a.e. hart's sketchpad

Category: letters


im satisfied that when all of this is over, i will have two strong arms, and the courage to lift my voice again. i squander a gift every time i open my mouth. there are lines to cross, and i have crossed all of them.

as we are forgetful, i will tie your mysteries to this flag. a flag of war. a flag of war on war. and you will sew your backwards alphabet into my misgivings. here we go again. a ghost and a martyr. a satyr and a movie set.

i wanted you to know better. how frequently we are disappointed.  i am watching from the audience now, and i am impotent. everyday power pools in my back, and these days i can barely move at all. it will become a sickness.

i have a barrage of excuses. a litany of distractions.  i should have quit so long ago.  i should lie and steal to make the space for it.  but i bound myself in moral law, and you carbonated the moon.

it wont be long now. its june again and my heart is broken. you will stain the paper, and i will finally explode. a surge of sweetness, of purpose. and then i will rest. so satisfied. so easy.



thats where ive been since you passed away
i hate that phrase
passed away. died. as if you just dissolved somehow.
i wouldnt know. i wasnt there

you were more to me, maybe, than i could ever be to you
i will say that i was suprised
sitting on the bottom bunk
at an ashram
knitting you an unbelievably long scarf
to discover that i loved you

it was the endlessness of the object
that made me query
look into the engine
that kept my hands so busy

i cried then, knowing that i seldom loved anyone
that i wasn’t fucking. or hadn’t fucked, or wouldnt.

this is what we had

the cold cackle of our voices against concrete walls
with you i was angry for hours
sustained in the most haunted melodies
my admiration of your hands, which at times bordered on intimacy
the sound of your breathing at night
which never let me sleep
always those gaps in your breath

i was afraid then, that you wouldnt wake

maybe my heart does have a crystal ball
the worst kind of poison
when you see heartbreak in every heartbeat
how can you ever trust this life

but i digress
i havent written a word since you died
not really
not willingly
i wrote two term papers
and i gave a eulogy
to an audience of future pastors
who didnt know you

i have been watching veronica mars reruns
the gilmore girls
the usual drugs
but they are not working
every so often my left shoulder seizes up in unspeakable pain
and i have decided it is time to go back to therapy

i am writing this down now, because if i dont
i will turn on the television

losing you rests closer to the heartbreak of losing my father than any heartbreak i have known since
you win, asshole.  you made me love you
the way i loved the sound of my fathers voice
the songs that kept me breathing as a child

this is not poetry
its processing
its vomit
my stomach is so close to turning these days
that tonight a puking scene in a comedy
made me vomit quietly into my empty soda cup
you would have found this hysterical

no one noticed, but the way
and i magically had tea tree oil toothpicks in my pocket
rinsed my mouth in the bathroom
and cleaned my teeth

the rest of the night i kept chewing on those damn things
until my lips felt dry and raw
and i sat in an aa meeting
clutching a candle, a gift from the eccentric man sitting next to me
who also brought me a paper towel
when i fell apart
after speaking the words
“my best friend died last month”

a best friend

its different you know
not like kate with our ups and downs and our depths
or molly with her steady love and support

you were to me, what my godfather was to my dad
you were my partner in crime
my headache
my sense of humor

and even though you pushed me away
even though you hadnt been around
the love was as big and old and angry as family

so there.
tonight i wanted to go outside and scream
the way i did when dad died
and justin was still alive
he just let me scream
didnt tell me to worry about the neighbors
didnt tell me to calm down
or try to hold me
when i was wild

he just stood by and watched
and handed me a beer

we could get away with a lot back then
tonight i didnt know how
to lift my feet
to walk out into the city air
so i sat there
with my feet glued to the floor
and stifled my rage
let it form tears
walked around with my face red and swollen

you would have bought me coffee
made me sing
i guess
to be honest, i dont remember
if youve ever seen me cry

but now

the other night i was sitting at the old piano
after hours
when there is no one at school, i have that room to myself
my very own chapel

you were there, your arms somehow solid
and your fingers weighted with mine on the keys
you even edited my writing
added some flourish i could only call yours

there you are. a fucking ghost.

