Translation #1: Canto 2

Daylight’s ditching me as the dimming sky sets beasts free; and I,
alone,
steel myself for my war with my path and my pity,
which my clear mind will recount.
O muses, o wisdom, help me now;
O mind that sees my memory, be honest now.
I began: “Poets, my guides,
Judge my strength before you test me in the deep.
You say that Silvius’s corrupt father went to the afterlife intact.
So, if evil’s enemy showed him mercy, knowing the great things he should’ve accomplished,
and who and what he was — 
this seems right to a learnèd man, since Heaven chose him to be father of mother
Rome and her empire, and honestly, she and her empire were made to be the Holy home of great Peter’s progeny.
Through your journey —
 the one you take in his name — he understood the reasons for his victory and the papal mantle.
Later, the chosen vessel joined him, to garner support for that faith that begets the path to salvation.
But I — why am I going there?  Or, who lets me?
I’m not Aeneas, I’m not Paul;
nobody knows I’m worthy.  So it might be folly
to give myself over to this journey.
You’re wise; You understand what I can’t articulate.”
And on that midnight mountain I drew back into myself,
unwilling myself, removing myself,
stepping back from the starting line.
“If I understand your words,” responded the magnanimous shade, “cowardice mars your soul,
cowardice that burdens a man, turns him from valiant effort; 
you’re a spooked horse.
So you can free yourself from fear,
I’ll tell you why I’m here — what I understood in that first moment, when I already was grieving for you.
I was in limbo when a woman, whose beauty and virtue pulled at me, called down to me.  I begged her to command me.
Her eyes were as bright as the stars; and she began
speaking to me,
softly,
gently,
in her own native tongue, an angel’s voice:
‘O solicitous Mantuan soul, whose renown continues today and will ’til the end of days:
My friend — who’s no friend of fortune — stands on a bleak shore
and is so paralyzed on his path that
fear’s turned him back;
and he may already be so lost that I’m too late, (judging by what I’ve heard of him in Heaven).
Now go — soothe my heart — use your poetry and
anything, everything else to help him
break free.
I, Beatrice, make you go;
I’ve come from my beloved Heaven, and already long to return, but;
love has moved me to speak.
When I return to my lord, I’ll speak of you highly.’  She fell silent.
I started:
‘O lady of power, who allows man to ascend to St. Peter,
I’m humbled by your command; my heart already obeys and my acts fall behind.
But tell me why you don’t shrink from coming down
to me in the depths of hell, when you already long to return to Heaven.’
‘Since you must know, I’ll tell you,’ she replied, ‘Why I don’t fear seeking out hell.
One need only fear forces that have the power
to harm. Not others.  They’re not fearsome.
I’m made by God, in his mercy.
Your misery doesn’t infect me;
These flames don’t burn me.
There’s a noble lady in Heaven who grieves over the path on which I send you, and so she vanquishes harsh judgment from Heaven.
She called Lucia to ask something of her, and said:
Now, your faithful one needs you, and I leave
his fate in your hands. —
Lucia, enemy of all cruelty, came to me, where I was sitting with ancient Rachel.
She said. — Beatrice, true praise of God, why don’t you help the man who loved you,
who stood out from the madding crowd, for you?
Don’t you hear his anguish, his
weeping, do you not see the fear that feeds
on him there, by the sea whose waves don’t roar?
Nobody has ever moved as fast as I did at her words — not to profit, nor to flee — to move
down to you from my blessèd throne, trusting in the power
of your poetry, which edifies you and your followers.’
And she looked away, her bright stars shedding
tears — tears that drove
me to you.
And I’m here as she willed: I’ve taken you from that beast
that thwarted your short path up the mountain.
So what is it?  Why, why do you stand still?  Why do you safeguard such cowardice in your heart?  Why don’t you have boldness and freedom when three good women in Heaven care for you, and my poetry promises you a path?”
Daisies huddle, bent by night’s chill and dew; but they stretch, reach to receive the sun:
I opened, like they, and so much warmth and boldness flooded into my heart, freeing me:
“Our benefactress, full of grace, and you, noble, who has quickly followed her truth!
You’ve evoked my first inspiration, filled my heart with gladness to walk with you.
Now walk, because we walk together:
you are leader, lord, master.”
He set forth and I started
the deep, savage voyage.

#13

Your handwritten manuscript is stuffed into a manila folder that’s crammed into a magazine holder that pouts on the bottom right of the six shelves of books at the foot of my bed.  I won’t look at it, and can’t remember if I ever have.  In fact, somehow I’d forgotten that it even was there, until it recently reasserted itself in my consciousness.  But I won’t look at it because I love you and it will hurt.

