"Letter" January 1998
I am not acquainted with anyone there,
if they spoke to me
I would not know what to do.
But so far nobody has, I know
I certainly wouldn't.
I don't participate, I'm not allowed;
I just listen, and every morning
have a moment of such happiness, I breathe
and breathe until the terror returns. About the time
when they are supposed to greet one another
two people actually look into each other's eyes
and hold hands a moment, but
the church is so big and the few who are there
are seated far apart. So this presents no real problem.
I keep my eyes fixed on the great naked corpse, the vertical corpse
who is said to be love
and who spoke the world
into being, before coming here
to be tortured and executed by it.
I don't know what I am doing there. I do notice the more I lose touch
with what I previously saw as my life
the more real my spot in the dark winter pew becomes—it is infinite. What we experience
as space, the sky
that is, the sun, the stars
is intimate and rather small by comparison.
When I step outside the ugliness is so shattering
it has become dear to me, like a retarded
child, precious to me.
If only I could tell someone.
The humiliation I go through
when I think of my past
can only be described as grace.
We are created by being destroyed.
..and now.. you know the rest of the story. I listened to Franz read this piece during an interview on NPR one day, and those last few lines made me want to pull over on the side of the road and put my head in my hands and cry. Those last six words continue to ring in my head and there isn't a day which passes that they don't cross my mind or my lips- albeit silently- to myself like a prayer or a national anthem where your voice is silent but your mouth wants people to think otherwise. As with the poisonous chemotherapy which my dear father is enduring these days as he fights the cancers in his body, so too does the phrase apply to the sport I love, in which stressing and breaking down the body systems causes adaptations which make them stronger and better. So I applied these words to my two blogs, and to the new uniforms of my bike racing team- on the back of the collar. It's hard to make out, but you can see it here, bottom center. To listen or read exerpts of the show which I believe I caught on NPR that day.. click here.