Wednesday, April 06, 2005

you asked for it, you got it

In effort to restrain myself from writing love letters to people I know, and in an homage to my friend Jeff VanderMeer, who is imagining the stories of strangers in a series called "Secret Lives," I have decided to write love letters to people I don't know.

Because it is safer, more dangerous, and unquestionably more interesting.

I bring you stranger #1: Tony! Who I sort of met in a Vancouver bar, and who seems very nice, and who I really hope doesn't mind.

If you are a stranger and would like me to write you a love letter, let me know!


If I had said wait instead of wait,
if the train had not come as it was
called to, cutting north side from
south side, the cars at the crossings
like gifts for each other, and if
the wheels had not merged with splinter,
the sweet give wood, and from
their meeting come molasses, dark
machine water of oil, of tar, if tar
was not water only less interested,
if the engineer hanging off the end
had said sorry, would this poem still be
about you, would the rain still be
about you, specifically the way
you wrote the gutters. You made
them full, black ink on a drink-ringed
napkin. Outside the bar, the world
unfurled, as it would. Streets ran silver.
The trees looked like copies of trees.
Outside the bar, a blind dog was barking
at a fountain, believing he called it
back into existence, dry then a sputter
from somewhere deep, a feather white
rising from a place of pipes, from a place
of places, steam and water hemmed
in by copper, where we could follow
hand over hand, find the sentence
ending in into, could leave this bar,
could rise to be risen. There you see,
that would be a new experience.

It is a beautiful day and I really should not be spending it here.