K + R Carousel: Spring Semester Senior Year through Summer 1996
Spring Semester Senior Year
12 Feb 1996
And so just the Lady in Green remains, though since that poem I've started
to value prose over poetry, it seems more true to life, true to my life.
Maybe I'll wear the blue shirt tomorrow, wrap myself in a smell that isn't my smell, maybe it's just the detergent but it's different.
You've had many torches carried for you. I like to think that even if the time wasn't there, mine meant something more to you, that something in the prose or the kiss has reached you in a way that some others haven't, that when you joked about living with me but getting Kyle to prepare food, that there was something there once.
Veronika showed me a book, "Written on the Body", a beautiful work of feeling and desire, the narrator has many lovers yet you never find out if it is a man or a woman speaking. The narrator's lover says "I'm going to leave him because my love for you makes any other life a lie." I'm not going to be able to say that to anyone until my feelings for you go. Will they fade? Maybe. I thought they were fading before, maybe it's all a matter of forgetting your kiss, forgetting your touch, forgetting your voice, forgetting your laugh, forgetting your beauty, forgetting when you said you liked my scent, forgetting your grace and how sensual you can be. That forgetting all of these will move me apart from you.
My fear is that my feelings are greater than the sum of those parts.
please, please write back. tell me how to forget, or tell me what you feel, or... something. Don't leave me out here forever alone in the electronic wilderness with nothing but my Blender for warmth...
yours for a kiss
PS Kyle's prose-poem. i pinned the title "As it happens" on it, he seemed to think that that name was ok
"Who told you this would be easy?" she said, eyes glittering like sea-wet stones. A flush, gentle as rain, rose in her cheeks.
Nobody, nobody, the voice in his head clammered, I'm sorry, sorry, my love, it is blessed, it must be; I cannot ever deny love.
At that moment he met her eyes and it occured to him that we live only in moments, arranged as it happens. Someday we shall live entirely in nothing but a single kiss.
The Lady in Green was from a T-shirt I had, my favorite T-shirt ever (and I had quite a selective yet extensive T-shirt collection in college):
Don't know if I still have a copy of the poem it inspired. The blue shirt mentioned here...I think she had borrowed it and returned it.
Kyle is a friend who was once a fellow admirer of Rosetta. He's a much better poet than I am, This poem was one of the first on the loveblender poetry page, and I posted one other for the April 2000 issue.
Re: your mail (11 Mar 1996)
You'll have to excuse me, my heart is spinning in my chest right now.
(it's not all rational,
it's not just lust, and it doesn't seem to be going away)
teeth, neck, shoulder,
i don't understand us, what we were, what we are, what we may be.
Wow. I think we must have re-established contact here; I don't remember the details.
Love Polygons (13 Mar 1996)
I always seem to get caught on the wrong side of these love polygons.
You say there's an attraction towards me that hasn't gone away all this time. In the Kirktonic-ideal world, that attraction is like a pilot light on a stove that can keep alive a potential for Us. (Misused capital letters and all... you know it's dangerous when politicians or english majors start to do that.)
Once when I was trying to work out what I had felt for Veronika I came to an arbitrary way of dividing strong feeling into satisfaction mentally, physically, and emotionally, keeping intrigue with your mind, body, and soul.
With prose, I've been able to intrigue some part of your mind, with touch, I've been able to intrigue some part of your body, now I need to convince you that the potential is there to intrigue some part of your soul.
Feeling always fights being pinned-down in an orderly, rational way, but that's the only way I'm going to get it into words.
Ok. all that I've written above this was written before seeing you in the campus center.
It's all hormones? I can't believe that. I think romance has some roots there, and a good relationship will have a healthy dose of it, but that it's only part of the story.
Yes, I'm attracted to your body. Yes, I'm definately attracted to the effect your body can have on my body: sweet sensuousness, one kiss, another..
The hormones are only one part of it.
Your singing, your sense of humor, the things you've written to me, your refusal to take bullshit from anybody, your playfulness, the way you've taught me to me sensitive to people's scent, your resiliency and grace under pressure, your healthy skepticism about everything including me, sometimes, your curve of cheek, and throat... there's more that can't be so easily pinned down or described.
When I think of romance, even in the abstract, you're the first to pop into my head, and it's been like that for a long time.
