Love letters, part two

Nothing will come of nothing: speak again.

– William Shakespeare.

I breathe on the window and my breath condenses. I step away, and the foggy film shrinks back on itself. The glass remains unchanged. I can see the street again, and the marmalade light of the lamp shining on a gray-haired woman hastily tying up her boot before putting her arm through the arm of a gray-haired man. They walk out of sight, past the old cemetary behind whose concrete, Soviet-era fence starving worms burrow through tree-roots in the rapidly cooling soil. Winter is coming.

When I’m alone without you at night, I make up my own lullabies. I imagine myself in a shoulder-wide canoe, embraced and closed in on all sides, running along in the blood-warm river of sleep. The hilt of my invisible sword is cool against my abdomen. Soon the water will thunder down and take me with it and then, only then, will I be asleep.

When I am awake without you in the day, I touch my skin in the absence of your touch. I am bones and fat and muscle, capillaries and veins, jelly and joints – and I love you. Who has wrought this contradiction? Nature or God? Neither or both? When the eyelashes that have fluttered against your cheek fall to dust, when the voice that quoted boring books for you and begged you to pick up your goddamn socks dies and dissloves along with the slackened vocal chords that produced it – the soundwaves getting farther and farther into the uninhabited reaches of space, what should happen to that which we have tended? Will it still grow and flower somewhere, in spite of the battering of interstellar winds and all?

When we were born, a raven was circling the hospital. Under the warm black wing, stars were scattered, bright and still (full fathom high the raven flies, out of its feathers we are made, those are stars that are our eyes). It plucked the worm like a musical string.

Or so I dreamed, anyway. When I’m without you, my dreams become stranger and stranger.

I breathe on the window and write your name.

44 thoughts on “Love letters, part two

  1. Dear Natalia – the illusion of life passes quickly. Congratulations. You have discovered this. Other writers have done so before you, but you do it with distinct style to get you recognition (it seems to come easier to women these days than to men).

    Something that needs to be said, however… If you are offended, then I am probably wasting my time. But this is worth trying for.

    You seem enamored of Arab/Muslim culture. Call me conservative, but I think you are asking for trouble. I have been reading your blog for a long period and think you are displaying cultural insensitivity. You do it in such an adorable way, I believe no one has noticed until now.

    Has it crossed your mind that you may be a trophy to these people? A pale, blue-eyed one? Not that the objects of your affection have evil intentions, but they are most certainly better off with a girl from home. A man may not know this because you are the standard. It is not even about looks, but your attitude. This is not your fault. You cannot help it. You even look for God and artistic salvation, which makes you above most Westerners. This is harsh, but the truth – most Western women today are cynical whores. Women in other parts of the world are whores as well, but they hide it better. I am not the only one who thinks so. You have a smll chance to rise above that. But… These “letters” are not the chance you seek.

    I have lived among Arabs and they are delightful people, but they guard their traditions.

    You are a promising young writer. Here is something else that needs to be said about this – women may get more recognition right now, but you have to struggle more for your writing to be placed on the same shelf as a man’s writing. It is not your fault either, but the way the world is. I do not want you to be disappointed down the road.

    You want to live forever. There are ways of gaining your wish.

    P.S. If you want people to pay you attention do not associate with the vulgar lunatic, Ali Eteraz.

  2. >Call me conservative>

    That’s not what I’d call you. “Concern troll” and “hilariously clueless” and oh yeah, “racist proselytizer.” “Conservative,” no.

    Who the hell do you think you’re talking to, schmuck? Like someone’s gonna dump their beloved partner of x years and change their life because some random goober on the Internets throws boilerplate bigotry + “I know you better than you” at them? About as likely as you actually hearing and processing anything about what I’m saying here beyond “waahhhh, she’s flaming me.” But hey, at least the peanut gallery might be amused.

  3. Thank you, Muse & M.K., lovely ladies. There will be more Love Letters. I hope you will read.

    D.D. – What do the initials stand for, anyway? Dungeons and Dragons? I was hoping some like-minded dork would talk to me about referencing Peter Jackson’s take on Lord of the Rings, but alas. Just more trolls from a Victorian attic somewhere.

    You do also realize you submitted the same comment 5 or 6 times? First-time comments are screeened. Read the policy before you start mass-producing them (or patronizing yours truly, for that matter).

    Can’t say I’m not entertained.

  4. Dear Belledame – A lovely name if I may say it. You are “flaming” me, yes. But I am used to this sort of treatment – I have traveled the world, and injected myself into many different cultures particularlyin the middle east. The perspective I have on these issues, and what Natalia is going through, is one that is shared by a very small group of people. I don’t expect you to understand. I am not being ironic when I say this. You certainly have your own truth.

    Natalia, I am sorry for the many comments. I will be more careful from now on.

    Your writing IS superb. The company you keep, however… What can I say, Natalia? The Fatimas of the world are more respectable than you. Less talented perhaps. But what will it matter if you end up alone one day?

