The Mariah Letters

The Mariah Letters

4/12/02

Dear Mariah,

I thought of you today as I opened the door to enter the car. It was very warm inside from the sunshine and I sat for a little moment not quite settled. My thought was about lips and tongues and teeth, yours and mine all together. It occurred to me to wonder what you taste like, and what I taste like, and if you’d tell me that if I asked you. I imagined you feeling this warm inside and then I thought of muscles and reflexes and joy. It was only for the littlest while and yet I forgot about everything else while the heat held me. I love you so much,
Your Admirer,

D.

4/16/02

Mariah,

I love that name and I love that you’ve made it yours. In time I may choose my own… in a way it’s an expression of growth and confidence in ourselves. Perhaps naming ourselves can make us stronger and freer. How do you feel about that? I lay last night thinking of your lips and the tongue that lives behind them. It’s a treasure you know, with roots deep in the brain. I imagined it touching my skin and marveled at the softness and wetness of it. There was breath too surrounding it, warm and alive. I wondered what messages your tongue might be sending to your brain, about taste and sensation and desire. And yet there was a part of me that wanted to accept the role of a newborn animal being licked clean by a pleased and exhausted mother.You please me Mariah, more than you might imagine. Can you really blame me?

Your lover, your heart,

D.

4/16/02

D.

I can blame you for more than you could ever imagine.  I can blame you for all of the times my heart has hurt and no one has stopped the pain.  Why?  I can hear you asking.  Because you are the object of my affection now so I can blame you for being somewhere else and not here.  I can blame you for accepting that I am strong and knowing that I am a survivor.  I don’t want to be strong and I don’t want to be a survivor.  I want to smell your skin.  Does it smell like the sun?  Or the sun and salt?  Or the sun with a faint trace of gardenias?  You do what you need to do in the world and someday we will drift past each other as you have drifted past all of the things that waited for you.  Not Raol.  Never that name.  It is a weak name and will not describe you well.  You are not weak.  You are lost.  We drift past each other and neither of us is capable of coming about, we are pushed by our destiny and I know we both know that.  There are more things we have not said that we know about each other than the things we have said.  It is just as well.  In the knowing is the dying and I could not bear to lose you to what can be named and called real.

Mariah

4/17/02

Mariah,

You know my name better than I do, and I accept your blame gladly. You were born with strength and wisdom and somehow never shucked those qualities though that would have been easy. I admire your strength but I know your weakness too; it draws me to you as surely as your intellect, and more powerfully. For all that is sensible about us my most fundamental desire is to experience your scent and your motion and your taste most of all. Something deep and utterly primal about me wants to have something physical of you inside me. If we must drift past one another I want to leave you weaker than you’ve ever been before, never to recover fully. Your ultimate triumph lies in rising anew from sacrificial ashes. You don’t need to be strong with me; you win by exposing yourself in surrender. We both do. Everything is too contingent and ephemeral to do otherwise than express what we know and burn if we must. I should be ashamed of my selfishness but I cannot find it in me to be so.

I love you Mariah,

D.

4/17/02

D.