This is how I feel, how I've felt for the longest time. I'm old enough to realize I don't have to act on these emotions, but I wish to all hell that I could. Watch you in Mathamagicland, and wish you all the best, and be 'just a buddy', join you for end of senior year madness, have a hell of a time. Go to Senior Gala and look gorgeous with you and dance with you and leave it there. It'll tear my guts out, but even that's a thousand times better than the alternative of hardly seeing you again.
Ok. I've been writing long enough and the prose is looking a little tarnished.
Hope your wisdom teeth will go/went out with no problems. You said come see you sometime over break... maybe I can bring a laptop.
let me know what's on your mind
Mathamagicland (below) was a math guy she was seeing. But despite that, she agreed to go with me to Senior Gala.
The Muppets (18 Mar 1996)
"Broken heart, huh?"
"Does it show?"
"Listen, when you've been tickling the ivories for
as long as I have, you see a broken heart
for every drop of rain, a shattered dream
for every falling star..."
-Rowlf and Kermit, The Muppet Movie
Rosetta you put a lump in my throat, a churn in my gut and a wobble to my knees in a way that nobody else can. If only for the sake of my digestion I need to help you see *through* the hormones and careful prose to the Ineffable Somethings huddled together for warmth underneath...they're there.
I think there's something between us that neither of us will be able to find anywhere else-- and not just 'something' as in 'every relationship you enter into is unique' something, but something as in something important, something really crucial, the same something that has caused others to write symphonies, build libraries, and start smiling or singing or both for no discernable reason at all...
when can I see you again? tonight was good without talking, just being, but maybe we should talk soon.
thought from the produce section (24 Mar 1996)
. with me
ASCII-art representation of the thoughts of the produce section a concept I came up with on her whiteboard. Here's a version I later made on PalmPilot:
Man, I miss college whiteboards. And PalmPilots.
been thinking (24 Mar 1996)
yeah, you were touching me. and it felt like the most natural thing in the world. i don't want to give up on this.
(25 Mar 1996)
you romantic fool.
why (7 Apr 1996)
I think that any life where we're not close, close in heart and mind and
body, is a lie.
I think we need each other's strength. You're stronger than anyone I've been this close to. I think we both need someone who can stand up to the strength of our personality without losing their own sense of self. (Grammar breakdown, sorry) When Amy Ray penned "I am looking for someone who can take as much as I give/Give back as much as I need," she was tapping into that same feeling, she just expresses better than I can.
I don't think either of us is finding that strength in anyone else right now. I don't think we're likely to find that strength in anyone else, not at this level, and not with so many of the other levels being so right.
(Why am I not acting strong now? I'm worried as our life at Tufts careems to a finish; I'm worried that without the chance of accidental contact (in a dining hall, between classes) we may slip out of each other's lives as easily as a bar of soap from our hands... I feel that if I can't show you the potential between us before we leave this hill then you may never see it, and life will be a thousand times less than it could be.)
You're the only person I could see as a lover. I might have relationships with other people, make love with other people, love other people, but your the only person I could see as a lover. It's more than semantics, it's more than just kisses, it's more than I've ever known before.
be with me
ever and always kirk
Night Thoughts (9 Apr 1996)
I wish I could have slept the night like that with you, bundled next to
you sharing warmth on a cold spring night, but I don't think that's what
you were looking for, not yet anyway.
My gut, my heart, my brain all tell me the same thing right now. We need to learn not to be afraid of each other's strength, but we do have that strength: from my limited perspective, those strengths make up the most important differences between Us and any relationship either of us have or had.
run away with me
and then what
be with me
And our kisses were like chewing dynamite.
Nice finish, don't know if it's truly original to me or not, but googling in 2022 the only references I can find to it are mine.
Re: Take a Metaphor to Bed (16 Apr 1996)
you write too well... how many times will i have to say that? :)
i want to write something beautiful for you but my muse has deserted me. no, wait, i don't think i even had a muse to begin with. what do math majors with perhaps a small idea of how to string words together have instead of a muse?
i think i want to walk in the rain in shorts and a tee shirt, let the rain dampen my hair and clothes, then come inside and strip, huddling in my sheets to warm.
come for a walk?
"You write too well". People do tend to write better when they're out to woo someone. Sometimes I would wonder how much it was my writing that would bring us back together...but it wasn't enough to base an actual relationship on.
