FOR LOSS OF WORDS is about love, loss, the art of photography and a million words. I wrote this piece for a friend of mine after parting ways with her photographer boyfriend. This one’s written from the photog’s point of view.
Read by an amazing woman, Christina Gregory (formerly Brownlee), it is one of my most memorable works owing to the many colorful (and, at times, painful) backstories behind its writing and events post publishing.
*Amplification or headphone required for best listening.
For Loss of Words from The Caffeine Chronicles, My Pretzel Logic
This is my portrait of you.
It speaks to me in strange, colored verses,
in whispered codes of ancient languages.
I often get that illusion. You are not easy to ignore.
I’ve long studied its dog-eared corners, one by one,
pressed against the fluorescent light.
I’ve made its hidden legends my own and let them float
with gray-streaked butterflies in olden seas of remembrance.
Does your sadness speak of me?
What is it worth – this picture,
your tender dedication that peers through splintered glass
from which I see myself?
Have my hands trembled so hard it shook your world?
Will you ever see why this picture is all about you?
The shadows adore you, the sun-kissed curves,
the wayward tresses that define you, your omnipresence –
the magic of always being where the sun wants you.
Even the moonbeams seek the darker side of your afflictions.
Those rarest of moments your eyes find my lens tell me
that ships have finally come to berth,
that there are no more worlds to conquer.
But life has a way of fading out-of-focus, like snapshots.
Haven’t I reminded you enough where to stand, when to smile,
whether it’s time to look at me or turn away?
We were younger then. We are no older now.
We never bothered about bigger things,
only details that mattered enough
because they can be hung in frames.
I did not listen before. But I am listening now.
Sometimes I wonder whether I have loved you enough
beneath the sound of closing shutters and flashing strobes.
I’m sorry I have given you nothing more than space.
I’m just seeing now the side of you I’ve never known.
But never think that I have taken your pictures
merely for loss of words.
Millions of them dwell in portraits,
within forgotten corners, within their breadth.
But this empty house tells me words cannot be uttered.
For now, let me savor their untold tales.
Let me recount the ardent hopes in sublime passages
and spools of thoughts. Let august winds permeate the soul.
Then remind me that, in a digital world, it is never the subject.
Today my universe had gotten bigger.
I won’t be asking for anything more than clear skies
of purple hues with pulsars beating their science of light.
It’s just that every time the curtains go down and a journey begins
I’d know a previous journey had ended.
But isn’t this the way of the world?
From now until then, all I will have is this picture.
I look at it then close my eyes.
I see gray-streaked butterflies in cupboards.
I see some distant night two people danced
before a window of stars,
behind the soft drapes of Coltrane.
I see shades of days underneath the molave tree.
I see you smiling the day we first met.
My sadness makes you immortal.