I’m reading at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe this Friday at 10 pm, which is pretty thrilling/I’m nauseous. I’m planning to read some of the body poems, poems that were liberating to write and are uncomfortable to read.
One of my favorite books about love and sensuality is Written on the Body by Jeannette Winterson. I lent it to one of my favorite people (if you know me, lending favorite books is a rare act of true love on my part) with this demand: send me the quotes that destroy you. The whole book is a series of clavicle punches. You never know the name or gender of the narrator, you’re just traveling alongside them in their messy love-addicted mind, and it’s so damn brilliant.
Here are some of the quotes I was sent.
It’s the cliches that cause trouble. A precise emotion demands precise expression.
Said I love you like dropping coins into a wishing well hoping at least one of them would make me come true.
I wasn’t happy, but the power of memory is such that it can lift reality for a time.
I also received Holy Fuck, Seema. What is this book? a few times. So you know. Read the damn thing.
Your prompt is to write a story from a past love. I know. It’s so the worst. Second person, directly to them. Tell them a story they already know. But from your perspective, along with a few things you didn’t tell them then and all your most gangster observations. When you write it, an urge to send it to them will rise. For goodness’ sake DO NOT DO THAT. Just write it and understand yourself better for having written it. Self-control people.*
*I mean, the other option is of course, to publish it and then they probably will read it, but they can’t really say a whole lot to you about it. If they do, copy and paste the following sentence: “You’re so vain. This isn’t even about you.”