Wednesday, April 13, 2005

clay and taxes

The Potter
(Pablo Neruda)

Your whole body has
a fullness or a gentleness destined for me.

When I move my hand up
I find in each place a dove
that was seeking me, as
if they had, love, made you of clay
for my own potter's hands.

Your knees, your breasts,
your waist
are missing parts of me like the hollow
of a thirsty earth
from which they broke off
a form,
and together
we are complete like a single river,
like a single grain of sand.

In the summer after my second or third year of graduate school, I signed up for a ceramics course at the university. We did a lot of handbuilding, but were briefly introduced to the potter's wheel, too. Since this was a summer course, I was spending hours and hours in the studio every day. The textures of clay became very familiar to me, and during the weeks we were working on wheels, I could see the swirling clay bottom of a cyllinder every time I closed my eyes. It was a magical experience, one that maintained quite a grip on my sensory life. My sense of touch became strangely hightened, and in the dark with my lover that summer, I saw and felt things differently than I ever had before. Skin became clay in my hands, I myself was claylike in his.

That summer, I rode my bicycle for a mile or so to the ceramices studio every day, and C. rode with me there in the early morning. One day the seat on my bicycle came loose on the way. By the time I got there, it was totally hanging off. When I left the studio that afternoon I found that the seat had been tightened. C. had ridden home and back with a screwdriver and fixed things while I worked.

He was always fixing things for me.

I messed up that beautiful relationship. C. is engaged now, and marries (I think) next month. I wish I knew more about how he's doing.

I'm very lucky to have found a good things with P., who is currently trying to pay our taxes online. It was P. who made me love Neruda and Garcia Lorca and Miguel Hernandez and all sorts of other poets I'd never have met otherwise. It is P. whose body I fall asleep next to at night, and P. whose hands.... well, do magical things. After a day such as this, though, even his paying of taxes is a terribly romantic and beautiful thing.

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