Chasing the Dragon by Lee Ann Roripaugh

(Open letter in reply to pristinely blank SPAM mails I receive from nowhere without sender, subject line, or text).

Dear No One:

It is, of course, your absence that shapes your meaning, gives you compelling form . . . the very lack of you that calls forth this stream of slippery signifiers like treacherous winter sleet.

It is, of course, the pre-verbal tundra of you that makes you exactly who I want you to be.

On any given day, whose image do I project onto your white screen?

(Her shoulder, his hipbone, my __________; her navel, his eyebrow, my __________.)

shall I cast you?  What roles do I assign?  Let me mask your
facelessness and disguise you in simile, rehearse the choreography of
gerunds, participles, infinitives with you.  Let me conjoin you in the
lustrous, drumbeat tattoo of verbiage like plumage; garnish and modify
you with the gleaming, silvered piercings of adjectives.

Of course, you’re not real.  But are you a ghost in my machine?

it even matter, since I’m so often accused of loving the characters I
make up in my head more than the flesh-and-blood people who soon become
impatient with my needful daydreaming?

. . . the beloveds, the antagonists, the incessantly gossiping Greek
chorus and extras clustered off to the side smoking Marlboro Lights and
drinking their ubiquitous coffee . . . all of them so lovely and fucked
up and strange . . .)

Just so you know, you are both everything and nothing to me.

Just so you know, perhaps I will wrap myself in the idea
of you like a nebulous scarf made of fog when I stalk you again and
again and again through these mist-filled streets at night.

by Lee Ann Roripaugh

published in the new issue of Diode

Study in smoke v by jryle79

photo by John Ryle via flickr

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