I used to be the most skeptic and cynical son of a bitch. That is, till yesterday. Till yesterday I saw religion as a guise or a costume just like the costumes we use on stage.
But yesterday, floating on (or in), or (dare I say) above the Dead Sea, I had an insight. My arms extended to infinity and so did my feet. My eyes were sore from the salt water but I had a clear view of the hazy sky, 422 meters below sea level.
What can I say? Will my friends laugh me out? Who cares! Arms and feet extended, I was “drawn” upwards, while covered in mud and itching all over.
What can I say?
Upon returning to the King David Hotel, I threw up all the food and liquid I’d taken in and was up all night dehydrating. The toilet and its vicinity were one big tahini mess.
No, no self help texts, no help anything texts. However, one thing is for sure: Jerusalem has powers beyond ones control. I’m emotional about things that may seem so silly to someone who has practiced atheism for so long:
Fear not! I’m not converting you.
Actually, I wouldn’t know what to convert you into. A radical Jew? I mean, orthodox or Hassidic vine leaf? Or a Franciscan monk or priest or a cup of Nespresso or Illy Cappucino? Or a devout Muslim or…What? What exactly would I try to convert you into? A new Moses, perhaps, stuttering all the way out of his basked or coming down from the Mount Sinai (hospital) in tears whilst looking at what his brother was producing on Madison Avenue, all this “theatrical mess” down here, around Jaffa or Haifa or , even, in Egypt.
No, not today . No more fun with words. This is getting serious and my respect for the light has erupted like hives on my skin. From now on it’s all a matter of who believes in what and I respect that, no matter what the ceremonial platter and protocol may be.
Heads covered by scarves or balding heads, shaven like ravens, I simply look at them all as pilgrims looking for their lost ones and clinging on like Klinghoffer. No different than your usual suit and tie. No different.
Half of me is gone, GONE, finished, evaporated. The other half is growing again or will grow again, someday somehow.
How, I do not know.
I’m in a daze and, to be quite frank, don’t even know how these words are coming out of these half numbed finger tips, still brown (this time from the hard core Turkish coffee I drink non stop from date to date, honey to honey, figs to figs, nuts to nuts and ashes to ashes. That’s how I’ll end up, next to Schindler’s tomb hoping that my epitaph will read something like: “That was it?”.
I’m faintly dead on the ground looking up and thinking: “am I still thinking?” Have I turned into Bill Clinton? Paulo Coelho? Amy Wine Winehouse?
Ok. Done. Jerusalem, you’ve institutionalized me. You’ve driven the sane one out and have given full power of attorney to the madman.
INRI and garlic were the sounds or words I heard involuntarily thru the night. INRI, of course. Garlic, can’t stand it.
Yet, I still smell of sulfur. Of course, that is the smell which seems to be expelled by my skin or my organism because of the salt and the mud. Suddenly I was a Dead Being, saying dead things, a walking Tibetan Book of the dead floating above the Dead Sea or the Red Sea or the Jordan River.
Hello everyone. Here I am: the Brazil nut in human form. Enrollment next door at a very dicey price. The club, of course, is extremely exclusive!!!! You all know what I mean.
Jerusalem, May 15, 2012