Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Reconciliations Heard After Dark

The first time I saw a confessional, I was shocked that it wasn't like the movies, all cloak and dagger and hidden from the priest. I'd expected to come in all dressed in black, mumbling incoherently and vaguely about my spiritual failings and then flit out, nobody any the wiser to my identity. But confession is no longer confession in the Catholic church, it's reconciliation, and very few people hide behind a screen anymore which makes sense as the one I saw would only serve to hide a toddler, a prop more than anything else. It's more talking than anything else, said my deacon, by way of explanation. I felt the evil psychiatric profession leaching its way into the ritual, but was still intrigued. The way I had been raised had nothing but contempt for priest as middleman between you and God -- preachers of my youth would decry this as totally unnecessary. You can talk to God, they'd say. You don't need some so-called father doing it for you! But I believe they were missing the point.
Despite the Jocastas in our soul that beg us not to look, everyone needs to look sometimes and looking alone into the morass of our deep longings that we cannot voice is not an easy task. Our obsessions, circular in nature, turn in on themselves and like the rabbis of yore, we sometimes need another person with a rope to drag us out of what we consider the holy of holies in our mind -- doomed love affairs, addictions, past miseries. I think about the confessions I have heard, not as a priest, lawyer, psychiatrist, or with any higher authority save for love. Sometimes they happen early in the day, sometimes late in the evening -- as the masks drop off, the language becomes simple and is underlined with a desperation -- I would give my life for this thing, the thing that I should not want. To whom, as Chekhov writes, shall I tell my grief? Reconciliations and negotiations become one in the same and nothing ever balances, but for whatever relief we receive, we give thanks and this is prayer enough to save us.
Michelle's Spell for the Day
"There are places in the heart that do not yet exist, and into them enters suffering that they may have existence." Leon Bloy
Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Parched Heather King
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!


Phil Leotardo said...

I refuse to reconcile or even negotiate with Tony Soprano anymore,Michelle. That cocksucking piece of shit. Please pardon me, Michelle, but as you know I did twenty years in the can. Tony wanted me to negotiate, so I told him what negotiating was all about. When I wanted manicotti in prison, I settled for grilled cheese sandwich on my prison radiator. When I wanted a woman, I settled for jacking off into a tissue. So there will be no more reconciliations or negotiations with Tony Soprano. Thanks for all your support of the Sopranos, Michelle. The last two shows are on the first Sundays of June. God bless you.--Phil

Detroit Native said...

Thanks a lot, Wings, you jerkoffs.

Short bus and Special said...

You retards Wintgs.

Rodney Dangerfield said...

That's quite a cowboy fireplace in that photo, Michelle, if you know what I mean. I hope it's not closed off, if you know what I mean.

Charles Gramlich said...

I still remember the heavy dark confessionals of my youth, with the thick draping cloth and the whispers, with the lattice between the priest and the penitant that broke the priest's face into pale diamonds. I will have to go back to that church when I go visit home this summer, see if things have changed.

the walking man said...

Fuck 'em, this is prayer enough for me.

a small voice from the dark said...

What a wonderful post, m. Your combination of wisdom and hypnotic vibrance really shine through in this writing. Especially the second paragraph. What gorgeous, well executed poetry you wrote this morning as hustled to class.

You just spin those wish-thin threads into heartbreaking paterns and messages of love. I feel alone a lot, like we all do, even or especially if I'm surrounded by a roomfull of screaming and crying and laughing drunks partying with the devil's own money, all talking to me about how cool or funny I am to them in their drunkedness, I feel alone. When I talk to one person and hear and think about their story, that is one of the few times I feel connected to anybody--inspite of the fact that I shouldn't feel that way. But it is too easy for me to forget about the deepest levels of those other spirits I love. Its good to reconnect after those frequent whiles alone, to have something beautiful to write about against the backdrop of a long night alone with indwelling desires, while keeping the unspoken prayers of a heart what they are.

Susan Miller said...

