Comfort

What would winter and State Street be without repeating this Wallace Stevens poem.

The Snow Man

One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;

And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter

Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,

Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place

For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.

I take comfort in a poem as stark and real as that. I cannot say why, for I do not know, and probably never will.

Published in: on February 29, 2008 at 1:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

History

My words and thoughts have changed since I met V. My words are small, but I write them here. All too soon my words will be lost in some great archived database never to be read again. I don’t care. Let that be my legacy.

She is my beloved.

Published in: on February 29, 2008 at 12:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

Window

I read V this Carver poem while we were lying in bed the other evening.

The Window

A storm blew in last night and knocked out
the electricity. When I looked
through the window, the trees were translucent.
Bent and covered with rime. A vast calm
lay over the countryside.
I knew better. But at the moment
I felt I’d never in my life made any
false promises, nor committed
so much as one indecent act. My thoughts
were virtuous. Later on that morning,
of course, electricity was restored.
The sun moved from behind the clouds,
melting the hoarfrost.
And things stood as they had before.

We cause each other pain we eventually regret. We repair each other’s hearts as best we can. Our regrets seldom fall away unless a simple event takes them from us. That might be a melancholy thought, but it leaves me in awe of the universe. A spirit lies over me and inside me I cannot name. I can live with that.

Published in: on February 29, 2008 at 12:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Desire

Desire for love creates desire for possession. You cannot avoid that. Desire for possession creates all manner of other desires. Some are good, others benign, and yet others toxic. Without desire our species would be extinct. Without desire we may as well be dead, for we are cold lifeless beings without meaning.

I’m trying to learn.

Published in: on February 29, 2008 at 12:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

A note on conundrums

Back home after spending a very special and somewhat crazy night with V, I feel attractive. Why not? If she wants me, I must have some redeeming value.

I smoke and meditate on our agreement. It comes in part A and part B.

Part A: We’ll love each other and have fun no matter the difference in our ages and what people think.

Part B: We’ll see other people if we want and neither one of us will make demands or ask questions. I cannot make demands or be jealous because my romance is doomed from the start. She should be meeting a proper man her age. The right man won’t be exactly like me, but he’ll be as good in a different way. Any man who meets her and is not immediately smitten by her is too stupid to have her in the first place. Last fall B. told me there were plenty of women dying to meet a man like me, and I should not get my heart broken. She’s right. I have met some dying to see more of me. On nights when V decides to spend her time with someone else, I will inevitably seek consolation and comfort. It’s not fair to the woman I’ll be with because I will be thinking of V instead. However, the area between consolation and desire is gray and murky anyway. We all tend to use each other for consolation sometimes.

I have noticed I almost fit into my clothes again. I have not been dieting or exercising. I suspect some unconscious process triggered by love has caused it. I wonder what other unconscious processes are at work I have not discovered.

At any rate, the journey with V has just begun. If it is anything like the past month, I am in for the time of my life. I’ll love her madly and everything else be damned.

Published in: on February 28, 2008 at 1:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Unresolved conjectures

I was writing this morning when the urge to pick up a mathematics text came over me. I almost did it. Maybe, I will before the day is over.

I have never correctly identified my continuing fascination with mathematics. I certainly don’t use it for anything. The challenge of learning some new math isn’t always pleasant. Understanding a new math theorem can take a long time, and even then I wonder if I understand it.

The only reason for the fascination must arise from the beauty and mystery of math–the two joined together. Some people see math as ugly and something to be learned and discarded once out of school. Some lucky people have an aesthetic sense for the subject. They internalize math and make it their own.

V combines beauty and mystery for me. I feel as if I can see beauty in her that no one else can. I want to possess her that way–inside me, where nobody else can see, my most private and significant place. Don’t get me wrong. The pleasure I have when I am with her astounds me. But if that is all it was, I doubt I would feel the way I do about her. I could study her mysteriousness forever and not discover the end of it; it’s infinite. I like gazing upon people and things who have this mysterious quality to them. Conjectures I can never resolve tempt me most. I desire the impossible. The desire magically fulfills me anyway.

In a world where everything has an end, knowing the infinite seems out of place and improbable. V is like that for me too. She is a reality I never would have imagined or discovered if I had not stumbled on it by blind chance. I have never gone looking for love. Love happens to me. I’ve been lucky too. I have had a lot of chances with good women, yet screwed it up. I have never been in love with a woman who was not worth it and who I was not worthy.

I like the secret things that transpire between two people–the code words, the gaze, the kiss, and the caress. As hard as one might objectively study what goes on between two people, we never get to the bottom of it when viewing it from nowhere. Desire and possession own their privacy at times.

I’ll go to my grave not knowing much about what I have always cared about most. I will die happy. I have traveled on journeys that pleased me and filled me to the brim. If my time with V ends tomorrow, the short time I spent with her would still be my best journey.