I’m not sure I remember your voice.  I’d recognize it, of course  but if someone asked me to sing all of Appalachian Spring, I could — all the parts, really, of the original ballet.  If they asked me to mimic my father, I couldn’t.  I’d blame this on being a musician instead of an actor, but I wouldn’t buy my own warsh.  If I’m so damn smart, if I’m such a fucking listener, if I’m so careful with my craft, why can’t I replicate a man I carry in my bones?  Why can’t I raise him

The wall of bookcases watches Manhattan.

No, really.

If I pressed myself against the wall, miming the shelves, Manhattan would stand erect right back at me.

It’s clear tonight: the East River is striped orange and blue, mirroring the Bridge; Queens is low-slung and wide.  Manhattan is.  If I’d shelled out 40% more for a corner unit and snugly bungeed myself into my balcony, I’d tell you that sullen Brooklyn is chillin’, too.  But I didn’t, so I won’t.

I traffic in ephemera.  I read read read read read all day at work, read read read at home, am too tired to read books, so then I’ll read blogs, I’ll flip through Feedly, I’ll devour Vogue.  I write emails and memos and emails and gchats and god damn it why does this new Mac keep auto-correcting “gchats”

I traffic in ephemera and I always have.  Why is this satisfying?  To play, to teach, to speak, to cajole.  I trade in experiences: I’ll make you think and burn and cry and horny, but I won’t make you breakfast in bed, and I won’t sketch your profile, and I won’t knit you a sweater, and I can’t shoot a pheasant out of the gray sky, or reel in a Wisconsin Walleye and love it with butter and heat.  But when my competitive core burns white, I can make you root for someone else, I can play you a tune that will make your fucking heart explode, you’ll learn trig with all the joy and trepidation of pubescent masturbation.

I mostly fuck lawyers.  Really, Dad, I’ve tried to branch out, I swear; but we seem fond of each other.  I have binders full of women a cell phone that presents infinite parades of strangers for my swipe-left or -right, and yet the ones who stick are lawyers (whom I probably would’ve met anyway).  I go to Croatia, and a season later, an arrogant lad continues to harangue me over the internet.  I catch a flight in El Salvador and a man named Ulysses (no shit) (but pronounced the Spanish way), a “criminal finance lawyer” (we clarified  the useful translation is “white collar defense”) is smitten, but, thankfully, too polite to push things.  (But he was handsome.)

One of the fun things about dating non-lawyers, then — or lawyers who are artists, or athletes  is how they will love this body.  I’ve got thick dark hair and a favorable waist-to-ass ratio, so yes, with lawyers, too, I do fine.  But a doctor will examine every bit of you with wonder, and a sculptor will trace your textures.  An engineer will manipulate your joints and muscles, and a painter will love you in the light.

My photographer-lawyer respected me for my backbone; desired me for my brain; melted for my heart and laugh.  And he loves the portraits he caught on the landfill.  I see my Bad Side, shit posture, a gut borne thereof, no discernible upper-arm muscles, and a woman who struggles to remember whether she wants a higher or lower aperture.  He sees a woman he may or may not love.  And when others view these portraits, they see her, too.

Nick  you remember Nick  Nick’s making me art.  Something big and alive, some love to press into an unadorned white wall watching Manhattan.  What do you want?  I don’t know, you’re the artist.  What do you like?  I don’t know — I just know when I like stuff.  What kind?  I don’t know.  What if I do a portrait of your dad?

What if he does a portrait of my dad?

, buries my

Alan, Nick, and Michele bounced into the backseat of my 1999 Camry CE (champagne). After another languid, sober afternoon A’s game, they teased me, their chauffeur. We were all a bit tired, but happy to be crammed together, and I was looking forward to driving us home through the hills, windows wide open to pull in the redwoods and eucalyptus.

As they fumbled into their seatbelts, I rifled through my CD wallet, chose, slid it in, and rolled down the windows. That piano began — the left hand marking time, the right’s 5/2/3 progression leading us in  and the kids, my childhood friends in the backseat, were quiet, they listened, and all three began to sing.

“And  if the snow  “

 

.

.

.

