To The Author


Published: December 13, 2007



This is some kind of thank you,

And from this distance, where no answer can come back,

You will receive it best

For you owe me no thing


But you were closer, once.

You were a body in a dusty loft space

A smell, a song,

You would eat and smile and seem

(You had that calm sober thing about you)


And that was important, since

we so often forget, admiring our writers

that they are just men

who smile, and eat, and seem

and smell

like men


I wonder, and want to ask you now: Do people write letters to people

for whom they know an email address?

My thought is not,

And yet I think of this as the only way to reach you


On paper all my fantasies

I measure out

Too bad that no matter how sincere it all will have started

One will always be said to have tried too hard


But at least I am trying.

And otherwise the golden light of feeling would be forsaken

Curious yearning tells me to speak!

Or those feelings—lost!—could die with me.


Or be condemned to otherwise tell themselves furiously,


Re-type themselves, failingly


They will have lied,

having been lain,

laid out


in the blank ledger space of some impersonal Text box.




What I say now is not worth recording

It lacks certainty, like one of those Talmudic lessons,

to be revised verbally

throughout the ages


To be learned by repetition, until firmly impressed upon the mind

And yet, lacking certainty


Is a woman of twenty, who owns possibility

and for that, her language is worth learning


In men like you she is–I are–the Locutioner,

Doling out what is young and good, and making those things


in exchange for some ending.

–because in you, in your gloomy speech, there is Such Ending!


(Except for your eyes

The only part of you incapable of saying

what they do not mean

and for which all may be forgiven)




That part in your novel–that novel I purposely

Did not read at first, you know; because your picture was there on the dust jacket


And I was sure you would have nothing to say–


But which then I took my time to read

And read again, this time underlining,

Because in it I seemed to be coming


Well in it I was becoming

I was a girl named Arielle

I was the late autumn crunch,

I was the desk of necessary duty, where you

sat in your late twenties

Waiting for someone to tell you your fate


I was an intolerant boom box, in your passenger’s seat,

playing hip-hop beside you,

and skipping

all the way to Pennsylvania.


I was there as you realized, through vast countryside,

You were too old for self-discovery

I was not obstinate; I was helpful to create

Some soundtrack for a man’s interminable journey

(Yet I still don’t know what happens when one turns thirty)


For me, there are ten thousand ways of dying

And some years from today I will know only one


For now the task is deep.

And you are some help to me

So in vacant space, where no answer can come back,

This was some kind of thank you.