By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
In the dream I am swimming toward you, absorbed in the body's rhythms. As I approach your rock, I wake. I wait. I think about moving toward you. I hear the pulses in my body beat.
Writing to a lover, real or imagined, requited or hopeless, is obsession, pastime, gesture across miles, hours, years. It is fingers on a keyboard, gel ink on a postcard, pencil on a legal pad. It is impetuous, considered, hysterical, calmelectronic, or a note slipped under a door. It is now or decades later. Here, a collection from our writers, for you, for Valentine's Day. Elizabeth Zimmer
December 7, 2004
Dear Kitty and Eddie Joe,
I'm writing to thank you for seducing me the other night, while I was back home. I know, because you told me, that you do it every time you go out, but I don't. The list of things I did that night that I've never done before is long: sniffing a stranger's cocaine in a men's room; driving off in a stranger's truck; standing outside a seedy bar waiting for someone's drug connection; making out with a girl; making out with a girl in the front row of a small porn theater; making out with a girl high half out of her mind, who is biting me with crooked pearl teeth and murmuring incessantly, "Thank you, thank you, thank you."
You know I did it for you, Kitty. I liked you two together, the intelligence, the calculated seduction through storieshow you fucked everyone in your little town in Tennessee: the 17-year-old girls, waitresses and bartenders, Eddie Joe's army comrades. How you were married to other people until you seduced each other with poetry and formed an insatiable alliance, an unstoppable juggernaut of pleasure both illegal and unimaginable. You told me a story, then gave me a role to play, even though I felt the staginess as together you undressed me on your half-clothed mattress on the floor, pulled off my black silk dress, and rolled down my fishnets as your transvestite friend watched Gone With the Windin the next room. I don't think you really learned my name. It's true I did it for the story too, to be out of time for a night, somewhere with no connection to my real life and real love; but most of all I did it for you, Kitty, and the image that you gave me, arched astride your husband, auburn curls flying, writhing like a demon had possessed your creamy skin.
June 15, 2004
1. Dave Matthews Band, "Dancing Nancies": What I heard when I got to know you, midnight skinny-dipping at the lake with you and about 30 of your closest friends, and knew you could not be ignored. "Sing and dance/I'll play for you tonight./The thrill of it all."
3. The Supremes, "I Hear a Symphony": "A thousand violins fill the air." Particularly when you dry off and change clothes in front of me, with cocksure confidence.
4. Norman Connors, "You Are My Starship": "I just can't say it's here that you want to be." Indeed, I knew it wasn't. But when has that ever tapered desire?
5. The Samples, "Nothing Lasts For Long": The song that made you bleary-eyed, and made me wish I could be the one you said nothing to all night. "Take my hand and walk with me,/And tell me who you love."
6. Wilco, "How to Fight Loneliness": They opened with this at the Orpheuma perfect night, except that you weren't in the seat next to mine. "Just smile all the time."
7. Sweet Sensation, "Sad Sweet Dreamer": Lying on the dock of that same lake, this time solo, imagining your leg brushing against mine. "It's just one of those things/You put down to experience."
8. Stevie Wonder, "Another Star": I tipsily sang this, the day after your cousin's wedding. Everyone else was still bunked up with dates and spouses, and I had a water-glistened dock for a partner and a robust morning sun for an audience. "For you, love might bring a toast of wine;/But with each sparkle know the best for you I pray./For you, love might be for you to find,/But I will celebrate a love of yesterday."
9. Robbie Williams, "Angels": That was what I sang after you left, the last time I sang with you, at a karaoke party two years ago. I've never held anyone so tightly as when you said goodbye, never put on so brave a face as when I rejoined the party. "I'm loving angels instead."
photo: Elinor Carucci
(LD Beghtol/Nice Boys Music/Mother West Music/ASCAP)
After eight months of brutal Canadian winter it was no surprise that 29-year-old writer Notho was miserable. Romance was impossible in his suburban town, Waterloo, with the arctic chill making the idea of a "spring fling" sound ridiculous. Inspired by Catullus's poems of love and rejection, Notho got through the winter writing about affairs with lesbians. When summer finally came, he realized lesbians were just not that into him, but that in spite of frostbite, domestic love is attainable . . .
August 19, 2004
photo: Elinor Carucci
We will eat mussels, and become the movie Blue Lagoon: You will be Brooke Shields's burnt-toast thighs and I, suburbia's Slurpee heart. On hot picnics I will watch butter clarify down your lengthy carrot limbs, and your cherub mouth quiver beneath apple cheeks. You will replace my lust for sapphic vixens, your lips as sensuous as dewy produce.
Home can be a healthy thing. We'll leave 7-Elevens behind. I love you endlessly, and am happy your sexual orientation allows you to love me too.