chakras
I. Root II. Sacral III. Solar plexus IV. Heart V. Throat VI. Third eye VII. Crown
Root.
This chakra is your physical and spiritual foundation. It allows you to connect with the earth's energies and it empowers your soul. The Root chakra supports all of your other chakras. Balanced chakras create positive life-force energy. When the Root chakra is in balance, life feels stable and secure.

On the first night, full of red wine and with a heartbeat in my throat, I drew the zip on your dress to its roots, exposing the segments of your spine one by one. Slowly. Pruriently. With your back curved, each vertebrae pressed against your skin, a slight bump beneath the tips of my fingers. I walked them from the base of your spine up to the nape and moved your hair out of the way so I could kiss your neck, drawing back the curtain to find the person who wanted so much not to be vulnerable laid completely bare. I tasted your skin and I poured my soul into you without restraint. This is a place where we've always told the truth, regardless of what defences grew stubbornly between us elsewhere.

I still like to kiss down your centre. With fanned hands I scale the scaffolding of your form, admiring the simple architecture around which this woman whom I love is built. Soft flesh that fills the curve of my palm set over ridges of bone I scrape beneath my teeth. A heartbeat, evidence of a complicated machine so miraculous in composition. The marvel that I can alter its rhythm with a touch, a word.

I communicate most things in sensual terms because I am a person made of earth and clay, someone who feels much more strongly than they think. We're different that way; it's why I ask you so often to explain things to me. Tell me what it feels like, tell me how it tastes. I love it when you map out the abstract for me with all your overlapping senses, bringing it down from the heavens to the surface of the earth, because this is a language I'm more fluent in. It's why I like poems where love is related in blood and viscera, the show rather than the tell. I'm thick when it comes to conjecture. I need meaning driven into my skin.

As a grounding technique for times when I feel scattered, I've always imagined myself as a tree. I visualise myself sending roots through the floorboards, through layers of concrete and insulation and plumbing deep into the soil. It helps me to feel strong and solid. More recently I think of you, the way your body fits up against mine when we're on the bike, a quiet reassurance as we navigate the mean city. I think of the rest of you, the formless you, wrapped around me always like those trees I constantly romanticise that grow into one another. Inosculation. I wake up every morning now in the smell of you, your body warm against me. Sometimes you hug me from behind like a little backpack. It's an indescribably huge comfort to know that you're behind me, literally, figuratively. This is home. This is my foundation, my comfort, my safety net. It's the thing that helps me to feel earthbound and stable. You are my backbone.

Sacral.
This chakra controls desire, pleasure, creativity, sexuality and procreation. This chakra is associated with the element of water, which creates flow and flexibility in your life. When the Sacral chakra is in balance, intuition, sensitivity and creativity are heightened. Your sense of self is strong.

The positioning of the planets forged us as water people, tidal creatures made with surging feeling. In us are great crashing waves that break against one other. Do you feel the pull, how all the water in my body draws toward you, magnetised? Just as the ocean rises to the moon, I bend to you. You make my blood move; you must feel it surge beneath the surface of my skin. We love with the same ferocity we've fought with, an ocean slamming hard against the rocks, only you slam yourself against my chest, knocking the breath from my lungs. Rest assured that I am never unmoved by you.

It's no surprise to learn that Pluto hides deep oceans under ice. His daughter melts at my fingertips, dissolves like a sugar cube beneath my tongue to drown me fathoms deep. Cover me, your skin against my skin; the way it sticks when we're licked with sweat before we peel apart like wet petals. Covet me, your breath in competition with my breath. While we are nothing but the moment, you see me raw; with wanting, with pleasure, with love. A naked unselfconscious gaze from the belly of the beast.

We are not ourselves. We are more than ourselves, stripped and animal. I suck my fingers when they've been inside you. I want to eat you whole. My consumption by lust makes me eager to consume, to kiss you anywhere my lips land, any part of you I can reach, the crook of your elbow or side of your ribs, because no part of you escapes eroticism and the hungry rarely satiate themselves with grace. Each haphazard kiss is an earnest declaration of love. The rhythm that we share is a wordless conversation, a meditation.

I want more of you. I want to be closer to you, I want to be deeper inside you, deep in the soft heat of you, merging with your body. In the shower, my face against your sodden hair and a hand between your thighs, braced to hold you up as you wilt against the cold tile. How your fingers interlock with mine against the bedclothes as the tremors ripple through. If I'm yellow and you're blue then for a moment we are only green. Your skin and my skin, your breath and my breath. No words, just sound and movement like the sea.

