Tag Archives: Love letters

For the beautiful strangers

Though we are yet to meet, and may never, I know, by instinct, precisely who you are. I see you, fully formed, in the blinding dazzle of sunlight. I feel you, present and textural, in the warm murmur of golden evenings. I sense your approach, rising, in the abundant promise of spring. Intoxicated, I can almost believe you are here.

Yet, I am too old not to know how unlikely this is. For we are rarely the people we dream ourselves to be, and the world has little room for the intemperance we conjure in the vale of our desire. Beauty, it appears, most often falls foul of detail; fantasy corrupted by its realisation.

My wise head knows this well, yet my heart remains fifteen. Despite everything, I still want to believe. I want you enter the room, so that I might fall at your feet. I yearn for all manner of surrender. To be overwhelmed. Redrawn in your colours. Constructed so as to include you.         

There is still space in the calm universe of my knowing for the disorder of belief. It reveals itself in the form of the light, its echoes shimmer in the shape of song. It is the unconquered territory. I stumble upon it in beauty, which, when I look, is everywhere.

I lift my eyes, and there…is it…?  

Love letter # 505

Being with you is like listening to The Ronettes. When you came into my life, so unexpected, I was transported, cast into flight, like the euphoric chorus of teenage pop songs. Now I am electrified, dizzied by an uncomplicated, plaintive yearning that feels like innocent joy. The ridiculous blush of it, the sunlit hope, as if heartbreak never brought me down. There are no words. It will not be described. It will rise instead, like a wave, and set me down in a world entirely altered. It is a new delirium. It is the age-old miracle of falling.

Love letter # 775

The memory lives in every cell, archived in muscle, carried by blood. The sheer sensation of you. That shattering instant of your arrival. Everything changing. A beam of light from your eyes. The space collapsing between us.

I knew what it was; yet had no idea. I simply stood in the line of your gaze – and there I was met by the transfigured world. Now it shone in the form of the other. Now it held more than I.

You stood two feet away. Your radiance surrounded me.

Decades later, I feel it like temperature. Here on my skin. In the rhythmic sigh of living. I am never more than a beat from your advent. The wave of your approach is moving through me. The spring is here, and you are the season.

It is like this every year.

Love letter # 513

Perhaps I do not know what love is – this complex, convoluted feeling we sometimes conjure – but I am certain that, whatever the philosophers say, I love you.

Is it a dream, a hormonal mechanism, a justification of my innate desire for validation? Will it fall apart under scrutiny, dissolving into observance? Are you my ritual partner?

However prosaic things appear, perhaps there is still chance for the poetry of suspended disbelief. If we call it into being by faith alone, at least it shall be of our making. Even if it be futile, still it may be wondrous.

Is this then, our love revealed? Weaver of song, transformer of night. I cannot say for sure where it may end, yet I can promise to begin. For with this trembling step I…

Love letter # 808

It was so simple, and because of that, altering. Sitting across from you, the space between us an ordinary distance, feeling as though an entire ocean was moving. An immensity contained within the easy reach of a hand. The unspectacular fact of two people at a table…a canvas, upon which our imaginings are thrown. The invention of us.

You sat there. Still. Quiet. Only your eyes, the atoms of your scent, the whispered circle of your breathing. Presence on the verge of absence. You were a blank slate, and I duly projected. Onto the surface of your silence I smeared the ramblings of my desire. Because the emptiness will always be filled, most often with the migrated self.

Now I see the love I created with the lush cinematography of my longing. You were the beautiful mirror – reflect, refract – and I the willing believer of lovely mirages. Is this the truth of our vaunted love? The other, filtered through self, such that in our ardour we consumed the analgesic staples of fiction. Are we the lovers of a romantic graffiti?

Perhaps, stripped of cliché and poetry, this union of ours collapses to empire. As though, by some expansion of territory, we Romanised the tramontane wilds. Our question is whether, suspecting this, we desist. Can love recover from the habit of dominion, or does it wither at the first cry of revolt?

Let us sit without ceremony and peer into the void of the other/lover; and from there, endeavour to see what, if anything, lives beyond the citadel of self.

Love letter # 452

What, in the midst, seems hellish, will sometimes be revealed as deliverance. Thus it was with us. A journey into conflict that, in its denouement, yielded more than mere catharsis. In fire we saw, truly, that which was burnt. Which required burning.

Did we tear ourselves apart – make ourselves anew with the scatterlings? Were we the fissile material of necessary explosion? From this ledge of calm it now seems so. We are lighter by the weight of ruptured burden.

Our union will doubtless be cast as foolish by those who are not privy to the aftermath. What we discovered in drama and turmoil serves us well in grateful separation. I am glad you took your knife to my bone. You tore the skin off lies. Now I can breathe. Now I go well.

And you? I see you in flight and am likewise uplifted. Who would have thought – wings wrought from rock, plenty from penury? Yes, we took the long way round but what we spied along the way were the landmarks of nascent release. Now I honour the cell of our sorrows, for it has shown us the promise of joy.

Love letter # 589

There are many forms of blindness. I have endured a number of them; none more so than when I failed to see – failed to believe – the truth about you. The evidence was plentiful. In cold moments it was undeniable. But I was in a fog of fever.

In your defence, you did warn me. It’s just that I was…what?…not stupid, not merely stubborn…alight with a kind of madness. In hindsight, it was the measure of my desperation. Not so much for you but for what you represented. For I had located my dream of recognition in you. Foisted it on you really.

Yes, you could have acted with more grace, more kindness, but I accept that I left you with little choice but to push back hard. I was relentless. Even if you had loved me, my ridiculous ardour would have burned it up soon enough.

So now I am indebted to you. For holding out. I may well have stayed true to my vision, but so too you kept faith with yours. Ultimately, after the drama, I saw the wisdom of this. Moreover, I witnessed the extent of my own folly. It scared me. But it was also the beginning of real change in my life.

I barely recognise the raggedy beggar who stumbled after you. That’s how seismic our affair was. Your departure shifted everything. In some ways, it was the most important contribution anyone ever made to the trajectory of my life. When you left, I saw finally who I was. At first, I was appalled. After that, I just grew up.

I write today to thank you for saying no. For insisting on it. Best thing anybody ever said to me.

 

Love letter # 792

You have populated my dreams, day and night. Last night, you placed your hand upon my knee, and I felt your warmth. It woke me. I turned over to the mirage of your presence, and in the drowsy temple of my senses I could hear your breath, circling in the darkened hush.

Walking in the blue afternoon, I watch the wave of your hair, note the sun in your eyes. You fall upon me like brightness, moving through my body like the ruffle of breeze. Still you are a vision. A dreamt of kiss. An embrace imagined. The prayer of tenderness returned.

If I have loved you in the room of disembodied desire, so too I have yearned in the realm of flesh and blood. Perhaps it is only the invented you who walks at my side, yet I have travelled long in the wake of your attention. You have said my name aloud and I have suffered the vertigo of your scent.

Therefore, I conjure you beneath sun and moon, such that I may require no such vision. So that one day soon I may close my eyes and know that you are near; and I might sleep through the night in the valley of your form.