Perhaps, when we go our separate ways,
you could take with you some string
Along our travels, those we run into could take hold of the string
and each and all
go in their own directions
to their houses
or cups of tea
and then from the tallest mountain available
we can look down upon our connections
tied together with bits of string.
Perhaps, when we go our separate ways,
I am leaving your bed
a calf would be too much
I am leaving your bed
for higher ground
and coffee commuters
I am leaving your limbs
and soft breath
– for concrete
and steel framed structures
I am leaving.
I looked you up
c h e c k
until I could fit
We moved forward
was two years ago
A missed call
that wasn’t made
none the (Less)
I looked you up
turned a page
and the entry
from the dictionary
I’ve used to define
This is your Topography
The city of your Geography.
Perhaps, My Dear,
we might visit mine
like a map of underwater mountain ranges
I trust you will bring sturdy shoes
and a compass you have already
tuned to your own North.
Lovers and friends
are signs to other cities
with more or
L e s s
and customs meant for Anthropology textbooks
which I will read
while we create a new page.
Spent some time in my own head before i could contemplate yours.
If I had a stronger voice and more nimble guitar fingers, this might be a song. I would write it on the back of the crossword puzzle (from last week, Wednesday) and play it for you cross-legged in bed after many Gin and Tonics. But I don’t, and I haven’t and so, instead, this is a letter. It would be easier if it were a song though, less straight forward, you’d be taken in by the chorus and only after careful consideration and unraveling, grasp my actual intent. But, this is a letter.
You know, in high school we had to practice writing letters. I grew up in a hippie community and I can just imagine that the English teachers were envisioning a second generation of letter writing protesters. Maybe they were sure the future head of Amnesty International was somewhere in the room. Anyhow, those teachers would be agast and what I’ve called a letter. I have not stated my intent in my introductory paragraph.
The intent of this letter is to tell you the following:
I have stitched my heart back together using mediocre thread and the most delicate of thimbles. And riyou while whispering (sweet) nothings in my ear and using the most ornate of scalpels, has broken the flesh above my ribcage. Undetured by blood or gore, you continued. You paused when you hit rib and I gasped wondering how Adam must have felt. You paused to kiss my earlobe while your persistent fingers separated bone and flesh. Holding my heart with a puzzled look on your face I laughed, I hadn’t known it was in there either.
Also, I am headstrong and independent. I leave wet towels on the bed and return text messages hours after they were sent. I have spent too many nights in the beds of strangers to appreciate the familiarity of a lover who knows my body.
All I’m saying is :
This won’t be easy.
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Dear Mr. T,
I have a problem. Some fools at school have been teasing on me because I wear an unpopular brand of sneaker. Unfortunately, I lost my job at the factory, both of my parents are dead, and my uncle’s backwater European ways preclude him from understanding how fashionable footwear will keep me from getting swirlies and titty-twisters.
The truth is I’ve never been good at making friends and my disproportionately large ears present a formidable temptation to bullies who specialize in wet-willies and spitwads.
I tried decorating my shoes with sparkles, scratch’n’sniff stickers and cutlery, but that only seems to have encouraged their jeers.
I was hoping that you would consider coming to my school to teach these kids a lesson. I know you’ll probably want to rap about self-esteem, peer mediation and conflict resolution. However, I think it would serve me best if you could just yell at them. Oh, and maybe teach me some karate; you know, for when they try to hang me from things by my underoos.
Last week they tied me to a dog.
Anyhow, I hope this letter finds you well. I hope you’ve managed to overcome your money troubles.
Also: could you say hello to Kristen for me? She seems like a really cool chick. Honest, delightfully insensible, creative and not a zombie; my kinda gal! I’m just terrible with introductions, is all.
Here’s a picture I drew in MS Paint. It’s based on a dream I had recently; I’m sure it requires no further explanation. Enjoy:
Your browser may not support display of this image.
So that’s about it. I could go on for a while about how I once had an ultrasound following a skating mishap or what it was like to grow up wearing mum-made underoos what doubled as trunks…but who wants to hear that sorta thing?
