Anonymous asked: Hey Virginia, its eric, I remember I wrote you on this before and I don't know how else to contact you, how are you?
Send me your number; this isn’t civilized.
Send me your number; this isn’t civilized.
Spit from pink and thickly glazed,
we, first, are named.
What, then, of the naming of the world?
In the beginning, perhaps we played parents—
cradling this thing, as if seeing it for the first time,
our eyes gone soft, cooing “Rock”
as we raise it up to the sun.
Or perhaps the names found us—
a man hurls one at another man’s head,
the first murder
over the stolen carcass of a felled mammal,
and tearful witnesses grope to shout the crime
into the open world,
the name “Rock” bursting out, instinctual:
the tough, blunt K
like the sound of stone against bone.
There is a rock, and there is a rock
covered in the blood of another,
just as there is the name John, and then there is John
after you have loved one.
That static sound of the J
like ocean surf, or an untuned radio.
You have named him, again, but freshly.
But the world was not born to us—
we were born to it,
and if you lie in the grass, your ear to the ground,
you can hear the world whisper the name
it gave us long ago,
back when we were born,
back when the first man stood in the woods
to carve into the bark.
“Fist City” (Loretta Lynn cover) by Best Coast
In case you haven’t taken a shower with me this week, I do a pretty sassy rendition of this. Try it.
A map of the United States above my bed.
Subway map open on my computer.
In me, a map of ice, where to walk without slipping through.
An experiential map, like all maps.
Map of the grocery store, stars over my favorite foods.
Woman asks me where the pasta is and I tell her to head north, to bring a lantern.
Map of physical pain, like the Tylenol ads on television.
Where it hurts, how much. Glowing red dots as if on radar. The enemy, we think.
Map of the acceptable public bathrooms in Manhattan. (Carried with me always.)
Map of places where everything I own was made.
Map of places where I have kissed, the index on the back just pictures of mouths.
Map of all the air molecules I have ever breathed,
and then one of everyone who has breathed them too.
Map of where rivers used to be before dams were built.
Map of favorite colors by country.
Map of places where it has never snowed.
Map of things in my room you have touched.
Map of places my mom has told me she loves me.
I run my fingers over this one, a raised-relief map, they call it,
like the kind on which you can feel the tough shoulder of the Himalayas,
the curved spine of the Mid-Atlantic ridge.
Map of everything I have dropped and never missed.
Map of wild animals that have seen me and not immediately run.
Map of restaurants from which I have not taken leftovers. (Few.)
Map of places I have accidentally fallen asleep.
Map of places to which I’ve dreamt I’ve been. (Most speculative, unmappable.)
Map of pianos that have only ever been played by children.
Map of hometowns to which people, more often than not, return.
Map of lost laundromat socks, attached: a series of love letters
written by them to their owners, asking for forgiveness.
Map of places on my wall where I have thrown spaghetti and it has not stuck.
Map of the sun, all the best flares named.
Map of a spread rumor, postmortem.
Map of constellations if I were in charge of creating them:
the Broken-In Boot, the Meatball Sub, Jeff Buckley.
Map of airplane crash sites with only one survivor.
Map of parts of the body one is, statistically, most likely to learn to love.
Map of my body, according to you.
I got blood drawn the other day. Let’s talk about it.
1. How do you spell ron-day-voo? I know there are a Z and some other dark horses in there.
2. Do I want to get ready to go out yet or do I want to reread and overanalyze this IM conversation I had with W. for the fourth time?
3. What does it say that I wear all my lame underwear first, habitually saving the sexy ones for when they’re necessary, but they of fucking course never become necessary, so laundry day basically leaves me wearing fucking lingerie?
4. I can’t have both of those ‘fucking’s in #3 so which one do I really need?
5. Fuckings? Fuckings.
“Someone Out of Town” by Yuna
For those times when you wake up from nightmare after nightmare, your heart racing, only then to cry while surfing OKCupid, of all things.
who are you,little i
(five or six years old)
peering from some high
window;at the gold
of November sunset
(and feeling:that if day
has to become night
this is a beautiful way)E. E. Cummings, “who are you, little i”
“The Only One” by Readymade FC feat. Yael Naïm.
The happiest sad song I know.
Jack Gilbert, “Nights and Four Thousand Mornings” (Kochan, 1984)
Jack Gilbert has died at age 87. Rest in peace.
Sharon Olds, reading “Ode to the Hymen” in 2008.
Because I’ve gone to every reading she’s done in New York City over the past four or so years, I’ve heard her read this poem maybe five times, which is somewhat remarkable. It’s not published; her odes haven’t found their way into books yet, and there are so many of them she chooses to read at various festivals and forums and whatnot.
She read it last night at her book launch reading for Stag’s Leap. I don’t laugh at the laugh lines anymore—not because they’ve become less funny, but because that’s the kind of laughter you can really only have the first time.
But every time I hear it I cry at the very same moment:
“How places in the body were made to be destroyed once?”