Friday, July 18, 2014


Edvard Munch
The Kiss

A post on FB by Karen Killian about what kiss turned our world upside down sent my memory, like a deep-throated  kiss, down into my psyche, its joys and sorrows. Without much deliberation, I said seven such kisses came to mind; then I said eight. But I meant 10.

No doubt the first kisses we recollect are those of our family as children-- parents, grandparents, siblings and the like. Marcel in Proust's Remembrance longed for his mother's good night kiss, not always receiving it.

Then come those avid teenage kisses. How eager most of us were to drink those in. But for few of us were our worlds upended. They were the sensual delights that came with adolescence. They built our worlds heretofore incomplete.

A pair of kisses capsized my canoe. Suddenly I was kissing the woman I loved and the man, simultaneously. We kissed from summer to fall, and what a fall it was. The triad could not last, the center could not hold; yet for me there was no going back; I was a new person, as new as the person two years later who emerged from his first experience of LSD: mind blown, consciousness expanded, a philosopher of metaphysical idealism.

The next five kisses that repeatedly transposed my world from repose to upheaval were the 5 "J"s: Jim, Julian, Jeanette, Joe, and Jake. 

They took me through the 70s with love and inspiration. With them I experienced the myriad aspects of love, from a meeting of minds to the abandonment to eroticism. Jim knew the other four and was a revelation to them all. Those relationships spanned years living in Savannah, New Orleans, and San Francisco, (I've shared at least two cities with each of the five)--and each city in its own way added to the relationships. Three of them are now dead: murder, AIDS, and suicide. One I long ago lost touch with. Another I lost touch with, then found again as we became life-long friends

Kisses. What mouths met mine in a way that created a metamorphosis? There is room for interpretation here. Some longed for kisses once attained spun my world ever faster, maybe out of control, and gave me a sense of plenitude I relish yet. No reason to go into names here. There were a precious few whose kisses, or more importantly, whose love steered me through the maturing decade of my thirties.

At 43 I met my present husband and we had a fairly long courtship, begun by no less than the art of Karen Finley (click). Darryl was 29 when we met. He was 30 when on New Year's Eve, 1990 we had a first real kiss, lingering, powerful, committed. In January 1991 we took the train to New York: The train left the station and we are on it yet.

Are there other kisses I have not detailed? Must you know everything? Is there no mystery left? My life is pretty much an open book-- one needing editing, I know.

Metaphor or not, I like to think of kissing Nature, especially the sea and the mountains. Nature has also been the Love of my life, and it pains me to see the Earth ever being ransacked and plundered. The glaciers melt; the glory of the night sky and of our galaxy fades behind cataracts of light pollution and air pollution in our atmosphere. So, in parting, let me say as Jimi Hendrix sang, "Excuse me, while I kiss the Sky."


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