Thanks again, Mr. T.
p.s – I’m not an insane person (mostly). I’m just reallyreallyreally befuddled by the idea of interwebbering etiquette.
p.p.s – The underoos were made of terry cloth (a highly absorbent material), which made them a terrible choice in the kiddie pool. As a result, I spent the majority of my childhood pantless. Cheers!
Dear Stephen Hawking
I beleive that you are an astro-physicist. I wasn’t entirely sure so I looked it up on your website. I’m glad that you mapped out the Large Scale of Spacetime, that really needed to be taken care of, god knows that it kept me up at night.
I can’t tell you how many times growing up I would float on my back in the middle of the lake, look up at the stars and wonder quietly to my 12 year old self “Just exactly how many black holes are there really?” Thanks to your work, we’re closer to finding out. Now I sleep so well I even snore.
Of course when all the other girls in class had a crush on Ryan Smith who was in grade 11 and had a car that was blue, my heart pitter pattered for a quantim physicist, namely, yourself. I can still here the taunts till this day “Kristen and Stephen Hawking founder of the Three hundred years of Gravity theory sitting in a tree k i s s i n g”
But really, I’m writing this letter for selfish reasons. This letter is really the plight of a delightfully insensible girl who last time she checked wasn’t a zombie (although that was early last week and one can never be sure). She recently received a ridiculously hilarious illustrated message on this thing that people affectionately call the ‘inter-net” She’s ultimetly confused by myspace and thought that she might ask someone as brilliant as yourself, Who is this Shrodinger’s Cat, and whats he about? Other than a charming literary style its kind of a mystery. She figured you, out of anyone might be able to tell her a little more…..
ps-I’m sorry, mister Hawking about your disability
PPS-I laughed so hard at your message that there was a tear in my eye…..defenitley awesome
Dear Mr. Stephen William Hawking,
Already I feel somewhat uncomfortable writing you. Let me try to explain.
First of all, you may have noticed the formal tone that I’ve adopted. My usually cheerful salutations of “Hiya, Wheels!” or “Dood, where’s my star?” have given way to a drier, almost disingenuous standard. You have to understand that this affected distance is as much for your protection as it is mine. Allow me to digress even further.
I recently received a letter from one fashionably mysterious albeit highly photogenic young woman named Kristen. Trouble is: the letter was addressed to you. What’s more, the letter seems to reference another letter that I had sent to the gentleman of first name Mister, last name T. In addition, this letter also mentioned me by pseudonym!
Understandably, I’m somewhat spooked. Everybody seems to be getting a hold of everybody else’s mail!
At this time, I do not suspect Kristen of any especial malevolence or nefariousness. Though I have no good reason to think so, I’m choosing to see her interception of my correspondence(s) as something other than ignominious.
(As an aside: I managed to pull out a word like ignominious at this late hour without the aid of a thesaurus. So, like…umm, be impressed, ‘kay?)
This returns me somewhat circuitously to the reason for my uncharacteristically dull introduction.
I believe that I have, entirely by chance, happened upon a network of tiny wormholes. (I’m sure that of all people you don’t need me to explain to you that wormholes are akin to tubular-like, semi-continuous tears in the fabric of space/time. After all, if you hadn’t gone to such lengths to popularize wormhole theory, the very subject would instead lead people to think of soil aeration.) Upon further scrutiny, these wormholes appear to follow the…er…following route:
1. Letters addressed to Mr. T, written by a grade school-attending and seemingly tormented me, are forwarded to one Kristen I. Guess;
2. In turn, the letters of one curiously curious Kristen – who, it appears, has something of a crush on everybody’s favourite physicist and mathematician – somehow find their way to me.
I must assume that this has all already to be occurred, and that we are now simply playing out the roles we had earlier set for ourselves…at some time in the unforeseeable future. An inversion of time dilation is the only reason I can think of to explain how this could have happened without your noticing.
