Mendoza, Argentina

June 12, 2016

My first love was always poetry.

No, it’s true.

The shape and slap of one word to another, stuck together like macaroni. Cheese. The way the line would wriggle toward the right and then improbably, unexpectedly, break.

I can’t tell you who was first.

Which of the poets long passed first caught my eye, dragged it around the page and then let me go - spinning. None of us can. Nobody remembers their first love.

But I can spill back so many lovers since. Whitman. Woolf. Eliot and Clifton and Merwin and Mojgani and I love them each fiercely. Even - sometimes especially - because they’re gone.

These days, nobody knows what to do with poets. With poetry. With people who read it or say it or breathe it.

But I can tell you.

You just smear it over yourself like honey - not in the literal way - but in the way you imagined it would be, the first time you and a lover had that sweet idea.

Let it soak in, pour through you.

See, you’ve always known words.

And poetry, like music, is your birthright.

There are people in towers talking about symbolism and iambic pentameter and insisting they know who is better than whom else. Ignore every one of them.

Analyzing a poem is like dissecting a rose - you can’t do it without killing the flower. And it doesn’t help you make a new one.

Poems breathe. Poems live. And if you let them - they slip in somewhere, hiding under your skin. Left temple. Curve behind your right ear. Fingertip.

I write you every week because I’m living all over the world, passionate about the world and humanity and what we - you and me - make out of our fleeting, precious lives.

But I write you because you are way over there, and I am way over here, and even when we’re in the very same room, words are the very best tool I have to bridge that vast expanse.

Each week, I scribble down characters, roll them into a bottle, and seal the end myself. Then ocean. Then waves. And a hope, above all else, that it gets there.

Thanks for keeping an eye out on the horizon.

-Steven

p.s. The best thing I read all week was this piece about Hamilton the musical, daughters, art, and memory. I cried in the very best way. You might, too.

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