DEAR RIVERBED, DEAR SILENCE

Dear Riverbed,


Speech is a color and you are not water but where water runs its anxiety where it worries your stones. But I am learning to use words. I am learning to forget them. I am learning to lay them into my own body and feel them solid in my skin. 
 

What do you see from your view looking up-- the bottoms of things, sky through water, wood floating by. What have you learned?


The other day I realized it had been 15 years since I felt safe. I realized this because, walking, I felt safe. It made me remember myself 15 years ago, the last time I felt safe. How remarkable. I had no one to tell. 


Yours,
Silence

Dear Silence,


When I was younger, it has been a long time, I lay inside myself. When I was younger I could fit inside myself and there was no direction when the river was dry. Have you ever had another body lay inside of you? For rest or for hiding?


I have learned that it is a different thing altogether to be the course of journey than one who journeys. I have been to the place that you follow me to. I am a million years where you thought you started and where you wish to go. 


When the word emerges, when words arrive one after another, what is it? Do you make a word for it? I've learned that silence like darkness gives permission, permission as long as you last. Where do you take your permissions and what does it grant you?


I have a secret and it is safe. 


Always,
Riverbed

Riverbed,


My permission is the subtle static that is always audible in the air. It is the light that makes darkness visible. You have to pay attention I pay attention I am granted permission. I make a room for myself in spaces between thoughts between actions. I
spread out there and grow. 


Bodies rest in me when they can, I've learned. Usually they can't. Usually bodies misunderstand me. Or they understand me. They are uncomfortable with time that doesn't want. It makes them want. It makes them scared to want. So they speak, so they move, they move away. I understand, but it's lonely. 


But, you understand. I am afraid to want, to ask anything of bodies that move away. Still I would rather they go than hide in me. Hiding is always more about who you hide from than who you hide in. But you understand.


Love,
Silence

Dear S,


Sometimes, after long quiet days I feel like the furniture of the forest, a chaise lounge but I stretch to the falls. Since we are offering paradoxes to each other (and I think that speaks of our upbringing, the formality we gift each other; I was carved down, every moment a particle falls; you grow larger with absence.)


Come visit,
RB

Dear R,


The falls remind of me of heights and how we can make an object of measurement. Are you afraid of depths? I'm afraid of love by which of course I mean the opposite. I went looking for the river's mouth, the river's bed, the river's head, and I found you there-- a body made of water resting, spread on the furniture of a forest. I wanted to call you by something other than a metaphor, I wanted to say your name so you'd exist without the shadow of another thing. We had to break ourselves down to the lines that form us, until I become just a curve, and you the vertical ascent that changes direction.

 

I can see you this way, R, the backbone of a letter, a transforming metaphor invoking invoking always invoking a body.
S

It's funny you should ask about depths. I'm not afraid of depths. I'm afraid of where I came from and how to get back there, if I should get back there, what is my attachment to back there and part of me leads from there always, sometimes deeply covered. I feel like I can tell you things, like you hold onto the things I say and then give them back to me and the difference is that they have been held. You can tell when things and people have been held. Even stones are malleable in this way. I'm beginning to think we are the same curve. When you come visit me how will I know it is you?

R,


I too have been wondering where I came from, where silence originates. My mouth barely moves when I speak. I tried to explain this. I said "I learned to be still, to be quiet, to hold my energy in." I did this because movement is dangerous. You begin to stretch and a blades takes a limb. You begin to breathe and the wind is taken from your mouth. You learn to watch closely, you learn to calculate the distance from you to the body that moves around you. You learn to make space. You learn to fold. Soon you are part of the wall, you fill the cracks in the frame. You hold the house up. And when you go, because you have to go, because you are not a beam, when you go you have to watch the place sink and become what it wants to be. You have to let it go as you go as you return.

 

When I visit you won't have to know me. The curve brings us to a meeting point.
S

S,


Are you saying that we are the same, are extensions of one or multiples. We are we down to the curve. I hold the conversations of strangers walking aside me for years or is that just it? You are making a comment on time? If I had a nickel for every moment a stranger said "Time doesn't really exist" I would have a dollar I could fold into my cracked bed. But here I build house after house and leave them as marks. I have an affection for the word watershed. One fills and one holds. Come when I have water to forget the hubris as things and forms that regard too heavily their own names. Laying upon water, you will like it, I believe you will rush.

return to ISSUE THREE