here first. until we are there.

love lost in the multiple translations.

Romance languages eluded me both generally and specifically; nothing was so cryptic and ripe for misunderstanding as the physical language of a boy’s love. What was an involuntary grimace I took to be rapture. What was a simple natural masculine compulsion to be in, to tunnel and thrust, I saw as a tender desire to be sweetly engulfed and at least momentarily overpowered by another’s devoted attentions. What was an urgent, automatic back-and-forth of the body I thought of as the eternal romantic return of the lover. Kissing was not animal appetite but the heart flying up to the lips and speaking its unique attraction and deep eternal fondness in the only way it could. The juddering of climax, as involuntary as a death rattle, I took to be a statement of hopeless attachment. Why, I don’t know. I didn’t think of myself as sentimental. I thought of myself as spiritually alert.

from: Lorrie Moore’s A Gate at the Stairs

review here by the Geoff Dyer 


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