All is Full of Love

Apéritifs: In the months leading up to the release of our book “A Single Throat Opens,” a collaborative lyric exploration of addiction, Meghan McClure and I will be compiling a playlist pairing songs with new writing to be enjoyed before the main course. Cheers, friends.

Dear Izzy and Sophi,

My mother (baba, as you know her) could never grasp the idea that some of what we’re seeing in the night sky is light from a star already extinct. I wonder if you’d understand if I tried to explain it now. But you’re more interested in seaweed and sandcastles, cheetahs and pandas. We can talk about the stars later. There is still light in the day.

One day you will realize I was someone else, someone less, before I was your father. Even now, while you two sleep, I’m half the person I was while you were awake. I am full of dust-ache and disappearing. It takes you two to swirl me into the air, make of me a dance worth seeing. Otherwise I settle on the chair, make no impact. Otherwise light passes through me; there is nothing concrete to stop it.

You two like torches impossibly bright, it’s only by your illumination I feel visible and warm. As something only made beautiful in relation, proximity. This isn’t sorrow you hear; it’s my ecstasy. Simultaneously, I realize now I was, in my own way, a candle for my parents, a fire passing through them. I never noticed their own twirl and twist, their unique movements until nearly too late. The day is nearly done, the sky darkening.

Maybe this is what we all are. Not dust, but glorious light. Not disappearing but passing through. When my parents think of their parents, eventually when I think of mine, and someday when you think of me and your mother, it’ll all make sense, I promise. The stars, the light, the darkness behind it all, even these stories I had to tell …you’ll understand everything someday.

With all my love always,

Daddy

Memento Mori

Apéritifs: In the months leading up to the release of our book “A Single Throat Opens,” a collaborative lyric exploration of addiction, Meghan McClure and I will be compiling a playlist pairing songs with new writing to be enjoyed before the main course. Cheers, friends.

Misery is only one side of the story, and your story has a thousand sides worth examining. I’m sorry I didn’t study each of the faces you showed me when I was young. Your life is equal parts ocean and alcohol. Yet, I focused on the label wrapped around the bottle and didn’t think of the beauty of the curved, amber glass, the circular lip. I didn’t bother to taste the salt and sweat of your labor. I stood too often on the shore and waved as if I was the only one to experience farewells.

When your mother died you wrote poems. I’m the stupid boy who writes poems while everyone he loves is still alive. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. When you leave, I promise to write you a better silence.

Twilight

Apéritifs: In the months leading up to the release of our book “A Single Throat Opens,” a collaborative lyric exploration of addiction, Meghan McClure and I will be compiling a playlist pairing songs with new writing to be enjoyed before the main course. Cheers, friends.

The way he sings the opening lines (Haven’t laughed this hard in a long time I better stop now before I start crying) convinces no one of laughter. Some of us prioritize despair. We hear the heart rending itself and call it music.

When you left I wrote you slant on every page. I sing off key and often: your name. I drank my thoughts quiet but my heart continued its frenzy. There is no quelling the core of who we are. We either bear the beat, or we burst.

Touch me; I’m full. I am an impossibly small grape whose body contains every glass of wine. Yours is the mouth that broke my skin and drank from me everything. Still, dry as I am, I have created the most magnificent life. I find joy like a dragonfly hovering nearby, always. I am profoundly, unexpectedly happy. When I think of you it’s only in the dark. It’s been so long; you’ve missed so much. I want to share every detail but I better stop now before I start—