MARGUERITE PORETE

When the soul speaks about God she talks about him 
as if he is a carpet unfurling within her, a spreading that she
will never touch because as it opens she is displaced
she sees by God what she has become but never fully enters
as on full moons I sleep restlessly, waking up every two 
or three hours, like something is trying to burn its way
out or in. But last night it was my own mistake perhaps
not the moon or the heavens, not the celestial movements, 
taking Ashwaganda before bed on the advice of a psychic
who I followed credulously, the powder recommended to me again
as it once was by someone who found sleep difficult 
when I was not around because of the voices whispering
that did not belong to her. Was it the moon? Was it
God? There was always something bubbling up
some revelation that kept whatever complaint or need I had
at bay. Four parts to the prayer that you 
are supposed to say to yourself in the car or in the shower
or in bed or on the street: I’m sorry. Please forgive me. 
Thank you. I love you. As the host explained it works
because these words resonate from millions 
of prior uses, like we are crystals attuned to language’s
past. A bit like drinking the same glass of water 
that was once Caesar’s piss. For twenty-one days
listen to the meditation that followed his eight minute
explanation, which included hierarchical diagrams in which shame 
is at the bottom, next to guilt; anger, surprisingly, in the middle;
enlightenment somewhere among the fleeting emotions
on top. Where is longing? Where is resistance? 
Where is quiet? Where is war? I don’t remember.
But the chart loosely corresponds to the soul’s 
journey towards oblivion, the seventh and final stage
in which God wills all the soul’s will, and which properly 
begins with the soul’s understanding that she is nothing
all of the world’s wickedness, insufficient without
an infinite sufficience. For the final sixteen minutes 
of the twenty-four minute video the meditation:
the host breathlessly racing through the prayer’s
four parts, speaking so quickly it would be impossible
to keep up, though he says you should. Perhaps the speed
he talked was meant to evoke a feeling like the recognition
that nothing you are ever near will ever touch you completely
just like oil and vinegar particles keep their distance 
perfectly in mayonnaise viewed underneath a microscope. 
The first time I took Ashwaganda—once only, 
nine years ago now—I woke up in the middle of the night
gasping from an erotic dream that turned violent
in a bed loaded underneath with a Lousiville Slugger. 
I lived far out, alone and afraid, and someone was coming for me
though she never fully arrived. But in my dreams vacant
uncanny she could come right to the edge of the carpet
just as in daylight she could circle the house 
when she thought I wasn’t home. Now I have 
sympathy for both of us. She was trying 
to touch something just like we all are. Long since 
I have started when encountering her on the street. More
understanding that the end is what we 
all desire but never reach

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