Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Saints Senza Sense

I wrote this intro for the fiction anthology, "Santi: Lives of Modern Saints" on Black Arrow Press:

Six zillion pages later would you please come back and reread my intro? All I get may be these few lines, but I wrote this thing out on my hands and knees longhand, with water not wine, feeling like I was that guy they talk about when the guy with the black eye says "well you should see the other guy." These words may be short, but they're slow puffed with heavy breathes. You have to come back, It'll all look better then with bruised and blurry eyes like the ones I'm wearing now. And when you get here think about that day when you were twelve and wondered if since lesbians don't like boys and gays don't like girls could they maybe then reunite at the final bend of the circle and get it on? And then keep moving to when that same line of reasoning completed its own orbit years later and you got stuck on the word "sacrilege" and wondered how a "holy (L. sacrare) holy (L. religionem)" could possibly come to mean its own opposite. You wondered if holy over holy cancels itself out, leaves you with a void, voids are dark, dark is bad, hence "sacrilege" and for a moment you forgot again whether gays and lesbians do get in on with each other or not. So six zillion pages later and not a shred of evidence of any lives of modern saints, in fact mostly the contrary, and finally the battle I lost to innundation blurred the words the way I was meant to see them. The lives of modern saints is a bunch of lies of mai derm s'aints. These things just don't exist (they aint), they also have that Italian s' negating prefix biz and they never (I. mai) have skin (Gk. derma) as things that don't exist tend to not have. Naturally, a book dealing with lives of things that don't exist thrice is gonna be a book of lies as well, no? But you can't devote a book entirely to lies without at least proposing a truth to break from. When everything is lies it flips on itself, so how's it go? If someone tells you they never tell the truth they're lying, right? The sentence cancels the idea out. The crux: I'm beaten by this equation the Black Arrow fam's laid upon us despite the fact that initially I was following it all fairly well. Years ago that holy over holy negation got me thinking about the "san." If San Cristobal is literally "without Cristobal" I figured it meant "he who is not Cristobal" like "he who is so holy he's transcended his name." I was on it up to that point. Even through "Heiliger Christophorus" I was still doing fine. Heiliger simply meaning holy and holy and holes as things that cancel themselves out to transcend to form a whole was still an easy enough ride to follow. It all started to fall apart with the Italian "santi". Not only do we have the negating "anti", but trying to follow if that negating "s" prefix negating the negating "anti" means the saint is or isn't who he says he is crunked me up once and for all. It was then I tried running to the French saints for clarity on this negation equation only to find that not only is their "saint" still locked in a double negation, but it especially seemed antithetical to everything I've ever believed that the word "aint" could be used in both Metz and Mississipi. Maybe the Louisiana Purchase has something to do with it, maybe the racists that ran Metz when it was the Vichy capitol being cut from the same genome of their Southern brethren has something to do with it; either way, I was losing track, which is also to say that six zillion pages (and a cd!) later I'm finally beginning to know something of the lives of modern saints.

Omitted in this introduction because I surpassed my word limit long ago is the connection between "san" and "sand." Again, after the sand on the shore what lies beyond? nothing. And does not the "sandman" take you to the same place as the "saint"? In Old High German "sand" meant "true." In Old English a "sand" was "a messenger" which is where we also get "sense" from. Does anyone need to be reminded therefore that "sin" also shares the same route? And so like sands in the hourglass...