Friday, February 11, 2011

Tangled up in Woo: A Love Story or Dangerous Pie

In Amsterdam where I nattered on about apples.
I have a manila file folder labled Sisyphus. It's full of love letters.


There is absolutely no good reason for keeping love letters in a folder labeled Sisyphus.*


The point is, I have love letters. They were written by a person whose command of language stuns me. Every day, it stuns me. I'm totally enchanted by him, and that enchantment started with letters. Letters like this one...
- - -
Dear Blythe,


Even from a distance, it's probably pretty obvious to you that this letter doesn't contain any cookies.


That was actually the start of another letter. I started that letter almost two months ago, and god knows why I decided to quit. Was I wracked with guilt for never sending you cookies? Of course not. My cookies might very well have been grounds for our first argument. I probably just had to pee or something. Well, having given that moment all the attention that it ever deserved, allow me to change the subject. We're not talking cookies any more. We're talking pies. I don't know what exactly you're doing this week, but your surroundings could conceivably force you into baking a pie. For god's sake, Blythe, and I mean this sincerely, be very careful.


I almost never take breaks in the middle of my letters. As you know, they usually tend to flow like seawater in a lagoon with the same painstaking attention to logic that one can find in a Gilligan's Island rerun. No paragraphs. No breaks. Just a lot of sentences that enjoy each other's company. My sentences rarely venture out on their own, alone. Other, stronger sentences (like yours) are always threatening to beat them up. Anyway, the presence of a break might mean that this paragraph holds a particularly special piece of information. Well, not really. Perhaps I just wanted to avoid the topic of pies.


If something happens just once, it can often be ignored with little effort. Once when I was taking a shower, a Canadian dime fell to the floor right next to me. I don't often carry loose change into the shower with me. I have no idea where it came from. Still, it's no big concern. Not really, until it happens again. I once was nearly able to purposefully capsize a kayak in a New Zealand swimming pool. It will almost certainly never happen again. No big accomplishment. No big deal.


Something happened to me twice last night. Actually, it also happened to you. I was dreaming vigorously, and you made two separate appearances. Two totally different story lines. In one, you were running in a park. In the other, you were baking a pie. The ending, however, was the same it happened twice.


I'm not sure why you were running in the park. I didn't even see you run, but my mom told me about it over the phone. You died of a heart attack, and she called to comfort me.
Later that night, you tried to bake a pie. I'm sure you started with a fine crust, but something went wrong. There was an explosion. You died.


Blythe, I didn't take the news of your death calmly. Not even the second time. In fact, I cried bitterly. Wretchedly. I cried harder in this dream than I ever have in real life. (If we assume that real life doesn't begin until after the age of seven.)  I felt dehydrated, hopeless, and useless. I screamed . I threw things. I hated pie. That f***ing pie.  Those f***ing cheries. That f***ing park.


You may be wondering why I'm telling you all this. well, it happened twice. I've twice felt what it's like to lose you, and it wrecked me.  Twice. I can't ignore this precedent. I can't assume that these events are meaningless. I can't assume that losing you the next time will be easy.


What is this letter really all about? It started out as a warning, but it changed while I was sleeping, It turned into a commitment on your part.


Please, Blythe, no matter what happens next, don't move yourself out of my life. Two times in noteworthy. Three times would be a tragedy.


(Here I exercise a lover's prerogative to privacy, and deny you the closure of the letter. This, however, is the signature from another of his letters to me. That's a picture of a daphnia, BTW. I'll include a picture of a real one so you can appreciate the quality of his rendering.)


* Sisyphus, you know, is that jerk who was an enthusiast of commerce, navigation, and deceit. He was punished in Hades by rolling a rock endlessly up hill. Camus, my dead boyfriend, managed to make a hero of him, but he had to leave many things out of the story, one thing being murder and another being the way he persuaded his wife that she should throw his dead body into the public square as a test of her love. Sisyphus convinced Persephone, who is tender hearted but not that smart, to let him go back to the world of the living so he could yell at his wife. 


I couldn't get myself together this week for Poetry Friday.
But it is happening at Rasco from Rif.
She has an exquisite poem by Phillis Wheatly, "On Imagination."



Imagination! Who can sing thy force?
Or who describe the swiftness of thy course?

Please go there for poetry this week. 

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