love is more thicker than forget
more thinner than recall
more seldom than a wave is wet
more frequent than to fail

it is most mad and moonly
and less it shall unbe
than all the sea which only
is deeper than the sea

love is less always than to win
less never than alive
less bigger than the least begin
less littler than forgive

it is most sane and sunly
and more it cannot die
than all the sky which only
is higher than the sky

—  E.E. Cummings, love is more thicker than forget

I want to see you.

Know your voice.

Recognize you when you
first come ‘round the corner.

Sense your scent when I come
into a room you’ve just left.

Know the lift of your heel,
the glide of your foot.

Become familiar with the way
you purse your lips
then let them part,
just the slightest bit,
when I lean in to your space
and kiss you.

I want to know the joy
of how you whisper

—  Rumi
Libraries (minutelovestory #23)

When he turned the corner in the magazine racks, she was flipping disinterestedly through a Vanity Fair, feeling less than gorgeous and Thomas Dunn’s “comparisons are odious” singing like a deafening din in her head, sipping a now-cold cappuccino and feeling that she was cheating herself. His corduroys were made of moss. His smile was louder than the axiom in her head, redundant and broken, and it broke the spell. She wasn’t cheating herself, after all. The library was filled with things to learn and they were still learning, weren’t they? Wasn’t this another progression through experience, better than any mere books could offer. Today, with his mossy trousers and her cold cappuccino, they worked their way to the back of the non-fiction section, their respective bags of pens and notebooks and laptops acting as tools of deception. Her eyes dropped onto “The Best Guide to Managing Diabetes”, directly across from where she and he sat. 

He whispered, “You look wonderful.” He touched her hand, limply hanging from the chair’s hard polyurethane arm. Their fingers tangled for a moment and she was overwhelmed with nausea, a churning portent, a gentle foreboding that nothing good was to come. He smiled again.

Longing / Dave's corner booth (minutelovestory #25)

I couldn’t even believe it, my luck. Scorin’ the only girl in this tacklebait town who didn’t have a goddamn tramp stamp and a G.E.D. to show for herself, slingin’ blowjob shots at the Cock ‘n Bull and hopin’ someone real nice come along, wanderin’ in, to take her elsewhere. No, my Helen had dreams. She was studyin’ to be a stenographer. I didn’t even know what that was. But I was bigtime impressed because it sounded real important and like a Scrabble word. Helen tells me ‘bout this woman one night, over cheeseburgers, our regular Thursday date, tells me this woman’s her “lover”. Yeah, she says “lover”, like we’re in Europe or somethin’. She’s all cryin’ and won’t touch her food, her face all wet and shiny, tells me this bitch is her “soul’s longing”. I wanted to tell her to fuck herself and her skanky soul, too, but I guess I still wanted her to want me, you know? But I was losin’ her, to this bitch in heat with a sweetness I don’t have. I mean, Helen says I don’t have it, right? But maybe I can make it.

MLS WEEKLY GUEST POST - Photographer, Writer, Musician Ed Valfre

About Ed Valfre: Ed Valfre is a photographer / musician and the author of two children’s books, Backseat Buckaroo and Vacationers From Outer Space. He has exhibited his photographs in Los Angeles, Bologna and Rome. He currently resides in Los Angeles, or possibly in an alternate dimension.

Find more of his stories and photography and music here: http://www.edvalfresdreamland.com/

Or follow him on Facebook here: http://on.fb.me/1frMs66

Swap [minutelovestory #99]

It wasn’t working. None of it. Not that particular summer. The rituals scurried off, toe-tapping and juniper-burning useless. The front yard, symptomatically vacant, requested redress, and so she filled it with a Saturday sale, dragging onto the lawn his boyhood nautical rope mirror, her collection of pastel pinwheels, three black Oaxacan skulls, only the most sullen of her porcelain dolls. A fair trade, a swap of sentiment for narrative victuals. Something to break the leg of the devil, as the Sunday morning flea market rug dealer says. She needed to crack it with a thick wooden mallet. Split it wide apart and chase the slippery sorrows, reckonings, psychological antiquities.

How much?

The worst thing that’s ever happened to you.

How much?

The most inhumane thing you’ve done.

How much?

Your preferred profanation. (17 fucks, 8 cocks, 4 pussies, 2 cunts)

How much?

Your earliest childhood memory.

She reaches for a green woolen cardigan hanging on the bathroom door’s backside and slides herself into it. Within the pockets, crumbling snowflake-patterned Kleenex, a rifle-wielding plastic figurine, a matchbook from the local sushi restaurant. And from inside these lives of others, she hears water rushing forwards and backwards, forwards and backwards.

Once you’ve fallen, you discover that you’re twinned. You’re permeable, your thoughts ‘float into one another.’ You mirror each other. You have everything in common. It’s ecstasy when you’re together, agony when you’re apart. When reality conspires to put obstacles in your path, to prohibit, to make secrecy a need, passion is fueled, excitement doubled. All your senses are newly alive. The universe accrues in significance. The smallest signs are meaningful. When your lover is absent, you long, you yearn, you adore the memory of him. When he’s present, you’re blissful, omnipotent.
—  Lisa Appignanesi, All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion (on first love, young love)

Are you in Los Angeles on Tuesday, February 11th? Do you like the Sunset Strip and beautiful hotels and love stories, to boot? Come to The Standard on February 11th from 8-10 PM to hear me read a fistful of my minutelovestories, as well as a couple never-before-seen-or-heard stories. Sharing the evening is the magnificent and lovely Susan Savory, poet, essayist, and artist.

A Story for Strangers [minutelovestory #90]

Mescal was dripping onto the tile floor. This would cause problems later. She looked down to see that two lime wedges also lay there, one of them showing signs of having been crushed beneath a sole. Things were presently, currently, tilting and blurring. The petite ceramic vessels of agave’s fermented fluids could be held accountable for some of this but not culpable completely. Something about the way he licked the salt from his fist. Something about how he conjectured the likelihood of feral mapaches lurking through the yard and he said of these masked beasts who tear koi in half and toss the guts into rose bushes, rip legs from kept, wading tortoises, force dogs into swimming pools to drown them: “They’re not vicious.” And so he swayed into the dark, swinging a bag of empty bottles and cans like a privileged hobo, warding off negligible predators.

The door swung open as the matte newscaster reported the Rincon Valley fires were zero percent contained. They silently watched the flames dance on the screen, their own bodies pressed hard together, shoulder to shoulder. Balancing the bowl on the overturned tips of her fingers, she pursed her lips to blow and wish.

Shears [minutelovestory #86]

Deb’s text said, “I took the dog for a very long walk.”

I was typing when the next one came through.

“We’re over.”

I couldn’t help thinking how much better all of it would have sounded in telegram form.

I’m not blaming her for owning a pair of 9-inch pinking shears with Japanese stainless steel blades. It’s incidental, I guess, that she does some tailoring for extra money. Shortening skirts, dropping hems, letting things out. Fat people get skinny, meet someone, fall in love, break up, get fat, get skinny, and start over. Deb’s got a turnkey business for life.

The zigzag I chewed down the center of her silk ivory blouse with mother-of-pearl buttons looked like a cartoon version of a highway splitting in two after an earthquake. She wore it last month to her favorite Aunt’s service and it still smelled like her perfume and deodorant. It was her funeral blouse.

It was easy to cut cloth. Enjoyable, even. I wondered how she stopped herself from cutting everything apart whenever she got a job. Once I’d made it through the chest of drawers and began moving to the closet, I put down the shears.   

“We’re over STOP Please stop STOP”