Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Scatterbrained II: A Nervous Wreck of a Romance

All photos taken from Bambi (1942)
My dear friend Bradley presented me with a gift on Christmas day; a book of selected poems by Rumi. Being that Rumi was a Persian fella who dwelled back in the 13th century as a Sufi mystic bandying about around the same parts of the planet that I myself have been inhabiting these past two weeks, the book was a logical and welcomed gift indeed. 

...and sometimes, from fantasy comes union.*
 *All quotes taken from Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

But there's a problem -- and I say problem in the most Quixotic manner possible. A problem I tell you. Oh please, let me tell you. Let us unite in this way, that I will tell you and you will hear. You will hear such things, and bring them to your inner mind. Be slow to interpret my problem, my dear friend! If you do that too soon, you will divorce us! And at once from whence we are departed, a river the length of the Bosphorus will divide grow and destroy the bridge between you and I. Just like that. So listen close. Listen and be found there in those words where I can find you.

Sorry about that, I got momentarily persuaded to write in the style that Coleman Barks translates Rumi. But fear not, I am back to my own likeness. Maybe.

Actually, it was in reading an unrelated playwright that I finally this evening became acutely aware of what it is precisely that is the causal form of my problem. After I inhaled enough of this very certain postmodern scramble of a play, in which all the characters seem to speak in mysteries and far off allusions, I noticed my internal dialogue was increasingly transfiguring into somesorta enigmatic, neurotic magician. I veiled all my own thoughts with remote pretenses and stunted conclusions. My sentences became finishings of other unthought lyrics. My mind desired to be a conduit of some rabid unconscious collective cacophony of diffused disorder. Even in recollecting, I am somersaulting towards that stimulant once again. That's the happening that subdued the logical, and incited a momentary riot of incisive intangibility. After all, that is the cost of counting the collective whole of blatant ink stains on a page...

If you're not here, nothing grows.
I lack clarity. My words
tangle and knot up.

Bah! Enough of that. Control. I must find control. Somewhere.

What was I talking about?

Ah yes, it was the problem; that was the thing: the problem.

It appears that being around any one perspective too long is the start of any problem for me. That being the case, this afternoon I spent a few listless hours reading that mysterious play Hellhound on My Trail by Denis Johnson, the result of which landed me in a sea of postmodern apocalyptic neurosis. Gracefully however, in eyeing the source of my sudden binge of implanted neurasthenia, I was instilled with the knowledge that I, at any one given instance, immediately want to mimic the very form, structure, and congealed wit of that written word that seems to me to be admirable. Whenever I read Shakespeare at any length whatsoever, I promptly assimilate myself to (what I imagine is) the 4-year-old son of William Shakespeare. Suddenly "thees", "thous", and, "thou spaketh" "of dreams to come" "from this" "dwarf, bead, or poppycock" ignite themselves into my outpouring stream of vocabulary.

Brother, stand the pain.
Escape the poison of your impulses.

Do you now see? Can you decipher the symbols submerged in my rhetoric? Or am I merely playing the dual role of Schizo and Self?

And what of Rumi? Oh-so glad am I that you remembered to ask! Rumi is the very centerpiece of my writing here and now! I would be shamed to forget his place amongst these ugly flowers of thought and symbol.

Do you know 
what you are to me? During the day,
you're my energy for working. At night,
you're my deepest sleep.

It's getting worse, isn't it? I can barely get a word in edgewise before the dance of the word-slipstream plunges me in. Yikes. Keep it together. Hold control of the reigns Dante. See the focus point and lean evermore towards it.

I changed my profile picture on facebook to that of an ostrich neck and head. Or maybe it's an emu. I blame Werner Herzog's My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done? for that li'l obsession... such crazy looking creatures they are. Why did God make them? To laugh?

When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.

Praise God for these two insomnias!
And the difference between them.

Ah! Gadzooks! I can't hold a thought on point worth a darn anymore. This is intolerable, I am sure. Why read on? For the romance, maybe. I did promise that in the title. Romance. Or at least, the illusion of such therein.

The minute I heard my first love story 
I started looking for you, not knowing 
how blind that was.

Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.

Rumi. Come back to Rumi, Dante. Always come back. Be there, in that particular field. It is a pleasant one.

Then new events said to me,
"Don't move. A sublime generosity is
coming toward you."

And old love said, "Stay with me."

I said, "I will."

Rumi. I wish very much to call him my friend. It's tough not to platonically fall in love with the chap. He has a crystallizing affection for just about everything around him. This is an easily transmittable disease after you sift through enough pages. As wanting to assimilate my words with his own (as I tend to do with Shakespeare, and even today, with that Johnson fellow), I have found myself focusing on the lustful aspects of love since picking up his book for inquisition. It's a hell of a thing, really.

Your loving doesn't know its majesty,
until it knows its helplessness.

Now don't get me wrong, hear what I am saying; hear what I am saying for it is very important (that you, you who are here, hear -- not the letters themselves... or even still the message laid internal to the words that are represented by the letters) that you hear precisely the tone, atmosphere and even theme that I long for you to draw forth. I mentioned 'lustful love' in the preceding paragraph. I do not mean sexual activity when I say this. By no means (specifically speaking). I mean only this: the words have stirred up a longing for love for the sake of affection itself. A remembrance of 1 Corinthians 13 informs us that love is patient, kind, and epitomizes selflessness. Slightly, embarrassed then, I admit that Rumi stirs me to love (or is it more preferable just to use the word 'affection' - 'to have intimate affection for') for the sake of my own feeling.

If you want what visible reality
can give, you're an employee.

If you want the unseen world, 
you're not living your truth.

Both wishes are foolish,
but you'll be forgiven for forgetting 
that what you really want is
love's confusing joy.

Rumi. When I write this, it makes me feel that you are seeking to harvest a field of poor motives. I should not love for the sake of myself. Yet my intrinsic, innate, intangible, immediate response to your thoughts is to do that very thing.

Perhaps it is not all bad, Rumi. Perhaps you have not stirred only all-bad. When I state 'stirs me to love', I think not only of women, but also of friends; the past and the present.

They try to say what you are, spiritual or sexual?
They wonder about Solomon and all his wives.

In the body of the world, they say, there is a soul 
and you are that.

But we have ways within each other 
that will never be said by anyone.

Nevertheless, what am I to do now, with all this you have presented me with? Must I now abstain from seeking affection, and reminisce about how you momentarily spoiled me for the chance of such adventures?

Don't ask what love can make you do!
Look at the colors of the world.

What am I saying? My words barely have any meaning at all. If I were to try and speak precisely, I would say this: the question Rumi stirs is such: how can I seek out romance when I know I am doing so, at least in part, for my own gain? John 15:13, Greater love has no than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.

I should end now. Relent and end, Dante. This is how it must go. All things go this way...

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy,
absentminded. Someone sober
will worry about things going badly.
Let the lover be.

But there is time still, if I hunt for it relentlessly. Now. Time now. Time can be on my side if I bend it to my will.

God is the one I want to know best, to unite with in full. But my new friend here Rumi tempts me to think of what happy tidings would come; if... If I come to my Lord with another. Hand in hand we could be. And when He asks, I could say with joy, "Lord, by sharing my blessings with another of your loved creations, I now know better how to be grateful and affectionate, and full of the fabric of the good things you've infused your creativity on. With this woman, my lover, very rib of my rib, I have found a partner in my longing to see your face." And there, at the end of time, times, and my time, I could set before the Lord all my love, all my being, resting in his dwelling place.

This is how it always is 
when I finish a poem.

A great silence overcomes me, 
and I wonder why I ever thought
to use language.

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