Some people are scared to go to the confessional cuz they just don't want to be cured. They sorta like their own hell. Okay, maybe that's me.

Justin said...


I never imagined that I would find a blog that featured the words of Leon Bloy and Susan Miller in the same place.

Bloy used to leave comments on my blog. But that was long ago. I only know of Susan from her friendship with Rouault.


one beagle said...

It was a dark and stormy night...

Maybe I should start with a different line.

Maybe I should become more of a memoirist, than, ah, well... Forget about it--I can't make the water boil if the fire isn't lit. I'm just a tightly focused and wound writer, that's what I've always struggled to communicate through my art. I have a morose side that's taking up most of my bottom 90% and I freeze on a blank page, quite often--and am somewhat famous for that as well--I'm certain you understand how that is to freeze up.

Many know my name, but I don't always throw it around. I'm a big fan of the lady who writes this blog; that's really who I am. She's a lot like my people, my family. You might know their names too--the bald boy is almost as famous as I am--but that's still name-dropping and I don't partake in that kind of morally fraudulent activity, you see.

There is one vice of human devise that I love as much as my too often blank pages.

I love drinking.

Many of you may think I'm drunk now; I say kiss my hydrant if you do think thus. Unlike the teachers at the bald boy's school who are always slurring and incoherent as a smothered trumpet, I am a firm believer in temperance. But I am no angel in black and white. To be sure, I do suffer from a bit of euphoric recall about one episode in specific. That is what I meant by typing the phrase "I love drinking".

Nothing more than that, really.

Once, my family and friends and I
managed to find our way to France for vacation--ostensibly for the boy to be educated by field hands and insensitive château Barons in rural French Riviera culture. But it was all by my design, really. It was one of my chances to get away from the doldrums of life on this great doghouse of angst and love.

It was the chance to see the land of Charlemagne and Lafayette and Monet and Bardot. It would be a chance to broaden my writing palate of ideas. Not to mention an all too rare chance to find myself, no matter what that actually meant.

I was soon bored by the agricultural work, though it was nice to breath the country air in the morning. My typewriter, which I had brought with me was just as little help as usual. And my friend and confidant in all things, especially found the labor to be refreshing, but also a damper over the flames of his creativity. He is a wonderful blues guitarist, as well as hair stylist. I can't tell you his name, as I said before. I'll just say that he happens to be quite shy, or so a little bird tells me.

I needed to get away from the kids and even my beloved yellow friend. I was desperate to find the source of an ache that has always been in the pit of my being, an area that has always felt like my soul should be there, but isn't. I felt like I had to have a drink.

At nightfall near the end of our stay, I broke free of the house we were sequestered in. The red haired girl in green shorts grates on my nerves, with her never-ending stream of unconsciousness and annoying over-familiarity. I would beg to forget her name in an instant were somebody to invent a machine to suck that kind of memory from my brain. The choice I faced was either to garrote her before our return trip (the insurance would pay off double and I have no ill-will toward her mother who would grieve most terribly, you see), or go find out what the term nightlife means to the French.

Since I wasn’t cut out to wear a prisoner’s uniform, I figured a stay of execution was necessary for her particular evil.

Besides, she likes the bald kid, and he needs all the fans he can get.


You hear so much about it, the romantic Mediterranean lands of southeastern France. But you will never know the true extent of the beauty to be found in this land until you have seen it at night--preferably after a few rounds of drinks at the local tavern.

I danced as the first one hit my lips and past, into my blood. It only lead me to one more, and then a song. And the night was off and at the turn faster than I could have imagined.

I'm a bit of a nostalgic, I must confess. I put on a song that reminded me of the dark haired beauty that I love to hate so much. She shall never be glorified by my written words. But she is worthy of my, well, misguided affections.
I like to kiss her on the lips; something that many people have told me is cute and quite devilish. But I delight most in her reactions, even more so as she is as germophobic a woman as you will ever know. She screams about dog germs--ignoring the fact that her equally disgusting 'people germs' were infecting my very heart, even as she did rage it beat strong in the face of her dark storm. She could never know how much I value our relationship. She doesn't even know my kiss.