You needn’t worry about leaving me weaker, you have already taken a bite of my heart and carry it with you, in your mouth, beneath your deep song, I don’t know.  I only know I  can never take it back as once taken, it is yours.  No matter what happens a part of me is in you.  I did not give it to you, rather you took it and you took it slyly.  You allowed me to believe I was safe when, in fact, I have never been safe from you, never been safe from a man who knows me before I know myself.  I cannot hide from you and yet I am so far away that it would seem impossible to believe.  I thought of myself as powerful and you as a speck of dust I could flick away whenever I tired of the game.  Now, I tremble in fear as I can no longer keep the illusions about myself that I have spent a lifetime weaving.  The flowers are all opening today, twisting towards the first weak sun of spring.  I am so sad because you know me and now I can do nothing but wait to see how this story will unfold.  I wish to be the cedar or the redwood, even  sugar pines, but I do not wish to be wisp of a woman, do not wish to find my image in the roses blown almost over last night in wind that does not take winter’s departure easily.  They are pink warmed by an undertone of coral with clustered yellow pistils pushing gently up through the center of each perfectly shaped flower.  They cling tenaciously to the trellis, broken, cracked in half and almost down.   No, do not worry about leaving me weaker or loving my weakness more than my strength.  You have all of that and all that I feared.  I will trace your eyelid with my tongue and hope your embrace is large enough to hold us both.  The nape of my neck is hot and fevered yet cold wind howls around the eaves.  I must find myself as the moon finds itself after thinking it drowned in the bay, saw itself immersed and at the bottom.  Were it at the bottom the sturgeon would have had it for light, would have kept it for another age, would never have released it to surface into purple night.  No, the moon is the idea of love punched brightly through the circle of night and I am love, not an idea, circling darkly into the middle of the dream, and I hear you whispering my name even as I hold my hands against my ears as one should always do when the shaman begins his chant.

Mariah

4/23/02

Mariah,

My main thought of the day is:

I want to have a fragrant fire of Juniper and Mesquite high in the foothills. I want to share it with you;you can take photos and I can stir the embers and we both can rhapsodize about stars and life and mountains and one another. I want to feel your hand in mine your lips against my cheek. I want to hold you close and never let you go.
Can you possibly promise that to me?

Your friend, your lover,

D.

4/23/02

D.
I can promise you my kiss against your cheek as a moth finds the flame and my hand will surely curl into yours.  We will gather fallen oak branches and build a bonfire next to the river under the sugar pines where the river meanders in a slow, lazy S.  When the sun is completely down we must move back into the meadow, lie on our backs and count shooting stars.  You can tell me about the constellations and I will know I have arrived in heaven at last.

Mariah

4/23/02

Mariah,

Between daylight and daylight the open window frames your elegant form arms outstretched to touch invisible casings. I am moved and sink silently to my knees behind you. My eyes surface of their own volition and I see for the first time the white edge of your form that starlight imparts to you. My fingertips glide lightly across your skin. I know smoothness scents sounds desire. My ears ring in a curious manner. I am content in knowing your flesh this way satisfied to complete this rare moment by offering surrender.You are in your right place, mistress of all the universe gazing past the distant lights of humbler folk who sleep their fitful sleep in the hours beforetoil reclaims them. The world is contained in a field  of stars darkness offering no clue where the sun might rise again. Crickets sing for you and the desultory drone of passing cars and semis matters more to me than any journey possibly could. My arms encircle you. This night is yours as another might be mine; your lazy whims have found their context and I exist to please you.

D.

4/23/02

D.
A gentle breeze spilling over the window sill imagines itself tracing a cool line down the nape of my neck as I write this to you tonight.  How I wish the satin night could enfold me with only stars to light the way to you.  I am consoled by the sound of water lapping against sandstone boulders, song of Carquinez Straits as the marine layer moves in from the coast tonight.  Would your face light up, as you describe my silhouette lit from behind by starlight, if I could share that sound with you?  And what would you do when morning’s breeze ruffled egret’s silken head feathers but did not interrupt his fishing gaze?  Then I would study you as you imagine watching me.  Your lanky body, lean and muscular, aged just enough to allow wisdom to have settled in your soul.  I want to know how you move, what music courses through your bones?   I can only imagine a quick smile, endearing crinkles at the corners of your eyes, tears springing suddenly from somewhere in my tightened chest as I beheld you who should not exist, you who walked my dreams only to fade into morning mist, leaving tules, egret, water lapping, my life passing as relentlessly as the hands of the clock, no tears, no sigh, a somnambulist I go through my days waiting for the world to crack open, for my life to finally begin.

Mariah

5/30/02

Mariah,

I want to feel a part of what you are and an ocean beneath a hemisphere full of stars is a wonderful place to begin. I want to taste your salt tang as you dissolve between my lips. I want to find paradise amid the fine grains of sand that brought you forth. I want
to create new life in ways we haven’t yet imagined. I want us to begin.

