Beautiful stories

I used to try so hard to find the right words to reach you, Mack. Always searching out the perfect metaphor. So many love letters typed out, all of the things I couldn’t say directly. My mouth used to fill up with everything unspoken, sometimes there were so many words crowding my tongue that the only way not to choke was to spit them out, to siphon them through my fingers, and down through the computer keys toward you.

What did you do with all of those midnight emails I sent you? Did you print them out, did you return to them when you came close to forgetting? Did you ever slide my confessions between the pages of your favourite book, keeping my words with other words, too? Did you ever do that, Mack – to keep me close to you?

M, your Valentine.

My sign-off, always. When I wrote out all of the things I couldn’t say. When I tried to resurrect streets and temples for you. Trying so hard to make it all rise up around you after you went back to that other world. Words as breadcrumbs, leading you back to the bars and parks, and hotel rooms that were our altars. Those places of worship and exaltation, covered in cigarette burns and red velvet, and so much better in the dark.

The myth of us, Mack. I laid it out for you as if it were historical fact.

You said once – You write beautiful stories, Maggie.

History is written by the victors, I replied, too softly for you to hear.

~ Maggie Valentine , Loved

AnaisWords

… and then comes the hangover …

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When I am here

From: Maggie Valentine <mvalentine@gmail.com>

Subject: You

Date: 27 March 2010 00:46:00 AM AEDT

To: mackben@gmail.com

_________________________________________________________________________________________________

You pulsate through even the question of what to have for dinner.

You are trapped deep in my nerve, Mack. You have spread under the surface of my skin like a bruise. You are the slick sliding down my neural pathways. The snap and lock and spark that causes the lights to blow when I flick a switch.

You are the click of my land mines before they explode. The flavour I taste when my mouth is empty. You are the moment before I come, all taut and jangled nerve, more acute and curious than the consummation.

You are my own teeth on lip, the ache of my breast. You are the inexplicable detachment of mind to body, so that my head is there when I am here.

You are the memory of muscle, the quickening of my blood. You are the juice that flows through me and makes me wet when I have not even noticed the weather.

You who loses no sleep over me, who turns to another and makes your bed every morning (and the nights I cannot bear to think of).

You, who cannot know how far and completely I have fallen.

M (Your Valentine)

Rock Bublitz at body, remember by Joanne Piechota
Image by Joanne Piechota

 

Home (a love letter) – revisited

Home.

You think home is the view of water, and the three steps down, and those plans to be approved by council. It’s the fence of white little spears, and the manicured lawn that doesn’t stain your knees, and you’ll pass it all on one day, this version of home, the same way you inherited it from your dad and his dad before him. You are natives of this land, and home to you is a fortress that is at risk from natural disasters like me. It could ignite on a scorching day, or the earth could shift and break apart one 3am to reveal all the dirt hidden under that carefully managed lawn.

(I crawled on my belly through that grass once, just to get to you. I know that domesticity can be a minefield).

Because home for me? Well darling I’ve crossed the globe, I’ve taken trips with your ghost in my suitcase for years, and every time I cross borders, or enter new oceans I am reminded that there is no place like you.

Your body is my hearth. My homecoming is announced in the knock-knocking at your hotel door, and how I get to launch in to your arms on the other side. Home is the broken bone I can still feel under your skin, the grooves of life changing course felt under my fingers. Home is your funny, flat front teeth and my hands under your shirt, and the way your eyes go to my shoulders before you slip my straps down. Home is one headphone each, and the way you drop your bottom lip when you kiss me. Home is your nervous laugh and your slight tremble on the surface cause the seismic waves are deep, deep down. Home is the following each other from room to room, and that place I fit under your arm when you are sleeping – and I am wide awake.

Home is this, and you. You are the only home I’ve ever wanted. I click my heels every day and the truth is this:

You are the point I was always oriented toward, and the place I am always trying to get back to.

There is no place like you.

Picasso and body, remember
Picasso sketch

Eidyia’s Note: I first published this earnest, flawed piece two years ago. Found it today when I went looking for some other version of home to share. There is no place like you. Ain’t that the truth, people. Even when you leave home for good – some part of you imagines that knock-knocking at the door …

You and I

You say it is the most beautiful thing you have ever read. I have been holding my breath, but in the way your words catch, in the tremble I had not yet heard – I believe you. You tell me with glittering eyes that you will keep this letter forever.

And I wonder. Will you slide my confession between the pages of a favoured book? Will you see the spine each day pressed up against lesser books and be reminded of the central nervous system contained within? Will it pulse with your secret until you have to remove this book with its piece of paper tucked between pages 84 and 85? Will you place it in a box high on a shelf until the heartbeat slows? Until there is only a faint thud to be heard on certain days and certain nights – in the hope these too will fade with time?

And one day years later will you be looking for something else when that box comes tumbling down? Will you experience that long forgotten thud when you see this once favoured book and what it holds within? Will the faint scent of vanilla and dust be released from pages 84 and 85 as you open my letter with the shake of older hands?

Here I imagine you on the floor, reading the words I wrote all those years before – right at the centre, when we were brand new. When I took our myth as historical fact. I imagine you tracing the words slowly, following the breadcrumbs back until you reach the beginning of you and I. Where I told you these three little words could define us. How only the saddest of combinations – I miss you – would last longer, and how this would only begin at the end.

I wrote of how you and I were the beginning and the end, and the revelation in between. That from the big bang whole new universe created from our encounter, you and I were making a parallel world to last beyond the inevitable return to our own.

Will you now remember this long forgotten world, our Atlantis buried deep? Will my words resurrect its streets and its temples as you sit there on the floor? Will they rise up around you – the bars and the parks and the hotel rooms that were once our altars? These places of worship and exaltation, covered in cigarette burns and red velvet, and so much better in the dark?

Will your body remember for just a moment what you and I had there? Before we are again placed high on a shelf and the world contracts?

You say it is the most beautiful thing you have ever read. It is in fact a map of you and I. To help you find your way home.

You and I  - body, remember