Solar plexus.
This chakra controls will, self-discipline, self-esteem, intuition, gut feelings and psychic abilities. This chakra is associated with the element of fire, which burns away the negativity from your past. When the Solar Plexus is in balance, your personal honor, confidence and energy are strong.

Time, slowly but surely, goes by. You get older, and with any luck, you might be getting wiser.

Things that get better with age: wine, leather boots, love, you.

I know the last year hasn't been a particularly gentle one for you. Nothing speaks more of the queer, unwanted feeling of helpless adulthood than a funeral. Bad things are supposed to happen to other people, not the ones you love. Pain is supposed to have a cure, a plaster to hold you together or a reassuring word from someone with all the answers to the universe. Someone is meant to know what to do. But there are no bumper bars to help you cheat your way out of the terrifying inevitabilities of life, the things that leap out unanticipated in your path. Past a certain age, your mother can't deal with the monsters under the bed any more than you can. The only thing we can hope to gain from it all is perspective and gratitude for life, as chaotic and cruel as it can sometimes be. For all its challenges I think you've come out of the last twelve months stronger than ever.

I love the strong you best. Make no mistake, I love every part of you indiscriminately, through the fights and fears and hurts, but what I love most is to see you prosper, to conquer and thrive and slash through the undergrowth. I love you happy. You are brilliant, capable, and fiercely clever. You make me better.

We're all moving through life as though rowing a boat, facing backwards and only ever able to see what we're leaving behind. Imagine hands over your eyes; if you keep them open, the only light is a luminous red seeping through the gaps between fingers. Your senses are elevated. The heat in your cheeks, the blood in your ears, everything that is here and now. They are my hands, trying to claim you on behalf of the present moment. Please don't look back at what's gone, please don't cry. You can't know where you're headed but you can know that I will be there to take the oars when you're tired.

We stand around the bonfire again and burn away another of your years, the good and the bad. Standing there on the precipice of 31 you are older, wiser, stronger; and we are unraveling each other, little by little. I talk often about the things I felt you needed to let go of before we could make an honest shot of this, but in truth, you have helped unburden me of my own heavy baggage. It's your hands clasped over my eyes, your hands that I could easily recognise by feel, because I am so accustomed to their healing touch, the way my nerves ease and the constricting ties around my heart unwind when your energy melts into mine. And I am wholly present; the heat in my cheeks, the blood in my ears, everything that is here and now. We are not defined by the past. The former versions of us, together and apart, are in our wake now. We are ready, finally, to move forward together, free of past life ghosts that once marched in steady processions behind each of us. The slate is clean, the story is ours to write.

Heart.
This chakra controls unconditional love, tolerance, empathy, forgiveness and compassion. This chakra is associated with the air element. The air that you deeply breathe in brings you freedom. It is connected to your physical and spiritual sides. This chakra brings musical harmony. When the Heart chakra is in balance, you are able to give, as well as receive unconditional love and kindness. You are liberated, but remain grounded.

At five, there was no happiness more profound than that of sitting in a garden with my dad, holding buttercups to each others chins to see if the reflection of the petals would paint them yellow. One of the fleeting joys of youth is the ability to find magic and wonder so easily, whether in our own paracosms or in something as twee as consulting a floral oracle to find out whether or not you like butter. I can remember pressing an ear to dad's back to hear his voice reverberate through his chest like a great cavern, sending vibrations through my cheek and giggles up from my belly. These two things are linked together in my memory; buttercups and the muffled baritone sound of home.

The mountain of my father's body always seemed like a known place to me, somewhere warm and familiar to cling onto during piggybacks and curl against on the Sunday mornings I climbed into my parents' bed. When you are small a hug from a grown up engulfs you totally, your head held close against their body so that you can hear their heartbeat. I suppose it's natural to seek out and find comfort in that first sound we ever hear, the rhythm of our mother's blood pumping through the body that is growing us. I wonder if you know that you're loved in utero? Can you feel in that steady beat the unconditional care of your protector, your champion, your universe? Surely you must. It's like what you said about how your body would rather starve itself to a husk than let the child you're cooking go without. We are built to protect our kin at all costs. Love isn't just something discarnate; it's written in our blood. I suppose this must be why the muscle that moves it through us serves as love's symbolic home.

