How Suddenly Our Fictions of Permanence Are Reclaimed

Even in mundane correspondence, Patrick and his friends remained true to their artistic, poetic roots. Their imagery and storytelling lushly fills the pages.

This is one reason I share these letters: to share his love of words and his practice and appreciation of the wordsmith craft.

Patrick saved this exchange in a separate file, clearly not wanting to lose it. His letter was dated 19/05/12, or 19 May 2012. Her letter, which was saved first in the file, was dated 08/12/12, which I believe, based on context, was 8 Dec 2012.

He titled her letter “love and other strange passings” and his “our exits, our entrances.” I present them here in the order I found them in the data file. The file itself was dated 15 March 2014.



love and other strange passings

Patrick my darling,

I’ve just returned from the desert, trailing only weeks behind you to LA and then heading out toward Joshua Tree – that wild Martian landscape that manages to always look submerged underwater in spite of being bone dry. Some dear friends of mine bought several pieces of land and are in the process of building adobe brick houses, up and down the edge of their property which hits the line where the Bureau of Land Management takes over, meaning that from the east on is nothing but open rock and scrub and of course the trees after which the area is named. Have you ever been out there? For some reason I think not – you should, though, I’d love to take you – it’s powerful enough to turn an ocean girl like myself into a dryland creature, and the only thing as amazing as the skies in the day is the look of moonlight on all the rocks, walking around the desert in midnight – I climbed a mountain under the moon – where all the plant life is so bizarre, I almost fear touching it, lest it should bite. But all this is by way of saying that I’ve been quite cut off and so am only now sitting down to savor your words. Thank you – you know that hearing from you always makes everything burn bright.

I’m very sorry to hear about Diana. A blessing, I suppose, to go in that manner, but poor woman. Even from way over here, I am shocked by how suddenly our fictions of permanence are reclaimed. In my mind, some places are ever-peopled, even though in my experience they dwindle and renew. But I’m sorry you’ve lost this good friend and steady companion; I embrace you for that, and many other reasons.

But how miraculous indeed that at the same time you received this missive from afar. I admit that I got chills and grew teary when I read that Tim had reached out! This is really amazing – what compelled him to make contact? Did he tell you? I wonder too at the fact that he just missed you in the States by a few weeks. I imagine that he would be touched and thrilled to know his mother through you, and look, all of a sudden your family grows.

I was sad that I didn’t get to see you when you were here, though lordy knows you were busy enough. I’ll be content instead to hear all about it, and maybe banging my spoon on a pot until you grace New York and my home. I would love for nothing more than to ensconce myself in Valldemossa for Christmas – and beyond (how I do love a good lingerin!) – but fear that’s just not in my cards this season. All this “real” life takes up a hell of a lot of time, fortunately, I’m planning moves to set myself free again. I came to the realization in the desert – that’s what one does in the desert, you know, arrive at revelations big and small – that the only way to approximate immortality in this lifetime is to constantly engage new experiences. I wasn’t out there for all that long, but it could have been months, my senses so open and my thoughts aflight. By contrast, the day in day out of scuttling underground to grovel before my desk simply devours time, or rather is devoured by time. Weeks pass in a blink, and I think that it is sameness that feeds time’s hunger. So change, and its good friend’s autonomy, travel, romance and risk, have come to call again. Welcome.

Fortunately, I’ve been putting some plans and contacts in place to let all this happen. Did I tell you I was contacted by National Geographic? They want me to write for them. Yippee! And next week, I’m heading in for round three of interviews with the Guardian to string for their global desk while also having a spot in their NYC offices in an old SoHo loft – these things all feel right up my alley, and next week, a magazine will be publishing one of my Utopias – I’ll send it your way when that happens. As of now, it looks like I’ll be spending part of January in the Middle East. Good grief, I’m half delighted half-horrified at the thought of myself in Saudi Arabia, swaddled in robes and writing about the world water crisis. More on that front as it evolves . . . or perhaps you’d like to join, as I’m in need of a male escort.

So tonight you’re in Sevilla, that seems about right. I imagine you having a wonderful meal and then wandering through all those impossibly small streets. I see a clear night and a blue morning, I would love to meet you in the square for noon canas. Enjoy!

Don’t send me anything – I would far prefer to come to you. But should you ever need it, like when directing the cabbie from JFK, my address is:  aaddrreess, New York, NY 10014

Importantly: What is your new address?

I love you and miss you. I send you big kisses. You are a joy in my life.

Ever your lovin’,




our exits, our entrances

Dear K,

So you made that decision.  I forget for whom you said you will be working, but whoever and whatever gets you will be receiving a great gift. I hope you will be valued as such, and will achieve all your Apple dreams.  Will you be living in the Village?  Can we meet there when I make what I have so many times called my last tour of the States.  Near the corner of Seventh Ave., coming from Gay St., there was a small bar you enter descending maybe two steps, intimate local, where I always wanted to be a regular, but always felt myself an interloper, a drifter.  I would like to walk in with you and half a century of dreams, have a double Scotch and watch your smile illuminate the universe.  Maybe in the autumn, which is where I live.

The week has gone well.  The Inheritance tax, por fin, is paid.  Andy B is a sentimental fool the same as I, and is married to an earth woman half his age.  Yesterday was Stephanie’s birthday, and when I told him, he had tears rolling down his cheeks, and mine were welling up but not brimming over, the first time in ages.  Guests with him in the cottage also broke down.

So it seems the saga of Under the Hanging Rock is coming to an end, and it seems that happening on this date has Fate showing her approval.  I still haven’t grasped what it means for the future, losing my carapace, but as ever since that day in 1960 when our clothes were stolen from my sleek black Oldsmobile outside the Cafe Bizarre, I look forward to finding out. (How’s that for a dangling parenthetical?)

I’m very sorry this place did not become part of your future, but at least it will always be part of a lovely past.  Maybe even this is best; the house has become an albatross.  There are serious problems with the structure itself.  The dining room is slowly sinking, cracking the ceiling of the Music Room.  The bathroom off my kitchen is collapsing slowly into the rubble the builders put there 50 years ago. I have explained this to Andy (secretly hoping he would back out?) but he is absolutely determined to have it and is convinced he can afford to do whatever is necessary.  I hope so.

In June he comes back to do the final deed, so to speak.  I can stay as long as I want, he says, but as quickly as I can devise an ejection plan, here I go, with or without a parachute.  October the soonest, St. Paddy’s 2013, the latest.

I treasure that week with you, my angel, in the Alpujarras. Could the White Horse Tavern (over on Hudson, was it?) ever compete?  En una palabra – No.

I hope to see you soonish.  Safe re-entry!

I love you too much to say, and fear being a foolish old man.  But then I was also a foolish young man, so I’m staying true to myself…

I have your number.  You’ve had mine for a long time.

Besos y abrazos,