“Bohemia is inside of me”

12 August 2013
1:34 PM
Manila

M.–

My dear, I’m sorry if this finds you later in the day than expected. We’ve a storm currently. I would have written you earlier, however, all this bad weather has also affected the internet connection.

Right now, it looks like six in the evening outside. Classes have already been suspended so my sisters are home and safe. We’re relatively okay here, and life goes on as usual, which means the men come and go inside the house as they move from the kitchen to the dining room, taking walls down. Everywhere there is dust. It feels like I’ve been stepping onto dozens of cookies, leaving crumbs everywhere.

All that dirt though, together with the humid atmosphere, unfortunately is not good for me. I’m still sick, and have been restless all night. Been coughing myself awake, and my chest feels very heavy. I’ve confined myself to my office as I fear infecting others. Anyway, apart from the mundane updates of my life, I have no other story to tell at the moment.

Oh, I forgot–I’ve been meaning to point you towards this production: Broken Holmes, which I think is showing in your area. I thought you might be interested in seeing it.

Lastly:

[Letter to Gary Bottone]
Jack Spicer

Dear Gary,

Somehow your letter was no surprise (and I think you knew that it was no surprise or you would have tried to break the news more gently); somehow I think we understand what the other is going to say long before we say it—a proof of love and, I think, a protection against misunderstanding. So I’ve been expecting this letter for five weeks now—and I still don’t know how to answer it.

Bohemia is a dreadful, wonderful place. It is full of hideous people and beautiful poetry. It is a hell full of windows into heaven. It would be wrong of me to drag a person I love into such a place against his will. Unless you walk into it freely, and with open despairing eyes, you can’t even see the windows. And yet I can’t leave Bohemia myself to come to you—Bohemia is inside of me, in a sense is me, was the price I paid, the oath I signed to write poetry.

I think that someday you’ll enter Bohemia—not for me (I’m not worth the price, no human being is), but for poetry—to see the windows and maybe blast a few yourself through the rocks of hell. I’ll be there waiting for you, my arms open to receive you.

But let’s have these letters go on, whether it be days, years, or never before I see you. We can still love each other although we cannot see each other. We will be no farther apart when I’m in Berkeley than we were when I was in Minneapolis. And we can continue to love each other, by letter, from alien worlds.

Love,
Jack
[c.1951-2]

Yours,
T.

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