“For if you desire anything which is not in our power, you must be unfortunate,” says the philosopher Epictetus. Yet, a thousand times unfortunate for desiring you and not having you, than one time fortunate for not desiring you at all. I welcome the fate of your unrequited love, and bless it as a higher fate any other in which I have not known your love at all.
One moment with you, however fleeting, is preferable to an achievement that would immortalize my name. The dust of your love is a better reward than the world and its riches, which men so adore. Lover, my longing for you is the only constant in an ever changing world, and if I have to call you by one word it would be this: Openness. You are the openness of my heart, and a world flung open in the arms of God.
the camellias of her breath
flowering in my soul
Once I needed to touch you in order to feel you. Then the mere thought of you invaded me and soaked my soul. Now I realize, I am a flame rising from that which lies between us, the white chasm of love. Now I realize, to think of you or not to think of you is a false paradox — the sun and the moon, even out of sight, are always in each other’s company; the thread does not bind us outwardly; we rise from each other; in each other we live and die; we are the creative thought of love.
Poetry has delivered me into the intuition of her light – She is God’s divine light shining through me. I feel her and I feel into the heart of being. And the words that then arise are like the foam rising from that experience, her in me, me taken into her. That is how it feels in my heart. And so poetry whispers – light is what we are. Words are like veils lifting, leaving us in the embrace of the naked experience underneath. The more we open to the experience, the light, the more our words change and deepen. I exist as this act of deepening into this light. This, for me, is poetry. And the light is her; the radiance of the divine.
Tell them I spent my life banished amid the pages of books, reading, feverishly, fluttering like a firefly amid words of darkness and light. Tell them that in the pages of books I found myself entangled like a bee stuck in honey, like a lover’s fingers in his beloved’s hair. Tell them that, contrary to what they think, it is no wasted life, it is a life of solitary abundance, a life of living at the source of what makes humanity great, and what makes life worth striving for, worth living. Tell them that I have been blessed, to read, to be able to read a fragment of that which is truly, spiritually great. Tell them that in an age of anxiety, of spiritual crisis, I have dared, through books, to gaze at the future, to imagine a different future, and that through these visions I strived to birth and live my life, my present, my spirit and state of mind. Tell them, beloved, that amid the pages of books I have loved and been loved, made friendships the likes of which are so rare on earth, shed tears, oh so bitter tears, rejoiced and found a joy that is simple like flowers and grass growing in a fallow field. Tell them, beloved.
I feel the press of your breasts and soft skin around me, everywhere, coaxing me to flower into you the erection of my body, the life of my poetry. Your light comes in flashes of intuition, falling upon my face as through the sunlit openings of an orchard, and I heed with the attentiveness of my whole body, the animal soul in me. Your dew falls like an erotic enchantment and a buoyancy comes like a fountain rising from the depth of my soul; suddenly I find myself harnessed in shafts of wheat upon the altar of your body, ready to burn, ready to become dough and bread, ready to feed upon the milk of your breasts and the honey of your skin. Your body is the world, the element I am living in, moving through, and this eros, this tension between us mercilessly opens me and challenges me to become in the thrust the man that I am. So I take you, as I give myself to you, as through you I slingshot myself into the sky of eternity.
Woman of silk and fire, woman of milk and honey suckling my wildest desire.
Woman, by virtue of being woman, casts a light upon the world — and we poets, aware and ravished by the sacredness of her ray, find our hearts burning and our words rising like smoke from within the burning. And what do all poets hope for?—well, their life at its deepest root aches to get to the source of her light, to travel her white stream upward and back into the source, the core. This, poets with a fine intuition know can only be achieved through and with a single woman. Women are many but woman, in a sense, is one. The woman the poet loves, writes his heart to, and in whose light he lives is one and provides him with the highest possible unification of life. Through her he asserts himself and reaches his peak and harmonizes his strength; through her he becomes more than a poet, he becomes a man, and, dare I say, achieves his freedom and independence of women. He finds his calling in the arms of the greatest woman of all — life. What woman entices him from now on?—the woman whose light is so ravishing that, in her presence, he feels that the physical world cannot contain him anymore. You, my love, are such a woman.
