Friday, January 06, 2017

"So what moved him to not-say I-love-you?"

'I Love You'

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for Geraldine Monk
'I love you,' he wouldn't say: it was against his philosophy; I-love-you
didn't mean what it meant, plus the verray construction of the phrase
caused bad-old-concrete-lawman-vandal-verbal-mildew-upon-the-grape-
nications-devices damage; saying I-love-you damaged love, subject and
object; plus he could prove this in two dense and delphic languages
suitable for philosophy, opera, cursing, and racking the nerves of arti-
ficial intelligence machines that perhaps could love but would be
hard-wired giammai to dare say so. So what moved him to not-say
I-love-you? What wake-up-and-spoil-the-coffee ashtray-licking djinn? I
have to start to agree. The verbness of it impropriety (eyes glob up the
syringe when you're giving blood: semisolid spiralling); perhaps too
active... I-love-you, I sand you, I drill you, I honey and set you for wasps,
crimson you like a stolen toga, add value applying dye, fight owner-
ship, I cite you to justify skilled outrage, put your name as guarantor
on an astronomical mortgage, I admit desertification comes as a relief,
from I to O, O my oasis, O my mirage. Maybe the verb is a tending-to-
wards? A tightrope? A tropism? A station? But that's meeting him on
his own ground; plus I can't disprove entire languages; plus those
three little words aren't meant as saying. An icy drink in stormlight. A
looked-at leaf left to transpire its own way until... And sans I-love-you
the centuried moon rose above dinnermint stone; many men contin-
ued  talking; a woman lifted her sarsenet skirt, peed on green lilies and,
utterly gracious, walked through the archway to join the mixed group
delighting in — word! believe it! — fresh air.
Vahni Capildeo, "‘I Love You’" from Measures of Expatriation. Copyright © 2016 by Vahni Capildeo. Reprinted by permission of Carcanet Press, Ltd..
Source: Measures of Expatriation (Carcanet Press, Ltd., 2016)

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