a swarm of interpretations
Always for the first time
Hardly do I know you by sight
Once, I came to the city of Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father.
Twice, I met a man named Ray Vecchio.
I cannot describe the cataclysmic despair I felt on that second day, the day I met Ray Vecchio again. It was as if my father had died a second time, and I was wrapped in grief. It muffled sounds and color, like the heavy snows of deep February.
And yet, in the midst of that numbness there was a spark.
You return at some hour of the night to a house at an angle to my window
A wholly imaginary house
Once, Ray Vecchio, Stanley "Ray" Kowalski, to be precise, broke into the consulate and found me very nearly in my altogether, sleepless on my barren cot. While my father's ghost constructed an invisible cabin in my closet.
I understand the metaphor of 'the closet', by the way. I know what it is to be in the dark. To be close to someone, yet surrounded by walls you can't see.
It is there that from one second to the next
In the inviolate darkness
I anticipate once more the fascinating rift occurring
The one and only rift
In the facade and in my heart
The closer I come to you
I don't believe I've gone out of my way to pick a fight with someone since my fractious days in grade nine. Every argument we have brings me a strange, bitter satisfaction.
I feel sometimes as if I'm kicking my way out of a coffin. As if I'm a wooden man, and now the wick, the greenwood is struggling to break the shell.
What will happen if I wake up soft and exposed?
After my hands were tied once, and the blood finally boiled back into my numb fingers, it was like holding a handful of stinging ants.
It wouldn't surprise me if what comes of this loosening is far more painful.
The more the key sings at the door of the unknown room
Where you appear alone before me
At first you coalesce entirely with the brightness
I will admit that your hair has always fascinated me. As dapper as Ray Vecchio was, he gave his own hair only a fraction of the attention you do. I like its color very well. Like Dief, I met very few light haired people where I was growing up, and I confess I like that golden aspect. You're the color of winter wheat. All over, I suspect.
You asked me if you'd receive a medal for sleeping on the floor; I don't know what to give you that could be as a valuable as what I get from you.
It is you at grips with that too long hour never dim enough until sleep
You're often sleepless. I have discovered this, and it fascinates me as much as it worries me. On the few occasions I have stayed over, generously situated on your comfortable couch, I hear you toss and mutter.
I wonder who you speak to in these private discussions.
I wonder if there is an invisible cabin in your closet, a ghost who haunts your waking thoughts.
You as though you could be
The same except that I shall perhaps never meet you
If Ray Vecchio returns to me, where will Ray Kowalski go?
We've never been formally introduced.
Who was Ray Kowalski before he became Ray Vecchio?
You pretend not to know I am watching you
Marvelously I am no longer sure you know
Sometimes, when I tell you a story, and you sit, as patiently as you can, beside me, with your face turned a little away, I can see your eyes slide toward me under your golden lashes, and I think, 'He is watching me watch him.'
I never know what to do in these moments. There have been times I've sidled fractionally nearer, hoping you will turn your face to me, your eyes staring into mine, admitting that you have watched me, too.
Your idleness brings tears to my eyes
I have seen you bound, several times. Every time, it frightens me. To see you tied down invites strange emotions, often conflicting sensations of desire and pity.
I will never bind you again, Ray. Handcuffs are too strong a temptation.
A swarm of interpretations surrounds each of your gestures
I have become a student of your body language. The tilt of your head, the set of your shoulders. The way you stand or sprawl. The tone of your voice when you say my name.
It's a kind of personal Babel; you're speaking many tongues at once.
I'm wary of misinterpretation. What I see, not what I want, should be the notes that guide me in our duet.
It's a honeydew hunt
There are rocking chairs on a deck there are branches that may well scratch you in the forest
There are in a shop window in the rue Notre-Dame-de-Lorette
Two lovely crossed legs caught in long stockings
Flaring out in the center of a great white clover
And there are women. You are, as has been said, well favored.
I have upbraided myself several times; it's cruel to hope for your failure.
And yet I do.
There is a silken ladder rolled out over the ivy
There is hope in me. A strange, lopsided, uncharitable hope.
I don't know how to give you the clues I've been searching for in you.
I can only trust that something will happen, for good or ill.
By my leaning over the precipice
Of your presence and your absence in hopeless fusion
My finding the secret
Of loving you
Always for the first time
I must believe this can happen. This is a miracle of faith. No God would be so cruel as to taunt me twice with one man in another's seeming.
Sometimes all you need is a second chance.
lines from 'Always for the first time', by Andre Breton