D.

May 30, 2002

My Dearest D.
And so we have begun, perhaps eons before this marvelous day of your arrival, we have known each other as water knows it needs moon to pull itself inward and out again from the mouth of the bay all the way to open sea.  What secrets lurk beneath the surface of this water, both mine as I stand at the edge of the bay sweating from the long walk of this evening and the depths of the unknown sea where we found each other?  We have begun my darling and only fate knows where this beginning will take us.

Mariah

June 5, 2002

D.

As I read your letter it struck me as odd that we are engaged in a dialogue about lovemaking or the absence of lovemaking as if we had ever laid eyes on each other.  I assume your inability to come to meet me and my inability to do the same for you also holds true for lovemaking.  I certainly don’t care to make specific comments about physical lovemaking in our letters and I doubt you would either.  So what are we really talking about?  If you are questioning whether or not we should forget lovemaking until we have made decisions about our future, I think so.  If it were possible to make physical love to you I would not do it if I had to go home without you. I know you are scratching your head and wondering where the dividing line is between loving someone and making love to someone.  It is an interesting philosophical question which could take hours and hours of our time discussing.  So I will leave it at that.  Each of us has lines of division in our minds for reasons that may or may not be explainable either to each other or ourselves.  I think living a relationship in the physical world is much more intimate and therefore requires a more considered thinking through than our letters do.  I am long past the time of my life when I wanted to experience everything for the sake of the experience.  If I made love to you we would be going home together or seriously making plans to do so and I would have moved out and be living on my own.  This has nothing to do with how I feel about you.  It has to do with knowing myself and knowing what I want.  I do not want to feel guilty nor do I want to have a physical relationship with two men at the same time.  I think there are many things to explore yet so I do not feel like we have arrived at the door step of what will we do if we don’t make love.  For instance, I found it interesting that we locked horns in word slinging until I admitted I was jealous and you said you did not hold my jealousy against me.  You also said we were equally insecure.  I think both of those topics could stand an exchange of several or more letters.  Also, do you believe men and women are wired differently?  I do.  I think we are equal but very different and that it is nature much more than nurture.  So we will see things differently.  We will have different opinions about things just based on our gender.  I suspect you are asking me some things or saying some things that are purely philosophical in nature and I think they are interesting to examine.  You are a contradiction and a very delightful one at that.  Sometimes you want to let everything just unfold and other times you want some way to quantify our connection.  We are looking at the same sea tonight, it is hot, and sleep will not come easily.

Take care, my love,
Mariah

June 5, 2002

Dearest Mariah,

I almost think I’m becoming someone else… learning to know each other this way is faintly confusing and yet feels very free to me. We seem to live here more and more, out of choice or compulsion.Tonight I can scarcely stop thinking of you.

D.

June 5, 2002

D.
What can I say to your letter?  Rereading it I am struck by its eloquence and insight.  What confused me is that I am not clear on whether you are saying our lovemaking is something we must have before our relationship can be complete?  Or are you acknowledging that there is a piece missing in our relationship that gnaws at us yet we must somehow come to terms with it and not let that interfere with the relationship we have.  If you are saying the latter then I agree with you completely.  As to the former, I do not think I could proceed as a love struck teenager and then part company with you for us to go back to our real time lives.  Do I wonder about you?  Of course, your skin, your smell, the warmth of being enclosed by you, but I would not indulge in my curiosity if I was only going to fall into an abyss of despair at your absence.  That is why we must meet someday.  Until we are able to sit with each other and look into each others eyes we will not know whether or not we want to drift further into the fantasy we have in letters or shift our lives in ways that would be like earthquakes on two sides of the country. I did not consider whether or not you would think less of me because of my jealousy because I know passion cannot exist when emotions are cut off or denied.  Tell me what you think so I can continue to understand.

Love,

Mariah

June 8, 2002

D.