Published in: on February 27, 2008 at 12:29 pm  Comments (2)  

Up early

In bed by midnight; up by four AM. The silence of the city soothes if one cares to listen. The voice of a friend echoes from last night: don’t get hurt. I won’t, I say. I almost believe it, for I have friends who take care of me even if someone slam dunks me in front of god and everyone.

You cannot protect yourself at all times if you want something special, she says. She’s correct too. Even a chess game is a gamble if we care to admit it.

I cannot believe my day has started already. I would give a lot for another hour of sleep. Fuck it. I’m playing the black pieces, but I’m Lynn.

Published in: on February 27, 2008 at 6:22 am  Comments (2)  

Starlight

Her mother owns the women’s clothing store on Main Street. Her mother is being treated for cancer in the hospital. The bills pile up. She does not know what they’ll do. She visits her as frequently as she can. She puts on an heroic face when she does. She drives home with tears streaming down her cheeks. She wishes she was in bed with her mother’s arms around her. She sits on the porch at night looking at the stars blanketing the plain. The tears begin again. She possesses too much truth in her life.

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Time

The time with V has turned brutal. First of all, the moments I spend with her fly by too quickly. Second, the moments with her are way too short. Third, she ain’t even half bad for a girl. No, she’s beyond that, so I’m sunk. Fourth, I only get to see her once in the next week. I can’t imagine how I am going to manage that.

Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 5:42 am  Comments (2)  

another endgame

He is 28 years old and sitting in Toscana, Italy. He stares at the camera in the picture of him sitting at his computer playing Internet chess. He is an attractive man with a bright smile with dark hair cut short. We have played our game since November 30 of last year. My rook and bishop battle his lone rook in the endgame. I form a vague plan to force his king into a corner, yet I do not see the moves.

At first I hated his persistence for playing on after being a bishop down. Now, I have grown to admire it. We play with will and persistence and hope not to be the next player to make a mistake. I see the hours, days, and months ahead as we waltz around the board together.

I see myself traveling the world to play the souls I have met on the Internet. They’ll ask me why I did it. I’ll tell them I love their game and had to meet the person who created this beauty in my life. They’ll see in my eyes I’m trying to mend a broken heart when we say goodbye.

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 4:39 pm  Comments (3)  

Wanted

He is 17 years old, sitting at a computer somewhere in England. He challenges me to a game of chess. He surprises me on his eighth move. I have a feeling nobody has made that move in the version of the Sicilian defense we are playing. He plays fast. I cannot keep up his pace. His game mesmerizes me. I cannot get enough of it even though I know I’ll lose. Despite that he wants my game. I feel special.

Being wanted changes everything.

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stack

A stack of paper full of words accumulate at the printer. I feel as though the floodgates of desire and memory have opened. This would never have happened if I had not met her. I am completely spent today.

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dress Shop

I see her working in a women’s clothing and accessory store on Main Street. She does alterations too. I can’t make out the merchandise clearly. Most of the clothes are sensible and everyday. However, a rack contains clothes for special occasions. Yes, she’s young. At noon, most days, she eats her lunch in the back room by the sewing machine. The food is left overs from last evening’s dinner. She always eats a piece of fruit for desert.

The dull plainness of her days already weighs heavily on her even though her life has barely begun. She goes to the town library regularly to check out books. She likes Jane Austen best. She’s read all the novels several times. Except for the mysterious previous owner of the books who donated them to the library, she is the only person in town who has read them except for the teachers of English at the local school.

What she does not know yet is that a man is coming to town–someone who will change her life–turn it inside out and upside down.

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 2:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Endgame blues

I just resigned a chess game. I now own my sixth loss. I could have played on for a long time, but my endgame was hopeless. I wish I was better at resigning other hopeless endgames in my life. I never acquired the habit. My stubborn persistence always gets in the way. Not that persistence itself is bad. You have to know how to use it. My persistence is like a battering ram–no subtlety whatsoever.

On the other hand, I’ve already won a tournament game today that I badly needed. The player was lower ranked than me, so the win does compensate for a loss to a better player. My prospects are fair to good in my other games too if I can avoid hopeless endgames. One thing I know for sure; I will persist.

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 1:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Endless blank pages

This is the time of morning I enjoy most. The cigarettes and coffee have soothed my nicotine and caffeine addictions. My nerves no longer scream at me. I sit at the computer and fill blank pages with words. The blank pages seem to stretch to infinity as if there is no finish line. I inhabit different worlds for good or ill.

Chess is like that too. I was challenged this morning by a 17 year man who lives in England. He’s kicked my ass twice already, but the pieces stand before me like infinite possibility. This might be my game, but even if I lose again, I feel as though it will be one of my best.

V represents an infinite possibility too. We spent an unexpected get away weekend together even though we did not travel far. Every moment was filled with something new, different, and luminous. At night while she was sleeping, I memorized the details of her body and face as she slept. The weekend seems to have gone by in a blur, but I can play the movie of it in slow motion so as to recall every detail. If I wrote every detail about the previous three days and the feeling of what happened, I would fill volumes.

