Songs for Chasms, Saints and Sinners

Sleeping Venus
Sleeping Venus, by Giorgione and/or Titian. 1510

There is always a gap, a canyon, an endless space between what we want and what we attain, and that’s by evolutionary design. It also can make for great poetry, literature, music, and art. Deathless prose. Immortal landscapes. Notes that reach stars and permeate them. It’s at the heart of metaphor, perhaps its very cause. Ruptures, craters, schisms and riffs are what keep us at it, relentlessly charging ahead, with the biological imperative to pass on our genes to the next and the next. We’ve been doing this for at least 3.5 billion years. Perhaps as long as 4.5 billion.

The object of our love, desire, and lust compels us to reproduce, re-enact the Grand Play of plays. This spins out through time and space, on singular and plural plains of Being. Spins out. Smashes against. Rising and falling, again and again, until we breathe our last.

Look around. Think about what you have. All you have. And think how often you ignore it once you get it. Think about how its former centrality, its utter necessity, obsessed you, drove you nearly mad. But now you couldn’t . . . care . . . less!

The best moment of love is when the lover leaves in the taxi.

— Michel Foucault

Our mind creates bridges of desire, then torches them once we cross. And if we live long enough, it recreates that desire as echo, as memory of memories, with new colors, new sounds and smells and feelings that we impose. Layers of illusions that double those bridges. Re-tracings of pathways we never actually took. Tracking back over ground and haunted words that never existed. Everyone is a poet, an artist, a dreamer of metaphors to some extent.

The role of biology in this doesn’t diminish our creative bursts, our heart-paintings, our love-chants. It grounds them in permanence so they can be fleeting, forever. Next to the flow of life from star to star, this ground is our greatest gift.


Songs for Chasms, Saints and Sinners
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