Jake Naughton
Mexico City / +521 55 5107 5756
 DATE: 03/16/2016 HAMMONS/WKD

CAPTION: 

NYTCREDIT: Jake Naughton for The New York Times

When We Were Strangers

It’s morning and you have been up for hours. I’m just opening my eyes to gauzy sunlight and the sound of wood planks creaking and something frying. / It’s raining. I’m under a streetlight and you are 2,453 miles away. We’re silent over the phone, because we’ve run out of things to say. The hissing in our ears seems to have a physical weight, pushing us further apart a country away. / We’re walking through the snow together, one behind the other. Silent again, but this time buoyant as we make our way through the night. We leave nothing behind but the barest hint of footprints shading the faintly glowing ground.

Love is a cliche, an idea so easy to imagine but impossible to grasp. Like an overripe fruit, it collapses with a bit of pressure into cloying sweetness and the faint scent of something lost. But, it is also perhaps our most essential endeavor. Mystical and dangerous, it is the inspiration for a billion journeys and a thousand petty conflicts.

At its most basic, falling in love means cleaving away something of yourself and becoming something else. Painful and unnatural, it is geologic in aspirations but minute in practice, flecked with the possibility of the sublime.

What follows is a love poem of sorts, one that charts what happens when two people attempt to become something more and less than that. The work of loving someone else is an exercise in excavating the unknown self and other. I’m interested in the frayed edges, the messy intersections, the elements of ourselves lost and new facets gained in the process, and the limits to all of that: What does it mean to be in love?

This project will be published as a book by Red Hook Editions in February, 2019.