My friend Alexa left her family for a short fling with a contractor who she hired to do the tile in, ironically, the family room, and lost everything. I was talking to her about why she did and she told me that one morning she saw John straight and yet supple in the light of the early morning and she just couldn’t will herself to say no. For a moment his beauty transfigured everything, made any risk worth taking, made her life seem not just worth it, but blessed. “Me and my stupid poetic mind.” she said to me.
And honestly it made me wonder. Like many people who have been hurt she yearned for a life without emotion, not noticing, or maybe deliberately ignoring the obvious counterpoint, to wit, that yearning is an emotion. But what about her feeling about her foolish poetic mind?
I remember thinking, when I was wondering about war, whether the old writers in the 50s were right to say that there was something uniquely horrible about the threat of nuclear annihilation: are they right? Because you’d read that, in a writer like E B White, that it’s particularly terrible that New York City could be destroyed by a single flight of airplanes (no bigger than a flock of geese wrote White) carrying a single bomb. But I thought — so what? Am I any less dead if I am killed by a conventional bomb? Or have my head hacked off with a sword, as in the Rape of Nanjing? Isn’t EB White giving in to his “foolish poetic mind” imagining that the poetry of the death — a whole city killed by a single bomb! — trumps the prose of it — dead is dead? Isn’t EB making the same mistake as my friend Alexa, who gives up growing old as a beloved Grandma, for a moment of sweetness, and light?
Or is it just as poetic to think that a human being alive is any different than a human being dead? It’s all just modifications in the quantum field, isn’t it, whether the head is on the neck, or some distance away? And isn’t the quantum field itself the beautiful thing, the Light, behind all our colorful stained glass, the white paper underneath our smudgy pictograms?
Or is that another illusion that Light is beautiful? Light is beautiful if it shines upon something beautiful, perhaps, and if we imagine it showing us something not so beautiful, then perhaps, not so much?
I asked the Tarot deck whether I should even ask the internet (wordpress blogging site) to publish these thoughts, or whether they were better left unexpressed, or better yet, forgotten? And I drew the Fool once, and then again, and then a third time.