The future stands still, dear Mr. Kappus, but we move in infinite space. - Ranier Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Friday, October 17, 2008

Letter 27

Dear Josephine,

We are both in places labeled "Washington" on an map of the United States. Are you considering extending your travels to British Columbia? Yesterday I traced a line from the heart of the district to "Santo Domingo", romanticizing the journey (the paper map, my sandy fingertip).

Here, though, my life has contained bottling, leakage. Yesterday I cried three times over feelings of frustration, and inadequacy, and a sense of worth. I'm rarely emotional in seeing, in eyes that scratch.

I am stripping myself of this constant sadness. I am approaching life through numbers. It's no surprise my decision-making hinges on the pull of rationale and emotions, of being two tabs more an "F" than a "T".

My father called me recently and we talked. I wanted to say, "I miss the summer afternoons when you picked me up from camp and tennis practice, and we chewed neon bubblegum and listened to smokey robinson's testimonials ['outside, i'm masquerading. inside, my hope is fading.']." Father, I'm a marauder of concepts. Here, my loot is in these palms (outstretched). Look closely; can you see the gold dust?

And George was right:

"And as I think back over so many years
Love that's filled my ears
I got to thank you lord for giving us pure smokey
And anyone who hears - hears that voice so free
He really got a hold on me
And I thank you all for giving to us smokey - smokey."

And I guess this letter is a tribute to you -- how you shuffled across the stage, offered palms to women who didn't keep still; how I, sixteen and sparkling, shuffled too: "And oh, why do you wanna make me blue? After all, I've been good to you."

boy, i've been good to you.


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