Thursday, September 04, 2008

He was named after an angel. By making beauty, he came closer to living up to his name than most of us can.

It is easier to talk about Michelangelo than to be Michelangelo.

If my faith were true, how would that look expressed in beauty? Michelangelo answered with the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

It is impossible to be Michelangelo, but you can be in the same general game as Michelangelo, willing to work with the talent you have, to work awkwardly at something odd and scrunched up like painting a ceiling and getting paint and plaster on your face if that's what it takes to make your best attempt at letting the world have the beauty you know.

Would I get my face wet for beauty? "Do I dare to eat a peach?"

The peach question is asked in "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," which is largely about being bored in an office job. About being respectable and feeling trapped in respectability. "I have measure by life with coffee spoons."

The days arrive and leave.The process doesn't feel good. "When the evening is spread across the sky like a patient etherized upon a table."

With every day that is lived by rote, a different person he could have been dies a little more, numbness becomes a death of possibility.

After sunset, he might go to a party intellectual but not alive feeling. "In the rooms the women come and go, talking of Michelangelo."

But maybe he could connect with one of the women and eat a peach or something like that in a way makes beauty for them both.

Seven lines after the peach question, things get even wetter.

"We have lingered in the chambres of the sea
By sea girls wreathed with sea weed, red and brown
Til human voices wake us and we drown."

Lost in pleasure, lost in beauty, lost in creativity, making a world more alive than the one measure with coffee spoons--and interupted by other humans not in a transforming mood.

". . .human voices wake us and we drown."

Clunk, awakened, we fall back into long, dull days and poisoned sunsets, other possibilies drowned.

Or, lost in an aliveness unusual in our lives, we are startled by the voices of people who are being as rote as we usually are.

We decide to immerse ourselves in that other way of living we've been visiting, "and we drown."

Or we become mermaids, learn to become mermaids, awkwardly, then gracefully.

"Do I dare disturb the universe?" Do I dare disturb my universe?

--All quotes by T. S. Eliot't "the love song of J. Alfred Prufrock"