The Monk’s Insomnia by Denis Johnson
The Monk’s Insomnia
The monastery is quiet. Seconal
drifts down upon it from the moon.
I can see the lights
of the city I came from,
can remember how a boy sets out
like something thrown from the furnace
of a star. In the conflagration of memory
my people sit on green benches in the park,
terrified, evil, broken by love—
to sit with them inside that invisible fire
of hours day after day while the shadow of the milk
billboard crawled across the street
seemed impossible, but how
was it different from here,
where they have one day they play over
and over as if they think
it is our favorite, and we stay
for our natural lives,
a phrase that conjures up the sun’s
dark ash adrift after ten billion years
of unconsolable burning? Brother Thomas’
schoolgirl obsession with the cheap
doings of TV starlets breaks
everybody’s heart, and the yellow sap
of one particular race of cactus grows
tragic for the fascination in which
it imprisons Brother Toby—I can’t witness
his slavering and relating how it can be changed
into some unprecedented kind of plastic—
and the monastery refuses
to say where it is taking us. At night
we hear the trainers from the base
down there, and see them blotting out the stars,
and I stand on the hill and listen, bone-white with desire.
It was love that sent me on the journey,
love that called me home. But it’s terror
of being just one person—one chance, one set of days—
that keeps me absolutely still and makes me listen
intently to those young men above us
flying in their airplanes in the dark.
By Pamela Ross
Sunday, June 21, 2015
I don’t think you need a muse.
Some of us look to fairy godmothers
to wave a wand
and turn star stuff into words.
You sit in your own little corner,
sweeping soot and dust
magic into manuscript,
dreams into books.
Source: MORNINGSTAR: GROWING UP WITH BOOKS by Ann Hood & Giveaway
https://writeoncindy.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/morningstar-growing-up-with-books-by-ann-hood-giveaway/ via @CindyRoesel
I would have posted a comment without incentive. She had me at “Ann Hood.”
However, make me an offer I can’t refuse. I’ll take that book and give it a good home.
I suspect “Growing Up” and “Books” are intertwined facets of my life.
One side of the street could not exist without the other.
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.”– JAMES BALDWIN
The more you read, the less alone you think you are. The more you read, the less alone you truly are.
What have I been telling myself for years and years and years?
“A society must assume that it is stable, but the artist must know, and he must let us know, that there is nothing stable under heaven.”