  5. “Whore” is not a terrible word to begin with. “Whore” is a woman’s natural state. A man protects her from the wild animals and starvation, and she keeps him warm at night. They are happy together. Sometimes the roles might even be reversed. Perhaps I should have used a different word. I thought the author of this blog may have been able to understand my point right away.

    It is the “cynical” part that I was stressing. Women want to have it all – at the expense of their own dignity. Yes, even women writers. Yes, even those as talented as our dear Natalia.

  6. I did not mean “inject” in a derogatory way – or as an insinuatin. I apologize for causing further unintended offense.

  7. Natasha, that’s a wonderful piece of writing. I’d say the contrast with the textual kudzu’s ugliness only enhances it, but I don’t want to encourage anyone.

  8. I agree! It is a lovely piece of writing – tenuous fragments all wrapped together with such delicacy. It is deeper than it appears. I especially love your Amazon link; a nice touch. I thought it may have been interesting to look “beyond the curtain” if you will. Once again, I apologize if you and your friends are offended (when I said that you were keeping bad company I did not imply Belledame), Natalia.

  9. Cynical Whore reporting for duty…

    Where the fuck do these people come from?

    Points in Case:

    Natalia here is a damn good writter, no question there.

    She’s also a big girl and can date whom she wants, and since she is an intelligent sort, probably knows whether or not her significant other loves her for more than a fascinating set of blue eyes and light hair.

    Damn if humanity never ceases to amaze me.

    xoxo
    -Bad Company

  10. Why the heck did I type “Natasha?”

    I’m sorry, about that, Natalia. I’d blame an excess of Rocky and Bullwinkle, but I haven’t seen one of those in at least a decade.

  11. D.D said: “‘Whore’ is a woman’s natural state.”

    D.D., here is a piece of advice: Don’t tangle with Natalia Antonova. She is way, way ahead of the curve, and her critics cannot catch up with her.

    I think I finally figured out Natalia’s 10/25/2007 response to my apology, and that response is: “Entitled asshole, I do bite.” This is an absolutely dangerous woman, and critics should step carefully. D.D., unless you want to be stung by the ray of Natalia’s mind, get back on dry land and stay there. If she stings you, you will never again preach about woman’s natural state, and you’ll start worrying about your own. Take this warning seriously.

  12. I have traveled the world, and injected myself into many different cultures particularlyin the middle east.

    Hee hee, hot, bullshit injection?

    “Whore” is not a terrible word to begin with. “Whore” is a woman’s natural state. A man protects her from the wild animals and starvation, and she keeps him warm at night.

    Yeaup, that’s some Grade A bullshit right there.

    Beautiful love letter, Natalia.

  13. D.D.: Natalia’s above-noted response is actually dated October 24, and it is the final comment under her 10/18/2007 post entitled “Fruit of Thy Womb.” Her response to my apology is worth reading. As I said, take my warning seriously.

  14. Note to Natalia:

    In my comments above, I was not making light of your response to my apology (“Entitled asshole, I do bite”). I know that your response was not made in jest, and that it was deadly serious. My apparently light tone was meant to be in keeping with what looked (and looks) to me like the light or at least sarcastic tone of the responses to D.D. I do not feel comfortable discussing your response to my apology right now. If I ever am able to discuss it, I hope you will be able to listen.

  15. ***Racist commentary and links to racist propaganda websites will be deleted. I normally don’t delete comments, but this blog will not be used as a platform for racists.***

    Anyone up for debating the racist can go to Ali’s entry and have at it, since Ali appears to be in a slightly more magnanimous mood for this bullshit.

    Tea, anyone?

  16. James, it really is OK. Really. If I could make you a cup of tea right now, I would. With bon-bons on the side.

    Baraka, fancy seeing you here again! Thanks for the link-love, luv.

  17. Simply lovely and moving, like all great love letters it captures the aloneness of the now, and the beyond time that is sure to come. Thank you 🙂

    Ya Haqq!

  18. Greetings, Natalia. I see you have not banned me. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to explain myself.

    I admit it, I am guilty of communicating through the computer having drunk a good share of alcohol. Yesterday was no exception. A lot thatI said was meant to provoke especially what I said concerning “whores.” I hope there is a chance I may be forgiven. I have been under the impression that engaging a feminist even one as libertine as you are, requires a crtain shock factor. I have been proven wrong. More than wrong.

    I see that Ali Eteraz has responded. I got his attention, I suppose. I believe he does disrespect people, but perhaps I am only reading him wrong. He is also (almost?) as talented as you are. Do beware the competition. I see that someone named Nusrat, on Eteraz’s site, is already spinning the familiar tale of “we have them and yet we are obsessed with them… what we should really do is just hate them” – when it comes to you, the pale, blue-eyed woman.

    You are going to have to struggle in this world, Natalia. Struggle with being hated and loved, because the hurts and desires of other people will be foisted on you.

