Thursday, January 21, 2010


GALATEA: Do you think talk can be a form of worship?

PYGMALION: Verily. There can be a certain prodigious density to it. As if one’s destiny could be prognosticated from the dense mass of intertwined hullabaloo we call language. Talking. Telling. Relaying information, useless or not, in whatever mode, musical or abstract or even ineffable, is an ability…okay. Wait. Hold onto my horses here. So. Let us see. Yes. Story. We must have a story to relate. That is first. That goes without saying. Without saying. Ha. So, there you go. There we go. To say without saying. I’m not saying without words. Words are not necessary at all.

GALATEA: We can listen to them. We interpret them. We bring ourselves to them. In the end, aren’t we are all made of words?

PYGMALION: That is unimportant. In beginning there was the word. In the end? It won’t matter. The end will take care of that. The story will not go on. There will be no story. A story will never have existed. We can talk about evening vaguing into night, or shadows melting or dripping down alleyways, or we can open our eyes underwater and try to explain things, like boots splashing rain, like muggers up our sleeves, like a mohair toupee. Music doesn’t take up any space. Its density is too massive to comprehend. Some speak of black holes. Some hold up their natures to mirrors. We must be more specific. Something smells like band aids.

GALATEA: A specific then will have to do. How about the vague sea?

PYGMALION: The sea vagues. It is a bluesy vagues into troubled waters uncharted. Not much. See? We don’t need these things. They are otiose.

GALATEA: Words happen. We can feel them nicking the dulled indigo corners of our thoughts. We need them. We cannot be alive in quite the same way without them.

PYGMALION: Communication is for the birds.

GALATEA: So is love though. You must admit that.

PYGMALION: Of course. So is worship.

GALATEA: But birds cannot worship words. Song? Maybe. But not words.

PYGMALION: Yes. And we do worship words. I am not proposing that we do not. I was speaking of a certain density I believe.

GALATEA: I also do believe you were.

PYGMALION: And this dense mass of communication, this co-called “story” of things, is what I want to poke my tiny holes in.

GALATEA: Poke away.

PYGMALION: So, as we both know, there’s always the danger of becoming too domesticated in one’s adult life, of becoming droll and ordinary. I don’t completely trust people who fall into this sort of thing. Maybe it’s just the routine of boring repetition that keeps them sane. But is that a kind of sanity that should be strived for? I’d hate to think so. People just going through the motions, being the same, waiting for another day to be over, to go home, to eat dinner while watching TV or staring at a computer screen, to walk down the aisles of grocery stores, to go to bed feeling an odd sensation of false contentment, possibly happy…possibly. But what dies inside of one so that “happiness” can exist? Being alive? Could be. And we all dream of white picket fences and two car garages and perfectly manicured lawns and kids pattering around in the den on holidays, and the mailman makes his rounds, and the phone brings empty chatter, and the days go by, complacency rules, and suddenly…well, what is left of one? Words don’t make a difference. Everything is just one more thing to stave of thoughts of what it means to be alive. And, more to the point, to contemplate what it really is to be alive in this manufactured way, to have one’s brains stewed in a dull imprisoning pot of satisfaction. Still, a story must start to be told at some point. The words will come, even apropos of nothing.

GALATEA: So who tells the story?

PYGMALION: A simple soul filled with wind. A concocted nobody. One without much sense. One who does not matter.

GALATEA: So the story goes…?