So I suppose there’s a good chance this was the very first letter that you will have to be received from me.
(Never mind the complications of having to introduce myself all over again; I can barely manage the troubling effects of time-travel on my grammar.)
That said, I now must present you with something of an imposition.
I’m feeling especially mischievous and would enjoy the opportunity to partake in some espionage of the social variety. What can you tell me about this Kristen girl? Here are a few observations that I have already made:
1. Kristen seems highly emotive and – understanding the current state and limitations of robotics and nanotechnology – it is safe to assume that she is not a robot (killer or otherwise);
2. By her own typewritten word, Kristen is not a zombie. The fact that the methodology of any inquiry into the nature of her own undeadness might easily be called into question is easily dismissed by the simple fact that zombies cannot type;
3. As evidenced by a number of available photographs (including one posted by her own brother), the adage is true; pets and their owners do resemble one another, and both Kristen and her dog, Sophie, are ridiculously adorkable;
4. Perhaps this next point is something to which you, Stevie, can further attest: Kristen appears to have collected a fair number of admirers. We can only hope that this phenomenon is due to her yet-to-be-identified-though-surely-existent-in-abundant-quantities endearing qualities;
5. Dinosaurs are flippin’ cool.
I understand that in order to collect information you may have to provide some in exchange. With the express intention of providing Kristen with some or all of the following, I will share with you some details about myself (which a future you already knew prior to this wormhole business we are currently experienced). Here goes:
1. Wednesday is my day off, which is why I’m being so generous with my time tonight. Normally I’d be writing or reading or sleeping or playing video games or out with friends. However, I have all of tomorrow to do that (and laundry, too), so tonight I choose to write a nigh-unfathomably long letter to someone I don’t know – but might like to;
2. Though it appears as though I ended my last sentence with a preposition, this is not technically the case. You see, I closed with a semi-colon to indicate that the list, within which the sentence in question occurs, will continue. I can identify these sorts of things because I am a writer by both passion and compulsion. What’s more, I’m actually a damned good one;
3. It is entirely likely that I am the most humblest person that you will ever meet ever;
4. Nothing has had so thoroughly pervasive an impact on me throughout my formative years as Bill Waterson’s Calvin & Hobbes; I even named two of my cats Calvin and Hobbes. I still miss Calvin. She was easily my favourite. (Why are you allowed to have favourite pets but it’s wrong to have favourite offspring?) Calvin would sleep with me and play with me and we’d dote on each other. I’m especially sad that I was in Calgary when she died. I can’t say that I necessarily believe in the idea of a soul mate, but I do know that I hope to settle down with someone and really make a go of it; I think that making a conscious decision to commit in such a way to someone outside of yourself is actually more meaningful than some mystical and vague idea of being drawn to them. So I figure if I can find someone and care for them as effortlessly and guilelessly as I did for Calvin, well, that’s a pretty clear sign that I’ve met someone worthwhile;
5. I miss being five and a half. That’s officially the best age to be;
6. More than anything else, I’m probably most easily classified as a geek. I can tell you how a gecko is able to walk across sheer vertical and inverted glass-like surfaces without being sticky or using suction; I can tell you that the flats of their feet are coated with such remarkly fine hairs that it is a reaction on a sub-atomic level that occurs; and I can tell you all of that and only make myself more excited;
7. I indulge in my imagination at all times. There’s a mysterious world beyond the tangible that is constantly playing in my mind. Even as I do the crossword and sudoku puzzles at lunch, my brain is figuring the outcome of an all-out, three-way war between zombies, killer robots and mutant dinosaurs;
8. I don’t hold back. Everything’s fair game. I will talk about anything and everything (go on and try me). I’d rather open myself and risk being hurt than be guarded and left wondering, and I’ve experienced both. I adore people and I also hate people. As outgoing as I am, I often feel alone – but not lonely. I have a habit of isolating myself for stretces of time and I can be somewhat reclusive. It’s usually when I’m focused on my writing or when I’m lost in my own head about something I want to write, but sometimes it’s because there’s no one around to captivate me. I’m scared that I could isolate myself to such a degree that I’d never come out of it again;
9. I’m not ticklish but I am very sensitive;
10. I love to travel and go on adventures. I make my own fun, you see. I adore road trips. And as much as I can be a leader, I prefer to be the passenger. There’s something romantic about sitting up front and watching the world go by to good tunes.