Re: The cleaners (25 Apr 1996)
are you back from fanueil hall, then? coming to hear us sing?
if i don't see you there, perhaps i'll ring your doorbell...
I am impressed with the intimacy of r adopting the sign off "s", which is shorthand for "shoulder"
(30 Apr 1996)
[I meant this letter to be one or two sentences, but couldn't
find the few perfect phrases to send you swooning into my arms,
not that I found it either in what follows...]
Can we talk more sometime when neither of us need to sleep?
I wish you saw things the way like I see them now...
stronger than 'I wish'; feel that something crucial is depending on you seeing things like that.
Like I said at Someday Cafe all those weeks ago, I'm no good at getting over you; can't count on ever being over you, if you don't ever see these things then I have to somehow figure out how to get around you, to have relationships despite what I haven't stopped feeling for you.
One thing that's different in me now (that I hope is one of those things that can make all the difference) is that I don't see myself as demanding of you as some past relationships have been. I've learned to be content just being able to make contact on a lot of levels with you. I've learned that no one is going to be able to demand all your attention or time or affection, and come to peace with that, for what it's worth. One and one are two but can be something more as well.
I wanted so desperately to touch you tonight, in a seductive vein, to nuzzle under your jaw and neck, to brush my lips across your shoulder, your breast, to feel my teeth catch gently on a nipple through the warm thin t-shirt, to kiss you and softly draw your lower lip between my lips, to have my hand relearn the curves and swells of your outline... but most importantly, to feel you responding to me, your body communicating with mine on a level so basic our conscious minds can't hope to understand. What I realized late last week is that the communication we share that way is absolutely unique in my life. I've never been able to achieve that level of touch with anyone else. The Joy of Sex likens touching a lover to be sometimes like the playing of an instrument, and explains that that's why the best touch often happens when one partner is allowed to touch and the other partner is allowed to just *be* touched, rather than a mishmash of mutuality. There is an art to being touched, of cultivating the responses that lead everything to be better and better, just like there is an art to making a fine instrument, one that responds easily to the musicians touch of hands or mouth, but has its own unique character in tone and quality.
And not just that, me touching you: when you touch me, I feel things more intensely than I ever have before; I feel sexy, I feel turned on in amazing ways. I learn for the first time where the phrase 'turned on' comes from: you wake up parts of mind, from primitive reptilian brain parts to sophisticated intellectual parts, that usually lie dormant and unused. My nerves sing out beautifully, suddenly aware of everything around them.
And that's one of the reasons I think that life would be better with each other than without each other. Touch like that isn't just touch, it stands for something much more fundamental. (should I say you put the 'fun' and 'da mental' back into romance? sorry, it's very late, like 4am.)
We harmonize on so many levels, mentally and physically and karma-ly that losing you will bring a piece of me with it.
I reread this and hope that my words will touch you, and want you to also believe this: just like I don't think that touch is touch is touch, but rather it speaks of something more, I don't think my ability to touch you through writing ("you write too well") is coincidental... I think for whatever reason I have a better view of something that you're seeing only the shadow of now.
This letter has been about as long and rambling as they get. I feel lucky to maintain any kind of coherence, given the fatiguedness of my brain and the crisscross of emotion running in my heart and head. (even though I know it's where the situation lies right now, hearing you say what you're not feeling in us has that effect on me.)
Rosetta, run away with me.
I say that now because I have nothing to lose except everything.
I say that now because these emotions are as real to love as love will ever be.
call me when you get up?
Someday Cafe was a great little coffeeshop at Davis Square... now there's a place called "Diesel" and a a Starbucks as well, neither are quite as funky as Someday.
sex (14 May 1996)
ok, now that i have your attention, what are we going to get to eat?
i'd like to sleep with you sometime, i really missed you last night when i realized you'd gone.
xoxox, and more,
The "now that I have your attention" line refers to the subject line of the e-mail, "sex".
genius (18 May 1996)
Salvador Dali said "to be genius we must *play* at being geniuses"
The guy was cracked in a lot of ways but I think he got this one just right. Being geniuses, being artists, being writers,
being in love.
He didn't say 'pretend', he said 'play', and I think that's an important difference: a sense of whimsy, of not taking things too seriously, of playing: that's what can make the difference between everything and nothing.
