Paul-Newell Reaves’

Letters to Maria Coryaté

— a Tale of Obsessions






(sing-song) He writes me letters; he writes me letters;

he writes me letters; he writes me letters.

— the Maria voice





Part I. [phone message: 8:31 pm, January 4th, 2015]


“Jesus Christ, Maria, I told you I don’t understand being ignored…   

“Just talk to me, damn it…

“If you won’t go out with me, you gotta tell me that.  I don’t understand being ignored…

“!Don’t do this to me!…

“Alright, well, I was only half kidding about being pen-pals.  Maybe some space for us would be a good thing.

“Bye… for now.”



Part II. [postmark: January 15th, 2015]



So, I’ve written more girls love-emails than I’ve actually loved, so I expect these letters will be pretty good.  My grandmother saved hers in a green shoebox tied-up with string in her closet.

I’ll leave the flattery at this, Maria, you’re like no girl I’ve ever met.  But if you’re unconvinced of your uniqueness, let me prove it to you.  Every-girl is not unique.  Every-girl is not battling post-traumatic stress (like how I left out the disorder part?).  Even if you wished those things never had happened to you, they’re part of who you are, now— and that makes you unique.  But, I gotta tell you, Maria, you were pretty flickin’ special long before that.

Remember when Toddy brought his new pet to the Insitut town-hall meeting?  Haha, that thing must-a been slithering around for ten minutes, before Toddy stands up and goes, “Rabelais is gone—  Rabelais is missing.”  And the post-menstrual woman next to you lets out this shriek, but you just dive on it and snatch that critter by its slimy, yellow leg.  I asked you about it, afterwards, you remember what you said?  You said, “gross in a good way.”

You’re far too pretty for your own good, you know that, right?  I bet as long as you’ve been dating, people have been falling tediously in love with you—  Maria, you’re so beautiful; Maria, why don’t you love me—  smothering you with affection.  I get that, babe, totally.  We both have trouble when people get too close to us.





Part III. [postmark: January 29th, 2015]


Hey, Maria;

Know what I like most about you?Your sense of humor, duh.Haha, so I taught one of the kids I work with that joke.Just a simple explanation of how the normals try to make fun of people like him by saying, duh, and how he should make fun of them by saying, duh.Pretty sure he got it, at least, he thought it was funny and now won’t stop repeating it.I consider that incredibly empowering, but the rest of the staff officially hates me for it.It’s documented.

I mean, the way the intellectuals write it, Disability and Mental Disability Theory is so complicated, but I explained that stuff to my 8-year-old prima— about how anything even slightly out-of-the-ordinary, a person in a wheelchair, or a person with asymmetrical limbs, this startles the normals to the extent that they stareand gawk, then, far worse, look abruptly away— and she grasped it perfectly.Guess I should be a teacher or something.





Part IV. [email: 9:15 am, February 1st, 2015].


hi, Pat

Maria Coryaté

to Patrick Dominguez

hi, Pat.  I’m so-super-really sorry that I haven’t been in touch.  what with all these flickin classes and all this snow shoveling, merda, it’s been hard to keep up with everything, and I guess…  somethings just… fell through.  I’ve kept up with your emails, though, as one-sided and unfair as that is.

I guess maybe I thought you’d probably find out about this— I guess you don’t check facebook very much at all— but I have a boyfirend now.  sorry.

thanks for my letters, though…      they brightened my day. 8 )



[email: 6:34 pm, February 1st, 2015]

re: hi Pat

Patrick Dominguez

to Maria Coryaté

of course you have a boyfriend.  You’re a beautiful, intelligent woman, you could have anyone you want.

When I like someone, they usually have a boyfriend.  I take girls from their boyfriends with a fair frequency.

I would appreciate if we could meet up and talk this through.  My cell phone reception up here is bad.


[email: 3:55 am, February 2nd, 2015]

re: hi Pat

Patrick Dominguez

to Maria Coryaté

nevermind.  I’m going home if you won’t go out with me.  ) _:



Part V. [text message: 11:42 pm, February 14th, 2015]


Starting the tally at one: how many girls do I have to hook up with to forget Maria Coryaté.  Might be a long list.  Mailed another letter to you.  See if you can recognize the real tears from the elaborated ones.