It was of this that I thought as tears overpowered me along with one sad thought. I love my rumbling volcano angel; I love______.

When the gates opened over that river, a flood occurred the likes of which even Noah himself would have drown in.

That's when inspiration struck me with it's most beautiful slap across my long face; I'm a writer I can tell her anything I want to. I can control the details. I was not going to tell her how much I might care for her, or what I really think of her--which wasn't the kind of thing that she would go for, even if my opinion of her character is only slightly higher than that which I hold for the--gulp--vet. I hate that word and personage as if he or it had killed my dear mother. Another day, my friends.

What had upset me most, I suddenly knew, was the fact that she would never be reconciled with who and what I am, even if I am a superior being in so many ways. I would tell her enough. Just enough to want to hear more. And maybe I would tell her more, just to keep the fire stoked, just enough to make her want to hear more. I would tell her enough that she would love me and not even realize it.

I was a fountain of ideas that night. I ordered another round for me and a lonely soul in the corner who rose repeated loud toasts to nothing more solemn than his libido, the crude sot. No wonder the kids only hear that apologetic and disheveled whine when most adults speak to them.

Soon that was forgotten as the whirl of all the world's lights around me and around the sun pulled me into their current of trail left in the dark behind them. I was quite the pleased puppy. I was in love and I knew that she loved me.

I cried two more times that night, once more for my raven-haired beloved surfacing in the very still pools of memory's vision. I danced into the fleeting hours of a beautiful night, my nose high in the air, feeling for the first time that hollow in my chest finally being filled by a warm spirit--no pun intended.

I was at the height of my lust for life, ready to go back to the farm and leave when I heard the call: The Château was burning in the night.

I ran from the pub as if it were itself aflame. The kids must be saved. I could barely think, but I knew I could do something, despite my feelings of inadequacy in the face of disaster.

The scene was chaos. The mean old château baron was cussing in his guttural voice, and the firemen trained to fight fires found this one to be their better. My faithful friend and I raced to get pumps for ourselves, a blur I remember nothing of but of which I am told. When the fire reached its height, we brought relief one bucket at a time. I remember little but the feeling of pouring drink after drink down my own throat, and the bitter taste of guilt that that fresh memory brought to my mind. Until the kids had got out alive and all accounted for would I fall over where I stood, before waking up surrounded by vaguely familiar strangers,

My head felt as if ready to burst and my stomach was inside out. But there was no rest for the wicked to be had that day. Soon, I would return to the land of my birth, and though I felt like death on a living stick, nothing could have made me happier.

Several months passed as I waited for a new typewriter--the one I brought with me on vacation being nothing more than charred ash and a battery of short sad memories without release, a reflection of its owner's soul.

I tried to communicate my new feelings to Her upon my return, but found there being little she would understand. She looked at me with disgust. I kissed her lips with a smack the first opportunity I got, knocking from its pedestal into the garbage any residual of one night's drunken musings.

There was no way I was waiting any longer than I had to to use it on the day it arrived. I almost bit the bald boy just for looking at it! I ran to my red house, climbed on, fed in a sheet of blank paper and sat down. It was then that I remembered what I thought I had discovered that night in the French Riviera. I stared at the page and pictured her. I thought of the word love, just four letters. I typed them all in order, then backwards once, just to see if I missed anything.

I tore the sheet from the typewriter and gave it to the wind, but not before typing 'it was a dark and stormy night' on the bottom of the mostly blank page, alone with an emotion that was only of its time. I felt the need to drink several more times in my day, but none as strong-pulling as right after that. I was in envy of oblivion as my little bird friend told me about the details that I missed

I looked at my fresh new sheet of blank paper and sighed for the love of my enemies. I typed the only words that might have a chance of filling the hollow deep inside my chest. They were the only words I ever loved.

Sheila said...

We all negotiate.... then we reach a compromise