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Born in the US, raised on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, lived in Italy, the US, and Canada. Lover of language, travel, colour, and the natural world.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Unsent letter fodder

A couple of years ago I was getting to know a man who was just not right for me. He was, however, a terrific person and a truly breathtaking writer. And he had an excellent sense of humour, which was a good thing, because the first "getting to know you poem" I wrote to him was not exactly what most men would want to be receiving from the woman they had just started getting to know. And yes, in case you wonder after reading this poem, I did actually give it to him. And, amazingly, he was enough of a good sport to tell me that in his opinion, it was very well written. Yes, I do realize that he was being incredibly kind. He may well have a very different opinion of it today, but I doubt it -- one thing I always appreciated about him was his ability to judge my writing honestly, as something that was entirely separate from me. So here it is. A "getting to know you" poem: 

Unsent Letter Fodder

If I could write a book of love letters it would be the ones I never sent
There are always more of those, stuffed proudly in pockets, suitcases, wallets,
dogeared, too over-read for envelopes or stamps.

I am wondering if you too will be nothing more than January unsent letter fodder
If your double eye winks, tactile words, and all those octaves of atheistic silence
will fold neatly into the back of an ink-stained oak drawer.

Here’s what I’m thinking: If we recognize the sheer impossibility of this ending well
we can avoid all those wasted hours of wanting each other to be some one we are not.
Efficiency is what its about: getting straight to the heron without snubbing the crane.

Or maybe its about sparing the world all that inevitably bad poetry
where I actually miss the smell of stale cigarette smoke in my hair
or your long, transitional silences wading further and further out into the afternoon.

I do not see you folding well.
Maybe I’ll float this down a spring creek, first dawn, as a light snow is falling.
An early morning journey without having to rise
horizon between half-light and your dreams cracking a yawn.


  1. It remains a damn good poem, Ariana. Even better than I remembered. And it's true, I've never folded well. You must have enough poems for a collection by now. Do it.

  2. Thank you, John. I am glad you still feel that way. And you are right. It is time to start pulling the pieces together. Have not been writing a lot of poetry lately, but I have a lot that needs finishing, so that gives me somewhere to start.