November, 1, 2017
I’m going to Estonia in two weeks. Do you know any Estonian writers or musicians?
I have a huge crush on Eileen Myles you know. I have two emails saved in my inbox. I like to go to Veselka (Eileen’s favorite restaurant) in the East Village with my husband and sit in the far left back wooden table and eat potato vereniki and wait for them to walk in the door. Sometimes people start to play an accordion and clap and sing spontaneously. I think this is one of those moments when life is most beautiful.
Eileen Myles is much smaller in real life than I knew from pictures, like I could even pick them up and their shirt is worn and sometimes torn and their grey hair is unwashed. I love this and made a vow never to buy another piece of clothing ever again and to let my clothing get worn and ripped, like isn’t that how a real poet should dress? I feel like I love them, but I don’t know them. But they did hold both my hands in Los Angeles and said “Me too” when I told them I had been raped. And once I got to meditate beside them at Naropa and they were pissed off and grumpy and couldn’t get settled which I thought was the perfect way to spend any meditation time ever. Like if that could be a specific style of meditation with Eileen Myles pissed off every Saturday morning, I’d happily sign up.
And I have those two emails saved in my inbox. They’re only answers they gave to questions I asked. But I like how it’s sort of like a secret, like how this whole letter is full of things I wouldn’t normally say out loud, but I’m telling you.
November 19, Tallinn, Estonia
I found two loves in Estonia. The first is the 19th century poet, Juhan Liiv. He wrote the most beautiful lyrical poems, but was unknown in his time. He suffered from schizophrenia and died of pneumonia after being found on a train without a ticket and discarded in the winter in the middle of nowhere. But this video of a poem I found has become like a daily prayer for me. When I listen to it, it feels like the most important poem I’ve ever heard out loud, like God’s voice speaking to me and I want it to suffuse my next book, somehow. Though I write nothing like this, so I don’t know how. But here it is:
My next love is Arvo Pärt. I listened to this song in my room in Tallinn and I thought I might stop breathing for both love and the grief of living.
I miss you.
Much Love, H