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[August 2006]

Flâneur and apologist,

Step in time down Via Etnea, mimicking the dancers I’m watching through the window, in the shadow of that mercurial mountain who will burn us all alive.  The sky combusts, the dust chokes, and our skin boils and pops in the lava’s gushes, as if you were a pork belly, redolent of soy and five spice, that I’d pierced and seared crisp to crackling perfection.  In Taormina I’d declined golden, snow-capped men’s drinks; in Catania, the Chinese immigrants stared, en garde against this sunglassed Sicilian who had no honest business in their neighborhood. The spray paint bellowed “Vive La Tunisie” after me; I refused to be chased // shuffled between nodding to and darting from the prostitutes, sentries of corners; my heart cantered along before me; I tripped after it.

I don’t travel to find myself.  Indeed, Eat Pray Love is horseshit.  Knowing yourself is a phenomenon independent of all but your self.  Whether you’re clad in couture or naked and lashed, your self is your self, and if you can’t understand you in your everyday life, why could you atop K2?  Perhaps on the summit you shape a story that suits your desired self: you, adventurer, conqueror, stronger than all, the epitome of life-affirming individuality.  But while such a feat would be an athletic and logistical triumph, it does not create a known self – it’s no more or less than mere evidence of what lies beneath. When knowing yourself is dependent upon extrinsic diversions, you aren’t known, at all; you’re just distracted.

Everybody buries their dead but I. We throw the dead parties to make ourselves feel better. We need it; they deserve it; we need it – we fête now in hopes that we’ll have earned the same. We honor them, we love, because we need to love. To the dead, our love is irrelevant. To us, it is everything.

Nobody buried Dad. He was dead long before I was notified. He was taken away, his possessions dispersed, his voice memorialized as ghastly shrieks of terror. He lived with his sins and had mellowed with age and miraculous fatherhood. But even a teenage daughter wasn’t enough to redeem him in his own eyes. So while he was wonderful wonderful wonderful with me – I have no daddy issues, I walk in that clichéd confidence of a girl so so so loved by her absolutely fucking delighted, over-the-moon father – in his shame, in his repentance, he didn’t always call me out when I was wrong. And I have been the worse for it.

DGAF – is that really a good thing? Shouldn’t we all give constant, infinite fucks? What good are we if we don’t? Little more than apathetic wastes of oxygen, chasing our bedazzled tails on our 5s hamster wheels.

This navel-gazing blogging manifests my desperate drive for self-reflection. So when I say fuck the haters, it’s not as if their opinions are worthless, per se. But if I’m constantly reflecting on strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and failures and omissions, and I’m actively trying to be better with every breath, then DGAF makes a bit more sense. Because if you know yourself and you know your code, and you live your life accordingly, while seeking out anything that could give you a bit more truth, I, at least, can be happy with myself, where I’m going, where I’m calling from. Part of that is seeking out loved ones who call bullshit. He did the best his damaged, discarded self could do, and I know what he lacked in disciplined fathering, he made up for a billion times over with treasure after treasure. But with seven billion people in this world, anyone who doesn’t constantly try to do better just isn’t worth my time.

Expectation heightens the senses.  I slid in beside the symmetrical stranger and gave myself over to listening.  His pencil against paper pulled me out of my seat, his scruff scratched against his sweater and I clutched my cunt to myself, he waxed hyperbolic on the welfare state and I fingered his belt loop and he was within me, not just a passenger in an elevator, a guest in a foyer, but a partner with whom I’d been thrust together.  And each of us luxuriated in our competence, languid fly traps in his sun-drenched studio, lounging until a target appeared for acquisition ! annihilated. We kept winning.

Mountains Beyond Mountains (Hrvatska 2013)

In Zadar, furniture-maker Vjeko is thrilled to have joined the EU. He loves Americans. He and his friend Florian, from Toulouse, invited me to join their table at a bus station bar. Vjeko bought me a beer before I knew what had happened. He waved away my half-hearted kuna: “You’re in my country.”

Vjeko grew up in Vinkovci, which, as today’s borders go, lies less than 20 km from Serbia, and 60 from Hungary. He left a long time ago; “there are no jobs – if you want a future, you must leave,” he said, again and again. His family still owns the home they’ve lived in for generations, but it seems like only the old live there now. Vjeko’s Facebook tells me he’s three years and six days older than I. But his face has these deep, deep lines, and his skin is so brown and worked-over that it’s hard to tell if his face shows age, sun, work, stress, cigarettes, or something else. His gray-blue eyes concentrate on me, reaching out of a complexion that, for all I know, never sheds skin cells.

Now that I think about it – he doesn’t look unlike the only two pictures I’ve seen of my dad as a teenager (which are lost) – light eyes, thin thin thin from responsible, ennui-happy subsistence, looking for something, daring to look for something in a lens – or in an American.

