It’s Gotta Mean Something…

by papalpigeon


 photo: mom

“America, how can I write a litany in your silly mood? After all, it is you and I who are perfect, not the next world. I won’t say the Lord’s Prayer. America, I can’t stand my own mind.”

Is this all right? This is the impression I get when I’m left with nothing to do but to drunkenly struggle about the city, seeking to avoid the stagnant hours before the sunrise- the most depressing hours for an insomniac. In times such as these, I take a swig from my flask and recite my favorite line from Walden “We must learn to reawaken ourselves, not by mechanical aid- but by the infinite expectation of the dawn.” My goal is to get drunk and find God. If I can find a nice streetlamp to provide a clean earnestly lighted place, I believe I might be able to stave off my depression- and if I can meet the dawn of a new day with a smile and a knowing nod, I’ll win the battle when it all comes down to it in the end.

I walk home past the small white church on the corner of H & 18th street as the glow of a new day begins while most are sound asleep. The church is an anomolie amidst the city. Only three stories tall and dwarfed by yet another office building, nothing is sacred. The only ones that are up at this hour loathe the fact they were dragged out of bed so damn early- no one appreciates it. As the sun begins to peek into this world, it seems to me as though it’s balanced atop the tight-rope of the horizon- moving so slowly one wouldn’t be remiss to think for a second that the sun might just falter and lose the great battle with gravity and be sucked from it’s rise to the heavens back to the depths of Hell. And when the sun does rise; by Gods will, by magic, or by science- the entire world becomes an earnestly lighted place and there is nowhere to hide from the walls of our depression caving in on us. Our hearts beat, our minds race, but this depression lasts and it deafens.

I look at the small white church again; hoping, perhaps, the residual glow of yesterday’s holy litanies might seep from the painted bricks into my soul and God might save me. The sun also rises and a succinct line of light and dark crept up 18th street, separating us from the Presidential Parthenon just two blocks away. In a short time the light illuminated the side of the church and for the first time the broken stained glass windows and their remnants around the church become visible.  Amongst the shards of glass in a shallow inlet, where  thirty stories of steel, rebar, and floor-to-ceiling windows met the white painted brick of the church at an obtuse angle, thereby painting the perfect metaphor for the ever dwarfing role of God in this world–  lost in the immensity of it, was a man; sittingcross-legged in America’s axilla. Upon further inspection, i noticed it was no ordinary man, but a Buddhist Monk warming his face to the rising sun. A placid demeanor glowed about him, flowing as his silken robes schemed in red and gold. I sat beside him, eager for him to teach me what I can become. For two hours we sat in silence- even as the rats took to their streets in droves, wanting not to be late for work. Amidst the hustle and the bustle my eyes shifted from the great star to the frail wrist of the monk. On it, sat a golden Rolex.

“I thought one of the central facets of Buddhism was denouncing all worldly possessions?” I asked him.

“Even a monk can’t escape punctuality in this world.”