return to Love

from Gasworks Park

The Seattle sun strikes hot today and it cannot feel like the first day of autumn.    My skin just beneath sweating, the water between myself and downtown a rocking body.  The boats cut slowly, minimal wakes.  I only smell dirt, warmed concrete, my own scent rising. I return to H.C. and love, because I have to return.

Z. is leaving again.  A month.  He was supposed to have months. Plural. And today, I was on a bus swaying with heat. Sweat and perfume and the hum of electric motors.  And my phone, buzzing.  I looked, debated for a moment.  Buses are loud, conversations bleed over into adjacent seats.  Hesitated.  Then answered, and felt the days rush into my body, colliding into each other.  A month.  After the disconnect, held my hand to my lips as if to stave off something.

And so I have to return to H.C., look into her pages to explain my own.  If I can understand her abstract Love then I can define my own.  I can explain why I must hold my hands to my lips for a body both (not lost) and (not mine).

I have known love, and I have been at the other side, looking towards the buildings blurred with the humidity of after-love.  H.C. writes about the destructive force of love, the destructivecreative force of it.  –Defeat me. Pillage me. If there is a house, a room, a safe in my city that I have not turned over to you, whose keys I haven’t provided, if you find one single door I might have forgotten inadvertently deep inside my soul, smash it open. The need to give and be given, to take and be taken.

Grey shades of it, the limits of what I am willing to give.  No. I am still too faint, too dim. I do not have enough strength yet to start dying again. Because that’s it, isn’t it?  Love a death, a destruction of boundaries—I give you my body for your body and I take your body for my body. But how can anyone survive this?  I can’t, not yet.

I say body, and I mean more.  I seem to return to certain words.  Body and edge, for example.  My iceberg words, I mean whole oceans and only say: body. I mean—pneumea. Lifebreath.  My edges.

I think I give easily, to a point.  Here here here.  It seems: entire.

But it isn’t.  I keep a seed, the turtle shell to stand on.  Because who can do it and return?

All this to circle back, and say: Z., even before leaving, please please return.  Not to me, as I lay no claim, but all the same.

(All italic text from Hélène Cixous, The Book of Promethea)

The Book of…

Reading Hélène Cixous’ The Book of Promethea has found me at a strange place.  “Our history has a bumpy geography:” she writes.  What history doesn’t?  It is a book about love, but un-love.  The not-love that is love.  The pain of it all.  “Because in love not all is love.”  And the absolute fiery consuming beauty.

And then I read this and I am foolish and little and young; I know nothing of tragedy or pain.  

This is a terrifying place, the world.  There are so many breakable moments, so many crushing defeats.  So much love beneath it all but how to find that vein… sometimes it seems I know, other-times it is impossibly distant and I am parched.  (Cixous’ voice infects me. I mimic poorly, but I can’t approach her book without beginning to slip into it.  My thoughts want to follow hers, trace the spaces between lines for some thread back to myself.)  I am wandering.