Sitting in my rocking chair with the light in the room on, I stare at the twelve small panes of glass separating me from the night.  Because they are old and hand blown the light is distorted as if a ripple in a pond has been frozen in time.  Tiny air bubbles are embedded in the panes as well.  Because the glass blower did not breathe long enough or often enough, or breathed too long, the glass froze around droplets of air.  If I turn the light in the room off and stand in front of the glass I see stars and nothing else.  The moon is either waning or not in the sky at all.  Spaces between stars, planets, galaxies are so black I am unable to see where a black hole might be even though I read there are many of them.  Many invisible force fields so dense gravity pulls everything in and nothing is known and nothing ever returns.  I wish a black hole was a tunnel so deep into nothingness that from the leaving would come an arriving and I could wake up noticing the exact color of your eyes.  I spend hours trying to understand yet when I look at the spaces between the light like the spaces between the words in a poem I know there is meaning in what is called “negative space.”No one, not me, not you, no one understands why longing pulls at the muscles around our hearts, why we mistake this feeling for a heart ache when despair, shame, longing, everything but joy could flow into the abyss we can only define by knowing the feeling that coalesces around an emptiness like a black hole, the mysterious absence of light that could be a room where I hold you or a room you never entered or a night like this when everything is still and the silence is a scream so heavy it falls back into itself.
Mariah

June 8, 2002

Dearest Mariah,

I find myself in your land, yet it is so vast that I’m still not very near to you. Your heartbeat is here though and I feel it in the fog and hear it in the ocean lapping against your sands. I know your voice on the wind that wafts through your palms and acacias,
taking on something of their beauty and their resilience. I find an easy sensuality here that belies an underlying intensity; it feels exotic and yet like the truth. My love for you swells within me and I cannot contain it. I long to kiss you at this moment,
to taste the rare wine that sustains you and to ravish what is moist and sweet and aphrodisiac.

Yours forever,
D.

June 12, 2002

D.

No doubt everything we take in is distorted if measured by another but to us, it is the truth at least as far as we can know.  What does it matter if everything is twisted and distorted?  Because we do have at least five senses, again that is what we know not what necessarily is, what we experience will always be a combination of what our senses take in.  Love, I think, needs first for two people to meet who, by some twist of fate, share the same distortions, the same illusions or delusions which allow them to join and believe they love each other.  We do not know what is true from an objective viewpoint, only what is true from our subjective vantage points.  How you are colored or tainted by all of your life, all you have taken in with all of your senses can never really be known by me and the same is for you to me.  Don’t we really seek not only the other who shares our beliefs about what constitutes reality but the other that we probe and test and love and give to until we can finally decide whether or not we can trust our hearts to that person?  And in doing so aren’t we always learning more and more about the other to verify our first thoughts that this person was the one unique person we have been searching for?  And if in the learning we discover the other is not what we originally thought or cannot be trusted absolutely not to do us harm, then don’t we turn away?  I think what we define as reality is less important than how we feel our way to the truth of our relationship.  We would not know each other if we did not already agree, for the most part, about what is real and what is important.  We are dancing now because we do not know what the sea level of trust between us really is.  You have chastised me for my fatalistic views and my desire to know about the journey or where we expect the journey to end until I came to realize I agree with you.  I no longer want to know about the journey or where it will end and I cannot change my views as they are the truth to me and I will not lie to you.
Yesterday the air was so hot nothing moved, not a bird, not a wave, nothing and tonight the wind has come up and is blowing so hard it is loud against whatever it passes through or around.  My sailboat is creaking against the dock and the open window allows gusts so strong the papers on my desk are blown astray.  I loved yesterday and I love today.  Even if I hated yesterday and hated today they would have come and gone exactly as they have, nothing would have changed.  The sun would have been hot and the wind would have been fierce.  Whatever I am today to you and whatever you are today to me is what we have today between us.  We do not know about tomorrow or the day after that.  I would like to have shown you the handful of garnet colored cherries I ate tonight, they were juicy and fat and cold.  But you were not here so I ate them and I tasted them as if they were the only cherries in the universe because to me they were.  Somewhere in a faraway place you did something as well that you took in and enjoyed because it was there for you.  In the end, those are the only moments we can ever claim as true.
Mariah

