Reimagining God as a lover, a friend, a kind hand to hold. Reimagining God as one who does not punish, but only forgives. That’s what I’m thinking. Up til now, the God of punishment, quick to anger, quick to banish. And the priests have been saying, and the Pope, “you’re going to heaven, stop imagining hell, God forgives, God loves.”
That’s what I’m thinking as I walk down from 59th st bc I have time to kill before the show.
Take 57th across town. I like to walk down 5th. I like to see the gowns in the windows.
Attention drawn by Piaget, by Versace.
Fast fashion abounds elsewhere, where high price tags do not result in quality manufacture, fabric.
Listening, this whole time. Buds in my ears. This podcast I found. This new idea factory, futurism.
Fascinating. Taking charge of our own future. What do we want it to be? How do we define we? Is there a we who is in it together?
Are we we or am I just me, singular, watching the assholes– fine, maybe they’re not assholes– snapping selfies of themselves w Trump Tower in the background. That’s not we, man, that’s no we I can get with.
I walk fast past. I don’t want to walk slow with these people, with their crying children, with their shopping bags, consuming 5th Avenue, consuming the spectacle.
Good God get me past. Cross over.
More slow pokes. Remember an old friend who would scream at the slowies, who would shudder and move aside and let us all pass. And we’d laugh and laugh.
Who am I now? Would I laugh? Would I scream? Would I push past?
Who I am now is hiding out.
I’m not answering calls. I am immersed in my own consciousness, and prospecting ideas of what we could be. If you want to meet up tell me where to be. I can only deal in a physical space.
Snapping pictures, more people, even slower, up a set of stone steps to get around them. What is this place where people congregate?
I looks up. It’s St Patrick’s. That grand cathedral in midtown. So spectacular w pomp and glory. So beautiful and glorious and under construction.
I head on in.
I know what to do. I bless myself with holy water. I genuflect to the altar. I make my way around to the Stations of the Cross. Glory be.
I’ve never been here, it turns out, it is not in my memory. I can’t find relics of it there, old bones of worship buried under decades of books, experiences, good looking men.
The stations of the cross. How he fell, oh how he fell. How his mother watched. That wretched woman. I remember my experience at the Vatican. The memory of the Pieta brings tears to that place behind my eyes. But I damn them, they are dammed, the won’t fall without permission, and I won’t give it.
Mass is starting, and I know all the responses.
I genuflect, I take a seat, I hear the opening pitch: give generously to the two collection baskets, give generously to pay for the ongoing construction of the glorious church.
But I’m saving my cash for the pass-the-hat at the show. And I don’t want to hear the gospels explained in the context of these touring parishioners in midtown. And I already feel the guilt at missing mass at my church this morning, because instead I made waffles and listened to my son reading aloud to me– under duress, but still, he read.
I step out into the glaring gray day, the window of Sacks Fifth Avenue bright and inviting.
I think this: the sons of Abraham. The big three: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. I think of these three altars: Trump Tower, St Pats, Sacks. The three pillars of power that leave all us plebes clambering for access, for approval, for shit to fill our colons with.
All this mess.
I walk south.
I succumb, at Sephora, at the alter of appearances, and get some spritzer for my hair.
I drink at the bar, spritzer for my head.
I’m seeking out by looking inward, toward the universe.
Sorry if I’ve been out of touch.