Dear “Blue Anther”

Image: Hauling in the Net, posted at Flickr by Denish C under a Creative Commons License.

Dear “Blue Anther”,

What are you going to do with my blood? Wherever I walk, I see sites irradiated by love, petrified from it: a bus stop turned inside out, metallic and whining. A pair of crusty sneakers slung over a high wire, tongues tangled in each other. When I read you, I am that alert to what loving does, to the space it makes. I read you then wander, aching and rudimentary in my longings.

“Blue Anther”, however lonely you might otherwise make me feel, when I’m in your lines I’m in the company of men who love each other romantically, carnally, which is to say: one of the places I feel safest. What you do in your startling economy lulls me even as it cores my tender parts: your images of shoes and cellphones are as ordinary as your images of laurel and white hinds are… not. There’s something radically beautiful about the way you create room for an ecstasy of rarity in the mundane, then contort your spine inside out to show the inverse, gleaming like the wounded belly of every thing a man can hunt.

I know poems can be used to make our suffering feel exquisite. Lately, I’ve begun thinking that suffering is just a state of being that fucking sucks. You aren’t trying to convince anyone that pain is legendary or lovely or anything but painful, really. When one man bleeds into the mouth of another inside you, it’s still blood. I don’t love you because that notion is sublime. I love you because it makes sense. You remind me that we’re all here to give each other a little blood, a little spit, a little come. Everything between us is fluid and messy, tangible and smeary, smooshed up with words we will never fully understand.

You’re compact enough to slip into my trousers like a shy blade, “Blue Anther”. It was hard to choose you, because I wanted to write to at least three of your other companions in this way: a giddy confessional, a half-high chorus of whispers crescendoing to giggles and sighs and the sucking of teeth. The poet who makes you and those three others makes me believe in rest. Of all states, maybe this one is the strangest to single out, but it’s what you’re talking about, isn’t it? In your final lines, the flesh two lovers share is transmuted beyond the boundaries of the tangible. In loving, in the sempiternal everydayness of cohabitation, two bodies become post-bodies, proto-bodies, melting or coalescing, plummeting or rising, but together. Separate, but somehow yes, together. Lying down in the crucible together. Becoming more and more the other even as they split apart.

You split me apart, send me in search of the other within/without myself. When they come, can you give them a really sweet taste? Like violets, alright? Like black licorice and clove cigarettes and rain. Make them a feral woman, “Blue Anther.” Lord, make them a gentle man.

Read “Blue Anther” by Richie Hofmann.