Love did not help me find the words, infatuation did, infatuated impropriety, as always. Love let me lose them. These, my real fictions.
That’s what I scribbled in the scribble place just before sleep last night after all but giving up on the day at the end of a short string of all but give up days, nearly a give-up week where I didn’t even have the gall to give up or find proper synonyms, so it seems I scrawled some lines—or someone did, in that scrawly hand of mine—with little more than no idea what I was getting at but mildly relieved to finally be getting at something, flattened out and blanked as I’d been and thinking of getting at something about love here and there, remembering something about her off and on, wondering something about why all the time, and cut off from feeling much of anything about anything much other than the eerie psychopomp I imagined must be ushering my ability to stay close to that mad place in me that makes so much sense to its underworldly abode from which Aeneas or some other poor heroic fuck must then recover it with classic grandiosity, all mixed up as I’d been but not in a swirl or whirl where the mixing picks up chairs and hurls fences and small animals and uproots trees and fells a few houses of cards and the tv news crews show up to report on the tragic wreckage and carnage like the scavengers of human misery they are—no, not that kind of vigorous mixatiousness replete with gawking spectators but the blended kind, I’d say, as if I’d taken some of everything in the fridge and made a horrific gray-brown greenish puree of abject repugnance which I then gulped down to keep from speaking, afraid of what I’d say, or, more truthfully, what I’d be unable to, feeling all the colors and sounds shriveling up and toning down and meaning less and less again, as happens not so much at darker times as blanker ones when sensibility moves from even the faintest, most troubled sublimity to only minutiae, all and only, sensing everything as all and only minutiae and nothing more in between above or around, just dull, discardable tiny fragments and pieces like drab shell shards on a grimy beach, each different, sure, but vacant and ugly and pointlessly unique and who the fuck cares in the first place, and me slipping down that grimy, shell fragment-strewn downslide toward oily-black waters and wishing I had enough drugs on hand to have a magnificent little problem till I burst free in a paragraph too full of commas and too short on periods and feeling like a parody of myself grasping for all the words I can find and hoping that a few might tell the truth.
Ah, the truth—now there’s a word I haven’t used in a while.
So I said to hell with everything last night and read instead and in that reading—or through it, around it, beside it, somewhere in and near it—began to remember what it meant to mean.
Then today I wrote again, took some dark stabs in the daylight, nervously relieved to be feeling something again, now (because what if it slips away again), and feeling like trying to say it, and I think it’s this: love is not about preeminence, not about moving mountains or parting seas or defying odds or nature or death or gravity, nor is it about self-sacrifice or losing yourself or finding it or finding me scrawling out a passage from Proust or some such weighty tome with the book held precariously open by another and then going to fix that non-problem by buying me a paperweight because it makes you feel good to do so and you want to “help” and “be there.” Those things are already things without love and I do not need a paperweight. I just need my sources, and I need to feel, and this is how I got there, here, today, after last night’s scribble:
Remember: She’d take photos of the sweat-sex marks we’d leave on dark sheets because they sometimes made almost-decipherable shapes, like animals and faces and landscapes in clouds and she thought it was funny, slipping me silly little notes about how love is…
Imagine: It would be hard to go to her place because it would seem too clearly like not-home and I’d have to explain why acting like it was is strange, and why having to explain so is stranger.
Or maybe just think: Of a dream I had two nights ago about… retrieval…? and how thinking of that dream last night as I lay in bed, all but given up, reminded me of that bit in Kundera somewhere about how love is renouncing strength. Is that all, I thought, just that? Can’t be. Can it? Just renouncing strength? There are just so many ways to touch that, I thought, and I don’t even know where to care to begin.
So I set the thought down and picked up a book, my nighttime book of nighttime thoughts, Clarice, lately, and right away she had the words and it all started to come back and fill out and fill up again but different-tinged, the downslide toward a nothingness that’s somehow even devoid of despair halted by a simple question, a simple matter of truth: “On what poetry might her life be based?”
How I knew that question, know it, and how I love her for it dearly, from here in my little life to there in her little grave, and that’s what love is, being small but undiminished, magnificence disentangled from any measure of consequence, from any measure at all, being there, watching, remembering imagining thinking and wondering what that poetry might be, all the possibilities, serenely infatuated and in no need of explanation or answer, only life based quietly and I slept on it like that so it would sink in and stick and stain me with its inky absolutism, serpentine and twisting my dream-thoughts into shapes I could feel beneath between words, quietly and that’s how
quietly I find myself finding words again and almost whispering to pages that I’m thinking not just of someone or anyone but of the anyones I know who’ve become someones and wondering if any one of those become someones might ever be more than muse, more than exquisitely fragmentary more-than-objects with powers of axiomatically second-hand seduction and the ethereal, prosaic allure of first-rate flaws and shifting incompletenesses poetry-based, and continuing to wonder if there’s truly ever anything more than that to find or wish for or allow and if I’ve always known what love is but only lost track of the truth with too many say-nothing words like nails trying to hold it in place, because it’s the truth that finds words, isn’t it, not the other way round, truths of mingling facts and small-talking fictions, ulterior motives and devilish grins, the ugly beauty of is, isn’t it
and isn’t it true that it doesn’t take much to write a bad poem, and takes only two of us, maybe us two, to really live one.
 Clarice Lispector, Near to the Wild Heart, p133 in mine (“The Encounter With Otávio,” chapter-wise).