PYGMALION: Ahem. Well, like this—


I was in this Cathedral praying, and I didn’t really know how to pray. I mean, I’d seen other people pray in like movies and stuff, but I’d never done any of it myself. My dad and mom were atheists. They told me God was dead. I was raised to hate churches. Which is kind of weird because I mostly like churches now. They aren’t too shabby of places to hang out. Anyway, I was sitting down on this pew in this cathedral, and it was real nice in there, like real peaceful, quiet, like you could hear your heartbeat even. There were all these candles burning up at the front and all along the walls. There were a few other people in there, but it was pretty dark, a lot of shadows going on in there, you know, kind of smearing up my looking. The roof was all arched, and the ceiling, it was really high up, like higher than the dome over the baseball stadium. Well, maybe not that high, but it was pretty damn high if you ask me. And also if you ask me it was a good bet better good-looking than that big old white dome where The Twins trot out and play ball. That thing is like all splattered with stains and is more like a thick ugly mayonnaise-colored ceiling, like more like a giant dirty circus tent flapping up there. Or like a huge white garbage bag maybe. But that ceiling at the cathedral, well it was a damn sight more pretty than some stupid dome at a baseball game, a lot more so. And I liked looking up at it. There was a nice way it had of making me feel. A whole lot of runny colors were like spreading out all over it, but in a nice way, a way that was like magnificent even. It made me feel like praying. I guess that’s why they put it there for. So I was sitting there on that wood pew, and there wasn’t anyone too near close to me, and so I was feeling quite alone, quite kind of, well, you know, just separated. Sort of out of the fold of things. It didn’t make me feel bad though. I sometimes get to feeling guilty when I go into churches. Not that I go into them that much anyways, but sometimes I do for whatever reason, like if I’m at a wedding or invited to a funeral or something like that. And most of the times it’s like I don’t really like it so much. I feel like maybe I don’t belong there. Like something awful might happen. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s got something to do with my mom and dad. My dad used to say that the only good Christian was a dead Christian. I guess that made Jesus a pretty good Christian. At least from what I’ve heard. Well, also in that cathedral they had all these paintings and statues and stuff of Jesus dying there on his cross. And of course, you know, his hands are all spread out and his legs are nailed together at the ankles and his face is like looking bad, like he’s going to start drooling blood out, and he’s got that scraggily beard and he looks like real skinny too, like his cheekbones are all poking out and stuff. I’d seen that kind of stuff now and again, on TV or whenever. But now it was like all starting to make some different kind of sense to me. And like I said the light in there was real odd. The windows in the side walls were all giant and long and curved at the top. And they were like all cloudy and colored dark, making the light coming in sort of trickle and fade and loop, and it was like the shadows that light was making were dripping and folding out all over things, and it was strange too because the walls were made of all these like really old gray bricks, like castle walls you see in movies about King Arthur, you know, with moats and all that stuff. I kept looking at the walls, and they were mostly pretty dark of course, except where the candles were, and there were those statues of Jesus on the walls too. But like I was saying, the light coming in through those windows was all loopy and dark and weird, and it made everything feel different in there, a lot different from how most places make you feel. I got to feeling good and spooked after a bit. I almost decided to get up and blow the joint. But I didn’t. I stayed put. I was getting to feel quite strange, but it wasn’t all bad. It was not something I was used to. Kind of like somebody was breathing some new good air into me, like I was being all inflated like a basketball or something. Then I started thinking about how afternoons go by. About how there isn’t really a space that they take up. They just go. And then they’re gone. And you don’t remember what it was that they were exactly. You know that they happened. You remember them. But they’re not really things that you can like put your finger on what it is they are. Like breathing I guess. Like music. Like air. Like when I have those dreams where there is that girl who is like no girl I’ve ever known but is a lot alike all of the girls I’ve ever liked all together. I mean she is a lot of the little things about all those girls all in one girl. Everything about her is like so comfortable and familiar and it’s like I don’t ever want to stop being around her, and everything is so soft and nice and warm about everything. And I never want to wake up when I have those dreams. In the cathedral I was thinking about all of this. I was sitting on the wood pew there, and was kind of hunched over, and had my hands together there on my lap, and my head was nodding forward, and then I thought, ‘Hey, I’m kind of like praying here.’ I mean, I felt like somebody who was praying. I mean, the way I looked sitting there like that. I started to think that I looked like somebody who was praying would look. It was real easy to do. I never knew it would be so easy. So I decided to start praying. And I didn’t really think about what I was doing. I just started praying for this girl, this girl in my dreams who I didn’t know at all, who wasn’t really a girl anyway. She was just a dream. She didn’t take up any space. Well, except in my head I guess. But who can measure that kind of space? So I was sitting there like that, bowing my head down real low, holding my hands real tight together, kind of rocking back and forth with my eyes closed. I thought about this girl. She wasn’t mean at all. She said real nice things to me. When she smiled it was slow and easy and warm, like turning the heater on you when you’re all shivering on a cold night, and it made all the creaking in me go away, like the kind of creaks I get like an old house at night, like when you’re all alone and all you do is worry and get scared. It wasn’t so bad, thinking about her like that. It seemed like I could see her name scratched into the wood of the pew in front of me, like there were all these whittled wood shavings all over, like somebody’d just done it with a pocket knife. But she didn’t even have a name. And I had my eyes closed. There isn’t a way I could tell about it that would make sense. I didn’t even really know what she looked like. In the dreams her face was always kind of cloudy, like a mush of millions of different paint splashes. But it felt like I’d known her forever, like she was some part of me I’d lost a long time ago, or maybe never even had in the first place, but was something I’d been looking for, without even really knowing it, for like my whole entire life. I sat there praying about her. I didn’t know how to pray, but I tried real hard. It seemed really important for some reason. I needed to pray for this girl who wasn’t even real. It was like I was wishing hard for something to come true, but didn’t really have too good of an idea of what that something was. And I wanted to find out what that something was real bad. Like in the worst way. Like I was real desperate and would do anything just to know. And I’d never felt that lost and also kind of found too at the same time. I know how that sounds. But that’s the way it was. It was like the best music ever, but better than that even. And it was all flowing through me, like I said, like being all blown up like an air mattress, but it was like I could never get full no matter how much I was filled. People sometimes talk about their having souls. I never knew what a soul was. I never really wondered. But when I was sitting there in that cathedral like that doing all that praying about that make-believe girl, well, I knew what it was to have a soul. And I knew I had one. It was something that you’d never really think about, but something you just kind of knew in your bones. And the ceiling was so high up there above me, and the walls with the old gray bricks and giant windows in them were all dark, and there were all those candles all over making their little lights, and all those pictures of Jesus, and the shadows were creeping all over the place and stretching out and going long, and I wasn’t thinking that much in the normal ways that I think, but was just sitting there doing all that praying. There wasn’t much else that mattered to me. Everything was just that. And I didn’t even think about God once. But, you know, for the first time ever I think he was thinking about me.