I will be the key to a gate in your heart that you don't even know exists. Whispering, in a voice only loud enough for your spine to hear. Open your rib cage, my lover, show me what sparkling opera you have hiding in there, sing me a bridge to the moment you forgot how to breathe. The moment when all of this feels like a footnote to embrace, an essence so beautiful it can only be read on the sunniest of days because we both know what it feels like to be cut off at the knees. So I'll start by patchwork quilting your shins with my lips, teach you how to stand again, how to throw rocks at moving cars. I want this to be reckless. They'll have to scratch their heads, and pass it off as organized chaos. A silly string masterpiece that only you and I could have created, that you are a Picasso being shredded over Mozart's 9th Symphony. We all have different reasons for smiling at the sun. Mine just happens to be you.
happy birthday, ez!
Littered around the house on colourful folded up paper you will find a multitude of love notes waiting for you. I've placed some out in the open (on the inside of the shower door, the bathroom mirror, the side of the fridge, on the piano bench, stuck to your laptop, etc) and some not as visible to the eye without some laborious work put into the search. I can't tell you where they all reside, but I can tell you that you will find thirty-three in total, so until you've been up, down, and around the house enough times to locate each and every one, I don't want you to call it quits. I can't promise that Rocco's toys aren't free of notes, just so you know. With that being said, you might want to look through his heaps of stuffed animals, blocks, and books. I think you'll be proud of me knowing how much work I had to do in the early hours of the morning when you were actually managing to get a few hours of sleep before going into the studio.
I need to preface by saying that I didn't write all of these, though I did write most. I think of it as a guessing game for you to decipher which words are mine and which are found. The sentiments remain the same whether the words came from my lips and fingertips or not. Enjoy yourself on this hunt and remember, this won't be easy, but if you need a hint or two, look below to find the notes starting at number thirty-tree, going down to number one. Have fun xx

This is not what the door's for slamming you up against, opening your legs with my knee. And it isn't leaving, the thing I keep doing with my shoes still on, or in the car in the driveway in broad daylight after waving goodbye to your neighbors again. But my body's a bad dog, all dumb tongue and hunger, down on all fours again, tied up outside again, coming when called but then always refusing to stay. I know what I'm trying to say, but it isn't talking, the thing that I do with my mouth to your ear, even though we got the orifices right. To leave I would have to put clothes on, and they'd have to fit better than all of this skin. To leave I would have to know where to begin: like this, pressed up against the half-open window? Like this, with my foot on the gas? If seeing is believing then why isn't touching knowing for sure? I just want my nerves to do the work for me, I don't want to have to decide. There's blood in my hands for fight and blood in my legs for flight and nowhere a sign. Believe me, I'll leave if you just let me touch you again for the last last time.

When I saw you, I fell in love. You smiled because you knew.

You ask why I love you. For this: You are a minute of quiet in a loud shouting world.

I like to trace the lines on your back, the marks etched in your palms, in complete darkness, finding my way because, unlike most in life, they're never changing, I could find them anywhere, they're here to stay.

There is love we can find. We will find.

Don't cool off, I like your warmth.

You're the sweetest thing, the sweetest thing.

I feel you in my heart, my veins, down to my bones.

You're the melody that stays with me, the one woven into my heart that now resonates with every beat.

I want you. I want every inch and line, visible and hidden, all curves and no brakes.

Stop doubting yourself, stop thinking you don't measure up, stop that voice inside your head that tries to pull you down into a pit of despair. You're so much more than what you believe you have inside of you, so much more than meets the eye. I wish you could see it. I wish I could make or help you. I want to help you.

Sometimes, with you, it feels like an hour is eternity falling into our palms.

You're so fucking hot. Here's your daily reminder.

You have 7 freckles on your back, they map out the big dipper. You have a scar on your left arm you carved in high school. The first time you pulled off your t shirt I traced the line with my fingers and fell in love with your strength. You are a hero for living from that moment to this one. You never need to apologize for how you chose to survive Your body is a map I know every inch of and if anyone else were to kiss me, all they would taste is your name.

I am the wolf and you are the moon. My heart beats every time I see you.

Green is your eyes and every story they hold, ones that I'm still learning.

I turns to you to say, "Always."

I want in fact more of you. In my mind I am dressing you with light; I am wrapping you up in blankets of complete acceptance and then I give myself to you. I long for you; I who usually long without longing, as though I am unconscious and absorbed in neutrality and apathy, really, utterly long for every bit of you.

Sputter your laugh into my mouth and let me hold it forevermore.

I want you, all teeth, razor sharp and tight, with no pretense.

I'm crazy for you, even if you are just crazy. (It's okay, I am too.)

You're beautiful, don't you know?

Who am I if not yours?

And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about.

This morning there's snow everywhere. We remark on it. You tell me you didn't sleep well. I say I didn't either. You had a terrible night. "Me too." We're extraordinarily calm and tender with each other as if sensing the other's rickety state of mind. As if we knew what the other was feeling. We don't, of course. We never do. No matter. It's the tenderness I care about. That's the gift this morning that moves and holds me.

