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.





Part IX. [postmark: April 2nd, 2015]


Hey, Maria;

How’s stuff?  (the nineties-kid reply to that nineties-kid question is, stuff’s good.  Don’t forget the apostrophe, babe, otherwise it means multiple-stuffs/good, which makes it sound like a grocery list, not your life.)  Babe, tell me about yo-self…  How’s treatment?  Did you get in to any med-schools?  Plannin’ any swanky trips to any righteous places?…

Speaking of swanky, tonight I want to prove to you how elegant you are.  So, there is this poet named Marvell, who totally wrote: “Had we but world enough and time, an hundred years should go to praise thine eyes, and on your forehead gaze.  Two hundred to adore each breast, but thirty thousand to the rest.”  Babe, consider these letters me, with both world enough and time.  Tonight’s letter will gaze upon your grace and elegance.  Babe, when I saw you at that Institut Victoria party, in that black dress for the first time, babe… I swear, I was absolutely terrified for like, three secs, to even ask you to dance.  But then you made eye-contact with me.  You would know more about this than me, about eye dilation and emotional impact, but you just vacuumed me toward you with your big, brown eyes.

Then, dancing with you happened.  Babe, you should take some dancing lessons, for serious, cause you kept stepping on my toes.  But my point is, it didn’t matter.  We laughed about it.  That is gracefulness, laughing over one’s mistakes.  And slim, black dresses.  And big, brown eyes. 

An example of a neoliberal binary: boys are supposed to have blue eyes, cause they’re supposedly more penetrating— sounds sexy, if you buy that load; but girls should definitely have brown eyes, cause they’re deeper— a personal theory of mine.  I’ve done a fair amount of research to back that one up, too.




A non-Normative Beauty I Know

She doesn’t care her lips red.

She doesn’t care her cheekbones high.

She doesn’t care she holds her head so tall and well bred.

She doesn’t care her nose so fine.

She doesn’t care her eyes wide

as lanterns in the lighthouse.

She doesn’t care her arms slim

as birch tree limbs in wind.

She doesn’t care her belly’s flat

as shore stretching along the sea.

She doesn’t care her legs are long as you could Ever find,

thighs rich and thick, slimming

as they progress toward her knee.

For she lives a life of the mind.



Part X. [postmark: April 16th, 2015]



It is unconventional, when one writes someone love-letters, to tell the person one cares about that one does not care for her.

Maria, you give me nothing of yourself.  How am I to keep this up for you and  for us when I haven’t the tracest grasp of your circumstance, your condition, your life?

You know me well, babe, cause I’ve been talking to you for three years, now (at, towards).  It was wonderful for like, four months after I left the Institut; we laughed, we chatted, we shot-the-shit.  “Sure,” you said, “if we’re ever back in the same place.  You’re expealidocious.”  Then, when I couldn’t get in touch with you after I left for Miami, I panicked.  No one’s perfect, especially not us.  But I did ease up.  I have been giving you room.   

Then came my worst year since my breakdown.  Ugh, changing meds sucks.  I was like crazily hypersexual, which really doesn’t turn pretty women on.  Most my friends ditched me— can’t believe they weren’t ever my friends, but they ditched me none-the-less.  But the worst part was hearing so little from you.  My emails weren’t different, I was very careful about that.  But all I got from you were excuses.  I guess back in Montreal’s when you started up with Him.  I recognize you were trying to protect my emotions or som’it, but babe, that really sucked for me.  I was being suave and delightful and funny, and all you came back to me with was condescending sorries, and this-is-why’s.

Now I got to change my meds, again.  I’ve developed a twitch in my neck, and that’s bad.  So I’m gonna go through that hell, once more.  Don’t abandon me, babe.

Maria, I don’t love you.

But it is troublesome to me, how easily I could.

email me,



If I once had my Green Guitar

No body love me but my green guitar.

I no want my green guitar.

Now, my green guitar no want me.

Maybe that she be a come see me plea.

Maybe I’ll wake up.  Again?

Waking up to no her no fun.

Again, then again, then always again, (heh, clever)

if I just once could hear her say,

I green guitar.



Part XI. [postmark: May 7th, 2015]



I regret the tone I took with you in my last letter.  I’m sorry.  I was hurting, Maria, and I wan’t angry at you.  I’m only writing to send you a poem this month, in case this meds change takes away this brief gift.

My greatest fear is that I’m hurting you.  If I am, I’m, again, very sorry.  If you want me to stop, now, I’ll do that.

