Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Prose Poems, Ramblings, & Mala Beads


Prayer is nothing but poetry that achieves the destruction of its reciter.*

...Matt Remski thinks a helluva lot about mālā beads...hell, he thinks a helluva lot about a whole lotta stuff...but mālā beads more than most...,turns out he’s a recovering Catholic...redeemed through pain, not through joy, as Jim Carroll put it...as well as rehabilitating himself from various more coercive forms of Buddhism and yoga...and has written down some of those thoughts in a thin volume called, with nods to Baudelaire as well as a number of spiritual traditions, Rosary {or les fleurs du mālā}...

Having been possessed by Jesus, Mary, Buddha, Kṛṣṇa, rage, the destruction of idols, the empty dawn, so many books, the weight of my love’s foot upon mine, I wonder: what rosary could string these holy crises together?

...honestly, was a bit leery about it, at first...coming from a liberal and largely secular Quaker background, ceremony, spiritual hierarchies, sacred objects, and incantations have always struck me as suspect...at best....even if that didn’t prevent me from buying a beaded necklace or two at a roadside stand in the Navajo Nation on the way to the Grand Canyon at nineteen...(always figured wearing beads was like long hair without the long hair...and combined with long hair?...the 80’s neo-hippie girls at Grateful Dead shows were gonna hafta wanna share their Indian blankets with me)...(but they didn’t)...(so much for the power o’ fuckin’ beads)...

A double helix can be formed by twining a rosary and a mālā together. It seems to be in the nature of the human genome to blur the boundaries between east and west.

...later, much later, three and a half years ago, having gotten into the yoga thing...if never, like Remski, the whole appropriated-Hinduism-with-a-paternalistic-guru thing...while doing teacher training at Kripalu, was given mālā** beads in a highly ceremonial fashion...and learned a mantra to recite with them... Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya...and recited it...a lot, in fact...if never quite figuring out what it meant for me...felt, at least, that it tied me, in a sense, as if on a string, to the people with whom I’d spent that very special month.....(wore it every day until a night-time pool party that summer, when I took it off when changing into a bathing suit...and, later, while a buncha of drunken hipsters were doing the kinds of tricks in the pool any responsible adult would’ve yelled at them to get out of the pool for if they’d been kids, deciding I didn’t really want to be there at that horrible second when bacchanalian revelry turned to blood on the edge of the pool and drunken tears and ambulance sirens, took off)...(though, as it turned out, nobody got hurt)...(and I never saw my beads again)......

...the mālā is a non-denominational tool possessing enormous flexibility and power because it is symbolically void. It can hold and accelerate and multiply the power of countless aphorisms, deities, or seed syllables issuing from thousands of contrasting streams of Eastern rhapsody.

...been poring through the book over the past week or two while simultaneously re-reading Kurt Vonnegut, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Manuel Puig, making yet another valiant effort at getting all the way through Sprach Zarathustra, drinking beer, and waiting none-too-patiently for amazon.com to finally deliver my copy of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage...making Remski, perhaps, a bead in a mālā already containing Fitzgerald, Vonnegut, Puig, Nietzsche, beer, the internet, and Murakami...better him than me...

Baby’s first rosary consists of two felt balls attached to the ends of a length of twine. He dangles it over the cat, prefiguring how he himself will be teased by beautiful ideas.

...stylistically, I’m kinda doing a really lazy approximation of what Remski does, here...along with my usual thing...y’know, the rambling and ellipses n’ all that...which, let’s face it, is also pretty lazy and self-indulgent, too....hell, I’m a yoga blogger...making a claim to uniqueness by, just now and then, doing something other than complaining about how everybody else is doing it wrong...(though, yeah, there were a couple pretty snarky remarks up there...if not nearly as bad as the ones I deleted)...(kinda like my own little anti-guru bead)...(see what I did there?)...

True maturity might involve making a mālā with no guru bead. No bead more important than any other. No bead that conceals the beginning and end of the string.
 
...the book is itself self-consciously fashioned as a kind of mālā...incorporating poetry and prose, prose-poetry, math and numerology, sex and violence, mysticism and neuroanatomy, child- and fatherhood, the earthy and the ethereal, earnest and joke, as well as the various liminal spaces Remski would no doubt call the string connecting all of these....sometimes, quite honestly, I don’t know what the hell he’s talking about...but that’s not a bad thing...nor is it apart from the book’s overall intent and theme, as I understand it....which involves expanding rather than contracting meaning...to set already-overloaded signifiers and the thin strings that bind them free...without breaking........(I think)...

(Zero is a perfect bead, into which all calculation and meaning disappears)

 

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* all quotations (in italics, set apart from the rambling, are from Remski’s book, unless otherwise attributed) (I also stole the lovely pic at the top from his website)

** can I tell ya what a pain in the butt it is quoting Matthew Remski with all his fancy schmancy letter symbols? So, I'm gonna write mālā in just that way, with the pretentious little lines over the a's every chance I get...

1 comment:

Marianne Kearns said...

Faulkner is a mortal, dude; Jesus Christ aint. You seem like a demoKKKrat. Wiseabove to Jesus. Would J do abortion when this KKKuntry has the blood of the unborn cranium deep, as the ol J followed the strict Will of His Father??? Does this make any sense unto thee, my good and worthy liege? Or shalt thou delete it and call this sinfull mortal a kook? Everything depends on our final hour, dude: what we have accomplished in our existence finite. Precisely where you and I shall travel for E T E R N I T Y.

So, it doesn't matter a whole lot if you delete this, sir; I know I have given YOU info on how to wiseabove and live the life God has planned for U.S. ...yet, you chose to delete this and focus on the 'Satan-lies-like-a-Persian-rug' whorizontal.

'Nuff sed. Decide NOW.
God bless you.