leaving is not enough; you must stay gone. train your heart like a dog. change the locks even on the house he’s never visited. you lucky, lucky girl. you have an apartment just your size. a bathtub full of tea. a heart the size of Arizona, but not nearly so arid. don’t wish away your…
We live in a modern society. Husbands and wives don’t grow on trees, like in the old days. So where does one find love? When you’re sixteen it’s easy, like being unleashed with a credit card in a department store of kisses. There’s the first kiss. The sloppy kiss. The peck. The sympathy kiss. The backseat smooch. The we shouldn’t be doing this kiss. The but your lips taste so good kiss. The bury me in an avalanche of tingles kiss. The I wish you’d quit smoking kiss. The I accept your apology, but you make me really mad sometimes kiss. The I know your tongue like the back of my hand kiss. As you get older, kisses become scarce. You’ll be driving home and see a damaged kiss on the side of the road, with its purple thumb out. If you were younger, you’d pull over, slide open the mouth’s red door just to see how it fits. Oh where does one find love? If you rub two glances, you get a smile. Rub two smiles, you get a warm feeling. Rub two warm feelings and presto-you have a kiss. Now what? Don’t invite the kiss over and answer the door in your underwear. It’ll get suspicious and stare at your toes. Don’t water the kiss with whiskey. It’ll turn bright pink and explode into a thousand luscious splinters, but in the morning it’ll be ashamed and sneak out of your body without saying good-bye, and you’ll remember that kiss forever by all the little cuts it left on the inside of your mouth. You must nurture the kiss. Turn out the lights. Notice how it illuminates the room. Hold it to your chest and wonder if the sand inside hourglasses comes from a special beach. Place it on the tongue’s pillow, then look up the first recorded kiss in an encyclopedia: beneath a Babylonian olive tree in 1200 B.C. But one kiss levitates above all the others. The intersection of function and desire. The I do kiss. The I’ll love you through a brick wall kiss. Even when I’m dead, I’ll swim through the Earth, like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.
But one kiss levitates above all the others. The intersection of function and desire. The I do kiss. The I’ll love you through a brick wall kiss. Even when I’m dead, I’ll swim through the Earth, like a mermaid of the soil, just to be next to your bones.
- exactly how i feel about matthew, 41 days before our wedding day.
Do you remember when we met in Gomorrah? When you were still beardless, and I would oil my hair in the lamp light before seeing you, when we were young, and blushed with youth like bruised fruit. Did we care then what our neighbors did in the dark?
When our first daughter was born on the River Jordan, when our second cracked her pink head from my body like a promise, did we worry what our friends might be doing with their tongues?
What new crevices they found to lick love into or strange flesh to push pleasure from, when we called them Sodomites then, all we meant by it was neighbor.
When the angels told us to run from the city, I went with you, but even the angels knew that women always look back. Let me describe for you, Lot, what your city looked like burning since you never turned around to see it.
Sulfur ran its sticky fingers over the skin of our countrymen. It smelled like burning hair and rancid eggs. I watched as our friends pulled chunks of brimstone from their faces. Is any form of loving this indecent?
Cover your eyes tight, husband, until you see stars, convince yourself you are looking at Heaven.
Because any man weak enough to hide his eyes while his neighbors are punished for the way they love deserves a vengeful god.
I would say these things to you now, Lot, but an ocean has dried itself on my tongue. So instead I will stand here, while my body blows itself grain by grain back over the Land of Canaan. I will stand here and I will watch you run.
Well, guess the Lot’s wife poem has already been written.
Start by leaving home. It’s not where the heart is, but where the hard edge is. When ice begins to ebb from shoreline, freeing mangy marsh grass, leave.
And as you pick up speed, let your life arc out away from you.
Realize that you don’t know where you’re going and that the weather changes often. Steer between the stars like songbirds coming back at night. Listen to the whirring of a thousand, thousand miles of dark.
Remember you are ancient, that once you walked out of the sea and in the trees became another thing. Know you can again.
Become three kinds of lonely.
Light a torch. Leave a trail of handprints on the walls.
Or start by staying put. Be a whisper looking for a mouth: luna, luna, luna. Sit underneath the porch light. Eat walnuts and persimmons. Spread your red-edged wings. ‘Calling time’ begins near midnight.
When I tell you that you have an effect Upon me you may not intend, and you Ask me to render, not tell, I think of cities I have been to And have yet to see, where at some ungodly Hour, a train slips through unseen tracks, All grooved wheels and steam pipes Announcing neither arrival nor departure But passage, sure and swift as rain after A dry spell. In the town square, vendors sell Candied nuts by the glare of gas lights And the derelict hit-or-miss of prayers Everyone forgets to follow through. When a train passes, the makeshift stalls Allow the ground its procedural Shiver, then it’s business as usual. What’s earth-stopping is the howl Of a train expressly on its way To not here. It moans a phantom hunger All the more terrible because unseen —Hear it?—This is the sound of all That rifles through us and does not stay. Everything is in the details; wail of the train Through tracks unseen, destination unknown. When I show you how you and I Have more hunger than we know What to do with, I am telling you Goodbye before you know it.