Tell me you weren't starving. Tell me that you have been dreaming of me more often than you could count, that you don't prefer your mother's love to mine. Tell me how you would never let me beg in order to get you to stay. Tell me how you wanted to escape from your own body. Tell me that you came freely, that six little pomegranate seeds have never tasted so good. Tell me how they felt, sliding down the silk of your esophagus, resting at home in the pit of your belly. Tell me that you will always return, like rain. Like roses. Even the earth misses you when you are gone. You are crucial to both of us. It is a fixation that I can understand. Convince me that you cannot wait to come back, that you prefer me to the sun. Tell me that you know how I fought for you. Your mother makes the days longer on purpose and I grow homesick in the absence of your body. Tell me that you chose me. That you love me. That you crave the dark.

I will keep you safe with every part of me that exists, and when all else fails, I will keep your heart safe with nothing but my fingers around it.

Let me kiss your eyelids.

I don't know who I would be if I had never met you; a scary and wonderful thought to take between my fingers and pinch until I've had enough trying to uncover a person I was not meant to be.

I want to suck you raw. I've missed your cock and I crave having all of you between the roof of my mouth and my tongue.

I'm hungry for you.

It will forever be a struggle and a battle, but you've got me. I hope today is wonderful and maybe not the worst of the worst. It can only get better.

Happy birthday, Ezra Koenig, you ruined my life.

In a word with no permeance, where nothing is guaranteed or safe no matter how tight we grip until our fingers bruise and stain from such a death lock, I often think of survival and what it means to make it, to last. Commonalities that surface in my thoughts include resilience, persistence, and patience, the foundation that everything else is able to rest comfortably on. I think about why we bother trying to search for words to label every feeling and at times I get it, I understand because words are all we have, and trying to spell out how badly you want to endure hell with someone is easiest to do so in the form of language. Now, I'm no expert on, well, anything. I might claim to know a thing or do, but I think it's better pretending I don't.

No matter the words, the foundation, or the algorithm, it's important to know that we're here and wherever it means to be here, we made it, and that's important and there is resilience and persistence, and most of all, a hell of a lot of patience. Not all of that comes from me. That's the point I wanted to get at. I'm not the only reason things succeeded for as long as they did, you shape that formula and help create what allows us to work; all of the optimism and good in you, the hope and desire and love that shines off of you. I hope you know that. I hope that maybe while feeling down and out, you can see that there is so much in you that a lot of people lack: your strong heart, your wit and sharp tongue, how you'd never harm anyone unless they went ahead and harmed someone you love, the selflessness I've seen you exhibit with Rocco, your strength as a person and as a musician.

On your birthday it's law to hear good things about yourself and even if you and I aren't exactly on great terms, that doesn't mean I can't tell you what I do like about you and all of the things that made me fall for you in the first place. I wanted to start this out as a love letter to you, something you've become familiar with on holidays and birthdays, but I can't do that for you this year, I don't think it would be fair given everything that's gone on and everything that's been inside my heart. Reading some of the love notes on post-it cards feel unbearable to read, so I won't, but it's important you get them and know that I have felt that way about you and there is a lot of love in my heart dormant for you. It's your birthday and this isn't meant to be a lecture or a note on all of the things that are wrong with you, with me, or with us.

On your birthday I want you to know that there is a man so full of life and warmth, a man who makes it easy to laugh and joke with, someone who will clear his schedule for the entire day if only to lay in bed with you and not even fuck. You're soft around the edges, a compliment I don't know if you'll take or see as a positive, but it's so important to be soft in a world where everyone has their guard up and refuses to let anyone else in. With you it's easy. You let everyone around you feel like you've known them your whole life, a trait so rare but so fucking great to witness and share. There's your sense of humour. God, I really do enjoy yours so much. I wish that people wouldn't see someone so hilarious as you as only that, a funny human. People who think you're constantly telling jokes or trolling are idiots and have never taken the time to know you, because if they had, they'd know that there's so much more begging to be pulled out from the root. You're so much more than a man with quick wit. You're smart and cultured, you never let your ears go deaf on any subject, you're always willing to learn and listen, to hear the perspectives of others without putting them down or making them feel like shit for not thinking the same way that you do. You're a caring father and a talented individual who I wish could see these qualities about him rather than beating himself up for all of time. Maybe one day you will. I hope for that for you, I really do.

Turning thirty-three is just another number in the books (I would know, I've been there a few years in a row because I refuse to keep track of how old I really am). It's another check to mark off in the books and no, before you say it, it's not another year closer to death. Okay, it is, but let's not be such realists here, that's my job, not yours. I hope this year brings you happiness and joy and most of all, that fucking album. You've somehow managed to look eighteen for the last decade or so and I wish I knew all of your secrets because it sure as hell isn't lodged in your skincare regime. I don't know what the future holds for us, but I do know that I am a better person because of you and all that you've taught me since that warm September night when you fed me way too much wine. I am who I am today because of you and I am thankful to know someone like you, Ezra. Happiest of birthdays to you. You deserve it.

Yes, that is Drake's whiskey. (I had no idea he had his own whiskey, fyi.)