letter to d

Seeing A– is always nourishing wondrous. But the milieu was gelatinous with the marrow of terrors, the heavy gravity of an iron-cored planet, everything seemed muffled and far away, I couldn’t react but through layers of filthy gauze, my heartbeat like blackstrap molasses in a winter pantry. 

The need to build a life here for him out of my own materials, out of possibility and play, is more pressing than it has ever been. And nothing for it but sell my work, enter public life, to become.

And it does feel as though I am enduring a transformation, with all the extravagant highs and lows, dead-ends, sloughing of dead skin, gambling with quickening scabs, and grand erotic visions of a small suite of rooms filled with my books, wood furniture, and gauzy curtains holding the curves and hollows of earthwind.

Not having been to NL or your corner of DE I could not say what I would like you to bring me. Any small slim volume of something will always do. If you were in Munich I would ask you to send me the last night I had there with Anne. I know just where to find it… but who is to say what customs would make of such cargo anyway. I suppose with the winnowing of time to a moment’s essentials, and if you let out all the air, the scene could fit on a thin chain of silver or in the hidden compartment of a ring.

I have a Swedish houseguest, 23, a scholar and fangirl of David Foster Wallace, who turned me on to the poet Karin Boye. A good number of her poems are artlessly translated online. Here is one I have redone.

Now is the vaulted time of waiting

before the enleafment,

now the canopy quakes for the loss of its halo,

the birches in purple the aspens in green

and the streamside willows in gold and red–

the time of unseen influence

when all is just a burdened womb–

the tongues of souls go panting,

and dusk excites and tires

like an intoxicating tryst.

Now creation is poised longing to pounce–

before the disappointment

when the forest is as green as possible

and the world is as complete as possible

and the people and the trees mumble from out of their sleep

“We wanted more.”

–Karin Boye