For 3 years, we have lived 3,000 miles apart. Every day, California calls me or I call him, and the distance shucks off like the green that blankets an ear of corn. For a couple of years, I lived for that shucking, lived for the moments when the miles fell away and I was no longer just an East coast girl. I was his girl, his princess, the lady of his heart. More than that, I was bare as one of those ears of corn, exposed and vulnerable, ready to be eaten or devoured. Here I am, I felt like saying, when what I really said was a simple hello. Through words and letters, we wove our dreams together, pretending we wove our lives. Twice he flew out to see me, and for a few short days my life was all puffy clouds and daydreams only I wasn't dreaming. I'd pinch myself after he kissed me, leaving little crescents from my fingernails in the fleshy part of my arm. Now it has been two years since we've made love, two years since anyone has kissed me the way he kissed me, his hands cupping my face, his whole mouth drinking me in. I don't dare say we're growing apart, but when he shucks me now, the green no longer all falls off. California, my California, you've never seemed so far away.
You are poetry-- your words distilled, your personality fiery with a fierceness that I both love and fear. Elusive, I find you in the briefest moment between sunset and full dark when the sky's inky violet. Far off down my one lane country road, a pair of headlights comes careening. I step off to the side step into the rows of corn and hide until the lights flash by me, standing in the high corn until my eyes readjust and I hear the car backfire as it rides the bend. I'm halfway to the dairy farm a mile down the road. The sycamores are white as bone. Above and between them, bats slash the summer air with their chaotic flight, diving and twirling dark shadows that dip too close about my head. It is summer and you, you are oil to my water, rising--always rising above.
I'm lost again, rambling sideways and down, always half a step from the edge. It would take a stiff wind or a stiff drink to make me fall. I'd go down and down seeing the latter's rungs flash by me as I fell. Reaching out, my fingertips would tap tap tap taptaptap faster on the latter's rungs as I sped up on my way toward the rocky bottom. But I am not falling. I'm weaving, holding onto my altitude, recklessly, stupidly in love.
I picked this book up from my library a couple of weeks ago, and I just opened it today. It’s inspiring in how it lifts the spirit and makes me feel like, simply because I am alive, I am part of something greater than myself. It made me want to pull out my old Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis CDs and let the music soar around me like her voice does in these poems. She writes,
We will turn our madness into flowers […]
and I think to myself that the world needs more of these poems, that the world needs more love, always more love.
In these poems she writes of odd magic and of golden music, of a man who fixed not only the leak in her sink but also the leak in her spirit. It is a magical sort of person who can, without being able to physically touch the spirit, still somehow manage to fix it, as if applying a sort of spiritual salve to someone’s soul.
Right now, I am only halfway through this book, but I am certain that I will finish it today. I want to keep reading these poems that speak of people who’ve been loved, people who’ve been lost, people who, against all odds, form bonds that cross oceans and continents because, deep down, their spirits are cut of the same fabric.
I want to take this away from this book. I want to remember that my full heart and her full heart and their full hearts are all the same, that we all need clean water, air to breathe, love to wrap around us and laughter to lighten the burdens we bear.