What is my heart?—A garden where each flower whispers your name. O beloved, my heart is garden drunk with your name. And what the flowers whisper like a prayer charged with incense fills to overflow the sacred cup of dawn. My heart is no longer a reliable mirror to hold up against the world and behold its face, for it is now fashioned with the fires of your name. So my heart sees you everywhere, in each nook and corner, into the widest sky infuses your presence. Through the hidden door you have come into my life and have swept me out into a place without roof and walls. And now, as autumn sets in and as the leaves begin to fall, as the lesson of transience and ephemerality is given once more, your love carves a deeper truth in me, and gives me back to the world as a man born to live the ways of your love.
waiting for a letter…
mailbox of love
Every time I look at you my eyes glisten with the shyness of that first time I saw you; my eyes which can never get used to you and reduce you to a habit, a known object, something wholly understood and incorporated. So a mystery in you remains, the mystery, and the more my gaze sails towards your receding horizons the more I yearn to live in your unsolvable depths. Again and again I could see you for an infinite number of times, and each time something new would reveal itself in you, like a poem come to life. And, my love, what would this transcript be if not the poetry of my life.
I want to touch you but how can I touch you?—you are wider than the sky, deeper than the sea. Yet, despite my inability, touching you is a yearning deeper than my life, more primal than my soul. So I reach for you, always, and I always fail. Yet with each failure I’m a little more open, a little more worthy of your infinite grace. With each failure my heart breaks a little wider and a little deeper, cupping more and more of your infinite grace. With each failure I stand before you a little more naked, yet a little more robed with a cloth weaved of the light of your face. And I shiver like a candle’s flame that knows all too well the intimate secret of the boundless night. I shiver and I tell poetry to go away, for words cannot console me. I shiver and at your door stand holding my heart for a bowl, waiting patiently for the alms of your silence. Ah, forgive me, beloved, for in loving you I forgot myself. I thought myself salt and you showed me my origin in the deeps of your sea. I thought myself narrow and you showed me the boundless expanse of my soul as you stretched my ribs to merge them with your sky. I thought myself alive and living the life and yet when I tasted you I realized how dead I was. When I tasted you I died and into your life was heralded. Now I tremble in your soil, now I spill with your light.
Letter to my Beloved
Long before I met you I named you, Sofia; and your name, more than anything else, was an image grafted into my soul, a spaciousness wider than the sky. Sofia, you, the age of silence, a blue herald from beyond the ancient hills. Your hair, a forest floor covered in brown leaves, and a stream flowing by troubling the silence, hurling the being deeper in a sea of reveries. Your smile, shy and luring, eve’s apple holding the ancient promise; knowledge, in your bosom, the primal sin, the jewel for which man offers his blood for harvest and then sows it, red roses in your hair, red eddies swirling your soul a boundless sea.
You are not a person; you are the place I can never leave. Loving you is awakening in myself your eternal presence, and realizing how, from birth to death, I am submerged inside of you. I feel you pulse in me as though you were the root nurturing my soul, wedding me into a poem of belonging celebrating you as the effervescence of all there is. Seeking you is but a pigment of the imagination, an illusion of the soul, for you are here, now, always and forever, this lived moment, this translucent veil through which I see and am seen, this dynamic, invisible medium eternally at work as it shapes and reshapes life in the bosom of existence. Now the wave breaks, and its froth scatters on the shore of silence. Now your breath becomes ink and blood and fire, and my veins the flower blooming on your skin.
Your breath emanates my poem — given what poetry is to me, do you realize the depth of that image? Oh, how your breath lives in me! But, to me, poetry is so much more than this beat pulsing in my heart; poetry is the very substance of life, the interiority of it weaving its forms and outer shells. Poetry is the essence — and you, the essence of that essence. I am dizzy feeling this intuition, contemplating it, allowing it to take and overtake me. But deeper than the intoxication with which it floods my veins this intuition and image fills me with clarity as a dawn like calmness submerges and raises me to a sky hitherto unknown. I live at the root from which the world and existence draw substance and life, from and into which everything flows and perishes and is reborn. Your breath, Beloved, emanates my poem, and doing so it annihilates me into you. What now remains of me? I do not know for you have filled me. I am now your overflow, the sheer beauty of your face spilling grace and emanating the world.