And that’s probably more than enough for now.
Thanks for taking the time to address my concerns, Mr. Hawking. Also: I’d appreciate it if you could give my warmest regards to Kristen (and possibly cop a feel while you’re at it).
p.s When do you want to go out for karaoke?
Dear Ms. Goodall
I am writing to you, Jane, because the most curious series of events are presently occurring. Why do I write to you you may be asking yourself? Well I suppose that that is as good a place to start this uncharacteristic correspondence.
1. Your long enduring world renowned research leads me to believe that you have somewhat steller powers of observation. The reason that I’m interested in this particular talent will be shortly explained.
2. You’ve spent a lot of time alone in the jungle. Please don’t think that I’m mentioning this because I find anything wrong with it. Quite the opposite in fact. Self imposed boughts of irregular hibernation are quite often my specialty. The reason as to which I think that the aforementioned alone time is of any relevance is this – After spending so time by myself with a bunch of gorillas I would be up for any sort of adventure that was offered.
now let me explain…
No one is getting there proper mail. It began yesterday and has continued on until today. And now, I have the odd feeling as if I am being watched or rather, investigated. Now I must admit, rather than making me feel uncomfortable, I find it almost thrilling. Consequently, I’ve considered leaving the house in a headscarf and sunglasses, loading some mysterious music from an old black and white movie onto my i pod and traipsing around town while looking over my shoulder. At which point if I were only so lucky, a chivalrous man in a fedora would come to my aid and call me “sugar”. All this investigating has made me want to partake in some of my own.
That is where you and your marvelous powers of observation come in. I will sum up for you what I know of this rather odd but intrugeing situation.
1. Yesterday I received a letter address to Mister T.
2. I sent a letter to Stephen William Hawking which was never delivered.
3. I ran into mister hawking on the street this morning while on my way to the bakery to buy bagels and not only did he say hi but he also tried to cop a feel. Now I’ve had a crush on the aforementioned Mr. Hawking since my childhood (nothing gets my little heart beating faster than someone talking geek to me) but i find the situation rather odd for a multitude of reasons. a) Mister Hawking although brilliant is rather old and disabled. b) He lives in England c) I live in an odd neighborhood in an odd apartment that even my friends can never seem to find. d) Dinasours are truly flippin’ cool. Although I’ve never been, a nerdy goal of mine is to go to one of the really big museums and hang out with a T Rex. After running into my friend Stephen and enduring his lame cop a feel attempts (I was wearing a parka so he got nothing but down.) He mentioned a letter that he’d received in which I was mentioned by name. He had a list of details to pass along to me and asked for some in return.
I am instead forwarding any personal details to you. The reasons why are as follows:
1. For someone of your age and intellectual pursuits, you are a rather snappy dresser. I know, I saw you on Oprah.
2. I like Gorillas. I know that you probably feel rather sad about them being in the zoo and all, and I would agree. Its just that I won’t be going to the jungle any time soon….I promise you though that I will make an effort to make it to the jungle to observe them in their natural habitat at some point. Also, whenever I go to the zoo I will make protest minded comments loud enough for tourists to hear. This will be the way in which I will thank you for what I am about to ask you for in favor form.
3. You have kind eyes which is perhaps my favorite feature on human beings.
First off I feel as if I should respond to the curios things that Mister Hawking imparted to me during our now infamous early morning encounter.
1.I am neither a zombie or a robot although quite often I would like to be. I would like to have gadgets like Inspector Gadget or James Bond. I would also like to be a Zombie for one reason and one reason only. Zombies are cool.
