It’s been said that a poet’s job is to listen to the small talk of infinity. If so, tonight the language is harsh and troubled. Sheets of rain lash against a million windows. Bells clang in the distance. Rising up on every side, a wandering storm settles around the Hotel for a long night’s siege.
I find myself in a deserted hallway – apparently the next stop on my journey through the warren of Rabbit Holes that burrow below the Hotel’s surfaces. I’ve stopped asking why this is happening and cling to one assumption. The Hotel is an ancient creation with layers and layers of uncharted depths. For some unknown reason, I have been set adrift in this secret world to bear witness.
I love this strange, battered and beautiful place. I love its poetry and grit and wildness. Recently, I’m consumed by its struggles – the constant abuse and neglect…the infestations of hate and fear that corrupt the dignity of its space…and the souls who dwell here.
I’m usually drawn to the people and their stories. This time I’m pulled down deeper…below the fears and angers, below kindness and courage to a vast invisible current that has no destination, no time or place…but simply is: More question than answer. Neither safe nor necessarily comforting…but real and unflinchingly honest. It can have labels that give it authority – that make it friend or foe, spiritual or scientific. But in the end, it is simply The Mystery, the most profound relationship I will ever know.
As I continue my walkabout, I’m struck newly by the quiet sadness in the Guest’s eyes…the culture of loneliness and its casualties: the desire to be open, to look deeper…lost in the grind of another day.
Somehow, while journalling this to you, I have ended up in the Hotel Ballroom. Awash in music, lit by glittering chandeliers, couples dressed in pastel gowns and dark suits glide in slow circles – giving this brightly lit moment a time-out for hope and love.
While I embrace this, my gaze drifts up to the high windows that frame the thrashing storm, the tendrils of thunder and lightning that make the building tremble and lights flicker.
So I continue to listen to the small talk of infinity, bear witness and report back. In truth, it’s all I know how to do.