Anyrate, I showed a Professor some of the poems I’ve been writing you.  She liked them, but then was really real with me.  She said, there are hundreds of Fine Arts writing programs, each with a couple, or so, to a dozen or two, candidates for a Masters of Fine Arts in Poetry.  There are only so many teaching positions for poetry, and the audience for published poetry is extremely slim.  She recommended I go for a Masters in Education, instead.  Then, she told me about an inscription a poet named Thomas Sayers Ellis once wrote for her in his book, RACE INC.: “Whatever you do, don’t stop.” 

Anyrate, sounds like good advice to me, I’m damn good with teenagers.  And, this way, babe, these poems will only be for you.





Deadline’s tomorrow,

still need ten pages,

yet here I am,

staring into sky,

hoping to hear your prayers.



Letters to Maria Coryaté: Part XII. [email: 8:39 pm, May 11th, 2015]



Patrick Dominguez

to Maria Coryaté


Hey, babe.  Did you get my last letter, yet?  I hope so.  I asked for your forgiveness.

But, once again, I haven’t heard a response from you, so I’m gonna keep on writing you, OK?

On a lighter note, hoping to cheer you up from what I assume may be the stress of school work, I found a quote you might enjoy.  It is from Hemingway, but from A Movable Feast, so it’s really, really good, late Hemingway…

“We need more true mystery in our lives, Hem,” he once said to me.  “The completely unambitious writer and the really good unpublished poem are the things we lack most at this time.”

I thought that speech was about me, but the prof. said I was AbsolUtEly

misinterpreting it, that the speaker, a guy named Evan Shipman, was criticizing the poet earlier in the chapter, whom Evan Shipman thought shouldn’t be

published.  Hmmt.  Whatever.  F him.  I like my reading better, AbsolUtEly.






Part XIII. [postmark: May 14th, 2015]



Ugh, med change shrives hard, babe.  Not gross in a good way– especially month in: not enough of the old, anymore; not enough of the new, yet.  Bumsville, population: me.

I feel like I can’t leave me apartment; it’s uncomfortable even for a few minutes to answer the door.  Quit my job; luckily class is just papers, now— I’d go back to cutting if I didn’t have that to work on.  My primas are helping to cook for me, or I guess I’d starve.  Even inside, I get this uncontrollable, sorta, vibration, that feels like it echos up and down the god-damn building to all my neighbors.  My doc says it’s scent and gland based hypersexuality disorder— and when it’s like this it definitely is disorder, babe— know you hate that word, but I feel like I’m disturbing the public peace.  I feel like a monster.

Sweet sassy-molassey.  Just gotta remember the Institut training– make a list of goods and bads: stopped drinking completely, not cutting yet, GTA5 isn’t boring yet, this’ll be over in a month or two yet, and be back to classes and the kids with retardation in the Fall; yet I’m trapped in a steel box with a door I can’t exit, blocked out all natural light, running low on minutes, can’t see my friends, I’ve watched all the pornos on my three favorite sites everyday by eleven in the morning, I’ll have to move away from these neighbors when this is all over, and you won’t even talk to me about any of this.  ‘Bout sums it up.

flick. this.




Part XIV. [postmark: May 28th, 2015]

Hey, Maria;

Well…? Nothing?OK, babe, but consider my invitation standing.However— as wildly romantic as that would have been— you should probably call first, now.

Too late, now, anyway, move is done.Finding it even dingier than I told you at first, now that I live there— but had to get out of the old, away from those people, those thems.The subterranean aspect actually feels better than I worried.Makes me feel like I’m in my own little cave.

Currently, I’m immersed in this horrible-though-still-improving world where I’m feeling everything I feel with immense intensity; now that I’m feeling anything, I feel everything real hard.Worst part: when I begin to frustrate, I dwell upon everything that does, and this builds till I’m tied in a knot of frustration in my mind, and have to pull my Camry (2012, canary yellow— yeh-yeAH) to the side of the road for a minute or twelve.Anyrate, life’s still getting better, but I can’t wait to return to my reserved demeanor, who I was when you knew me, cause I liked that self much better, and I know you liked that me, too.

Elbow feels better.Guess my motorcycle journey of the spirit may take place, after all.You should-a come visit me when you had the chance, babe— who knows where I’ll be tomorrow.





Part XV. [email: 4:47 pm, June 1st, 2015


Returned letter, marked insufficient postage

Patrick Dominguez

to Maria Coryaté

Oh, Maria-babe, you missed such a sexy letter.  I received this unopened letter, marked insufficient postage.  Stuff like, “intense desire to smell your hair,” and “just one night more of wholeness with you.”  Burnt it.  Sorry.  Wasn’t meant to be.







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