2. Adorkable is not a word. But it quite possibly should be. I am quite fond of words. I am quite fond of “adorkable” so then I suppose if I am fond of words and also fond of adorkable then by association, it must be a word.
3. Sophie and I look alike but I am cuter.
4. I am the second most humble person on earth.
5. I am ticklish and not as sensitive as I could be.
6. Although I boast a fairly declamatory vocabulary (in both English and German) I didn’t know what the word Ignominious meant and had to look it up in the dictionary. My roommate had borrowed and not returned my dictionary. I had a moment of despair until Dictionary.com came to my rescue.
Something about the way that Mr. Hawking detailed information about this person who mysteriously wrote to him and mentioned my name (and some personal details as well) made me want to respond in similar fashion.
How will you get these details to the man who I only have a pseudonym for? I’m not sure, but undoubtedly, odder things have happened.
Here goes nothing.
1. Wednesday is MY day off. That is why I am taking time to respond in such an extensive manner. I have already done my laundry. I have already finished my most current novel. Regularly though I would just be getting up because of the fact that I work in a restraunt and get home late. I had the day off yesterday as well and fell asleep while trying to watch a rather boring movie.
2. Being admired is one thing, admiring back is quite another. I blame this entirely on the fact that I require that I am mentally engaged as well as the other ways in which one can be engaged (ie: physically or dare I say emotionally)
3. I am really just a nerd in cool girl clothing. At one point in my childhood I made my mother drive me around the countryside so that I could identify geographical formations such as batholiths and alluvial planes. My passion for scarf knitting atests to this fact as does my obsession with National Geographic (The month that we had the national geographic channel was perhaps one of the happiest I’ve experienced)
4. I am a fashion designer who hates the fashion world. With a passion. I like to make clothes, I like to see people wear my clothes, I like using my hands and if I could I would make out with my sewing machine.
5. Imagination and the ability to utilize it is perhaps my third favorite thing. It might even be my second favorite thing but it really just depends on the day. One day I hope to move to Spain and become a gypsy, knitting scarves for tourists.
6. Travel is my second favorite thing and sometimes my first, it again, just depends on the day.
7. When I was 4 a kid told me that when I was five I would know everything. I turned five and it took about six months to figure out that I did not, in fact, know everything. Five and a half was a time of intense disappointment.
8. I am a person of opposites. I am outgoing and shy. I am quiet and loud. I am Intense and laid back. I live in the city but am from the country. I am wildly sponaneous with somethings and highly organized with others. I speak my mind. I smile a lot. I have dimples.
9. I hibernate for long stints during which I like very few peoples company. Somedays I realize I’ve talked more to my dog then to actual people. Other times I can’t get enough of people…I wish that I could put them in my blender and drink them through a straw.
10. I can’t think of a tenth thing to say about myself (see the previous #4) so I will leave it at that Jane.
Thanks so much for all your help and good luck with the delivery of this letter. I wish you all the best with your future endeavors. Keep up the snappy dressing. I will knit you a scarf I have just decided. But when you get it you should leave it on the floor of the jungle. Then a bunch of things like ants and grubs will crawl inside of it. Then you could wear it and there would be things for the Gorillas to pick off of you (because I’m sure that you don’t have grubs or ants in your hair)
Ps- I’m not sure what your singing voice is like but Mr. Hawking mentioned something about how he was going to Karaoke. I also don’t know if he has a wife or not but it must be rather lonely both of you being so brilliant and all……
This morning while you were in the shower I had 12 minutes alone in your apartment.
The first moment I sat staring straight ahead wrapped in your blankets, a hand, a wrist, an arm resting on your pillows. Everything here is just slightly colder than my place – perhaps you are a degree warmer and not prone to goosebumps.
Secondly, I notice the dust that has collected on your windowsill which makes you less and more at once.
In the third minute I climb back under the covers, face down on your pillow which smells like hair products and sleep. I laugh to myself as I hear the protesting rumble of a blowdryer coming from the direction of the bathroom. My own hair sticks straight up into oblivion and swirls around your sheets in a rebellious tangle.
