Sunday, September 2, 2007

flirting with franz kafka

something strange has happened. i almost don't want to talk about it, maybe it's just a mood (so much is!). for the past couple of days i've lost my fear of death. it's always haunted me. a counselor said i was too impressed by death when young.

this re-enforced at 17 when i wandered through the halls of letterman army hospital at the break of dawn, selling the san francisco chronicle to patients as they woke. haunted eyes. burned backs. a captain whose body withered more each morning with cancer (he finally died and his wife told me to stop leaving him papers). six months of this travelling among the ill and dying surely filled me full of ghosts.

of course, i've tried to counter-act this in every way. for example, 'the fine art of flirting.' advice i enjoyed so much i condensed it into poetic passages: maybe they'll give you a chuckle, or at least a wry smile of acknowledgment.

then i've done the opposite, plunged into the fateful world of franz kafka. in santa cruz i adapted 'the metamorphosis of franz kafka' into a theater piece, playing the doomed cockroach myself! with the object of escaping into another realm at the end. (the process of doing the show as crazy and anxiety-ridden as the story.)

well, i do feel a tightness in my stomach. obviously, i haven't escaped the terror altogether. but i've realized i fear the pain of dying, not the simple disappearing. if i accept the latter as a fact, jumping across the pit of physical misery, i land safely in nowhere. and that seems simply a matter of ease.