Love letter

Dear M_____,

It's February and I'm in New York again. That first week the wind turned bitter but I went sentimental missing the month I'd spent biking through days and around hills in San Francisco talking for hours with old friends and making new ones dancing until our legs cramped. I think you'd really like it there. Here again I was hiding in books and under too many but not enough layers back on these streets. When the snow melts it leaves only a gray silt of salt behind, on streets and sidewalks and the bodies of cars and it looks like dust, like a quiet bomb has exploded. And this city is bombed out, the buildings with broken windows falling in on themselves, trash rotting in alleys behind the guys calling "smoke, smoke." This city filled with broken people who say fuck it and fuck this city and keep living to say fuck you to the universe. Walking from the train through midtown a few weeks ago I remembered to lift my eyes like you always told me to and the glass and metal towers looked like fingers of bone cradling us, but we slip through.

Everything is about love these days. My friends are all falling in love, in romance but friendship too. I talked to Keith the other day and told him I loved him. Everyone's talking about love, about love and politics, love as a way of doing politics. Feeling as a revolt against the numb days we've been birthed into, or maybe escaped into. Either way, I can't sleep at all because I'm too awake sensing my body and all the ways it hurts and the aches that I didn't used to notice that just passed through me like blinking my eyes but all over.

Saturday was amazing. Kaycee came into town and you must know how much I miss her. We woke early to organize snacks and we suited up in layers of clothes pinning on buttons and filling our pockets with stickers and markers but the cap on mine froze in place. On the library steps I saw the boy I met in jail last year, the one months later I bumped into on the train. We ran into lots of other folks, everyone's eyes watery with cold but wide too with amazement -- so many people, so many police, so many people. And we made friends with some kids who recognized the patch on my back which Boots in Seattle made: Lover/Fighter. We stuck together the rest of the day, them and Kaycee all down from farms and we called ourselves the Farmers Affinity Group and today I laughed to myself when I realized the acronym that makes.

Everyone's talking about love and falling in love and I'm thinking about love, about how I love you, and about how I want to care for myself and the people I know and how being depressed or overwhelmed or cynical has kept me too withdrawn for too long. Thinking about how I can't give them that. I'm contemplating what Shane in Sydney wrote, something like "I've got a crush on revolution," and thinking about what it means to try to be a lover and a fighter. Sometimes missing somebody feels sad, but sometimes that longing feels hopeful, a reaching towards that startles because for once you really know what you want. My politics are filled with a missing and longing that doesn't seem melancholic, just restless, and eager. Wanting to love is wanting the day to never end so the feeling at the back of your neck will never fade, the feeling that the people surrounding you are real. They will go on and so you will too. I remember this essay by bell hooks where she writes, "Choosing love we also choose to live in community, and that means that we do not have to change by ourselves."

We never made it to the rally but we rolled slowly off sidewalks into streets. My icy fingers were army green and dark red stained with ink from printing the stickers with Greg the night before. Under my bandana my hot breath steamed snot out my nose. Kaycee and I passed apples back and forth and our new friends had hummous and a radio in their bag so when we left the crowds for awhile to warm up we turned it on sitting in the deli which was filling up, people's ears tilted towards the broadcast of speakers and numbers. Later our friends headed to the train and we wandered through Times Square and Kaycee was disappointed, she'd thought we would have really taken it over and there'd be dancing in the streets but the cops were too many and too aggressive. And then we arrived at Bryant Park just as some kids moved out onto forty-second street and we hurried to join them and they were dancing! I grinned hugely: Kaycee you said it and made it come true. And the swelling mass turned down fifth avenue and how could so many hundreds of people appear from nowhere? In the crowd we saw this man with these pretty glasses we'd met earlier, and we all said hi, smiled kindly, said are you okay? When the rows of cops came from either end and penned us in everyone sat down calmly, huddled close and it was scary for sure but we stayed there and I felt still and quiet even with the asphalt chilling through my pants.

I wish you'd been here M_____. There's death in this city, but life too, if not the life we always know to recognize. I miss you and I know we'll find each other again but by then this story will be old so I wanted to write now and try to let you know how we don't feel beat down and I don't know what's next but I'll get there I think. I know really these wars won't end but we won't end either, we go on and on. I almost never sleep but when I do I dream of you. I hope that you're well. I miss you. I love you.