We drank wine and tea, wrote our hearts as poetry, and spent the winter sleeping together, making love as the snow erased the world outside, muffling everything into a pure white. Under the cover of snow the house slept while inside our bodies shivering against each other flickered like a tender flame, burned a fire of unimaginable intimacy and warmth. Inside we melted into a soft glowing river as on the house and all around snow kept piling, erasing, muffling, knitting everything into a blanket of exquisite white. The world faded and forgot us, let us slip away as we, that winter, covered by the snow, became heart and warmth, the internal hearth that sustains the flesh of the earth.
Transient as the foam, along the trail of leaves I plant a few flowers and pass on my way, a hermit, a poet, a wanderer, a lover with no home but the sky of your face. Yet, long after I’m gone the flowers will burn still, season after season their flames whispering your name and fragrance amid the falling leaves. The hush of your breath on their fiery lips intoned like a prayer rising into the eternal sky. The bees will come to gather your nectar and in their honeycombs ferment the sweetest poetry. And long after I’m gone the earth will remember you as the sweetheart for whose sake a poet became the sky.
Writing to you is my triumph over existence, and even if one day everything falls still and mute this poem never will, its fires constantly burning shed all silent veils from over the face of existence, grafting you into the root and core of all that is. Thus, this whole efflorescence of life acts like an osmotic membrane carrying forth your substance and essence, celebrating and crowning your effulgence and light. Even death and nothingness like black flowers blossom on your lips of infinite light. In you, beloved, everything is overcome, overpowered, surrendered with nothing a more than touch of your fingertips, a whiff from your skin and hair. In you, beloved, ah…now let this poem fall still and like a speechless full moon conclude itself in the fullness of your womb.
Poetry — my lips reading your skin like a pen fervently writing, sip after sip of an ardent erotica, inking you indelible, hot breaths and tears tattooed into a poem none can read but you and me. And these poems inked in you — like all living things, like things forged with the force of life — overtime change and grow, even die, but dying they are like seeds in the earth bringing forth gardens and fields bursting with greenery and life. This, the force of life, this, poetry, this, my most holy and sacred, my raw naked heart I plant in you. And in you it will grow, even when I die, through you will impregnate the whole of life. Such is poetry and love as I envision them, infused into one, through our intimacy, our bond. Poetry, love, you — do you not see? you contain all and everything, and through giving you I am only returning but a fraction of what you gave me, my love, not out of a sense of indebtedness, no! but from an infinite gratitude. For, as the sun, through you, for you, I have become a principle of creation, a self-propelled wheel scattering your light into the depth of the universe. I love you, and my life and poetry are my testimony.
“Désire-moi, épuise-moi, déverse-moi, sacrifie-moi, demande-moi. Accueille-moi, contiens-moi, cache-moi. Je veux être à quelqu’un, je veux être à toi, c’est ton heure. Je suis celui qui est passé en sautant sur les choses, le fugitif, le douloureux.
Mais je pressens ton heure, l’heure où ma vie devra se verser goutte à goutte sur ton cœur, l’heure des tendresses jamais encore dispensées, l’heure des silences sans paroles, ton heure, aube de sang qui m’a nourri d’angoisses, ton heure, ce minuit qui me fut solitaire.
Délivre-moi de moi. Je veux quitter mon cœur. Je suis ce qui gémît, ce qui brûle et qui souffre. Je suis ce qui attaque, ce qui hurle, ce qui chante. Et non, je ne veux pas être cela. Aide-moi à briser ces portes colossales. Avec tes épaules de soie arrache à la terre ces ancres. Ainsi a-t-on un soir crucifié ma douleur.”
— Pablo Neruda
Rain falls, soaking into the darkness of the earth, replenishing her wells, and an immemorial sigh rises to our lips, spills like a hushed prayer to an unknown god, making our flesh transparent to the floating mist, the breath of creation. This space we inhabit, osmotic bodies no longer called yours and mine, but passion-sealed veins and heartbeats, a skin inwardly fused, pulsating, continuous curves rising and falling into hills and valleys, rivers and springs. The topography of an ever shifting one, breaking, through tension and heartache, through laughter and shared breaths into the ever deepening mystery eternally birthing existence from the inside. We open to the mist and memory carries us into a past, a future, awakening in us the tremors of who we were, who we will forever be, passion embodied, the tangle of inseparable fingers, a poem surrendered in the house of love.