It is September 11th. I am thinking about gratefulness. I am thinking of one of my favourite books, Safran Foer’s Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which makes me cry every time I read it, which has the following beautiful words:

“Well, what I don’t get is why do we exist? I don’t mean how, but why.” I watched the fireflies of his thoughts orbit his head. He said, “We exist because we exist…We could imagine all sorts of universes unlike this one, but this is the one that happened.” (13)

“I have no need for the past, I thought, like a child. I did not consider that the past might have a need for me.” (78)

“Humans are the only animal that blushes, laughs, has religion, wages war, and kisses with lips. So in a way, the more you kiss with lips, the more human you are.” (99)

“So many people enter and leave your life! Hundreds of thousands of people! You have to keep the door open so they can come in! But it also means you have to let them go!” (153)

“She let out a laugh, and then she put her hand over her mouth, like she was angry at herself for forgetting her sadness.” (255)

“I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that the vast majority of the universe is composed of dark matter. The fragile balance depends on things we’ll never be able to see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Life itself depends on them. What’s real? What isn’t real? Maybe those aren’t the right questions to be asking. What does life depend on? I wish I had made things for life to depend on. What if you never stop inventing? Maybe you’re not inventing at all.” (305)

I am thinking how, to be happy, one must learn how to be sad.

“What about little microphones? What if everyone swallowed them, and they played the sounds of our hearts through little speakers, which could be in the pouches of our overalls? When you skateboarded down the street at night you could hear everyone’s heartbeat, and they could hear yours, sort of like sonar. One weird thing is, I wonder if everyone’s hearts would start to beat at the same time, like how women who live together have their menstrual periods at the same time, which I know about, but don’t really want to know about. That would be so weird, except that the place in the hospital where babies are born would sound like a crystal chandelier in a houseboat, because the babies wouldn’t have had time to match up their heartbeats yet. And at the finish line at the end of the New York City Marathon it would sound like war.”

I am thinking of this poem:

The Guest House
Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

And this, from the same book, because one should never forget:

“I never confused what I had with what I was.”

I am thinking of myself. I am thinking of you. I am thinking of everyone I have ever loved. I am thinking of the world. The universe.

Still sick, so I canceled my plans. I don’t feel like seeing people anyhow, because of what happened yesterday. I think I will go lie down and bury my head under a sea of pillows. Dream, maybe. Letting this poem lull me to sleep:

Last night you left me and slept
Rumi

Last night you left me and slept
your own deep sleep. Tonight you turn
and turn. I say,
‘You and I will be together
till the universe dissolves.’
You mumble back things you thought of
when you were drunk.

Because it will always be true, in this life or the next:

“When I have you…”
Rumi

When I have you, the passions of love make me stay awake;
When you are not with me, I cannot sleep—I moan, I ache;
I’m awake the night you stay with me and the night you don’t—
But how those two nights are worlds apart, look, for heaven’s sake.

Nina Simone and the night. This poem.

Spring Giddiness
Rumi

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don’t open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let’s buy it.

Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?
All day and night, music,
a quiet, bright
reedsong. If it
fades, we fade.