Archive for February, 2009

Owe Me Nothing

I have attached love notes to helium balloons, sent them into the sky. Folded into paper airplanes, they will find their way somewhere. I am a realist, and I know the messages will not carry the weight of their burst carriers. But where they land, it will at least look like they did.

Too many people ask, do you love me? The question is not an invitation, not even a dare. It demands so much: either be kind but be claimed, or be cruel but be free.

A valentine should ask for nothing except the impossible. It should not ask for an answer. It should not ask for a favour. It should not ask for the reciprocation of love, it should not be obliging. It should simply ask the recipient to love. It is, at its best, anonymous, but without the suggestion that the author is watching. The saint sought nothing from the jailer’s daughter when he slipped notes through the bars, not even for clemency. The next day his head was on the block.

You owe me nothing, you have already given me so much. Your note is in the air somewhere, and I wonder how much snow can land on its balloon before it stops rising. I wonder where it will fall; into the Danube? Into the grounds of a palace built for the administration of an empire, now abandoned? The least likely of all is that you will find it.

This city is two things. One is a living thing, one is a ghost. I hate how the heart is written up as if it were the avatar of love. Doesn’t the whole being feel love? The heart is just an organ, like a capital city. It does one thing, then another, and it has never stopped beating.

Fortresses into museums, graveyards into parks, factories into lofts, walls into gardens, records written over the partially erased records that came before. In love, also, what came before co-exists with what inhabits you now, though one is a voice and the other is an echo.

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