Last night we were talking about if I have any whims that you could cater to. One would be to not be self-conscious about letting me look at you, 'let me drink to thee with mine eyes' or some such, revel in being in the presence of one of the most beautiful creatures I know. Just an idea. If it really leaves you uncomfortable, then don't. (And the thing is, just like I'm not analyzing the landscape when I gaze out your window, but letting my vision feed some of the tangents in my head, I'm not scrutinizing you either, just subconciously appreciating your purity of line and rhythm of your movement...)
Ok, off to that silly ceremony...
I still think a sense of play is important.
I think the "silly ceremony" might be Phi Beta Kappa...I played at least some cards right at my school!
Re: your mail (7 Jun 1996)
hmm... my mum wants to take me to a movie tonight, since we hadn't made
any definite plans (i thought) i said ok. would you mind doing something
next week? maybe coffee at cafe liberty? or something?
i'm having strange jealous feelings, partly because erica hasn't bothered to return my email, partly because the thought of you kissing jen isn't sitting so well with me. how hypocritical. i need to think a bit.
I was seeing Jen during this semester, and into the summer after (which is when this e-mail occurred.) It was a good romance, and I had a lot of affection for her, but it was always kind of in the shadow of R, and I'm sorry for that.
I believe this marks the last e-mail from our time at the University.
Re: laundry (16 Jun 1996)
Started looking at the 50's cookbook. Cool in a kind of sly wordly way, I'm a little intimidated by the recipes though.
i'd love to help you try one you like...
Babe, you're on my mind. Wish I could plant a kiss on each freckle. Hoping someday soon I might get to try.
Now, one thing that doesn't get mention in this archive is an interesting roadtrip I took with R., all the way to Cleveland, right after graduation. (So it would have been before this e-mail.) I went to catch up with some old friends, she went to see her friend's graduation, and we gave a lift to her friend's mom for the way down.
I have really fond memories of that trip. We crashed at my friend Mike's place...shared his ex-housemate's too small single bed, shared a shower in this interesting old style tub that was in the middle of the bathroom, went with Mike to the local botanical gardens and stretched out on the grass. It felt somehow very adult.
On the way back, we actually played the "what would you name a kid" game, which probably always has weird optimistic overtones. We also got a bit lost on our way back, trying to avoid tolls in that pre-GPS age. So we were looking for the Mass Turnpike when I suddenly shouted out:
"Where? Did you see a sign?"
"No, for a name: Turnpike Israel."
"Grrr- how about 'Dumbass Israel'?"
I thought that was really funny.
Re: plane (18 Jun 1996)
I had forgotten to take the hammer I brought to work out of the carry-on
bag I brought. They told me I had to check-in the bag, that I couldn't
carry it on with the hammer there. The bag had my books though, so I
decided to just get rid of the hammer.
That hammer was one that I had borrowed freshman year and that both borrowee and borrower had forgotten about, until finally it slipped into irrelevance. It slipped as easily out of my life as it had slipped in. It made me think that not too many things seem to do that. Especially you. You more than anything else in the world right now.
I dunno, airplanes give me weird funny moods like that.
i miss you.
Written during a trip a business trip to NYC, spent 2 days at my company's
WTC office, in one of the twin towers, and staying with my mom.
I like the story about the hammer.
(23 Jun 1996)
Thank you again for a really good way to spend a day. It had all 4 S's:
Sand Sea Sun and Sugar-- how could we lose?
Driving home I was thinking that I missed our touch, but so much more than that I miss you craving that touch. The first deals mostly with some animal hungers that can be satiated in different ways. The second, though, deals with stronger things, feelings of security and desirability and doubt and a lot more. As I was thinking this, it seemed as if the frog was looking at me sympathetically, almost shrugging to say "this is life. sometimes it's beautiful and sometimes it's tough and most often it's a mixture of the two. sometimes the people we love go through times that put some accidental distance between them and us and there's nothing we can do to help but ride it out and wait for the times to pass, offering what help we can and taking trips to the ocean with them, and eating flies."
Pretty wise for a frog I thought.
