A pastoral dirge

Dearest A,

My god what a beautiful day. On leaves with filtered light, goddess spiders, succulent wine and caressed notes. Words just don’t suffice.

Merci mon beau ami for being in my life.




Unspeakably beautiful our day together. Thank you, dearest C. And how lovely your new picture.

More tomorrow once my internet returns to life.




Dear C,

Well, I’m sitting here in that wickery corner chair you know. The bamboo one crisscrossed with blond bone and red berries. On my left are your photos; on my right the outdoors, I suppose. I’ve perched my computer on my thighs flattened by my tippy toes. In this spot, I can get good–OK, fairly good–internet reception. Good, good, blah blah vibrations.

I’m reminded of young boys holding up those tinfoil bunny ears. The TV antenna might work all right until you took your hand off and tiptoed back to your carpety seat. With the crash came the fuzz. So there you were again, gentler or less patient or both.

It’s just after 2 p.m. and I’m still waiting for my new modem to arrive. Hence my tippy toe window seat. (My ass is starting to hurt something fierce.) Earlier, I sat in the dark of the dining room and spoke with P by phone. I’m sure I sounded the fool. Before that, I’d moved the last plant out into the courtyard. That bugger was SO heavy and large, those fat billowy leaves reminiscent of Arabian Nights. I thought I’d break something: the wall, an antique painting, my back.

Today is nothing like yesterday, is it? Then the pastoral, today the Gothic. Then the bucolic, now the sultry. Now I feel itchy. I ate the rest of the chocolate. I want to go for a run in the rain. Or maybe I want to cry a little.

Last night I slept fitfully. Half-awake, I’m brushing my hair. Who does that? I do I guess, and I’ve no idea why. I’m half-awake and detangling, my head a quarter off the pillow. What’s that all about? Is this my sign that says I’m concerned about others?

Good Lord do the leafy trees sway! I’m sure I had something important to tell you but, while scribbling away, I must have forgotten it. Oh yes, this simple truth: I’m thinking of you…



Dear Andrew,

Fell asleep last night around 9:30, my head reeling from the day, the wine still coursing in my blood and the sun’s heat radiating from my skin. I slept strangely, awaking with a start at 12:50 a.m. thinking of P. I opened my laptop and she was there. Now I know the full story and hope to be of some comfort.

When I woke up this morning I was almost thankful for the rain. Washing, cooling the intensity of yesterday. I’m still marveling how time was suspended, 15 minutes felt like a lifetime. My head on your lap, your hand on my shoulder: I don’t remember the last time I felt life coursing so loudly. Yes I think I could cry a little too.

Imagining you on your wicker chair, the one I remember dragging out on your roof, with glass in hand, hoping not to tip over your plants in the doorway. This Baudelaire quote came to mind when reading your post from this morning: “One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you choose. But get drunk.” There are not many people I feel Iike I could get drunk with. But with you yes.



Dearest C,

How did you guess? Yes, I am still sitting in my wicker chair and feeling just as out of sorts now as I was when I first wrote you. The contrast between yesterday and today is still jarring: the beauty of mere being, of being in friendly, fecund fields (where was the shepherd? where the traveling goats? where the midsummer night?), of loving lightly skin and sun, of– juxtaposed with the infinite sorrow of world-sundering change.

(O brave woman…)

I think often (and just as often misquote) Frost’s poem about the country boy who lost his hand and died. My version of the final line reads, “And they, since they were not the ones dead, returned to their affairs.”

And how do we return to our affairs, how after the fields and the forests, the hay and the lake? And how do we return when another–our mutual beloved–is reminding herself to breathe? What do we owe her–what words, what thoughts, what caresses?

I guess, far off in New York, I do my part by running around in search of modems. Do not fret: I have my case number, my little billete, my confirmations. (Did I mention that the old modem worked just fine? Oh, but upgrades! We must have upgrades!) Or by not taking showers for 2 (or is it 3?) days straight and feeling as gross, as encrusted, as greasy as can be. Or by eating cocoa and frozen blueberries and agave nectar together for most every meal. (I think I am getting sick and jittery from the chocolate. My tendons are all quivery and my eyelids refuse to close. Is this a problem?)

Goddamn it: it’s just so still out there right now. I ask only that you leafy trees breathe.

O let’s go back to the fields. Let’s write in praise of lassitude. Let’s sing a song to drunken love. Or will it be enough if we listen to the 6 o’clock church bells and cry a little or a lot–as much in joy as in sorrow?

With love,


2 thoughts on “A pastoral dirge

  1. I was talking this very morning with a faraway True love about capital R Romanticism
    later encountering the tone & imagery of this exchange/ thanx

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