You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things.
I wanted to be sure to reach you; though my ship was on the way it got caught in some moorings. I am always tying up and then deciding to depart. In storms and at sunset, with the metallic coils of the tide around my fathomless arms, I am unable to understand the forms of my vanity or I am hard alee with my Polish rudder in my hand and the sun sinking. To you I offer my hull and the tattered cordage of my will. The terrible channels where the wind drives me against the brown lips of the reeds are not all behind me. Yet I trust the sanity of my vessel; and if it sinks, it may well be in answer to the reasoning of the eternal voices, the waves which have kept me from reaching you.
I love desire, the state of want and thought of how to get; building a kingdom in a soul requires desire. I love the things I’ve sought- you in your beltless bathrobe, tongues of cash that loll from my billfold- and love what I want: clothes, houses, redemption. Can a new mauve suit equal God? Oh no, desire is ranked. To lose a loved pen is not like losing faith. Acute desire for nut gateau is driven out by death, but the cake on its plate has meaning, even when love is endangered and nothing matters. For my mother, health; for my sister, bereft, wholeness. But why is desire suffering? Because want leaves a world in tatters? How else but in tatters should a world be? A columned porch set high above a lake. Here, take my money. A loved face in agony, the spirit gone. Here, use my rags of love.
is even more fun than going to San Sebastian, Irún, Hendaye, Biarritz, Bayonne or being sick to my stomach on the Travesera de Gracia in Barcelona partly because in your orange shirt you look like a better happier St. Sebastian partly because of my love for you, partly because of your love for yoghurt partly because of the fluorescent orange tulips around the birches partly because of the secrecy our smiles take on before people and statuary it is hard to believe when I’m with you that there can be anything as still as solemn as unpleasantly definitive as statuary when right in front of it in the warm New York 4 o’clock light we are drifting back and forth between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles
and the portrait show seems to have no faces in it at all, just paint you suddenly wonder why in the world anyone ever did them
I look at you and I would rather look at you than all the portraits in the world except possibly for the Polish Rider occasionally and anyway it’s in the Frick which thank heavens you haven’t gone to yet so we can go together the first time and the fact that you move so beautifully more or less takes care of Futurism just as at home I never think of the Nude Descending a Staircase or at a rehearsal a single drawing of Leonardo or Michelangelo that used to wow me and what good does all the research of the Impressionists do them when they never got the right person to stand near the tree when the sun sank or for that matter Marino Marini when he didn’t pick the rider as carefully as the horse
it seems they were all cheated of some marvelous experience which is not going to go wasted on me which is why I am telling you about it