Saturday, April 23, 2005

I woke up at five this morning without too much trouble. These are the only times I clearly ever remember waking up at this hour, trips out of town, an early morning flight, a road trip, or in the case this morning, a train to Connecticut to attend the mass for Paul. These early morning trips have conditioned me to get excited, filled with anticipation of both a trip and a destination, that things will be seen, felt. This morning getting ready, I had the same vaguely formed thoughts of setting out on a journey. I came across the concept of psychogeography the other day and thoughts vaguely related to what I understand this concept to be materialized in my head and vanished just as quickly as Jamie and I rode through a gray morning, passing trees and houses that looked very specific to their place, to this day.

Before we went into the church, I got really nervous because this was it and I had a gigantic cup of coffee that had my nerves on edge and my stomach in turmoil. We sat in a pew about halfway back right before the service started. The wooden coffin was carried in and I could feel my leg shaking against the pew behind me. I couldn't control it. My legs were shivering and there was this wooden coffin, so large seeming, there was Paul inside it coming down the aisle. The mass of the thing, the physical presence, longness and broadness of it affected me so much. The main parts of the mass were said in Polish which allowed my thoughts to wander and take their own route sans verbal guidance from the priest, thinking about Jesus, Emerson, and Whitman and things they have said. Brian gave a nice tribute that I realized is what I needed, what I perhaps would have benefited from had it been an entirely English mass. Words do it for me like not much else is capable of in this world and hearing him tell stories about Paul made the thing that much more real. My eyes were watering which never happens and the coffee and the nervousness and the thoughts about life and the absence of it lifted my stomach right to the back of my throat. It was a physical pain brought on by mental exhaustion brought on by listening to Brian's words.

And after the mass on the train ride back home, I remembered vague digressions by John Moore on the role of catharsis in drama and what Aristotle said about it. That we are cleansed by this catharsis, this emotional exhaustion, where we don't know whether to laugh or cry, have been so exhausted and we let those feelings out. It felt good afterward and I think this is why, that there were thoughts that needed to be thought, things that needed to be mourned and I allowed myself to do that. I feel really good after I exercise and this was a not all too distinct feeling, this emotional exercise. We passed over rivers. We sat in the obsolete dining car. There was a bar no longer in use that reminded me of Tom Burr's "Blackout Bar." There are ghosts and whispers about what change means in a non-functioning bar on an overcrowded train passing through the gray rainy morning. But there were kids in our car who whispered stronger things to me. It's a game of telephone, the whispers are always changing, the message is. This or that person is a jerk. To a large extent, you are hearing, I am, we are - what we want to hear.

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