Month: April 2014

The 18th of August 1953 – Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Robbie,

You’re not going to understand unless you’ve been there. You’re just not going to understand, see?

Maybe you will. Maybe you’ve been there. Maybe you were next to me the whole time, and I didn’t even know it.

If I tried to put it – the place, where I’ve been – if I put it into writing, the page would just be black. It would just be black, maybe because it’d be filled with words upon words running into words upon words, maybe because it’d just be so damn empty.

See, there is a place, and you can believe it or not. I found it, at least inside of me. I found it, so it has to be there. See, there is a place where nothing exists. I wish I could say that I just happened upon it, but I actually went out searching if you can believe it.

I mean that too. Nothing. Nothing exists.

There’s no ego, no love. There’s no pain, no evil or good. There’s no pleasure or joy, no happiness or hate. There’s no light, not even enough to see the dark. There’s nothing. Nothing.

And to be in this place is to vacillate, bounce chaotically and uncontrolled, between two states: serene peace and crushing dread. The nothing can elevate you. The nothing can destroy you.

I didn’t get out until I saw you. Then I felt something, finally, for once.

When I saw you, I saw a light, a tangible light. It wasn’t too bright or overpowering, and it flickered like a candle at times, to be honest. But it was something, and it was something that I could grab and hold.

It was something that I could want, something I wanted to want. You don’t know how great it is to want, to crave and to need. You don’t know how warm it is to want.

You might not understand that. You shouldn’t. So try. Or don’t.

And I keep asking myself. I keep telling myself. So what if it’s bullshit. So what if it’s not true. So what if I’m just making it all up, if that candle’s just a damn mirage.

I’m in love with you. Head over heels. That’s it.

There’s nothing you can do about it. There’s nothing I can do about it. So it’s just it.

-Trixie

PS – I meant it the other day, the whole, entire thing. I wanted, I needed to make one last gesture, big and romantic, not to win you back but just to show you what you are.

The 6th of November 2010 – Walla Walla, Washington

(found in a La Quinta Inn)

Dear Marcy,

This has been quite the week Marcy. It’s been quite the week, full of all those terrible, spine-tingling realizations about all those things that always bother me. It’s really been quite the week.

You know, I think I’ve been alone this whole time, but I’ve never felt lonely. I’ve never felt lonely, at least not until recently. I wonder what that means, feeling so lonely so suddenly. Is that growth? Is that improvement?

How long has it been? How long have I been here? I can’t really tell anymore. I really can’t, really. It’s been so long and there are no friends. There are no lovers. There are just people, just people that I know, just people that I’ve met and seen and talked to and said hello to and will say goodbye to someday. That’s it.

I keep my head down most of the time. I keep my head down when I walk, especially, and I let everyone walking around me just walk right around me. I can’t look at them. I can’t look at anything. It’s not that it makes me angry or that it makes me hate. It just makes me disappointed.

I see regret everywhere.

Then I step in front of something reflective, and that’s just too much.

That’s why I don’t need it from you or anyone else.

I get enough of it from my mirror.

And I just want it all to stop.

I just want it all to change.

I think it’s going to change. I really do, I think.

There’s something inside me, something waiting to get out, something clawing to get out, something that howls and screams. That’s what makes me feel so lonely. The shouts to do are overwhelmed by the whispers to do not.

But there’s something inside me, something desperate to get out, and I want to let it out. I want to get it out.

I’m an animal, at least, that’s what I want to be. Just an animal, just a stupid, worthless, frightened animal. I want to world to seduce me. I want it to satiate me, and I want it to just leave me there to die.

I keep smacking my hand against the wall. It’s the same spot, over and over, that I keep hitting, right by the head of my bed.

I’ve nearly broken through, I think, the wall that is.

Sincerely,

Harold

The 20th of April 2000 – Halifax, Massachusetts

(found curled and twisted into a tight ball)

Dear Carlos,

I hope this finds you well. I don’t have time for the usual courtesies of letter writing, as I’m in quite a hurry.

You told me to write if it happened again, so I’m writing. It happened again.

I’m so convinced that it was her. I mean, I was. I mean, I still am. It was her hair, and it was her hips, and it was the back of her neck. It was her. I’m so convinced that it was.

I found her sleeping on the floor in a room. It might have been mine. It might have been hers. It was really just a room, honestly. But she was in it, lying on the floor.