The frog is a small beanbag frog I bought in the seaside town I had gone to with Rosetta, or maybe that she had bought me. My Honda has a mysterious slot in it, and it wasn't til this day that I realied it must've been a frog holder. (Years later, I realize that had I bought the "smoker's upgrade" there would probably be an ashtray there.)
hey (from k to Jen, 17 Jul 1996)
read _the_princess_bride_ tonight. really good book, though not
quite up to the buildup i had given to it. actually, i'm surprised
at how good the movie was.
and a quote from the book is in my .plan
I liked your.plan, about the roses. it may end up on the blender, and not the heart-on-sleeve corner part either.
things have been going really, really badly with rosetta lately. if i seem a little out-of-sorts lately that might be why. she's kind of a paradox, it seems like to love her you have to have to convince her you're not in love with her, and hope. she's very defensive of her space right now: i don't know if it's just her time of life and no job or because she's sick of me.
i'm not sure if you want to hear all of this. but right now, knowing me well is knowing this.
there's actually a lot i see the same between the way you've been acting towards me and the way i've been acting torwards her, except i'm willing to live with it and am flattered and actually kind of like it while i think she's had enough people act that way towards her that she's kind of bored and annoyed, maybe very annoyed.
i've had a hard time getting over her, harder than even with Veronika back in high school. I seemed to kind of get over veronika, mostly anyways, once i started seeing marnie. not quite so with rosetta, despite a few good relationships since then. then again, veronika went away, far away. geography was so against us, maybe that helped me get over things. maybe i can't get over the idea of someone who lives nearish me and could possibly be with me not and has been with me not wanting me. ich bin ein ego-boy, maybe.
the thing is, she is pretty ungiving and demanding. i see the way she interacts with her mom and i don't like it, and think it bodes unwell for her and relationships in general. if i am in love with her it's not for that. it may be because of an ineffable something, maybe not. it may be because she's smart and really beautiful, more beautiful than most people, and the the touch between us is really amazing, or at least i think it is. maybe it's just she's learned the knack of really communicating what feels good via her body, and that in turn gets me communicating nonverbally as well. me putting up with so much shit from her probably indicates great feeling or something really off balance in me.
by the way, i think you're pretty and wonderfully adventerous and have creative smarts (I'm not sure what type of smarts rosetta has, except SAT-type smarts: she was bad at school and really hasn't gotten her life-act together. she reads a lot though, but i have much deeper discussions over lunch with the guys at work than with her) you're also good at touch but there's still a link of nonverbal communication that we haven't formed, not that I'm anxious to stop trying... ;->
so love polygons it is. you seem to carry a torch for me, and veronika says she does to, or did in nyc. life is unfair for most evryone, like the princess bride implied. in the end, i'm not convinced that rosetta will find happiness either.
So, you got through all of this, huh? Wow. More info than you need to know?
anyway, it's 11:30 and it's time for this little astronat of love to catch the first rocket to the planet of slumberland.
This is a note to Jen.
She probably had it worse for me than I did for her and I worry I was kind of her 'r'.
Bizarre Love Triangles and all that. But Jen did get me to continue singing with Tufts sQ (a cappella) for the year after I graduated.
Jen wrote me poems. I'm not sure if anyone else has every written me poems. I put them on the Blender of Love: Oddly Enough, Above the Library (beautiful starting line) Sigh and most importantly Cinder Block.
The Princess Bride quote is: "I really do think that love is the best thing in the world, except for cough drops. But I also have to say, for the umpty-umpth time, that life isn't fair. It's just fairer than death, that's all."
"Your turn or mine?"
"I think you went last time, I'll go."
He slips from the bed and pads into the kitchen. The blinds are up but he doesn't move to shut them: it's late and dark, if the neighbors are that anxious to see, let them.
The freezer opens with a small 'whoosh.' Billows of cold air flow to the floor, he reaches and grabs two popsicles from the box on the door, removes the crinkly paper from both, returns to the bedroom.
"Red or Purple?"
He hands her the red popsicle and climbs under the covers, using his other hand to keep his purple popsicle from the thick covers. The two entwine their legs. Under the covers it's warm and damp and soft and smells of the tang of sex. The popsicles are a strong contrast, frozen and sweet, soothingly cool for two bodies heated with passion for each other.
He wonders: how habit becomes ritual becomes sacrament, how one person ever manages to find another, how one moment can stretch to a century, how long this love would last, when she reaches her free hand behind his head, pulls his lips to hers, tongues bringing together purple and red in sweet stickiness, and he stops wondering.