Vjeko and Florian met a few months ago, working in construction. Florian, from Toulouse, lives in his camper; for a few months now, he’s lived in his camper, on Vjeko’s land in Zadar. Florian was taking a bus to Zagreb to fly to France for a week. “My wife and I want to have you stay with us,” reiterated Vjeko. “You can stay in Florian’s camper, if you want. She doesn’t work outside the house, and her English is much better than mine.”

Vjeko is thrilled he’s in the EU. “I can sell my furniture anywhere now!” “Croatia is a very poor country – there are no jobs – we all move to the coast because there are no jobs – 80 percent is tourism – we need real jobs.” Joining the EU will change his luck. Joining the EU will change the whole nation’s luck. Finally, they’ll all be better off.

Ante is a 27-year-old university student in Trogir who works at my hostel. Tuesday, I was tired, so I brought wine, figs, ementaler (hrv.), and Dalmatian prosciutto from the grocery store to the patio, sifting through my SD card while munching on the goods that would produce such a satisfying shit in 10 hours.

Ante is gruff and generous. He and Marin joined me at my table; seven of Ante’s bros drifted in and out throughout the evening; Marin put a helmet on himself and another on his four-year-old daughter and they all loaded onto his scooter and drove home.

No girls allowed, except for The Beautiful American. One woman came and sat at the table next to ours, outside the circumference, leaning in with her cigarettes, listening and puffing, and leaving twice to fetch us beer and pizza. On her first beer run for us, Stipe, AKA Papi, turned to me. “That’s how our culture treats women!” he grinned. “Get us beer and pizza! Do what we say!”

“So . . . that’s why you have an ex-wife,” I noted. His friends sure gave him shit for that one.

Ante studies history and hates that Croatia has joined the EU. It’s stupid. They’ll go the way of Greece and Portugal and Spain; they’re fucked. Germany comes in, bossing them around, and they take it and take it and take it, for what? After the fall of Communism, Croatia privatized like Russia – the country’s industries and even its retailers are controlled by a handful. The domestic politicians are corrupt. The lawyers are crooks. And now, those same few will keep getting richer, but as the North’s bitches – Germany and France and the Nordic countries will buy up the few worthwhile enterprises Croatia has, will control them wholesale, and still leave Croatians with nothing.

The Other Ante (T.O. Ante, for brevity’s sake) perked up. “San Francisco – I’m a sailor – I’m watching the America’s Cup!” He was excited. “Those boats – 20 knots!”

“I fought in the war,” T.O. Ante told me. (It always does come back to the war.) He mimed Rambo – held an air machine gun aloft, sprayed our round picnic table. “It was fun. I was 20! It was fun. I was 20, it was fun.” He put his machine gun away.

Stipe has four football tattoos that cover approximately 30% of his epidermis. The team is Hajduk Split; the fans are Torcida. “Hajduk” is the Balkan equivalent of outlaw, cowboy – it also is the nickname of Ante Gotovina, a Croatian general whom the ICTY convicted of war crimes, and whose convictions the ICTY Appellate Court wholly overturned.

Hajduk Split Hajduk Split Hajduk Split. It’s the only good thing we’ve always had, they all impressed upon me – grown men, beefy TDH giants, practically bouncing out of their plastic lawn chairs. 102 years old, and nobody has ever taken them away. They are the pride of Dalmatia. Nobody else can even compare, except Zagreb sometimes. Yesterday, Ante drove from Trogir to Zagreb for the football match.

Someone made a crack. “Oh, come on,” I replied.  “You don’t really hate Serbs, right? Like, actually? Come onnnnn.”

“Of course we do!” they chorused. They were serious, kind of, mostly. I raised an eyebrow, appealed to Ante. “Well, okay. For a long time, for all of Yugoslavia, the Serbs controlled everything,” he said. They ran it all, they controlled everything, and we resented them, and then there was war, and it always does come back to the war.

“They killed eight thousand people,” was the fifth paragraph Vjeko spoke to me. We hadn’t been speaking of the war; I told him I was going to Albania, he told me Albanians LOVE Americans, and then, “they killed eight thousand people. Eight. Thousand. People. At once.”

Marin owns the hostel and speaks excellent English and lived in Sydney. He was not here during the war. His father was an aging footballer, so they went to Australia; then war broke out, and they had no citizenship, and they couldn’t come back.

