? Of what might burn?

Yet really, asking all this, I know. The truth was always in me; it’s just that I tried to heal it with lies. Until the walls got so cracked. Until the drone of all those people who insisted they had our best interests at heart became unbearable.

It looked like an explosion to them – but only because they never bothered to notice the smoke.

Meanwhile, in our separate yet equally destructive ways, we torched it all. Even us. That pretty fucking picture, that zombie suburban act. (I could not have admitted this previously; but we broke up to stop them keeping us in their specimen jar. Your fire needed oxygen, mine gasped for all manner of tinder.) It could have been different though, couldn’t it? If I had kept my promise and let you fan my flame.

Knowing this now doesn’t change much. It might even seem hollow. It’s just that I’m almost certain that the fire they tried to put out still lights your world – and still threatens to incinerate theirs. Mine is ablaze too. Wild engine. Warm hearth. Dancing in your likeness.

Yeah – it is too late. Far too fucking late. But honey does it burn.

If we might still mend it with kindness

Already, it has begun. The slow uncoupling. The incremental shifting of orbit. The quiet cellaring of doubts – earmarked as likely ammunition. Yet I wonder if we might still mend it with kindness.

For not so long ago we were a kind, as though we had reached across the unbridgeable gulf between souls and seen – and felt and known – the fragile light of another. In the nearness of you the briefly flickering flame of being had unveiled the breathtaking paradox of its beauty; and in that mirror we saw. We became. And there we beheld the inexorable river of our unbecoming. And we were like stars, inventing time with fire. Yet even though, in secret unwhispered thoughts, we sensed the broken symmetry, I wonder if we might still mend it with kindness.

I note, beneath the outward signs, the tiny pauses, the gaze turned away. I hear the breath as it catches. Sense the minute evasions that will expand into lies. The first flakes of rust on the sheen. I know, as does the sea, where the scent of rain will end. Because today’s little differences, left to ache, will grow into next year’s war. Words misheard will morph into another language and we will cease to listen; and then we will be strangers once more. No longer a kind.

It’s happening now. Can you tell? Forms of forgetting. Incidental reductions. Habits and edits. The subtle myopia of names. The blurring out of humanity. But is it too late? Are we just actors in a theatre of divide and demise?

The crack may be a hairline today. We could laugh it off. Pretend we haven’t noticed. Or maybe, we might still mend it kindness.

Love letter # 934

Nothing is permanent; not even the arc of your love.

I realise that the gap between elation and despair is the downcast eye – a slip of the tongue, a new arrival, a chorus in a minor key. Perhaps just…hesitation. Dust, once stirred, will never settle back exactly. Even the stars are shifting.

I look at you now and know this; and if I am wont to dread I bite my lip. Breathe. In a beat or two this wave will crash from trepidation to thankfulness. We are still here, still us, and in this moment I remember why I will never take you for granted again.