Yes, V is infinite possibility. I’ll fill the blank pages as best I can even though I know the price will come high. Just as there are no free lunches in the economic sphere, there are no free lunches when it comes to love, especially when it is doomed from the beginning. All I know is that I need to fill these blank pages in my life and that it’s worth it.

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 12:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

Suck

I spent the most perfect unexpected weekend with V. As close to perfect as you can get for me. Then I fucked it up by playing some stupid game where I was a pawn to be sacrificed and swept off the board. Alone, late at night, I think, protect yourself, Lynn. For once in your life, protect yourself. Respect yourself. Then I remember. I suck at doing that.

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 4:08 am  Leave a Comment  

Waves

She rolls over me in waves today that drag me under. I feel as if I won’t resurface. When I do, the next wave comes in. I’m helpless in her wake.

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 3:58 pm  Leave a Comment  

Terms of Endearment

I remember her sipping her martini last night at the benefit fund raiser. It was difficult to take my eyes off her. When she walks in the room, things go crazy inside me.

As for me, I’m back to looking like a refugee: long hair falling over my shoulders, ratty walking shoes, blue jeans, an old sweater with her scent on it, a notebook, pen, and book in my bag.

I hear an echo: dammit, Lynn, I hate you. I love hearing terms of endearment.

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Main Street

We are in a small town somewhere isolated on the plains. We must identify at least some of the stores on Main Street. The train station contains a small diner used by the towns people as well as the travelers. A genuine general store dispenses food, clothing, and other necessaries. The general store also stocks feed in the warehouse attached to the back. An American Legion hall functions as a dance hall and bar on Saturday nights. The theater marquee announces the latest Elvis movie. Of course, a bar sits beside the theater. When the movie let’s out you must have a place to drink. A cafe nourishes the farmers who come into town for their feed and seed. Above the Legion hall, a library houses a small collection of books. I don’t see other buildings or businesses in the town, but I know there are more. I also do not see the young woman I seek. Where is she lurking?

I must put this in my notebook. I must keep my mind searching the rest of the day and write all this down in one place so I can make use. I must not waste any more hours today. My tiredness must not get the better of me.

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  

Harsh winter?

Of course, I am losing lots of sleep. I’m losing weight too. Some of my old clothes might fit me again. I get my hair cut for the first time in over two years. I where a sweater because it has her scent on it. She walks in the room and my adrenaline rises. I go to bed with her and forget about smoking until morning comes and we must get up. She pulls on her underwear before getting out of bed and my heart sinks. The prospect of not seeing her this weekend knots my stomach. I drink coffee and wonder how this happened so fast. I have not been with a woman I loved for a long time. I don’t know what to do.

The tell me this has been a harsh winter. I would not know. I have been with her.

I revel in my exhaustion.

Published in: on February 22, 2008 at 9:56 am  Comments (2)  

Lunar eclipse

We stood outside last night watching the lunar eclipse. I was the moon fading beneath her shadow.

Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 3:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

Authentic

Several years ago I wrote the first draft of a novel the heart of which was about an older man falling in love with a younger woman as told mainly from the man’s point of view. Hemingway said all first drafts are shit. My manuscript is worse than that. However, I wrote it in thirty days while feeling white hot.

What the thing lacked most was a genuine and authentic voice that could tell the feeling of what happens. At the beginning of the year, I thought I would never attempt writing another novel. Now, I feel there is another novel in me. I hope I have the guts and voice to get it right this time.

I want it badly.

Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 3:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

Garden of Eden

As I recall, and I’m not bothering to look it up, the fruit of two trees were forbidden to Adam and Eve. They ate the fruit from the tree of good and evil. God punished them for it. He said something like, I must banish them from the garden, for next they will eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge and become like gods.

When I am with V, I feel as though I am eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge. The knowledge defies logical and philosophical explanation. It’s like trying to describe a mystical religious experience–very hard to do.

All the same, when I’m with V, I get a sense of what the gods must know–wonders that lie beyond the boundaries of the world.

Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 1:17 pm  Comments (2)  

Off the tracks

I lose track of time when I’m with her. Actually, I lose track of everything. I step into another world. I feel as if I am on a speeding train with no engineer to slow it down.

That’s best I can do right now to describe the feeling of what happens. I’ll try harder next time to describe it when I can dawdle over it.

Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 12:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Portfolio

I looked at V’s architecture portfolio last week. Of course, I don’t know much about architecture, but I was moved by it all the same. I’m not artistic in any sense. I stand in awe of those who are, especially when they are practicing artists like V.

One thing that struck me though were the lucid explanations and descriptions of her work. If you should by chance meet her, and she tells you she can’t write, she’s lying. As lies go, that’s a sweet one.

Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 12:23 pm  Comments (2)