This is a simple story, but it spooks me, insofar as it reminds me that the eye is simply a recorder, with or without our will. Perhaps the same could be said of the heart. But whether there is a violence at work here remains undecided.
Last night I wept in a way I haven’t wept for some time. I wept until I aged myself. I watched it happen in the mirror. I watched the lines arrive around my eyes like engraved sunbursts; it was like watching flowers open in time-lapse on a windowsill.
The only exception was Holland, which, for inscrutable reasons, wanted a murky, rainbow-hued abstraction.
Joan Mitchell, for one, customarily chose her pigments for their intensity rather than their durability—a choice that, as many painters know, can in time bring one’s paintings into a sorry state of decay. (Is writing spared this phenomenon?)
But I am inclined to think that anyone who thinks or talks this way has simply never felt the pulsing of a pussy in serious need of fucking—a pulsing that communicates nothing less than the suckings and ejaculations of the heart.
I will admit, however, upon considering the matter further, that writing does do something to one’s memory—that at times it can have the effect of an album of childhood photographs, in which each image replaces the memory it aimed to preserve.
But if writing does displace the idea—if it extrudes it, as it were, like grinding a lump of wet clay through a hole—where does the excess go? “We don’t want to pollute our world with leftover egos” (Chögyam Trungpa).
I have heard that this pain can be converted, as it were, by accepting “the fundamental impermanence of all things.” This acceptance bewilders me: sometimes it seems an act of will; at others, of surrender.
The tepid “there must be a reason for it” notion sometimes floated by religious or quasi-religious acquaintances or bystanders, is, to her, another form of violence.
Likewise, I can say that seeing it has made me a believer, though I cannot say what, or in what, exactly, I have come to believe.
As her witness, I can testify to no reason, no lesson. But I can say this: in watching her, sitting with her, helping her, weeping with her, touching her, and talking with her, I have seen the bright pith of her soul. I cannot tell you what it looks like, exactly, but I can say that I have seen it.