JOSEPH, WHEN WILL YOU CALL?
Let me end. Let me not quote that lovely sonnet on the marriage of true minds unless you want it, later--I left it on my answering machine
one month ago and can’t give it up.* Let me end with what I told you in the beginning I would say. But now, don’t you see, you will hear it in an entirely extra-lexicographal way, like a roar, a heart beat, like the blood rushing through our veins. If I-Love-You has no canned, absolute meaning, if it only means what is in your mind at the moment you say it...then...it is always different, like the human race: I-Love-You Dear Jane means something totally unique and singular...as Ann Sexton’s departing kiss did for me, as Ma Mere might have meant had Barthes followed his own guidelines and declared his intense love for a mother whose death he later followed a few months later, in 1980, by walking straight into a roaring car.** It means I love you now Divine Jane, as I always have, with an intensity that knows no end, that mixes with it caring for you, your mind, your lovely face, your divine French, your ability to raise three daughters against all the odds, your unlimited skills in writing, editing, preparing food like no one ever has. It means... I know you want me to keep on going, getting better and better, making art, spiritual love, life. Yes, dear, Sweet Jane...you do.
And it not only means all these things: It means, thank you Roland Barthes, if not God, if not that ambitious Newsweek editor....I learned from that day in Paris long ago that what I say now rightly means...no man has ever said I-Love-You to any woman so completely, so totally...ever.
**cf. Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida (1980), which graphically describes his love for his mother.
*Let me not to the marriage of true minds/ admit impediments/Love is not love which alters where it alternation finds/ Oh, no, it is an everlasting mark, whose worth’s unknown/ although its height is taken/Love's not time's fool, tho rosy lips and cheeks within its bending cycle's comes/ Love alters not in its brief hours and weeks/ but bears it out even to the edge of doom/ If this be error and upon me proved/ I never writ nor now man ever loved.