Dear Church of the Holy Abstraction:
I walked to the bus, listening to the low-pitch glitches of Naktingalų Giesmės by The Picturesque Episodes and the hive-buzz in my head was: extremes, extremists, extremities, too extreme, to the extreme, to the max, everything in moderation, the spirit not the letter of laws, are letters extreme–are these letters to you extreme?
Am I, in all of this, just another sour-mouth whining about some kind of ambiguous, floating hurt that I’ve pinned to your vestments so that you can carry the weight? I hope not, and I’m certainly not meaning to project my own issues onto you. If I have a purple heart, it’s less a symbol of survival, and more of a bruising I create and irritate with my own battering. Batter my heart, three-person’d God, said Donne. Perhaps if God could get a punch in, edgewise.
But, look at what I just did: I reduced it to a question of your fault/my fault, setting up one extreme and another. And that’s never what I set out to do. Instead, I have friends send emails with passive-aggressive statements that seem to take every opportunity to tell me that your buildings aren’t all bad. Did I say they were? Because I recognize dissonance, and in fact, have felt the trembling weight of this tension, does that make me anti? Would I be talking to you so obsessively if this was the case?
I want you to be invisible because that’s what you have always been. It is reductive and pulp-brained of me to think otherwise. To set up doctrines, manipulate molten silica into stained glass, carve an apse, hand out bulletins–everything you’ve done is subject to the recursive unraveling of time. We fray, and so we return to the knot. Why does this sound extremist and cynical (that word again)? Every knot is not a noose–to recognize the fray is to acknowledge being unmoored. It is the opposite of ambiguous floating. Really–it’s ok to decay.
I have felt the pressure externally and internally to balance things and write you a love letter. All I can tell you is that there are now twelve of them, and so yes, I am bruised when others suggest otherwise. The guilt I live with is my own frail laudanum, and I admit that its milky haze of maudlin is addicting. But I will continue to resist the temptation to acquiesce to the dominant narrative that tells me I have to apologize every time I say that something hurts.
If you, any of you, read this, and experience any other emotion than a knee-jerk defense, then we have become at least two, and I still believe in when-two-or-more-are-gathered. At the end of it all, I simply want to be rendered invisible by that great cloud.