Monday, June 15, 2015
I can't go on
Every once in awhile I have to watch James Brown's 1964 TAMI show performance. It restores something in me. And it reminds me of writing here my short, daily essays.
There's James Brown, with his small, wonderful dance moves, his passionate voice, his delightful backup dance trio, only in step when they want to be, and his marvelous band. He sings his heart out for us, going to some place of deep and primal feeling until it's all too much. He breaks down on stage, the ruin of a man. They have to wrap him in a towel, escort him trembling, exhausted from the microphone. Too much emotion has destroyed him. He quivers from the music and beat, while, like the old man he will never be, he is lead away. But no! He can't go! He finds some hidden strength. He throws off his helpers, his towel, his brokenness. He returns to the microphone to tell us how it is, crying out in a ferocious yowl of feeling and pain. How brave. How beautiful. But it is too much again. He breaks down one more time. They come for him, this shell, this ruined lover. They wrap him in the towel and lead him doddering until he finds some deep reserve of strength. Until the music is too much and he returns to the microphone. And again. And again.
It's really something. Such theater! And I think of it all the time these days. I think of it when I am wondering how on earth can I write another blog post. Haven't I poured out my heart for you, you wonderful twelve readers (ah, eleven now, one of you could not bear the flattery) until there can't possibly be anything left of me. Writing visions from the gods has destroyed me. It is too much for my mortal coil, for my mere flesh to bear. I have written down to the bottom of my soul and scraped until whatever I gave was all full of blood. My resilience is taken to the edge of ash by my great burning. There is nothing left for me but a quiet chair in a garden, delicate, with the birds, the sky, a simple life. Art has stolen my essence and I have no more to give. Help me off the stage of this clerkmanifesto. This desperate venture over, I tremble with the cold and the hot and the weakness of it all. Wrap me in a blanket. Help me away. It is over. Over.
And yet, wait, wait, I must tell you. I cannot go. Not yet. But I can't. But I must. Let me say this. I have to say this. This is the most important thing I can say. This is the most important thing, in all your roaming of all literature and religion anywhere that you will ever read. Who else will ever tell you? There is no one else. I must go on.