It was magnetic, whatever it was that brought me towards her. Because suddenly I was kneeling right beside her. Suddenly I was lying on my side with my front pressed against her back, my face pressed into her hair, into the back of her neck.

I remember laying there for an eternity. That’s what felt so real about it. Time moved just as time always moves, slowly and painfully, beautifully, serenely. Time stretched and time stretched, and we just laid against each other on the floor.  We just laid there, wrapped around each other.

It was a dream. It certainly felt like one: real, too real, like all the best dreams are.

And we just laid there, against each other on the floor.

I closed my eyes, just for a moment, and I must have fallen asleep. I was so relaxed, for once, there on the floor and next to her. I was. So I closed my eyes for a moment. When I opened them, I thought that she’d be right there in my arms, just where I’d left her. But she wasn’t. I expected her to be there. I hoped her to be there. I wanted so desperately her to be there. But she wasn’t.

I wasn’t lying on the floor anymore. I was in my bed. Alone.

It was maybe three or four in the morning when I woke up, but I couldn’t fall asleep again. I just couldn’t.

I’m not sure what to do. I hope I never see her again, whoever she is.

Sincerely,

James

The 29th of March 2004 – Tulsa, Oklahoma

(found but never read, just in the way it was meant to be)

Excuse me, Your Highness?

I apologize, but the next time you come into a room, would you prefer that I bow for you?

I am only assuming, as you act with such conviction and confidence that I can only conclude that you are some sort of great and divine ruler of a magnificent kingdom, filled with loyal and obedient subjects who cater to your whim and adjust themselves to every change in your comportment.

Why is that? Why do you act as if everyone around you is actually beneath you, as if every one of their opinions and beliefs is obsolete compared to your own?

Would you like me to get the basin and, like a servant, wash your feet? Shall I get the oil so you can be anointed? It won’t be much trouble. It won’t be an inconvenience, not for someone of your stature, certainly.

But see, madam, I’m not your servant, your whipping boy. No, no. It turns out that I’m not who you thought I was, and it turns out that that’s your fault more than it is mine.

I want to know something from you. I really want to find this out from you, okay? So just answer it, for once. For once, you marvelous, magnificent and arrogant mistress of hell, why don’t you just give a straight answer to a simple question.

What, oh what, please just tell me what exactly you think is going on in the mind of a person who disagrees with you?

Besides them being horribly and hopelessly incorrect, of course.

Do you think those people don’t think? Do you think they don’t consider things and weigh their options? Do you think they just hop blindly into their positions based on no facts and no data whatsoever? Perhaps they don’t fully appreciate your perspective, but let me tell you something, alright? Your perspective does not have exclusive ownership of all the facts, understand? Your perspective is not the end all and the be all of the universe. There’s more to the world than just your perspective.

So listen, for once, your majesty? Listen to what other people are saying and don’t just hear what you want to hear. Don’t just twist whatever it is that someone else says into something extreme just so you can take some indignant offense to it.

Just calm down and let everyone be, alright? For once, alright?

I may be a lowly pauper, at least in your eyes, but I know that much, and I know that that much is just enough.

-Wendell

The 8th of May 2001 – El Paso, Texas

(found under the clawed foot of a kitchen table)

My dearest Uncle Jacques,

Sometimes I worry that I’m making it all up, the way I feel about her and talk about her and think about her. But then I see her. It really is there, I think. I don’t know what, but it’s just something different. There are other people, but so far there’s only one of her. I’m not saying it’s anything, but I’m still into her, I think.

I don’t like people, I don’t think. I’m not one of those social animals with the instincts and the drive and the interest to get out and meet people. What I think I mean is that I just don’t have a natural affinity for most of them.

Social interaction, in general, has been a game for me, and it can be fun, but it’s still just a game, a process. You go through the motions, and you make your moves, and you try to move things in the direction that you want to move them. But when I’m talking to her it feels like I’m doing a whole different thing.

I wanted to say something to her, but I couldn’t. It was going to be something big, something grandiose and something moving. But it all felt so manipulative. Just then, suddenly, I realized how manipulative being honest with a person can be. It felt so insincere, being so honest in that moment. But I was going to say it, even if it wasn’t entirely true. I still wanted to say it.

And then I saw her. And then I didn’t say it.

So I think, if it’s alright with you, I’ll just say it to you.