and it doesnt make sense
because you were too young
and because we hadnt spoken
in a year

a year of silences
of sadnesses
of me not letting go

jessica says you got my texts in the end
i hope thats true
i hope i said

“i love you”

to get it through your thick skull

theres no way to end this
because its not over
i have novels full of grief to write
and for now they are disorganized
and i want to be happy
maybe just for a minute
maybe for a day
i will kiss my lover
when i can
and read my books
i will try to trust in some new and growing life
and remember to write to my godparents
every so often
call my sister sometimes just to talk
i will read poetry again, instead of the news
and go for walks
eat something green

i remember the last time i saw you
you slipped in the door of Living Room Lounge
and hid in a shadow

you had not come one of my solo shows
in years
and my feelings were sore from it

i was in the middle of a song
and considered inviting you on stage
but felt it was unprofessional
and that maybe, i just needed to stand on my own two feet
for that one night

and there it was
i took back my power
my art
my voice
and you

just disappeared

dear catastrophe,

i think that was the name of an album. if not, it should be. we can write it together.
you are out of town and i am too proud, shy, afraid, insecure, and half in love to tell you that i miss you. im telling my secretsecret blog instead. i fucking miss you.
two hyperdefensive jaded hearts melting in the midday sun. we are quite a pair. stay, please. stay close to my heart.
i am good at giving love space, and i want you to trust that, to feel that. it has never been difficult. until now. i look forward to that moment i know, trust that you are in this completely. then maybe i will hear you singing your sweet freedom songs when you are far from me. you asked me what you could do, to convince me you are not going anywhere. i am hoping it is just a matter of patience. amazing, since i am usually so cocky, that i would spend a moment concerned.
you win. i dont know what youve won, but i am so. fucking. yours.

Insomniac Files

Sometimes at night, in my ritual refusal to sleep, I think about you.  My houseguests, both stricken with the ailment that has had me down in bed for days, are breathing somewhat labored on their air mattress. I am sitting in bed, crosslegged, half staring at my houseplant, half towards the closed blinds, as if I can bore through to the window behind.

I am typing on my phone.

You seem to fit in my life. My sleeping friends could testify that I do not share my life easily, if they knew about this blog, or knew that I was still awake. Despite the cold medicine, the illness, im awake. As per usual.

Yesterday I slept until two pm. It was a miracle. I left the house once today, to buy toilet paper, and have one entirely inappropriate cigarette. You  texted once or twice, to make plans, to check in.

We are not having sex. We make out like teenagers, take our time like christians. This is unfamiliar. I know your scent now like a little wild bobcat stalking prey. You are my new favorite thing. Shiny, and most likely sharp, troublesome.

We make music together like two small doves, lifting our dark secrets to the moon. Shyly, we dive into the mysteries together. We talk about getting dirty, about camping.

I can imagine us in one home. This is unfamiliar. Unwelcome. We both need space, endless space. I imagine extra rooms.

“Cause its not hard too fall, but I don’t want to scare her….” d.rice

So for now, secrets. The labored breathing of my friends, and the quiet thought of your body, here with mine. Eventually.

the poison

some nights i just worry about you, because its been too quiet. because the phone hasnt rung since your last catastrophe. my heart is a windup toy with many alarms.
tonight i studied leonard cohen as scripture and tuned in to the whistling stars. the city is vast and the bridge that separates us is thin and long.
as always, you will call, eventually, and everything will appear to be fine. the lamp will grow dim, and then the flame will leap. even we have our rhythms.

here, in the heart of Ein Sof, i am illiterate, and i mutter your name accidentally, between pages.  the electric lights humiliate us, but you take no notice. you collect futures in cast iron and parchment. i am concerned that time might shatter again, leave us tracing illegible truths in chalk.

if your lover was kind to your heart, i wouldnt mind the distance. the thin bridge would never threaten us, and the stars might laugh a little.  if your lover was kind to your heart, i might marry a scientist, get knocked up, toss the whole of my worries up, leave them for the moon to sort.

as it is i carry us like a viper. the poison i carry, this love, might save us both, if we just wish it.
as it is i carry us like a viper. the poison i carry, this love, might set you free.

first draft

dear friends, family, strangers….

in the event of a solar flare, or any unnamed catastrophe, leaving us without modern amenities, this is where you will find me:

a courier arrives at a strangers door, by bicycle, bearing a letter from a distant loved one.  she asks only for a small bite to eat, or a handful of seeds.  she is dirty and tired, but kind and well worn.  she will not harm you, she is cultivating peace. if she carries a shotgun, it is for hunting, but she will defend herself, her bicycle, her water storage and ukulele, if provoked. there are farms nearby where people know her name, but she is only as safe as your kindness and gratitude will allow.

she will sing you a song, if a song is what you need. when she is too tired, she will cross some stretch of earth to return to a homestead somewhere.  you might never see her again.  she loves you.

she will have little, and you might have less.  accept her paltry offerings, and she will learn survival with you, even in a moment, if you allow it.  her feet will hurt, and she will cry sometimes.

as your children grow, she will remember their names, and carry them with her.  eventually she will take root, gardening rooftops in a small crowded city, and she will help it to find itself whole.

she will think of her family often, and with great hope for their survival and happiness.  do not imagine that she has forgotten you. she never will.

all in light,

ps. ironic, isn’t it? writing this letter to a machine.  we will laugh about it someday.