We will always be friends, we said, probably half meaning it at the time. How many times have we said that or somthing akin to it, knowing that the promise to call, to stay in close touch, was at best half meant and almost certain not to come to any reality.
I have a catalog of friends, who I told I would never give up, distance notwithstanding, we all do, and mine is replete with both good and bad intentions, each and every one a failure.
I did not say this to my ex-wife when we divorced, and I must say that while I failed at the marriage, or so she said, I did not ever fail at not being friends after its end.
We live in a zoom world, one we never imagined, and one for which we will never be prepared. But it is our life now, friends and family reduced to pixels, voices disembodied. They tell us this is the new normal, although what is normal about it is beyond logic and comprehension. We believe deeply that we are interconnected, curse when that connection is dropped by our technology. We cannot survive without our electrons and pixels, for that is where people exist. Every man is an island now, isolation is a perpetual state. And, hey, we should get together soon. I’ll send a meeting number and password.
When you look in the mirror are you real, is your reflection real? Be careful what you say, for if I look into that mirror and see you, is the you I see anything other than real? When you go through the gate you say “I am exiting”. When I follow you through the gate I say “I am entering”. Are we both liars?
A Reflection on case 58 of the Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye)
So Androcles, how did it feel when, in the pit, the lion sidled over. You saw his paw finally healed and no doubt remembered the thorn you had extracted. Did you rub his mane as his jaws snapped around your thigh his teeth tearing into your flesh. As you saw the blood spill out did you curse the fabulist for his detachment from reality?
First appeared in Erothanatos, Vol. 3, No. 3, July 2019
It always seems odd how the dual veils that separate day from night, wakefulness from sleep, seem impenetrable in the moment. Yet they both fade, now pellucid, permeable with the simple passage of time. Now dreams are a reality, such as that purports to be, and the worlds intermix, one ceding it to the other, the other flowing back. It is in that moment It is then you realize both are real, both dream states and you exist only because you imagine it so.
She says if you could only peel back the photograph, you could read the entire story that lies beneath. It is deeper than the image below which it lies trapped, and wider, imbued with a meaning the image could not capture, just as, she says frowning, there are no words for parts of the picture, a symbiosis that we of unitary senses cannot unite. This one, pointing to a crucifix, shows him where he ought to be, the pain, his pain apparent, but so much deeper than any image or sculptor’s hand can fashion. Undeserved pain, not by sacrileges, by rebellion but he would understand it, he would revel in it, for he was the greatest rebel and he would easily peel back the picture in step wholly into the story beneath.
It looks perfectly normal, the kind of restaurant you would seek out on a Friday night in a distant city. The people look like those you know or could know, those from home for instance. She is not remarkable, blonde, older, a slightly twisted smile, blue eyes, but on meeting there is a sudden distance as though this is not a normal world, certainly not the world where you first met a cousin, and you have a nagging feeling, which grows during the meal that one of you is an alien, an avatar from some other world, parallel perhaps, and this reality is anything but, although the pennette is quite remarkable. Would you meet your first true relative at age 62 you know that while blood may be thicker than water, it also congeals just as easily.