I have to tell you,
there are times when
the sun strikes me
like a gong,
and I remember everything,
even your ears.
Dorothea Grossman, “I Have to Tell You.”
The critic Joshua Clover has argued that loving novelty is perfectly appropriate, because the material conditions of mass culture make it ever-renewable: if you wear out one pop song, there will always be another. Ranking lastingness above novelty is a holdover from an aesthetic of scarcity, predating the age of mechanical, or digital, reproduction. So today we can love a song for being one of many, part of the crowd, rather than as an intimate partner. A rich taste life will include both, just as a rich erotic life includes infatuations and flings as well as long-term relationships, because they do different things to us. (Don’t we feel a bit sorry for people who marry their high-school sweethearts, even as we admire their constancy?) And luckily, songs are not jealous of one another, and don’t have any feelings to be hurt.
Carl Wilson, Let’s Talk About Love.
It’s a pretty simple standard, actually — all any story has to do is just show us the meaning of life.
i like my body when it is with your
body. It is so quite new a thing.
Muscles better and nerves more.
i like your body. i like what it does,
i like its hows. i like to feel the spine
of your body and its bones, and the trembling
-firm-smooth ness and which i will
again and again and again
kiss, i like kissing this and that of you,
i like, slowly stroking the, shocking fuzz
of your electric fur, and what-is-it comes
over parting flesh… And eyes big love-crumbs,
and possibly i like the thrill
of under me you so quite new
e. e. cummings, “I Like My Body When It’s With Your Body”
What she saw, or smelt, in this dreary little dog I never could understand. Disillusioned women often upbraid their husbands with: ‘You only like me for one thing!’ and this might have been the case between Tulip and Watney. During her heats he practically lived on our doorstep, and, when she appeared, slung like a limper to one of her hind legs—he could reach no higher—while she patiently stood and allowed him to do with her as he would and could. But when, in the long intervals between, she visited him in his pub in all her fond and radiant beauty, he never found her for more than a moment to spare. Having trotted round her once and ascertained, with a sniff, that there was nothing doing, he would retire stiffly on his apparently hingeless legs to his duties behind the bar (he guarded the till and rang the bell at closing time)—duties which he totally neglected when she was in season—leaving her siting, frustrated and forlorn, in the Saloon.
J.R. Ackerly, My Dog Tulip
for Francois K. Needles
you say love is a burning building: then run in: to save the woman on the second floor: the one you’ve watched as she stood in the window: as you walked past her apartment: on the other side of the street: she always seems to be wearing red: always in the window: as though she knew you were coming: and yes: you do have a tendency to be punctual: like a self-fulfilling prophecy: both of you approaching ritual: and now this fire: this urgency: you run through the flames: wrapped in a sheet: through trapped billowing smoke: you bound the stairs: you know the door: you kick it in: you pull her body into your arms: carry her out into the street: as you’ve always known you would: when you first struck the match: so many weeks before
WOMAN. I don’t want to miss everything. I really don’t. I like everything.
MAN. Me neither. (Pause.) I meant to yell.
WOMAN. (Pause.) Name a season.
WOMAN. Name another.
WOMAN. We were made for each other.
MAN. Name an animal.
WOMAN. The otter.
MAN. Name another.
WOMAN. No thanks.
MAN. We were.
WOMAN. Can we go be alone somewhere?
MAN. Both of us?
MAN. I know just the place.
MAN. I don’t know I’ve just heard people say that before.
Will Eno, The Flu Season