wide-open laugh

August 17, 2012

you imagine i don’t want you here, or at least that i feel better not having you here now. to you it’s an adventure that offers a taste of the nearing life. but i only look toward the nearing life, saying over and over that i prefer not to walk too quickly. things grow cold when you move east, and it’s always easiest to feel alone. life rarely moves quite as fast as it seems; movement always looks odd when it is slow before your eyes.

we spend so much time with the other’s ghost, but nothing has ever felt dead.


“in my dreams i see her in botwulf’s town. her hair is dark brown, and it moves with the road and moves with the wind. we are atop the tallest building in the city, never needing to look downward. she smiles then laughs–calmer than the peace, louder than the storm. her laugh says absolutely nothing about the world around us. it is about her and it is about me. i have no idea when i first felt her eyes. now, i will hold them forever, and i will always keep them alive.

she is in the common now, bundled against the frozen wind, saying something about the squirrels and something about the people. she looks hilarious and incredible. i tell her she’s a monster, because she seems so wild and complex, so unafraid of being entirely raw.

in my mind she is frozen in a wide-open laugh, and she looks beautiful like nobody ever does. images are strange because they can be so inaccurate, but this one is perfect. the river here flows northeast for eighty miles, but i like to believe it flows west to california. it can, if we imagine, traverse the space to where she is, hanging from a tree on a swing in the field. i am next to her looking up and away, imagining some other sky or some other tree.”

my image of you is a smile and a laugh

it is a soft voice bouncing off the oldest buildings.

calmer than the peace, louder than the storm,

you say absolutely nothing about the world around us.


the river

July 23, 2012

“i found you at the foot of the river. i had only been trying to wash my soul clean. and the more i looked toward the heights, the nearer you came. i smiled because it was all too human. i smile even now, nearly four years later, having returned so many times to the rushing stream. these days we walk together toward its banks, and we dwell amidst the moving water. i think we ought to return forever.”

everything you said yesterday is true. meaning only exists outside ourselves, yet it can only be found within.

the empty field

July 22, 2012

“i felt that we had met twenty years ago but only now came into view. i experienced in the weight of her laughter a call to make her smile again, smile forever. she was to me a perfect shadow that covered the empty field, and her form was the tree i could hardly pick out across the dry ground. so i moved toward her because she drew me in, and i sensed the culmination of my life in my steps. i would empty my soul beneath her branches and let my words drip past the dirt to her roots.

everyone needs to fall upon the warm earth, to rest for a moment until the wind shifts to calm. for me she is an anchor; she met me alone as i drifted across the dryness of the field. i have been plodding for twenty years, and she brought me to a soft halt. i will live now within her shadow and amidst her roots, cherishing the moment she brought movement to a still. in the air i feel an interminable summer, and it offers so much peace.”

you make it easy to be excited about everything before us. you tend to think in terms of how life will be in the future, imagining a point in time when the days will change and our lives will move. and if such a point exists, then it’s drawing awfully near. to be plain, i think often about it and about you.

the constants of life are nearly always the comforts. and of the constants currently marking my days, you offer the greatest calm. few things are more perfect.

for me you are an anchor, bringing so much peace


March 22, 2012

i was looking over everything i wrote you in the past, and it got me feeling terrible about how long it has been. only after deciding i would write you something new did i realize it’s been exactly a year. i suppose that makes this over-due but fitting. aside from letters, i’ve never written you anything from boston, which seems strange and unfortunate. so maybe this will begin something again, maybe it will revive what was once commonplace. at the very least, boston will now have its mark on all of this.

i recently read that one of the most lamentable aspects of the human condition is that it is easier to destroy than to create. disintegration  is often a natural process of time, a break-down built into the way of things. but in the context of people and of experiences, we are able easily to reverse this process, piecing together something new and lasting. for the two of us, i’ve always thought this meant forever creating more between ourselves, establishing substance that negates any and all disintegration. somehow, being away has made me certain of our efforts; we are constantly building between the space of our bones.




i finally felt our eyes collide,

with a weight in my throat that dropped to my sides.

your father told me with the deepest sigh,

he was leaving, forever, his treasure behind.

it will burn through me

March 22, 2011

i write what i know to be true;

it will burn through me as it burns through you.

we know what we’ve seen because it lives in our memory. but you’re afraid that it could die some day. and i’ve never understood that.

i speak of nostalgia and times past because i can’t imagine anything more powerful. so i return to my memories and live in their wake.

you fear that this will die. but, by and by, i will always keep this life alive. and i will work to still the rolling tide.


will i ever leave my home behind?

rest assured:

i will never leave my home behind.

for i’ve found the one i care to find.

poetic memory

February 3, 2011

“Kneeling by her as she lay sleeping in his bed, he realized that someone had sent her downstream in a bulrush basket. I have said before that metaphors are dangerous. Love begins with a metaphor. Which is to say, love begins at the point when a woman enters her first word into our poetic memory.”

if poetic memory is meant to describe that part of the brain which clings to what is charming or touching–to what makes life beautiful–then you made your entrance long ago. the past two years have maintained a movement that has oscillated, forever doing so high above the ground on which we once stood. i suppose we can break it down this way: we began with feelings, then moved to deep-set emotions, and now we are founded on ideas. from the beginning, one of my ideas was that i would write to you. so here is a small part; it seems i only ever give you portions.

this one begins with:

our love is an empire

and it ends with a rumination on fire and desire, on my soul as a hermit known only by you.

as i read, i began to wonder if it is true that the love we know begins with a metaphor. and i wonder now if it is impossible to determine, because metaphors are often subtle and terribly elusive. people always ask me to go back to a moment, a point in time, an action. but i believe now that i must go back to a single word, a particular gesture, an otherwise nondescript blinking of the eye.

well, you made your entrance long ago.

i can say that at least.

certainly i can say so.

in progress

October 18, 2010

i began writing you a poem. i wrote the last line first, hoping the rest would materialize in the process. it didn’t then, as it never does, because you deserve more than i had (have) to offer. i just want you to know that i’m still working; i’m amidst an unending process of working.

i wish so often that i could create beyond myself, that it didn’t always come back to the restriction of my abilities. because then it might reflect you in your brilliance and beauty.

i am pale, but i hope you see something of yourself in my dark eyes.




what can the leaf say to the wind?

you will carry me to the end…

i will hold to you until then.

stick figures

September 24, 2010

there are words to document most everything we’ve done; there are images to fix us in time. i am writing now because you deserve something endless and substantial.

i once gathered my pens and neatly-cut paper, and then i drew stick figures to explain what i believed. this was when we still hugged awkwardly, and in my uncertainty i was certain that you would not let me fall alone.

i realize now that i left too much unsaid. there were always words between my words, crossed out because they felt weightless to me. it was space intentionally left empty, thoughtfully left empty. i always wanted my words to move beyond you and beyond me; i wanted them to exist outside of us, because that is really what all of this is about. so i am working now to give every last word weight; to let each one fall heavy upon your hands, your heart; to fill every last ellipsis that formed amongst my words; to do this until i become empty, perfectly empty.

i hope you can believe in endlessness, in a boy who is nothing more than a stick figure falling from a cliff.


do you want to know something true?

you never heard all he said.

amidst the incredible fall, he whispered, “i will exist as emptiness when this is through.”