We fold our love into forevers, whispered with honeys and babys into
Every kiss is the last kiss until there’s another.
You feel love’s loss with a terrible chill, a wet wound of what was there and is now gone. There’s nothing left but raw flesh where there once was another body. A ghost of those whispers still hides in your sheets. Sometimes that lost love is a knife, slashing up your spirit until it bleeds a rainbow. Sometimes it’s like a wedding cake smashed and smeared all over a dance floor. And sometimes it’s the splash of fireworks against a sunset sky, the beauty of all that fire burning bright and then out, nothing left but the sear of its light on our eyes, a valley full of smoke, and the cool forgiveness of the coming darkness. Sometimes all that lost love is just color, pigment that you can heave onto one and another like bricks, that you can tangle into labyrinths to get lost in, that you can collude with to make a painting.
And so all this love, all this loss, all this life gets wrestled into a brush, and you dance and weep and paint. Hour after hour stalking the canvases to make a hot mess of a heartbreak into the hot mess of art. You deliberate and flow. You summon other ghosts, other lost loves, other painters. Not to raise the dead, but to steady your resolve. And you shuffle your memories like postcards, like wet fingers swiping photos on a phone, like anything that can frame a life a little, give a shape to the formless infinitudes that you’re feeling.
And sometimes, in a fur coat under a California sun, you pretend you’re one of De Kooning’s women escaped from the master’s eviscerating myths to slather your complication and humor over canvases of your own. You study Twombly’s hieroglyphs, the swerve and curl of his line into unutterable poems. But it’s Joan Mitchell, Saint Joan, that you gives you the greatest permission. Her ecstatic color, frenetic, electric, at war with itself in every painting, each brush stroke so controlled, a deliberate jab in pictures that shivered with freedom on her own terms. A single woman, daughter of another, praying to a third. But you know your colors are your own and that they’ll sing or cough on their courage and no one else’s. And each morning you wake up, still dusted with forever, laid bare by the light, ready to conquer the day with an abundance of color all your own. ears. And bodies puzzle into bodies and hot breaths settle into sweet exhaustion and right before dreams vine and flower across the night, you can really believe in forever with perfect ease. But no matter how near you press your body against it, you know that forever will always be beyond. The ice cream of twilight clouds you can see but never taste, a wind that touches you all over but that you can never touch back. Nights disappear into mornings, todays drift into tomorrows and sometime in there love slips away too. Perhaps all that love travels on to forever without us, taking the lust and sweat and passion that held it all together into that place some people call heaven, where nothing ever dies.
Text by Andrew Berardini