The Age of Abandonment, in notes
About a week ago I came to Paris. The world is an implosion: as the atmosphere thins and the sorrowful trees grow desiccated, weary of reaching, we do the same, mirror to mirror. Humanism is dying before it was fully born, and democracy seems to have been a brief experiment as we now return power to the powerful, poverty to the poor. Le Pen, Trump, Turnbull, Duterte, Maduro. There is a club to which only the murderous, the greedy, the obscenely wealthy and mentally pathological can belong, and we have anointed this club with the title “World Leaders.” All will fall, is falling, has fallen, the tenses only a pause now.
About a week ago I came to Paris. As my flight took off I learned I had no money in my account, my credit card was frozen, and I had not a Euro to my name. Fear. But I worked it out, sort of. The day after my arrival, which had been spent haggling with Western Union and banks, I could not get out of bed. So strange to be jet lagged. But I am never jet lagged. I am often, however, sick.
Not this sick. Fever vomiting dehydration a visit to a hospital IV fluids IV pain meds headaches so intense I cried out to my children, I knew I would never see them again. A sleepiness like death. No. A sleep of death, not rejuvenation, for I’m not sure how many nights, partial days were lost, are lost still. I miss my children. I want to hold their fuzzy heads, even the brilliant one, the one who rejects the holding and so most needs it.
I know the city. I arrived here, about a week ago, already knowing it with a fair bit of intimacy. City, I said, be my mother. Heal me. Light of spring awakening the secret beehives in the Jardin du Luxembourg, heal me. This pain, can it be prayed away? Can it be walked away, cried away? Music, then. Dvorak and Bowie and Denk playing Bach; Schubert quartets and the new Kendrick, the older Kendrick, the swoon of J.Cole.
It is difficult to be very, very sick in a city that is not, despite one’s most ardent wishes, a home. It is difficult to be so very ill all by oneself, to take the pain and cradle it, soothe it, reject it accept it breathe with it or against it; there is no one to remind you, except early Bob Dylan, that it is “life and life only.” Buddha does that too, but then I will pray, or cry, and turn Buddha into an idol, and he will disappear from my life. I don’t care if I turn early Bob Dylan into an idol; he disappeared from my life when he started making Victoria’s Secret ads.
I came to the city to study. To engage in spiritual practice with my teacher, Kia Naddermier. I adore her. I thought I needed this training, this Ashtanga Yoga training, more than anything else. But now I am a convalescent – yes of course like Proust, would you not think of Proust, to be sick and slowly wandering the boulevards of the 6th? I thought I would be practicing for days Ashtanga asana and kriya with a beautiful sangha.
Instead, I got this training.
I arrived in Paris about a week ago. All I know is leave-taking. My husband, who used to be my lover and has been my best, often only friend, for more than 17 years, is no longer my husband. My children are a fury; I am turning into a Mother, as opposed to mama. I always thought, somehow, I would be mama, and they would be my bunnies, safe under my soft, my infinitely soft touch. Money, home, health, my best girlfriend, who wrote me off as a hopeless bitch about a year ago.. sex, time, youth, family, Barack (fucking Barack, where are you? Stop accepting 400k fees for opening your beautiful mouth and fucking come back to us), love love love love love love
love gone pain here. love gone pain here. And here. There? No, further down. Neck. Here? Yes, there, and lower, of course, always those low, still points, now untouched unseen just…gone. And Christ, even the italics, they’re just… me. Singing out loud on the sidewalks, talking to myself in print.
It is the age of abandonment. Everywhere. For the poor for the sick for refugees and migrants for the thirsty the hungry (why does no one speak of South Sudan?) for fine, cultivated minds, for women for the sensitive for lovers for lovers who conceive a baby and can’t afford to birth that baby for the young (here’s your Betsy DeVos, stupid and greedy as they come – enjoy, little ones, kissing goodbye your right to an education not owned by a fucking corporation), and may the gods help the old. And may the gods help all of us, because damn it may be this fever or this pain or this solitude but all I see when I open my eyes, or at least try to open them, is a farewell party.
And now I am tired and this was supposed to be brief. Brevity is not one of my strong points, a fact to which my ex-husband and his attorney might gladly testify. Maybe if I could just shut the fuck up, in my head, on this page, in the company of les autres, I would still be married. Maybe I’d have friends.
Somewhere does that world exist? For all of us? For me, for the mothers in South Sudan, watching their children die as their milk dries and the diseases come and the flies thrive; for those languishing in Duterte’s camps, for those to be deported by a man so stupid he governs by text, for the hipsters who ruin neighborhoods and for the solitary wealthy and for imprisoned black men and for their mothers and their lonely little daughters, does it exist?
Feet quiet upon the tired Earth
bellies as full as they need to be
and certainly not less
there is music
Can you hear
the whisper of Apollo
and the 9 muses
along those suture lines
even the Earth has them
is a song