    I enjoyed your paragraph about the raven the most. It plucks a worm like a string and ere is the reference to Superstring Theory a new and fashionable theory of the universe. The worm is the string and the worm is death your earlier allusion makes that clear. But is the raven not also death? Why does it pluck the worm? Because the raven is a different level of death, the sublime level, after all here are the stars under the wing. But even the physical level of dying, the worm, is a kind of music. There is harmony in your vision.

    I salute you however much this may mean at this point in time.

    I hope those offended will forgive an aging man.

  19. I admit it, I am guilty of communicating through the computer having drunk a good share of alcohol.

    Contrary to somewhat popular belief, alcohol doesn’t have the effect of creating a whole new person to say horrid things, a person who magically goes away when sobriety is achieved. Instead, it removes the filter between brain and mind, leading one to be more honest, less guarded.

    At least your guarded self is ASHAMED of what you believe and use to troll people; it’s a start.

  20. D.D. – Now that you’re no longer wasted, perhaps it’s time to evaluate why you behave the way you do. I’m not a psychology professional, but what Deordihe says seems awfully accurate.

    re Nusrat: He doesn’t call people to hate anyone. He is acknowledging something that exists. If you’ve traveled extensively, I’m sure you’ve seen the “Fair & Lovely” commercials, which are just one symptom of what’s going on.

    Your reading of what I wrote is much closer to your reading of my life. Now you know what to stick to.

  21. >You are going to have to struggle in this world, Natalia. Struggle with being hated and loved, because the hurts and desires of other people will be foisted on you.>

    She hardly needs a stranger, emphasis on “strange” to tell her about her own damn life. What part of this is so difficult to understand? And what Deoridhe said. Dude, seriously: get help. This is neither a confessional booth nor a place to work out your childhood trauma, mkay? You’re invasive, you’re sexist, you’re racist, and you’re still creeping people out, and asking for “forgiveness” is no more appropriate than the rest of…that.

  22. I just don’t see how it’s okay to say these things to someone just for being in an interracial relationship. It’s invasive and offensive.

    I realize that some people believe that another person’s difference or perceived difference grants implicit permission to treat their lives as if they’re an open book for disdain and criticism, but where I come from we call this “bigotry.”

  23. The accusations against me are not baseless. In fact, I welcome them. Yes, I am a sick man, this much becomes obvious after a few glasses of whiskey.

    It was in Arabia that I had found myself. I was not a whole person before I went there. You may tell me that I am not a whole person now and I will be forced to agree, but I was worse once.

    To be even more honest, I am jealous of Natalia. The reasons for this are obvious.

    Life is not fair. Some of us do not get eternity, the eternity that Natalia has written about here. Or, if we do, it is not spent with anyone meaningful.

    Natalia is a very privileged woman and I hope she will not forget that.

  24. D.D.

    I am tempted to suggest you put down the hash pipe and take a look at just how much like an extremely obsessive stalker you sound. Okay, forget the temptation part…put aside whatever intoxicants you happen to be into and REALIZE what an obsessive stalker you sound like. It’s freakin’ creepy. I know creepy when I see it, and this certainly is a text book case of creepy. You’re right, life isn’t fair, and chief, NO ONE gets an eternity, and pretty it up as much as you like with prose and tragedy and all that other artful dressing, you still, when that is stripped all away, sound like the net version of the guy in the all black ninja gear sneaking in a window in order to paw through a girl’s panties. She may have left the window open, but that doesn’t mean she invited you to go digging, savvy?

    And Natalia is a hard worker who has some talent and some luck, privilege is relative, and frankly, you have a hell of a lot of gall reminding anyone of theirs.

  25. D.D. – you’re like the love-child of Lawrence of Arabia and Jeffrey Dahmer.

    What I don’t get is this: you’re obviously not a dumbass. I mean you are clearly able to read a text, interpret it, and even write said interpretation down (albeit in a slightly disjointed manner, but we shall take what we can get at this point). I honestly don’t know how someone as intelligent as you would also behave in the manner you have behaved here.

    Neither do I particularly care, but nevertheless – the mind boggles.

  26. “D.D. – you’re like the love-child of Lawrence of Arabia and Jeffrey Dahmer. ”

    Holy crap, I just spilled my drink laughing. Too apt a description. Poor Lawrence. Ha.

    Too bad this DD is taking the focus away from the (beautiful) post itself.

    Natalia, can you link to Part 1? And write Part 3? 🙂

  27. and D.D.: it’s -also- not a pro-domme outfit. seriously, we should start charging for this shit. like Lucy with the “advice 5 cents” thing. “random abuse for trolls who obviously want it, click PayPal to receive your response”

  28. Wow, awesome piece of writing. I ignored the other comments due to troll infestation so if you’ve already answered this then I’m sorry. Was the image of you in the canoe a deliberate reference to the Falls of Rauros? Or am I just too much of a Tolkien nerd?

  29. Yep! Sure was! I’ve been fascinated with the scene in the film. It plays over and over in my head. The book suggested that Boromir eventually made his way to the sea… There’s something about that image of floating down the river, dead. It makes me think Ophelia and Lady of Shallott.

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