September 24th, 2010 / 11:45 am

lit/life/love in the margins

Friend of mine recently found a 1975 copy of Gary Snyder’s Turtle Island in a Goodwill store. Inside a woman named Paula had written a quote (actually the ending paragraph) from The Lover by Duras and then this note to Jon:

You were my birthday present; you came to the door–no one else was home. you said “let’s celebrate.” We dropped acid and went to the friend with the nocturnal monkey-like animal and made love for hours.

I fell totally, naively, in love, so when you took me home in the morning I cried. I thought–but did not say–how could you walk away from perfect love? You kissed my eyes and said “We love, we’ll meet soon.”

I wrote poetry and drew my love passionately to you no longer caring if the love was returned.

You wrote you were coming. Filled with the innocent love of an eighteen year old romantic who’d never been in love, I made a dress of gathered silk and braided tiny strands of my hair.

We went to Randolph Park and left our friends on the golf course to be alone. You laid me down and kissed me and when you entered me I felt a passion like an uncontrollable, unthinking itch to pull you further inside me–a desire that seemed so close and yet not quite fulfilled. It was as if my entire self had been waiting for you, just you, and you were almost me, almost there, almost perfect. Then it was–and I was totally blissful and whole and at that moment you cried “You’re coming already.” I was delighted by the wonder and surprise in your voice but mostly–fundamentally and completely–perfect–perfectly at peace with you inside me as if nothing could ever take that away–as if nothing else would ever matter.

I cried when I was with you this time more than twenty years later. I cried because again it was perfect–it was god/goddess it was the reason for life and yet I knew it would end. I told you it reminded me of the transitory nature of life; such abstract words.

Today we are with different lovers. That last day I did not cry. i let our love be universal. “Don’t take it personally” you said. I told you maybe I liked being morose. Maybe I should be named crying something.

You bring up from inside me the sorrows and pains of loss. We try to accept them, but they are as real as the rain.

I carry you with me still and always will–until death

Paula Crying Something

Not to be syrupy, but this found text made me think.

About Paula Crying Something.

About Gary Snyder and his Robin poems.

About how this book made its way to a thrift store.

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  1. Mykle

      I think that is the most valuable used book in the universe.

  2. Richard

      Love that.

  3. Pete Michael Smith

      looking through used books for things like this is a big pass-time of mine, though I’ve never found anything quite this lovely or devastating. Once, at an awesome little bookshop in Massachusetts, I found written on the title page of a human physiology textbook a short, sweet love letter from one man to another as they parted for separate colleges.

  4. Kyle Minor

      I found a note in an Oxford English Dictionary that someone had written me sixteen years ago, my freshman year of college. I didn’t remember that the Oxford English Dictionary came from that era of life, but I did remember receiving the note. The note was from a girl in my Freshman Composition class (which I failed, by the way.) It thanked me for the trip to Shadyside Park and the picnic blanket and the nonalcoholic champagne. I remembered the morning she gave me the note thanking me, and then I remembered this giddy feeling that inflated me the rest of the day while I was going to my other classes or talking on the radio (my job at the time.) That evening, I was trying to think about something else I could do to show her the way I felt about her. I went to the library and to the campus store and for a walk around the campus loop but I still couldn’t think of anything. When I went back to my dorm room, the door was cracked open. I went inside, and my roommates weren’t there, but old of my friends was, and so was this girl. She was lying on top of him on my couch, under my blanket, and they were kissing. They didn’t see me come in. I said, “Oh. Hi.” They both were smiling, but I could tell they were not happy to make me feel the way I was feeling. I said, “I got your note.” She said, “Oh, that’s great. Thank you. You’re welcome.” They were sitting up now, straightening their clothes. He zipped up his pants. I said, “Well, maybe you can lock the door after you leave.” It seemed like a very sophisticated thing to say. It seemed sophisticated until I left and started my walk down the long hallway. Then it seemed like a very stupid thing to say. The walk down the hallway felt shameful, and so did the walk up the stairs. At the top of the stairs, a boy was playing the guitar, and two girls were listening. They said, “That girl you like went down there to see you. Did she find you?” I said she did. Then I went outside and started walking. I walked and walked that whole night, circles and circles around the campus loop. When I opened that Oxford dictionary all these years later, what I remembered most was the hollowed-out feeling I felt while I was walking those circles and circles.

  5. letters

      Fucking hell.

  6. P. H. Madore

      “I cried when I was with you this time more than twenty years later. I cried because again it was perfect–it was god/goddess it was the reason for life and yet I knew it would end. I told you it reminded me of the transitory nature of life; such abstract words.”