Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Cathedral of Air

An imaginary cathedral is a cathedral of air. Words and air. Vaults of air. Flying buttresses and rose windows of air. What is an emotion? An emotion is a cathedral of air. It is paddling your boat with what is at hand. Paddle your boat with a shovel. Paddle your grave with a cow. The forest and rocks. A simmering thought. A thirsty bone. An old TV set full of fierce perspectives.

The golden light of dawn shouts the sky into space. Faucets are different. Faucets are particular and chrome, like the parable of a harmonica. Great shadows and great lights. I heard the door slam, yet no one came in. This happens a lot. What can I say? I live on a planet called Earth. There is no way to map an emotion, they’re too vague, too prodigal, too mercurial. What you can do is attend a bazaar of murmuring hearts. Learn the movement of thought by studying the clouds. Trapeze artists describe space with their bodies. So do insects. So do faucets. Faucets let water drop into the sink and it is wonderful to see.
Go: stand on the rocks above the lobsters. This is how cathedrals inspire a sense of the sublime. Even now my guts are singing a song of turbulence and height and how serenity and grace may be achieved in stone. There is the incident of the pretty nail to consider. Odors are too vague. And my zipper is stuck. One learns much from studying sequences, correspondences, analogies. I have seen a museum swarm with people and thought of the anthill and beehive. This morning, for example, my pain resembles a pilgrimage. The incision of dawn continues to rip the night into shreds and great equilibriums are proffered and lost, lost and regained. I ache for the essence of things.
Cause and effect are not always so easy to decipher. I cannot always identify a smell. The smell of wet clay is as spectral as summer. May our glory be in our striving to understand. Even a little glass pepper shaker can recommend a sentence of greenery and progress. I wear a leather belt not because oysters taste good but because it keeps my pants up. And because oysters taste good. Each day is a voyage whose port is a bed and whose destination is sleep. Yet words remain alive in us. Just as the oyster remains alive in its shell, so does the essence of a word sleep among convolutions and pearls. The nacreous lining of the shell is full of subtleties, like the lips of a young woman. Implication is the frosting on the cake of ambiguity.
No one really knows what true beauty is. Everybody knows what extraordinary balance the body has, but it takes a lot of inquiry to rub the mystery of life until it shines like Aladdin’s lamp, and the Flower Ladies appear in a cloud of smoke, and bump into enamel. Beauty is pleasing to the eyes but worries the heart with desire. It arrives in the rain when we least expect it. The sky is the most important landscape. Yet I’m crying on the inside. Then blue turns to gray, and try as you may, you just don’t feel good, you don’t feel alright. And you know that you must find her, find her, find her.
A parable of salt has its compensating movements, but willpower is an internal phenomenon involving five emotions and a spine. Cherubs kiss in the shrubbery. Personalities are like rattles, cylinders going up and down in declensions of stone. A sack of nails is like a sack of candy: both imitate tin. The least element of a truth evokes the truth as a whole. The taproot holds the planet in its tendrils. The black back of a snake slithers into a hole. Death is not my favorite subject. You can see a personality shine in someone’s eyes and believe you’re aboard a ship with a circus. I’ve never seen a whale do push-ups in a library. Not until now. Not until today.
The twilight blooms like a martini in a dark lounge off Interstate 84. Beauty is not distinct from the useful. It mingles with our eyes. A superior beauty resides in the effects of depth. My black running shoes, for instance, are lightly coated with the yellowish dust of the Jardin de Luxembourg. Some identities are hidden like bears hibernating in caves, but we followed the bells of Saint Sulpice back to our hotel and found elegance in a stairwell, beauty in the eye of a woman grabbing a sweaty leg, and time falling out of a clock.
Who has the patience to read a book anymore? My interior landscape is laden with snow. There is a bookstore in Paris that calls itself L’Écume des pages and evokes a comparison between the pages in books the white paper of books and the foam of the sea as it spreads its pages and volumes on the sand. People once read books with avidity and followed chimeras over clouds and hills and rocks and trees and opened prodigal doors into intricate poems delicate and urgent as surgery in an operating room with a sewing machine and an umbrella.
Noises come spilling out of the air. Meanings are sipped from a flower of words by the living ears of a zoo of forces. Consonants and vowels. Birds in a circle above the chop of waves. Daylight scattered in crumbs of time, minutes and hours and struts and streets. Attach a thought to a sentence and watch it fly like an abstract machine. There must be pain so that your spirit may pour forth thought. I once saw man pull a mockingbird out of his nipple. Some personalities walk the earth like ghosts. And some grow into sticks, a world of intangible geographies. Mouths make sounds and people wander the towns. The body is a library of sensations. You can run into glitter that way. You can find a clean surface and write in order to fully understand the art of the open air, the shadow of duty on the pommel of a saddle, the interplay of muscles involved in running or swimming, the meeting of diagonal ribs in the vault of a cathedral.
I have teased the cotton of consciousness into soft cooperation and now drip with experience in a U-haul truck of the imagination. Three forces are struggling over the road: the wind, the clouds, the sun. Sometimes the world is like that. Subtleties of sliver shout tornado! A tornado did this to me! I put the thesaurus on the table and the bulb lit up. How about that. There are degrees of light that change hour by hour, like flights of Gothic angels, or the colors in a motel curtain. I feel overwhelmed by museums. The Louvre is huge. Power is gray. The Viking sleeps in thick furs at the stern of the boat. He dreams that each word is a shape and that he will sing them in a hall. The hungry are everywhere. The sky hangs like a bridge over a slow river. I feel a powerful desire to reveal my most hidden feelings, let them sound like the flap of an awning in front of a deserted store. Walk like a spoon, dance like a fork. Speak like a knife.
The supreme aim of art is to attain nothingness. The equilibrium of volumes in the vaults of a cathedral speak to a final emptiness that is a fullness. That is a circumstance of life pressing forward until death, and death in life, where it is a momentary amber, sensitivity to another intelligence and sympathetic voice. Nothingness is the medicine that arrives in sleep. That pulls the tides. That finds meaning in anything and serenity in strife.

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