This analogy is not going to make sense, I think, but I’m walking around, and I’m smelling things, all sorts of different meals, different smells. I’m going from kitchen to kitchen and smelling all these smells. A lot smells great. A lot smells really, really good. A lot smells like something I want to taste or try or even sit down and enjoy for a while. But she smells different, I think. She smells like filet mignon, something I want to sink my teeth into, something I want to savor for a long while, a good long while.

That’s what I was going to say, to her even. I didn’t.

It’s all so gross. It all feels so manipulative. I don’t even know if it’s true. I don’t even know if it’s the way I feel.

I want it to be, I think.

Regards,

Martin

The 17th of June 1962 – New York, New York

(found wrapped around the sticky end of a lollipop stick)

Dear Leo, Mr. Pencock, my friend,

I know what you’re thinking. I really do. I know what you’re thinking right now, after you’ve heard all the stories and about all the poems and the gifts and the whispers.

I know you’re thinking. I’m a goddamned sucker.

And I think you’re right. You know something? I think you’re totally just one hundred percent right.

I’m a goddamned sucker, a goddamned loser, and I’ve never felt so goddamned proud.

I gotta tell you Leo, Mr. Pencock, my friend, I just gotta tell you before I even say another word, I just gotta tell you that I’m absolutely head over heels. I’m absolutely and completely swooning over here, and I’m bending over backwards, and I’m twisting every which way there is, and it’s all just in the hopes that she might give me a second glance or a third smile, just maybe, just once.

That’s it, Leo. Mr. Pencock, that’s it completely. I’m a goddamned sucker. That’s it. Square on the head.

And I know you’ve heard, I know you’ve heard all about the flowers and the dances and the running halfway across town just to grab a quick lunch, but I’m telling you, Leo, that that’s just the best I can do. It’s all I can do because I’m actually swooning over here. That’s it, swooning, falling over myself and all the rest. I’m a goddamned sucker.

It’s not out of control, Leo, at least not yet. There’re the gifts and the meals and maybe it’ll all add up one day – sure it will, even if this whole business doesn’t pay off in the end, but it’s not out of control, at least not yet.

I know it too, what a fool I’ve become, what a fool I’ll eventually be. So I know it. I’m a goddamned sucker. I’m a goddamned sucker, and I’m chasing a goddamned skirt all over the goddamned place.

I’m a sucker, but I’m proud of it.

You know something, Leo, Mr. Pencock? I could be a sucker for anything, for worse things, but right now I’m a goddamned sucker for her.

So I’ll be a goddamned sucker.

Regards,

Peter

 

Inspired by Edgar Allan Poe’s “To Octavia.”

 

Read more amazing poetry themed entries to this week’s challenge here.

The 3rd of February 2008 – Glendale, Arizona

(found underneath an abandoned car in the parking lot)

Dear Ray,

If you get this, I want you to know just one thing. I expected this. Who ever thought perfection was possible when we barely have anything good in the world to begin with.

It almost happened, though. It really did. It’s almost unbelievable, but it did.

With who knows how much time left, from their own twenty yard line, they did have a chance to win that game. Eighty yards and something like thirty seconds, and all they needed was a touchdown to win it or a field goal to tie it.

And this is the best offense in the history of forever, mind you. They could have done it. They could have made some smart plays, and they could have done it.

So they line up on the twenty, and Brady snaps the ball. He stands back there, and he just heaves the thing. Moss, record-setting Randy Moss, ran a seven route down the sideline. He’d run that route all year, and nobody could stop him. There he was, open again, waiting for the ball to come down.

And that ball arcs through the air, and Randy’s running underneath it, and he’s a few steps ahead of his man, and he reaches out, and he knows and we know if he catches it that it’s a touchdown, and he reaches out.

And the ball glides right over his fingertips.

I don’t know what happened next. I blacked it all out. They tried again, I assume, and then they lost in the end. They tried to make it all up with one big shot, one last-ditch Hail Mary toss and they lost it all in the end.

And now I look at where I am, and I feel like I’m trapped, stuck deep somewhere on my own twenty yard line. And I look to the scoreboard. I can’t tell, but it sure feels like I’m down. I don’t know if I need to score a touchdown, but I want to. It sure feels like I’m down. That’s all I’ll say.

I don’t know what to do, Ray. Should I just start chucking the ball, heaving up eighty yard Hail Maries and try to win with a big shot? Would that make up for it all?

Maybe I’ll just kneel down, let the clock run out, and wait for next week or next month or next year.

Either way, it feels like giving up, to be honest.

Regards,

Lenny