|Detail of a stained glass window depicting Saint Kieran|
(St. Brendan's Church, Ireland - Photography by Andreas F. Borchert)
Strangely familiar to the origin stories for Buddha, I first read about this aspect of Irish history in Joseph Campbell's Occidental Mythology. Reflecting, I see similarities to Mexico's Virgin de Guadalupe, who was seen in a vision (see also my post: The Imperial Ethereality of the Christian Cross), to incite the mask of christian history over the indigenous face. I wonder, was the story more brutal, covered up by fables of dream and superstition, to align with dominant perspectives on native irrationality.
In the penthouse suite version of my tiny apartment, I cavort around the fine art, baby grand piano, clear glass tables and impeccable wood floors with my mother. She is youthful and gay, enjoying the space with matchless ardor. As I look into her face, I begin to call out for my wife. “Where is she?” I ask pleadingly. Strangely, the stars shine clearly outside, entering our dimly lit space through the window. We are high above the smog and pollution, high above the human world of earthly obligation.
As I step down, to visit my grandparents in their New York home, I wait, fixed in place within the center of a foyer condensed by the continuous movement of relatives up and down the stairs. The air is heavy. I embrace each family member longingly, and with a strength characteristic of my waking need. Our grandfather is dying.
|Interior by William Gerard Barry|
Later that night, my wife and I decide to cross a high river. Our kayaks soon tip in the rushing torrent, flooded with murky water. We swim earnestly to the edge, where my wife quits on me as I gather strength enough to submerge in a second-hand craft to retrieve one of our vessels caught in the shoreline brush. Sitting in a sinking vessel, with only a dilapidated, half-worn paddle, a family of ducks begins attacking with an incessant hunger for my pruned, sore fingers.
_______Where am I falling?
Who do I call?
I have fallen, I am getting small.
- excerpt from "I Have Fallen"