The Music of the Mail: Letters Never Sent by Carly Simon


Do you write letters you don’t intend to mail? I’ve heard it suggested over and over through the years as a way to process thoughts and feelings without the risk of involving others in our messy first drafts. I’ve never been very good at holding back. I tend to just go ahead and write or say what’s on my mind. I wear my heart on my sleeve, and my fountain pen scribbles away, pouring my heart onto paper. My internal struggle buzzes painfully on my fingertips until it’s been tapped out on the keys of a typewriter and freed from my mind.

I’ve always been more afraid of letting things go unsaid than I fear saying things I can’t take back. What about you? Do you share freely, or have a box of unsent letters? Maybe a little bit of both?

In a suitcase tied with string
On the highest shelf
In the closet down the hall
Hidden from myself
Fits of madness, pools of grief
Fevers of desire
How peculiar these remain
Salvaged from the fire
For some I crumpled some I burned
Some I tore to shreds
Lifetimes later, here they are
Ones I saved instead
Letters never sent to you
Letters never sent

Never reached their destination
Mostly born of pain
Resurfaced with the purpose of
A trip down memory lane

Broken hearted, breaking hearts
All the way it went
Evidence of what I saw
My experiments

Life's a riddle, life's a dream
Life's an accident
Now I'm gonna set them free
Letters never sent

Letters never sent to you
Letters never sent
Once upon a time taboo
Letters never sent

Letters never sent to you
Letters never sent
Incongruous, and overdue
Letters never sent