A postcard from a comrade: Long live necessity: origin of life!
I reply: Necessity? You celebrate necessity as though it were holy!
That is the last I hear from him.
A postcard disclosing the divine mystery. I don't recall the image on the face – the postmark is Montserrat. The writer takes a tone of familial intimacy, but I cannot decipher the pictogram that passes for a signature.
Postmark Roanoke: photo of Virginia Dare, first English child born in the Americas. She wears buckskins. It is a solicitation for funds. Crudely tinted blue eyes.
Another postcard celebrates the mystic marriage of all perfumes, eaux de cologne, aftershaves, air fresheners passive and aerosol, but when held to the nose the paper gives off only the vague aroma of ink and binder.
Still another artifact runs together the languages of career and romance into one unified, barbarous tongue.
A postcard hawking Italian suits woven and sewn by penitents – hence half price or less. Postmark: Santiago. But which? Chile or Galicia?
A woman I am in love with – yellow fever – writes me a postcard telling me she hasn't changed her clothes in the fortnight since we parted. And won't until I return. Desire inflames me as I read and imagine her ripening ardor.
A postcard I sent comes back by return mail marked Excessive Postage.
A postcard depicting a family of German potatoes: the Tuber family – arrives from an old college chum living in Malibu and writing scripts for Universal. His words, taken together with the image of such happiness, fill me with optimism.
A postcard from Aunt Gabrielle of the Eiffel Tower and another, written later the same day, of the Arc de Triomphe. She knows how much I love the Eiffel Tower. In the next post: The Eiffel Tower by night.
A postcard from my heroic dentist informing me that I am due for a cleaning and noting discretely, penciled in the corner, the amount of my outstanding balance.
A postcard from my grandfather stamped Saigon . He was on his way to Paris to join Gabrielle, but something went awry with his billeting.
A postcard from a gold refiner on Bond Street offering me $5 for the privilege of cleaning my pocket watch. The offer holds even if I cannot bring the device in person. It details a method for opening the case, and using a bulb syringe to blow the precious dust from the works into a glassine envelope.
A view of a Greek island's fishing harbor. On the reverse, a friend promises that he has jumped off a cliff directly after writing me.
A full-figure postcard of a French muscleman, surrounded by vignettes of his feats: pulling trains with his teeth across the Garabit Viaduct, picking up a leg of the Eiffel Tower, balancing an African lioness on his nose, etc.
A postcard written in ink, then eradicated, then written again. The eradicated ink has risen from the dead and now neither message can be read.
Virginia Dare writes again, postmarked Jamestown . Picture of Croatan sitting on a horse – a horse?! – smoking a cigar like U.S. Grant. She's had her first child: a five pound, seven ounce girl.
A sectional card of horses in extraordinary postures. What those Magyar vaqueros can do!
A reminder from my dentist that by now, probably all is lost.
A card from Croatan, written on bark, inviting me to join him for brandy and cigars to celebrate the birth of his granddaughter.
Aunt Gabrielle has fallen in love with a Wermacht officer who knows about, but has promised to conceal her Jewish blood. Good thing her middle name is Marie. Formal invitation to arrive under separate cover – they will be married at St. Etienne-du-Mont, July 14, 194 *. Reception in the Bois du Bologne, Chalet des Iles.
Portrait card of Aunt Gabrielle and her officer on honeymoon. Postmarked Montserrat. He looks like her father only taller, and her horsy face is radiant.
A postcard of fruit, ready to fall.