Dragan is from Bosnia and his family has owned a house in Trogir for five decades. He introduced himself by barking, “give me your book.” ? “Give me your book.” I gave him the book. “You drink. Stella?” Ožujsko. I sat with him. “I’m studying for my criminal law exam,” he said, as if this were sufficient to demand my book, buy my pivo. “Oh, I just did that.”  Doubt he expected to be trumped.

Dragan and I spoke some English and less German and less Bosnian. He lived in Stuttgart for eight years. “I wouldn’t have been a lawyer if we stayed in Germany.” He had gone over and took two years to start speaking German – one year after the German schools split you off into your state-mandated destinies. Bosnia doesn’t do that until year 9.

Ante’s bros all agree: only Ožujsko, now. No more Karlovačko. It used to be good, but now it’s shit. Sarajevo is incredible, and they drooled over the cevapcici I’d soon devour. Sarajevo’s still great, but it’s different now, they nodded solemnly. It was cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic. But then it was all refugees. It’s great, but it’s not the same.

Pfftpfft – this is a noise the 26-28 year-old-men have made when I ask them questions they know they have no logical answer to. D did it a lot – maybe I was lawyering too much, maybe his English just wasn’t that good and he felt impotent, especially when I begged out of dinner. Pfft, went Ante. Pfft, “it’s the Balkans,” as he threw up his hands. “Of course we hate Serbs.”

Everyone has been kind, generous, open; they want to talk to me; sometimes I sit with them, and I am interested, and I ask questions, and I give a shit, and I want to know. They talk and talk and talk and talk in very good English, and I try very hard to be open, to be alert, to fucking pay attention, to remember, to analyze enough at the moment to ask good questions, and to reserve judgment, especially when it’s so clear that on most levels – and certainly on the micro level – these have all been kind men to me, and are all kind men.

I wonder how deep hatreds lie. I don’t buy that they really do hate each other, what with all the pffts; pfft means “I smell bullshit but don’t have a good answer and I know it and I say pfft.” “It’s the Balkans,” said Ante and Dragan – said the university men.

“It’s the Balkans,” that phrase a talisman, get me off their backs, feed the American a line that Western thought has defined as self-contained Q.E.D. But I’ve never bought “it’s the Balkans,” and as much as I think my Serbian friend may be tickled that the Croatians called themselves The Balkans, I don’t buy their shortcut, but I am a guest and won’t press the matter right now. Other than, of course, giving them that look you, my darling, know so well – “‘It’s the Balkans?’ Really, Ante? ‘It’s the Balkans?'” And he shrugs pfft and gives me another reason and opens me another giant Ożujsko.

(On another note, the German tracking system has horrified me since I learned of it in my first week of German class in 2000. If that’s what it takes to run the EU, I’ll take my American naivete and optimism and fair shake and just one more chance any damn day of the week.)

from my window to yours

I was reading on the beach when a couple got married next to me.  I mostly ignored them and their ten-ish guests, but eventually grew aware of their elaborate staged photo shoot.  These marionettes turned, walked, thrusted, nodded, squinted, smiled, kissed, at the whims of their photographer.  This farce carried on for at least twenty minutes (but I’m not sure exactly how long, as I left around that time).
 
I guess I’m not terribly invested in the idea of marriage; I think I could be quite happy never getting married.  But I wish I didn’t care about getting married at all.  I think my fondness toward the institution is borne of some weakness, some need to fit in to this world a little more; as if it’s a shortcut to happiness or security or status or worth.  I know better, and I know I know better, and yet I can’t help but think that I might be a little bit sad if I were middle-aged and unmarried.  
 
That odd dance I watched at the beach today represents much of my distaste for the tradition.  Could you imagine?  You have just married the woman you fucking love, you love her and your lives together so much you proposed, and she said yes, and you planned, and you flew out to Kaua’i to commemorate your Great Love, and she walks out on to the beach, and you’re so happy, and you Kiss the Bride, and god, all I would want is to luxuriate in that moment – not unlike how I luxuriate in waking up with you –
 
You kiss the bride and you’re so fucking happy, and you get approximately 10 seconds before the photographers tell you to stand here, stand there, move around, shake your ass, tilt your head, and it’s all because you fucking asked them to!  You had to commemorate this great moment, this symbolic act of love and commitment, and instead of even just having candids of your sheer joy with your loved one, you had to fucking vogue in the poses that our culture has decided demonstrate How You Should Look on Your Wedding Day.  What kind of fuckery is that?
 
