Friday, April 15, 2016

the world is nothing

To the Organ Master of St. Jude's:

I am reading a memoir of a plucky young British midwife in the 1950s. It is obviously delightful, but it was very honest and thorough in its descriptions of a midwife's duties during delivery.

As I was reading, I began to feel woozy. I have never fainted before in my life, but I felt that I was about to, which was a very interesting physiological state to experience. It was like feeling F. Scott Fitzgerald's prose inside your body.

The liquid warmth, the wooziness, the supple nature of reality and love were all happening inside my knees and stomach, the world felt warm and hazy and nothing mattered all that much, and I was about to collapse from hysteria, obsession with a eccentric millionaire in a double-breasted suit, or drinking too much absinthe before brunch.

And since I am currently the only adult proctoring a study hall of twenty-or-so high school sophomores, I felt that fainting was a poor choice, so I distracted myself by writing the Organ Master of St. Jude's a note about it.

It actually felt somewhat similar to the enchanted (enchanted, not as in captivated by the beauty of the moment, but enchanted by a charm or incantation or spell--in the way that removes you from the waking world and makes your stomach feel a little ill from too much magic) feeling that I felt while lost in St. John the Divine. I think that church cast a spell on me. I haven't forgotten it since my feet crossed the lintel. I think I passed into another world when I passed through its doors. And its memory leaves me with a sickly sweet feeling, and a cool breeze from another cosmos.

So please, Organ Master, send me Glenn Shea on Keats. I hunger for Keats. Keats is in a close tie with handcrafted doughnuts for my second religion (if I ever abandoned Christianity).

Endymion. I actually can't think about it now without tearing up. I will and shall and resolve to write you a better response later. Because Endymion deserves better. It deserves words falling onto paper like soft, sweet rain..

But, for now, let us be cautious in our correspondence, because the US Postal Service also hungers for Keats and Glenn Shea on Keats. And they will stop at nothing to intercept our letters that speak of them.

May you be safe from poor childhoods, distant illnesses, and blood-coughing deaths. May none of your romances be abandoned. May, in the eyes of the world, you seem to never win; may the critics mock your masterpiece. May your life add up to nothing more than sorrows, leave-takings and failures, nothing more than a collection of crosses, to the eyes of the world. And may you always be a stumbling block. And may you sing of beauty in the midst of it, as John did.

Signed,
With, faith and hope and love and courage, (this is what Fr. J inserts after the Our Father during Mass: "look not on our sins, but on the faith and hope and love and courage of all your people." [con molto molto mosso, in his thick NYC accent]  I don't know why he does it. It frets at my liturgical propriety, but I find it so endearing.)

Yours truly,
Constellation Cassiopeia

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