Tuesday, July 12, 2005


So one of the reasons I do this blog is to wrestle with the twin gods of this world: beauty and horror. As a poet and an artist, I recognize that I feed from both troughs equally. As a human creature I crave both equally. Horror takes me down into the depths, and Beauty lifts me back up into the light. So who am I to complain when the cup I fill at horror's trough is more bitter than I'd planned for?

Drink up.

And is there a choice, really? Jack put up a link to an article on the sandbox the other day (books.guardian.co.uk/depa...01,00.html) written by a guy who had a stroke ten years ago. The guy wrote a book about his experience,
all well and good, but now he feels haunted by the stories of people who live in the "world of pain" that have contacted him
and told him their stories. He says he feels like a lightning rod for other people's suffering.

He goes into some depth about this "hidden world" of suffering, people with cancer, crippled, maimed, their lives of joy
cut short by accident and disease, etc. And he makes the point that this hidden world is waiting for all of us. We are all
in the doctor's waiting room.

No one is spared.

And this is true. This is exactly how it is. But this despairing message seems to miss the point. There is no escape, that
much is certain. But what do we draw from these experiences? How do we structure our inner lives so that our pain serves
to enrich us, enrich the experience of being alive?

Fuck if I know.

I have a certain set of imagined beliefs that address the loss of a loved one, the suffering of the innocents, the big Karmic wheel spinning through its complex and timeless permutations, but what do I know? Can I put forth a proposed system of beliefs about suffering when I can walk and talk and see and taste and hold my wife and daughter in my arms?

Where do I get off even pretending to have tasted suffering?

Of course, I might point to the fact that I move in a world of suffering, of evil and ugliness, and so have some insight-
but I don't know how much watching other people suffer, or even suffering vicariously through them, matters.

Yet I persist in both moving in that world and trying to make sense of it. And trying to make sense of my own world by extension.

Look into the faces of everyone you meet, and you will see yourself again and again and again.


Yesterday I was scooping a guy's brains off a tree stump, a suicide, and it just seemed like the most normal thing in the world to be doing. The guy from the funeral home that came to take custody of the body was acting kind of funny, and it turned out it was his first time out, first pick up. And it kind of stopped me in my tracks for just a second, and this vast parade of all the dead body calls I've been out to in the past twelve years just flooded through me...

It made me feel a little old, a little jaded.

Which, to be fair, I am.

So. Is this complaining? I don't think so, I hope it's not. It's just taking stock.

Detective __________ says the only way to deal with it is to "just push it down, and push it down, and push it down, and put a cork in it, and push it down some more."

Love for the world is all we have.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

But what if we don't love the world?

And what if the world doesn't love us back?

What if we never look in other peoples' faces?

I might as well be tugging my father's shirttail asking: Where does God live? Or: Daddy, am I going to die?

Do what he did. Point at the sky.
And lie. Tell me I'm going to live forever.

Tell me the world loves me--and that I love it, regardless of how brutal, how ugly it can be. Tell me that even though I can't meet peoples' eyes, that they still see me.

I took 2 personality tests tonight and discovered what I already knew: I am intensely introverted, and selfish, and brutal. Which is why I won't sign my name here tonight. But you know who I am. You know me.

To quote Bishop: When they write my epitaph, you must say that I was loneliest person who ever lived.

10:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See? I told you I was invisible.

6:33 AM  
Blogger tearful dishwasher said...

Well, you certainly have a valid point. I am the last person who would try to pretend that all is sunshine and light in this samsaric realm. In many ways, the only rational stance is to see the evil in the world and in ourselves and to face it squarely and say "this is bad."

But some people do live in the light. This can't be denied.

So what does this mean for us? Is it delusion?

Perhaps. But it seems that to deny the light is as incorrect as denying the dark. Each day the sun rises as well as sets. Half of every day is flooded with light.

And even in the darkest night, some light leaks out.

For me the key has been to keep my eyes open at all times and to let each moment unfold without judgement as to the moment which preceeded it.

Not "is this moment good? is this moment bad?" but

"What is this moment?"

"What is this moment?"

"And, now, this one?"

A second key has been the decision to treat myself as I would a stranger. If a stranger came to you and said "Oh, I feel so bad. I am ugly, I am mean to my children,
I have failed at this or that," would you respond to them "Oh, yes, and look at your ugly clothes, and your stupid face. And what about letting your parents down? Everything you do is stupid and inconsequential, etc..."

Well, maybe you would, but I hope not.

So I try to treat myself with the same compassion I would give to a perfect stranger.

Then I try to treat myself as a friend.

When the oyster is clamped shut, it takes a tool of razor sharpness, a great deal of force, and a sure and certain hand to pry it open.

It won't happen if you just sit it on the plate and wait.

But, oh, it's fresh and salty and good once you get the bastard open.

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to be a bit cliche but...

Every night and every morn
Some to misery are born.
Every morn and every night
Some are born to sweet delight.
Some are born to sweet delight,
Some are born to endless night.

11:52 AM  
Blogger Photocat said...

must be very hard to have a poets soul in the work you do... Admirable.

3:19 PM  

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