Love Letter #12



Poetry’s not going to cut it. 


Your experience is not actually that relevant at this particular juncture of betrayal. How could you? For somebody younger, freer apparently “messier,” whose damage is easier to decipher. I won’t pretend I’m not angry. This makes me feel like an unwilling crone who can’t give you what you need. Makes me feel like my independence, the thing that gives me life, is also the thing that obstructs closeness to you. I don’t even know if I want to tell you about my feelings. I don’t know if you deserve that. 


I don’t even know if I want to tell you about the paintings I saw last night. The Rubens and Poussin belong to me. Fuck it, so do the Turner and Chagall. I get Manet, Picasso and Monet’s waterlilies too. Singer Sargent is mine because of Boston. So is Man Ray, Ansel Adams, Weston and Dorothea Lange. I obviously get Ackerman and all of Hertzog. Mary Cassatt. Sophie Calle, O'Keefe’s skulls and all of Nan Goldin goes without saying. You can have early El Greco plus Duchamp and Koons. Take Matthew Barney too. Bjork’s mine. 


Here’s what else you can have—Caravaggio’s “Crucifixion of Saint Andrew,” that rotting flesh of a martyr—not even Jesus—brought down from two sticks of woods in a cheap imitation of his savior, the most valuable painting in the museum, made so by extensive restoration and a new fancy frame for the 80% of the painting done by Caravaggio’s own hand. Painting restoration is a meticulous and expensive process and you end up with something that’s supposed to bear a relation to the original but which is in fact totally new, reconstructed and presented to the public as original. Is that what we do to our love now?