Love letter # 584

I look around – pugilistic presidents and pitchfork mobs, demagogues and ideologues – and it seems easy to retreat. After all, humanity is just the latest apex predator awaiting immolation and extinction. Poking phones and pouring plastic into sea. Shopping till the sky caves in. Jamming up the cave with junk. Marketing the multi-coloured lobotomy of their own destruction. This year’s must-consume suicide smoothie! But then I look at you.

Then I watch your sway. Flick of your hair. Lustre of your skin. The blood warm magnetism of your sinewy sculpture. And I remember the taste of your heat on my tongue. The urgent power of your hunger. The crush of ecstatic release.

Here then is my haven. The valley after the peak. The quiet begat by maelstrom. The simple sanctuary of the gaze that truly sees. The uncluttered interstice, where beauty may be beheld and we ourselves may once again be beheld as beautiful.

For it is not the abstraction of a bipedal simian swarm that moves me – nor their shiny fetish objects and narrative fantasies – but the tensile strength of your hand. The bony twine of your fingers. This is why I’m still in the room. Because you are the proof.

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Love letter # 457

It was at a wedding. Ten years ago, I think. At some point that day I realised that I loved you; or at least, that my thoughts kept drifting back to you at every moment when I wasn’t directly engaged. I woke the next morning feeling empty, knowing what was missing. Not merely your presence, your closeness, your touch – but what those things represented.

Now I know what it means to be known. To be recognised, to belong. To see another and, in that unerring reflection, to gaze upon the truth of self. Sometimes I experience this as a kind of music; at others as a mode of silence – yet always as the humbling liberation of formless beauty. The freedom that lies beyond the restriction of names. The unity awaiting us outside of the empire of I.

There is no thanks I can either utter or scribe that can fully contain the wave of gratitude I feel when I ponder this hinge in my life. I think back to that wedding, to that time, and I picture you, just around the corner. Waiting for me to notice.

Love letter # 591

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why I’m emailing you again after all this time – but let me assure you I’m not after anything. I’m not looking to push any buttons or play silly emotional games. I just wanted to say that I dreamt about you last night.

It was a garage sale scene; me wandering in off the street to find you and boxes of your heavily discounted history. I picked my way through the jumble, looking for who knows what, and we chatted with such casual, unaffected ease that when I woke up I was awash with a kind of contentment.

And now, hours later, it’s still with me. Maybe the dream, and all its obvious symbolism of clearing out the clutter of the past, has swept a broom through me.

This afternoon at least I think of you and am at peace – only the gentlest, slow moving wave of calm love coruscating in my body. All dramas ceased. All conspiracies forgotten. All bleeding stopped. Just the vapour of your long distance loveliness, which I am breathing in as I write, and a sea of undiluted affection.

Nothing more.

Love letter # 372

It’s the glorious folly of it that attracts me. It’s because it isn’t strictly sensible or grounded in so-called reality, because the risks are so enormous, because it invites such suffering and disappointment and courts at every step disillusion and potential bitterness. Even though we cannot say precisely what it is and it so often founders upon our fears and frailties, we venture into it anyway. And although we can dismiss it as the necessary trick of our genes, the sucker punch of evolution, still we love one another. Still we declare it, sing it, rejoice in its frequently broken promise of extraordinary and transformative deliverance.

For love, like hope and faith, allows us face the void, to find meaning in the wake of futility. To render the brute and nigh mechanical business of continuing worthwhile. While we walk along this path, knowing full well where it ends, we can either do so in terror and denial, or with hubris and conceit, or – with our quixotic love tilting at the windmills of inevitability – with an eye for the awesome and utterly fragile beauty of it all.

In this way, love is also a kind of defiance – not an arrogant denial or noisy protest, but rather, a grateful embrace. Because it is not the end that love defies, but the fear of its approach. If we must finally fall, and stumble badly before we get there, let us be together while we do it. Let us be alive as we go. Let us face the clock that counts it all down and say: you are measuring time, we are loving it. And to the very edge of darkness we shall bring the beautiful light.

Love letter # 326

And in a blink, with a quiet inevitability, we find ourselves at the end of summer – these the last balmy nights, the last songs of the season. Soon, we will turn our heads away for a moment and, when we look back, will see that it has gone. Leaves at our feet. Beginning shivers.

I swim into the shimmer of your gaze, the long golden hour of love in its vaulting prime, and, in a blink, suspended autumn, with a barely noticeable creak of the levers, inches into motion. How then shall we walk in this shortening light? What dance might we do in the absence of songs?