Part VI. [postmark: February 12th, 2015]



Hey.  Wanna know how my dark, long, slow night of the heartbreak went. 

Cold stars. 

Take ‘um to the McChord Museum, if there’s not enough Art with a capital a in your life, other than from me.

Listen, I care for you crazily.  And now, you’re safe in a relationship.  That’s what I think I think I want, you safe in a relationship.  But listen, girl, sometimes, when you’re enduring intensive therapy, sometimes you ditch on those commitments when that’s over.

I gotta something that I hope will help you hope some; babe, I’m done with intensive therapy.  Girl, intensive therapy is the toughest dealie I’ve ever gone through.  You pin down the ouchy bits and rub emotional salt on them till they turn into calluses.  That’s what I like to call, not-doing-that-again tough.

A lotta things will never get better.  You’ll never be the same after what the ugly boy tried to do to you— and you know what I mean by ugly.  My genetic inheritance will never change, never.  I’ll be dealing with this stuff the rest of my life.  But some stuffs do get better, and once you’ve ripped open those scabs, deep in therapy, the sores do cleanse.  That’s when you take less of it.  And then, they do heal.  Not fully, never fully, but they form scar-tissue and don’t hurt much anymore.

I care for you crazily.  And I don’t want to let go of you.  I’ve done some tough stuff in my life— running from cops, digging ditches for the construction group, finishing my BA as a 25-year-old— but letting go of you, after where we met, knowing what we could be, letting go now would be too tough for me.  But if you want me to, really, you just gotta tell me.  OK, babe?

February is the toughest month for me.  Now that you’re talking to me, again— it was almost three months, Maria— I hope you’ll Keep talking me: just a random text, sometime.  That would totally make my day: to answer my headset and be talking to Maria without knowing it.

Would you read them if I wrote you more letters?  Burn ‘um if you wish, cause I’m warning you, they’re gonna be love-letters.  But please read them twice.  And twice in a-row doesn’t count.  I know I want to think about what we think we want.  Be talkin’ to you, babe.  Plenty of that goin’ on.





Letters to Maria Coryaté: Part VII. [postcard, postmark: February 19th, 2015, Geneva]




Another Love Away


Fly, pretty love, fly away.

Don’t worry about me, I’ll be OK.

For my next love is but another

love away.


Another love away, another love away,

my new love is now another love away.


I met her in the morning,

before she’d done her hair;

I kissed her in the evening,

when her scenes where over.


Another love away, my love, another

love will while away.

For my old love is now a whole

new love away.

— Pat



Part VIII. [postmark: March 12th, 2015]


How are you, Maria;

Hope all is well, that you are enjoying Spring, Spring classes and your big-old glasses.  Haha, nerd.  I’m crazy about that in you— and I only use crazy as something good, now.

So, I managed to sign up late for some classes: Queer Theory— so far interesting stuff.  They’re trying to save the world from binary neoliberal stigma— seems perspicacious and portentous.  Still volunteering with the mental development kids.  Cool beans.

What’s up with you?  Haven’t heard from you since you told me about your boyfirend (well, not much actually).  I can’t help but tell you this— I have an honesty problem— but I did hear about him from Lucy.  But you never mentioned him to me, not once, I checked.  Honestly— ugh, it’s such a problem, being honest— I was seeing a girl briefly, too; however, I didn’t want to tell you about her, cause, I like you more than her (hahaha, psychoanalyze that for us both, babe). 

But, yeah, it’d sure be swell to hear from you, occasionally…

Hope you enjoyed the heartache poem I wrote you.  Tried to make the vowel sounds as softly gorgeous as you.  Save that one, at least.  Does your heart ache, or break?  The difference is ache makes hearts stronger.  Mine aches, for a very long time.  And don’t expect a poem every month, either, or for them to be remotely as good.








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