01 May 2013
the plight of eric carmen (is the plight of all of us).
You probably imagined you were safe from Biblical passages, nestled as you were against the warm, nourishing teat of this blog, but even your mother's milk can be poisonous. Don't become complacent in the world, friends. It doesn't belong to you, after all. It's not a trained dog that heels or a museum exhibit or a television episode.
I hate to glorify my own neuroses and to regard them as something less than ordinary, but I want to tell you that yesterday evening I was accosted by the realization that I was entirely alone in the world.
Now don't send out the suicide watch or the men in white jumpsuits just yet. While our aloneness in the universe may not be terribly comforting, it's liberating too—and empowering.
What would happen if everyone you loved or depended upon—either for their support or for their mere presence—disappeared, died, went away? What would be left of you? You'd be sad, of course, but would you ever recover? Is there anything within you that would continue to exist without a world to see you and validate your existence? What I'm asking you, in a manner of speaking, is whether you actually exist or whether you're only a carcass—a scrap of dead meat that's only borrowed and fed off the lives of others around you?
Remembering my aloneness—which wasn't completely a negative feeling—reminded me of a 'song' by Diamanda Galás' called 'Deliver Me from Mine Enemies' which quotes liberally from the Bible, particularly Psalm 22. I don't believe in god, but I think that's what makes the silence that answers this passage all the more chilling—and the misplaced trust in the mercy of fate all the more poignant.
My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from saving me,
so far from my cries of anguish?
My god, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
By night, but I find no rest.
Yet you are enthroned as the holy one;
You are the one Israel praises.
In you, our ancestors put their trust;
They trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried out and were saved;
In you they trusted and were not put to shame.
But I am a worm and not a man,
Scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
All who see me mock me;
They hurl insults, shaking their heads;
'He trusts in the Lord,' they say,
'Let the Lord rescue him.
Let the Lord deliver him
Since he delights in him.'
Yet you brought me out of the womb;
You made me trust in you, even at my mother's breast.
From birth I was cast upon you;
From my mother's womb you have been my god.
Do not be far from me,
For trouble is near
And there is no one to help.
Many bulls surround me;
Strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
Roaring lions that tear their prey
Open their mouths wide against me.
I am poured out like water,
And all my bones are out of joint.
My heart has turned to wax;
It has melted within me.
My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
And my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
You lay me in the dust of death.