1/11/03

D.
I can only say you leave me blushing and speechless.  Breathless and a bit afraid, I have never known a man like you and nothing will ever get me quite used to your intensity and the eloquence of your feelings.  Surely the East has thawed with the formulation of your words.  Here the ice cracked and I discovered I am not used to being met with passion that matches my own.  Let me catch my breath dearest and let me know you forever.
Mariah

1/12/03

D.
Unexpected as snow in August is what you are.  If you don’t allow me to catch my breath that’s fine but I may steal yours while you sleep.
Mariah

1/13/03

Mariah,

My breath is the least of what I have to share with you. It wouldn’t be stealing and you wouldn’t need to ask. It’s deeply satisfying to me that you need or even simply desire something of mine that is essential to me and not merely what anyone can have. Sometimes it feels that half my brain is yours now, as though that part of mine has been wiped away and filled instead with your thoughts, emotions, perceptions. I
know you so very well it seems and I find that knowing you and loving you are simply the same object viewed from different angles. The more I love you the more I wish to love you. I want to know what it is to lose myself in you completely; you’re deep and broad enough for me to do that and I want it so much.

D.

1/14/03

D.
I do wish we could sit at the foot of an ancient oak, you with your head in my lap, a lazy day full of the electrical charge of laughter and murmuring.  I want to feel your hair as I slide my palm over the crown of your head and I want to smell you so I know for sure that you are the man I’ve known all of these years.  I do not know if I will be able to write later.  I’ll try but I leave at four am for Costa Rica and will be back next Monday.  I will be thinking of you and dreaming of you and wishing we could share a walk in the surf.  As I photograph the jungle I will take some to send to you.

Your darling,

Mariah

1/24/03

Mariah,

This is so hard, riding the wind of my desire for you. It gusts strongly and my fertile imagination billows the sheerest of drapes bringing us together at the center of the earth to lie as lovers in warm night. We play our roles mine hard yours yielding given over together to what is fine and inexpressible. You inhale and I am in you your skin saline excitement your hair aphrodisiac scent. You are the texture of desire, motion of pleasure, a trap I cannot conceive of escaping. Your heart beats and I want to touch it. Sinking into you is all hardness and softness and the wind whispers feigned indignation through the careless window. It touches our skin impatiently and makes it hard and rough in those places it finds. But this is how I love you, drinking your saliva, feel my semen inyour veins coursing through your heart and brain. Now our saliva has something fatal of each of us in it and belongs to neither of us alone. We are joined, our
millennium penitence finished, and your light fingers brush the wind away.

D.

1/24/03

D.

While you roam the breezy and open room of love and lust entwined, or does real and lasting love embody lust so it is not separate but rather a theme in the fabric of what we call love—I sit at the edge of the sea and know myself as cold and dark as if I were imprisoned in a tower, stones damp with mold and a window so high and small that even light runs from its opening.  I long for you, your touch, your breath whispering its own and new language across the base of my spine and up to the soft place just above the last bone of my back.  I long to watch you move in my mind’s eye from my throat to my eyelids while I indulge in the luxury of mapping you slowly with my hands. Today, you have been able to find respite from the harsh winter that lies, feral and blind at your doorstep, waiting to take you, if not in the flesh then in your soul where it curls its spiny tail and wishes you psychic death at least.  You send me hope when I fear there is nothing left but letters and I look up to the small and lightless window and know if you can open to the room that is full of light where jealous wind would play with us then I, too, can open.  I can open the door and find you there, your smile breaking across your face as it must when your heart aches with love unbound and I find myself in your arms at last. Feel my lips gently brushing the thin and bruised skin of your closed eyes and know my curves as matching yours and for every bone there is a soft place and for every tear there is laughter realized in the joy that must finally be ours.
Mariah

Mary Julia Pendergast Klimenko & Jack Dround c.2010