In the fourth minute I contemplate your closet – organized and hung – I touch the textures of your garments, a sleeve, a pant leg the cuff of what I like to imagine might be your favorite shirt. This also, takes only a minute
By the fifth moment I have noticed the trail of discarded clothing abandoned haphazard and unwanted on the living room floor. I picked up my clothes piece by piece alienating nakedness one garment at a time. Your clothes I fold slowly, reading your t shirt (some British band I’ve never heard of) and place everything carefully on the dresser. This act, in and of itself, feels too familiar and I consider unfolding and scattering your clothes once again. I don’t.
Folding clothes took both the fifth and sixth moment. I felt slightly cheated.
The seventh, eight, ninth and tenth moment I use for observing the way in which you’ve arranged your bookshelf. I drag my hand lazily over the titles and textures. They are in order of colour. I come to the concusion that you don’t read, but the books are there for show, as is the starkly arranged bar in the corner of your kitchen as you drink nothing but beer.
In the 11th moment I call a cab, reading your address off of a bill that I find on the counter. A phone bill, unopened.
In the 12th moment, I take a deep breath. I smell your apartment. It smells like nothing. Nothing at all. It is as if you have never cooked, never cleaned, never smoked or drank, lived or breathed here. It is as if you never existed. I say goodbye to this moment, this and the other 11 moments and leave. The door closes behind me, I wait for a click. You cease to exist and the world become one person smaller for me.
1. a peculiarity of action, behavior, or personality; mannerism: she is full of quirks.
Yes, I agree. Quirks, so beautifully hidden during day to day life, make a brilliant and impressive surfacing during dating and times of exhaustion. Or at least, they do for me. And the thing about dating is that, play your cards right and you’ll get both the date and the exhaustion (read: the morning after) to contend with. Lets be honest : the best dress ever created does very little to hide the fact that, the minute I take off my boots, you’re assailed with the thick wool, lime green and yellow socks that I’m wearing. And yes, I knit them myself.
The thing about quirks is that we try to pass them off as endearing personality traits. I have perfected a sweet if not somewhat blank smile which essentially says “please find this adorable and not as weird as I know it is”. After a few drinks as well, I gain a strong sense of confidence in my quirks – I become proud of them, displaying them like child in their first ballet performance – I would take pictures if I could.
I spent a few years in the fashion industry – an industry that loves the bizarre and accepts nothing less than macabre. I just wasn’t weird enough for them.
I had none of the following:
a) a bizarre and highly ironic haircut which deserved much explaining about your intense and somewhat incestious relationship with your own personal stylist.
b) a lover of the same gender or an alternate gender for that matter who had had lovers of the same gender in the past and would talk about it at great length over a tired glass of red wine.
c) the ability or confidence to pass off something that I knew was completely ridiculous with a flippant toss of my head calling it art and fashion. I knew when things were silly.
d) The frame (physical or personality) to impose upon a room my eternal and overwhelming importance.
e) a highly itemized list of ever evolving quirks which both outweighed and scoffed at the things that other people dared call quirks.
In other words, I just wasn’t weird enough to fit into the fashion world and a bit too quirky to be concidered mainstream. This is a very interesting position to be in – take me out on a date sometime, give me a glass of wine and let me show you how exactly.
The hipster. The anti-cool is the new cool. The angst filled, plaid wearing purveyors of trend. The perpetrators of nonsense and hypocritical fashion.
The wearers of fantastic glasses.
Deep down, I adore men in ironic glasses. To myself, I often call them “spectaculars” and have a little giggle. Then, I hope no one noticed. And then I usually feel a little strange, not like the time when we were naked in bed and you asked me when the last time I had sex was and I answered mid October because I’m honest – not strange like that, but more like when you notice a girl on the sky-train with absolutely gigantic hands and a tiny little head and you can’t look away but you know that you’re being rude – yes, awkward like that.