But we keep doing it, for millennia.  Why?  As my actual friends begin to get married, I turn it over and over in my head (especially when they’re ones who project indifference about marriage).  I think wanting to be married someday may reflect my worse qualities: an insecure, ill-gotten belief that marriage means lifelong love and security; but even more, the need for some sort of social approval.  That knowledge pisses me off, and makes me not want to do it.  
 
But I also think a nice thing about marriage is that it’s some sort of performative living that constructs and reconstructs peoples’ love, commitment to, responsibility for, and reliance upon each other.  Naming the unnameable: to impose structure and reason and labels also firms up what you feel exists, but maybe lacked the ability to articulate, before entering into that union.  And to have a wedding, regardless of the Holy Trinity, seems nice, because maybe it says, Hey; I love you, and I love everybody else here, and isn’t it great that we all get to be happy and love each other together?  Certainly committing yourself to another is no less important, and no more anyone’s business, than your high school graduation, or your bat mitzvah, or another situation in which people who love you are happy, unselfishly loving, all at once?  
 
Maybe I’m just idealizing it – trying to rationalize some social force and personal impulse that I’m too weak to defeat completely.  

#12 (Pieces of the People We Love)

Daddy-O,

I’m taking #thenewyorkbarexam (yeah, I don’t get it, either) on Tuesday, so I’ve been spending even more time than usual Venn Diagramming this year’s lovers.  They are men who wear watches, men with degrees upon degrees, men of California, men who radiate kindness, men who bloomed late, men who sandwich their mothers’ maiden names.  They vote Republican, or not at all.  They like me for the reasons I love myself (other than my looks – that’s your achievement, not really mine).  My favorites make me smile and think and smolder, they inspire me, they challenge me, they speak softly and laugh loudly, they kiss me deeply, they watch me fall asleep and guard my slumber at sunrise, they keep mum about their fancy degrees, they’re practical, we take our leave of each other, we’re sad and grateful.

In five days, I take a fucking Bar exam.  How lucky am I?  I get to take a Bar exam.  It has been twenty-six years – thirteen since we found The Law – and this path has been lit all this time, it’s been broad and meandering but certain, and it’s almost here, and Christ almighty if I’m not #lawyered within the year it’s my own damn fault for enjoying this season too much (and even if I fall at this silly barrier to entry, the only negative consequence is my own embarrassment).  I’m an idiot who just plummeted through a skylight, whose only reaction was “I really should work out more,” and I am the fucking luckiest.

I am the fucking luckiest and I haven’t been in love in years.  I haven’t particularly wanted to be.  There have been too many jobs to try, more passport stamps, new skills to develop, more friends to honor.  Yet I am the luckiest, for all the reasons you know, and also because I just can’t find fault in my most recent lovers.

I know I could, but do not, love either.  I know I could, but will not, make happy lives with either.  But law school has done nothing if not foster my love of hypotheticals, so I consider and reconsider and let go and scrutinize anyway.  These souls are wonderful, incredible, so similar, and yet somewhat opposites.

More important, though, is the women they make me.

Of course, no matter what, I am I.  I always have been I, even when circumstances were bleakest, and I always will be I, even if my limbs fall off and my face is drenched in acid and my brain is choked by a severed spine and my heart is hardened by abuse and neglect.

But these men – these bright, warm, funny, tall, honorable, modest, watch-wearing men who happily kiss me at cocktail parties, who stand beside me as we, together, observe the madding crowds – they’re different, and I’m different with them.  A weekend with one catalyzed my most expansive self; a semester with another renewed my faith in true partnership.  One understands my most fundamental instincts, my most inarticulable core, and seems to have always known me; fucking thirty minutes was sufficient to realize, “oh, there you are.”  The other sketches us as coequal sovereigns: we glide in our own worlds and return each night to eat roquefort and drink bordeaux, and foreplay is reaching under my dress, pulling down my lingerie, and chucking it into his lap when we won’t agree on the fisc (again).

I don’t know if I want to be the smiliest motherfucker in the Class of 2013 or the grownup partnered with the kind Swiss watch.  Frankly, both sound pretty great, and I don’t know if I ever really could choose.  Then again, this is a False Conflict, if you will, so I’ve just spent a good 30 minutes chasing my tail instead of memorizing various statutes of limitations.  (Culs de sac!)

I guess the moral of the story is: I am happy and lucky and fall-to-my-knees grateful, all the fucking time, so you’re pretty warranted in not worrying about me.

This has been an exercise in hypotheticals, it’s a fucking false conflict, and I’m updating a dead man on my sex life.  But you’re my dead man, and I love you.

Love,