Music with a similar BPM to our hearts induces an eyes-open altered state of consciousness state in a very high percentage of people. This goes a fair way to explain why E'd up kids reach nirvana on the dance floor and pentecostal baptists speak in tongues. The power of a heartbeat is such that it can spurn ecstasy or reprogram us completely. That rhythm is at the core of us. We are, after all, part of another person's body until we're strong enough to separate. Maybe we are all aching to once again find a beat that mirrors our own.

In the doctor's office, the traffic and sirens on the street outside die away as a heartbeat fills the room like a signal from an alien universe. Badoom badoom like galloping horses. I'm filled with inarticulable wonder, just as when I was a child and still discovering the world for the first time, gasping at a squirrel, laughing at my own reflection. This is the smallest thing. This is the biggest thing. This is everything.

When you are in close contact with another person your breaths fall into synch. As I speak to our child, lips against your stomach, I wonder if our hearts beat all together. One, two, tiny three. Soon the spring flowers will bloom again and this little person will be here so I can wave them under their chin. I'll be able, finally, to bring that tiny heartbeat to my chest, to feel it against my own. For now, though, I am the muffled baritone they may or may not recognise, tapping on your stomach like a kid at a fish tank. Hello, are you awake? Hello, it's your dad.

Throat.
This chakra controls communication, creative expression and judgment, which allow you to listen to the connection between your heart and mind. It also controls psychic communication, in particular, clairaudience, clairscent and clairgustance. It is responsible for assisting in delivering messages from the spirit world with clarity. This chakra is associated with the ether element, which represents infinite space, where all matter exists. When the Throat chakra is in balance, you can express your deepest desires and beliefs without fear. You will be able to listen to and empower others.

When we're apart I look for you in the ether. If you are on the other end of the lengths that unravel from my chest then I tap the tautened cable so that you might feel the vibrations. If we have carved out a link between your mind and mine I tap the mic, test one two. I'm a useless psychic correspondent, though. I only ever have the same three words to transmit.

It's against a beautiful vista toward Sydney Harbour that is shit and meaningless without you that I concentrate the first time on reaching you via astral projection. Only about 20% of me believes in it, but with a soft backdrop of seagull cries I move through the air, through familiar leafy streets. My mind's eye draws back the covers of our bed, half a world away, where I imagine you are sleeping. Somewhere back in the physical realm my phone buzzes to life. Three words that I will gladly take as confirmation that my parlour trick has been a success. I curl up, somewhere far away, somewhere in the middle, with a hazy spectre of you for company.

You are there and I am here, on our separate islands. We could cup our hands to our mouths and shout coarsely, ripe for misinterpretation, but empathy runs like a river underneath us now. We are parts of a single continent. We can speak without speaking.

I don't know what that means. I've spent too long trying to fathom what I am; what we are. I enrolled once in a series of online lectures about what a soul might or might not be, have read stories about a scientist who tried to weigh them, bored myself with all the age old pointless postulating and shrugging over questions we can't really answer. Sometimes late at night, against my better judgement, I watch the German man in the hat who performs autopsies. He slices through soft layers of skin and subcutaneous fat that fall away from the scalpel like folds of jelly, prising cages of bone apart with ease. Here is a brain, where all of the memories and nuances of a life have lived and died. Here is a heart, just a lump of meat now that the strange, sophisticated magic that kept it pumping blood has fizzled out. We can dissect it and observe our own machinery with wonder.

The idea of my body being no different to that which hangs in a butcher's window gives me an existential pang. Being reminded of your mortality and that you're nothing special is bittersweet. (The sweet: imagine if there were some great meaning in life beyond the very easy act of loving what is around you to be loved, some terrifying higher responsibility or purpose. Imagine if the earth wouldn't take me back into itself, if I weren't carbon made like everything else. Imagine if life were infinite and therefore meaningless, colourless, barren of discovery and urgency and mystery. Thank god it isn't so.) I feel like I have to acclimate myself to it, to imagine thousands of deaths so the real one doesn't take me too sharply by surprise, so I can suck the marrow from every moment and see in technicolour and never be complacent.

