Wednesday, March 9, 2011


My heart, worst of all, has been harnessed by someone I don’t know, disfigured by the night.  I want to roll right in to recovery but I’m planted in all these decorations, these cute little ones burning at my side- reds and silvers alerting how they work.  I’m tangled in them, darkening tulips standing straight.  I’m beginning like them, and not giving up like them, the flames in their reds, the smoke of their blacks that won’t show themselves on the inside.  The black insides that just hide.  I can’t go there unless I intrude, and I can’t do that.  And I don’t want anyone I love looking at the black of my insides- no matter the intrigue- the interior of a tulip is a precious thing.  I echo this morning.  Adoring profiles and skipping directions, leaving nothing but myself behind.  I throw my voice to no one.  No one but the tulips, and I give them my respect.  I skate my love on their drying wrinkles, their depths and dignity, bunched in common with each other.  No, they wouldn’t be as beautiful if they were separate, lost from each other, no they could never hold up such an impression individually.  Sorry to admit.  But it takes each other.  I love them and want them in my heart forever, to not give up on myself.  And I will place them in me as a promise to love myself, and tower with them in their tenderness.  Towards each other. 

Why this?  Why this attraction to the tulips?  Is it the crack of death that’s coming to them?  Are they quivering, standing still?  Neither.  Their grace humiliates me.  Their acceptance haunts me.  They’re not counting their time in their veins and curling edges in their hours of perfection.  Jesus Christ, they don’t even bother to move.  They just turn on their own like delicate paper dreams…a semblance to catch themselves in their crimson age.  There’s nothing displeasing about wintering thoughts and wintering life.  It’s just a song that must end, calling the distance until the distance is near.  And who’s going to hear that song when it’s over?  I am.  And I’ll be the one smiling, hoping to not be humiliated by the strength of silk.

Sitting in this approaching distance, sitting in this water keeping us all alive, it’s a group hug, and these petal cheeks I kiss like the thin skin of my grandfather’s cheeks I remember kissing when I was 8.  Even then I understood what fragility was- the rice paper of his pink face and silvery lips.  I will never forget one of his few words to me, right there in Ja and Je’s kitchen in Shelter Island, that house with the wide spiral staircase and rails to roll that huge boat right into the house from the beach, and those words came with a slow patting of the air, like pushing down a cloud, he said “Doucement.”  He wanted me to be calm.  Shy me.  He wanted to have me slow down in my approach to him- God knows what I was saying to him.  And by telling me “Slowly”, I understood it as “Stop” and it saddened me, right there in the kitchen by the fireplace.  And so what I did was I just turn around.  The purity in his bones, the wonder in his white clothes, he would have never said anything to hurt me, or wilt me, but it did, in my misinterpretation of French.  It’s an interesting thing that now, 30 years later, people who know me well are often telling me to calm down.  Ain’t that something?  Maybe that’s why I admire the tulips so much, calm in their group hug.  Yes, I push my face right in there with them, rattling their peace, and my God, if anyone saw me, but really all I want is to be loved.

E. Kelly's Spiritual Journey on Truth:

"We can only believe in love if we are loving.  We can only believe in kindness if we are kind.  We can only believe in truth if we are truthful.  The tragedy of lying is that we can never believe anyone else."

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