Limerent lover, you caught me when I fell from the sky, unable to fly any more, like Marquez’s winged Gabriel landed in the chicken coop, a mute wonder of decrepit miracle and obscene spectacle for sale. My wings had been clipped from the systematic circus of prosecutorial car clowns and elephantine asses braying in the windy tents of their failures. My flight was downed by opinion–a crippling injustice. You, imagining the first man bemoaning the lack of his mate, knew my journey even before I spoke it. I was the sign. You were the signifier.
Pouring into me the hope of a happy ending, the magic of healing and soul-worn revival of the A-1 amphetamine or the super pill of soporific splendor, I was your mother duck after the ardor of digging elongation from the dark enclosure and safety of the shell. You stretched. Your first light was the sun’s reflection in my tear-stained retinal orbs, blinding your peripheral vision forever and altering your perception of the pumping pinions of this bird, discerning a halo through the steaming breath in the cold of that fall night of your birth. I was your real.
Soon the collage I collaborated with in the making was filled with wind-swept plains of dust and despair or poppy plummets into sweet surrender-ful liquid love potion stares of hypnotic release. Wherever love and hate could be found I was there: in the trees that conspired to collapse the condor’s nest and in the giant avian mother’s courage to free her ovate unborn, in the evil of cardboard figures of terror-filled torturing shadow puppet fights and in the savior soldier’s merciful sacrificial sword of righteous right. I was the paste on your brush to sparkle your smile and the crusted crud on the blade of your unclean can opener.
Shooting up my words, your veins thicken even now long after the flash of my tail light has faded from view and the neon sign points to the hotel next door. Plum with the injected placebo of blossoming romance and forever ending rivulets of passion dribbles eked out of a nano-glance, a sliver of a smirk, an eye glimmer from a passing head light, you are confirmed. It means something. You have thought two thousand times in two thousand hours that it is so. In truth, you have obsessively intruded on the tale, remade the story.
You once threatened, the plot must end well or there will be no end to sorrow’s cascading falls into the mountain crevasses that poorly piloted Cessna’s crash into and crack up their cargo–ordinary men and women with a taste for the daring. The height of expectation and card castles is too great, the air too thin and be-speckled with polluting particles for a pure realization. Limerent. Listen. You.love.you.loving.me. That’s all.
Kelly and I did puzzles on Sundays, mornings mostly, when the New York Times double dared its daily puzzlers to take the bigger, harder challenge of the page-wide crossword. We were both super sleuths, so we toiled as two resolved to solve the mystery of the hour it took us to fill in all of the empty spaces between the black of the uninvited and irrelevant to the game–like our world on Sundays, just us. There were no other people or places more alluring than the chicory of our coffee, the shaded sun on our table, and the pencil and paper inked with our patience–unconditional time. We were peaceful and complacent then. The metronomic congeniality of our pocket of a world was no more, no less: in the middle of hurry and sleep.
Kelly was a mechanic. No matter the make, no engine escaped the exhaustive expertise of this meticulous and measured engineer with a temperament of a lover scientist: observant, percipient and objective, yet warm, conciliatory and intuitive. I often heard, “They all have the same components with a switch up here and there to make me go mad.” And even so, even after having handily fine tuned many similar models before me, the puzzler could not calibrate my candor nor loosen my brakes. Typically, my symptoms–the broken parts–never showed before a somewhat stranger (like finally taking the car into the shop for that noise that suddenly disappears), but with time and travel, the intermittent accelerator hesitation, piercing brake squeals and mysterious trunk rattles made the ride rough, uneasy. And so, after much studied twisting and turning and torquing, the chassis collapsed. I was an enigma.
When Kelly moved to the black, I would bring that scratch-pad stretch of space and moment to mind when suffering the turbulence of spinning-on-the-teacups Terry or enduring the ennui of Edward or Kim or Ken or Sam. Back then, I longed for presence of the puzzle, of even-keeled Kelly time in our kingdom of suspended seismography, no pantomime of the naked love or the jealous joust or the sentimental snore, just Cadillac calm and Bavarian precision.
There is one I call love. He hurts as he pleases me. She bites me in pieces. A love he breathes, a love she makes and yields herself up to me in dreams and waves, sound in my ear, words aglow in squares and rectangles. She is grounding. He is flight. The lover makes love look like me, a mottled mirror of sighs and sinews, curves and cleavage, spectral in flesh, shadows on the buckled sidewalk. My belly lies. She sighs my hair long and he paints my back sticky with tremor and strife. Love is the space between all lovers before me and all after, fractured air of glances at tight hip fallen jeans, fleshy bottom pouted lips, flaxen tress pressed between thumb and forefinger slowly, tenderly slide caressing down its unfurling curl, and the fisted palm wedged in the small of her back. Love is a show, lighting and lines, the scenes sketched out in canned laughs, calculated smiles and familiar illusion. He is burning; she is cool. Love is awakening to the twitch in his sleep and her loud snoring, and falling, falling back, eons wide into the night.