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?
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.