Lit Bit: The Way to My Heart Is through My Ears

This is my best kept secret; it is no secret at all. I’ll give you the recipe. This is how to make me melt.

First, open a book of very good poems. You know the poems I mean. Something cutting, like Marge Piercy, or filled of vowels like Vénus Khoury Ghata. Something a little of home, say, Nin Andrews. Something vast and aching: Atwood. Something with just-so juxtapositions, to the flavor of Bob Hicok or Kathleen Graber. Then read them to me aloud. Make your voice a cello; execute the piece line by line, each phoneme sliding like sex against the next, curling over your tongue and into the open air.

Next, take a bit of prose. Something balanced and fine, a passage from Gene Wolfe. Something rich and rounding, an essay by Le Guin. Find me Twain’s dialogue. Hell, let’s get fancy; bring to me Calvino’s books, even in traitorous translation. Pull the meaning out with your teeth and make it live in the vibrations of my ears. Orate. Fix it in the moment with your larynx, then let it go.

Last, take something dear and sweet and well-remembered of childhood, like Blackberries in the Dark, or Catwings, or The Giving Tree, or Outside Over There, and read it slowly. As if to a child. We are all children. Let it drag across your lips, let the last sentences quaver in your throat as you speak them.

This is how to hold me: cradled in the curve of your voice.

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