And then there is your smile, under which all my worries melt into nothing. When your precious limbs are wrapped around me I want to believe in god, to argue for meaning in the universe. You lend meaning to my universe. Around you I forget to wonder if my body is just a lump of meat; forget to wonder, every time a rush of air announces the train coming hurtling down the tunnel towards the platform, how it might feel to step in front of it. I want to use weird turns of phrase like transcendent love and convince myself that I've compelled you to send a text message with the power of my thoughts alone and that much is probably fantasy, but what I hope is that our ability to communicate extends beyond the verbal, where I so frequently fail. I hope you can see past everything that I am on the surface, into the deep recesses that are unreachable by bone saw or ouija board. I am made of blood and black magic both. I am an old man and a child and an oak tree and a wolf, and since I met you I am nothing that matters unless you see it. I don't know why it feels so important to be known by someone, truly known, but you are my someone (my soul, my everything) and I unfold myself for you so that you can wind your fingers around the vines that grow from me. Coaptation means both the joining of tissue and the adjustment of things to each other.

You sigh in your sleep as your dreams lick the shore of my body. We live peacefully under a great blanket of things we cannot verbalise. Look for me in the ether, find me there.

Third eye.
This chakra controls wisdom, spiritual direction, seeing, imagination, intuition and psychic abilities. It creates balance within the mind. When the Third Eye chakra is in balance, there is heightened intuition and clairvoyance. It also strengthens your imagination and concentration skills.

The summer that we didn't speak, I was diagnosed with an overactive third eye chakra. No focus, riddled with anxiety, mentally depleted, indecisive and overwhelmed. A doctor might have prescribed ritalin. Google prescribed making myself more grounded. And so, translating this as the possibility that I could drain the frenetic clamour of my mind out through my body, I found a bevy of unusual ways to torture myself.

The first was committing to bikram, yoga's most controversial and least relaxing form, at least three times a week. Every damn day if I felt particularly full of sins to atone for. In theory it doesn't sound like the sort of thing to push a grown man to the brink of blacking out, but I quickly became familiar with the television static behind my eyes and popping ears that served as a warning to take a moment or have it taken without consent. Without fail each session crawled slowly to the end with the desperate anticipation of shavasana, the corpse pose, and the infinite pleasure of being allowed to lie like a dead body. The towel spread across my mat was routinely soaked enough to wring out, and it felt gratifying somehow that I had to bring a plastic bag to stuff it into after class and an extra towel to shower with. I washed the cold sweat from my body and stumbled back into the world with my problems contained and ready to be thrown in the washing machine, too exhausted to give a shit anymore about anything beyond the weird intense cravings for bananas it always gave me. I feel sometimes like all this new age shit that delights in ridding oneself of toxins is just a modern take on medieval bloodletting. We feel poisoned; we want to make ourselves pure. We feel pain. We want to bleed it out.

It wasn't just for missing you that things were terrible then. I mightn't even have realised that I did miss you at the time, at least not until we acquiesced to a kiss and it felt like the first breath after a lifetime underwater, so simple and so beautiful and so stupid; remembering to just breathe in. But I remember walking to class with my yoga mat tucked under my arm, so stricken with anxiety that it manifested as a physical pain in my chest, and telling myself that I was being proactive in beating the horror out of me. I know now that I was keeping bad company and letting inconsequential shit get me down far more than I should've, but that's the benefit of hindsight. When your head's a mess it's of little use to try and be analytical. Much easier to go the cave man approach.

Spartan showers. Bathing under ice cold water, to prove that I could. Something about being good for your skin, circulation and testosterone production. Mostly for the satisfaction of being able to withstand pain. I espoused the benefits to anyone who'd listen with all the conviction of a nutter who believes that fluoride in the water is killing us or that almonds need to be activated. It made me feel strong. If you can bear that, you can bear anything.

We always came at one another with eyes closed, fumbling for that unspeakable thing, the feeling of home that crashed into me as you did, moments where I'd find quite startlingly that there was nothing to fight against, nothing to prove, to endure, to bleed out. A hot bath, fingers combing through your wet hair, your body slippery against mine. For all we fought, we always loved well. And for so long I believed that to be animal lust, but those were our moments of truth, unguarded and freed from the whirling cerebral mess inside our equally fraught heads. Waking up in your apartment in New York, lost in the vast white country of your sheets, the smell of you inextricable, filling, spinning my head. Coffee by the bed. Your beautiful face. Your beautiful heart. Not the slightest inkling that my life could be so consistently pleasant without guilt or goodbyes or a cruel catch. Not the slightest notion that you could want to be my wife.

Crown.
This chakra controls understanding of the inner and outer person, connections to one’s higher self, universal understanding and oneness. When the Crown chakra is in balance, it becomes your doorway to the divine and opens you to the spiritual realm. This will allow you to experience joy, intuition and spiritual guidance.