June 15, 2007

Love, Jordan

Love, Jordan

"dear Tom:
tom-boy my dear thompson paul:

Hello and how are you inside your body standing on New York cement doing? I hope the day has ben good to you and if not I hope yuo have found some earthly indulgence to ease the stress of a day dedicated to the earning of money to pay for your SURVIVAL. Yes tom you will be just fine. hopefully when I arrive you will be mid-decline so I can witness the crash and burn and the eventual rebirth as I begin my own descent.

love Jordan"

I make a better friend than an art historian. I received this little scrap of letter-art in the fall of 2002, when the reality of my choice had begun to set in. After two months of theatrics and acrobatics and stone soup in New York City, it was suddenly evident that I was driving a locomotive across land where tracks hadn't been laid yet, clearing a path of sorts, but strewing it with parts of my own battered carriage that were jolted and torn loose as I plowed on through my own dust-plume. You show up expecting to feast on New York, but it also feasts on you, and isn't shy about taking the first helping.

Jordan came and went, lived in my barracks, established her own, fed and was fed upon, left the city, the state, then the continent. With only the planet left to leave, she followed the trail of her own parts all the way back to Brooklyn instead, still the dream-fiend and demolition-expert she was when we met as adult children back in Arizona. Over the years I received many similar leaflets from her, pages torn from books, photocopies of photocopies of photos, wax drippings and other ad hoc paint-jobs, love letters from her nine year-old alter ego, pieces shed like feathers or scales. I saved them all, knowing one day I'd need proof that the days burned as hot then as they would in my memory.

Having recently inherited a great deal of wall-space, I decided to frame some of this stuff. It's fitting that I spend this June pawing through leftovers from other summers, to try and find the place where that grisly path through the trees finally stopped, the intersection where I hitched a ride with a stranger that wound up lasting four years. I hung it where I would see it every day and remember the violence of self-invention, and how far just a little of it could fling me.

But in the process of tucking it in a frame, I did what I had somehow never gotten around to doing when I received it: I flipped it over. For the first time I got to see the real painting she had sent me, the lines and color unclouded by kamikaze well-wishes and gritty photo-reproduction. Jordan is tricky like that. I both can and can't believe that I never looked at the back. I needed those words at the time, that urgent voice and promise of reunion. I need them now too, but for framing purposes perhaps what I need more is to be washed in a sulphurous yellow tide, and stretch my limbs in dreamy supplication to the visions that sweep the ground from under one's feet, so that one can float like a sightless particle above the wreckage of one's world.

Love, Jordan II

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Tom, you poet of the world. I'm honored.
Love, Jordan.