Monthly Archives: November 2007

Alive

When I awoke this morning everything had been cleaned by the rain. The colours had returned and I found I was clinging to an ugly little totem of the night before. I drew aside the curtain and let the sun flood my room. The things in my room stretched on their toes and looked around like a clutter of cats — alive.

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Night came into my room

Night came into my room in the middle of the day as I was reading. It peered through the door and when I was off guard slid in over me like a dark fog. I fell asleep and dreamt that a black rain was pattering on my eyelids. I couldn’t move. When the moon found me everything in my room was the same colour — inert.

The last seed blows off the stem

She knew there was someone out there for her, someone just like her, and that she would find that someone eventually. But they told her that to find him she would have to go out and do things, make friends, maybe even travel. And she thought that if she went out and did these things, she might be taken out of herself, become a different person, and then she wouldn’t know what kind of someone she wanted because she wouldn’t know who she herself was. She would be a different person, and if then she met him how would she know it was him? If she met him now, if he came to her door, or if he picked up her keys when she dropped them on the street, today, on the bridge, she would know, they would both know instantly, they would recognize it in each other’s eyes, that thing that made them different from the others, the thing the others couldn’t understand. That’s how they would know each other, they would recognize themselves in each others’ eyes instantly, wordlessly. But if she went out and did all those things to find the one who was meant for her, she might become like them, and then he would fade away and multiply and become an anyone rather than that someone. But, she thought, I’ve stayed here for so long alone, and if I remain here will I continue to be myself? Will I even know who I am? Will I be able to respond when someone calls my secret name? Why do I long to meet him if not to find myself in him, to be completed in his eyes? Can I continue to live like this without losing so much of myself that I won’t recognize myself in him if I see him? Maybe he’s living the same way, thinking these thoughts at this moment, somewhere in this city, the one among millions, and maybe he too feels it’s getting late, that if he doesn’t find me soon it will be too late, he’ll have lost so much of himself that he won’t be able to recognize himself in me if he sees me. Then maybe if we do meet we’ll think one another just another of the millions, just one of the others, and he’ll hand me my keys without looking at me and I’ll mumble thanks and we’ll go on our way in opposite directions across the bridge over the dirty water, thinking the same thoughts as each other. Then we’ll both have to choose between going out or dying inside, we’ll be forced to give up on the idea of each other, on our idea of ourselves in each other, on our idea of ourselves. We’ll finally have to become like the others, we’ll lose the only beautiful thing in the world and disperse into the others, become dirty water, become fish, multiple, and all will be lost.

Throw him to the ground

Yet another elder said: If you see a young monk by his own will climbing up into heaven, take him by the foot and throw him to the ground, because what he is doing is not good for him.

— Sayings of the Desert Fathers

I took a trip

I took a trip to conquer my boredom, but I still woke up bored every day. Torpor descended on me. I passed through hot countries. I saw nothing but sand and dust and restaurants. Like the dust boredom was everywhere: it covered me if I didn’t keep moving. But there was nothing to escape from or to. There was nothing to do but force the hands of time by drinking. I told the hours by the number of bottles I drank. No one talked to me in the bars, and why should they? Did I want them to? I walked through churches, playing the tourist. Sitting in the pews reading brochures I thought that heaven itself must be deathly dull. I thought the gods themselves must be bored half to death by having to exist for all eternity — so bored that they prod us into action when we start to remind them of themselves.