You Can’t Plan on the Heart

23 September 2013
11:19 PM
Manila

M.–

This afternoon we visited a house somewhere in the neighbourhood to look at a puppy. We found the ad last night, and have been talking about it nonstop during breakfast. We have been wanting to get a dog for a while now, but it was always too expensive or too far away from us. Everything about this feels right. I really hope it happens. I have never found myself wishing so hard like a little kid.

That’s my day–dogs, and poetry, and the rain. So much rain for the last twenty-four hours, it’s a good thing the city didn’t drown (again).

The above is a trailer for one of my favourite books–Love That Dog by Sharon Creech. It’s a wonderful, wonderful story, in which William Carlos Williams’ The Red Wheelbarrow plays an important role.

I hope you had a great day–the roses were beautiful.

You talked about this before, how difficult it is for you to be open. I can’t remember what I said (and I must have said a lot of things). Tonight, I have no answer. Somewhere in the back of my head, a voice says, you are already naked. I am passing that on to you.

My poems have always made me feel exposed. And isn’t that the point?

I do not know if I’ll ever be as controlled, as contained, as composed. I think I will always write this way–with a hand held out, the palm wide open. Truth be told, I haven’t ever thought about what is off-limits. This may be due to being censored for most of my life–writing is the only way for me to assert that I have a voice. To speak, even if my voice shakes–I read that somewhere.

What I learned from the past few years: the rewards of being vulnerable far outweigh the feeling of being safe. Do you know what I mean? If I haven’t worn my heart on my sleeve in the first place, we wouldn’t even have met. Whenever I’m scared to say what I want to say, that is one of the things I think of.

My Heart
Frank O’Hara

I’m not going to cry all the time
nor shall I laugh all the time,
I don’t prefer one “strain” to another.
I’d have the immediacy of a bad movie,
not just a sleeper, but also the big,
overproduced first-run kind. I want to be
at least as alive as the vulgar. And if
some aficionado of my mess says “That’s
not like Frank!”, all to the good! I
don’t wear brown and grey suits all the time,
do I? No. I wear workshirts to the opera,
often. I want my feet to be bare,
I want my face to be shaven, and my heart—
you can’t plan on the heart, but
the better part of it, my poetry, is open.

Goodnight,
T.

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