Sunday, 13 March 2011

Crying, over atheist talks to god.

The nice man sitting next to me at the theatre on Saturday night had an odd look on his face when I mentioned I'd seen the play only a couple of weeks previously - and from almost exactly the same seat. It was that uncomfortable look people give the baglady on the tram - not wanting to offend; hoping the conversation won't continue; embarrassed either way.
It was the second time that day that I'd had looks like that. Earlier, standing in the Museum of Contemporary Art I had felt the whole room quieten around me. I was standing in front of Annie Lebovitz's extraordinary portrait of her dead friend - Susan Sontag. Maybe it was the sleep deprivation; maybe it was the overload of images - I don't know - but there were silent tears running down my cheeks and I felt no need to wipe them away.
The photo is a bizzare one. It is of Sontag's laid out corpse, broken into several individual shots, then pasted together - as if it were of a landscape. And in a way it is. The landscape of a life; a love; a journey. All captured in a photo of an old woman, grey haired, shrivelled, dead.
The portraits of the still-living Sontag are almost as moving. Naked, sprawled across a bed or lying, feet over the back of the couch. Maybe its just me but those are the shots I found the most intrinsically erotic. Sure Johnny Depp and Kate Moss in bed are pretty damn hot - but not as essentially, stomach-tighteningly sexy as the lover caught in a moment of total naturalness.
I think now that all of us are searching for that moment when we think we are indeed talking to our god. The problem is, he is not listening; he is dead. On my knees, in the rain...begging some god to listen...all I hear is the sound of drops of water on leaves; my own heart, beating, hard, in my ears.
There is no one other than ourselves to absolve us of our sins. And it is the sin of intention which is all. Abelard and Heloise were right and when I meet them both in some atheistic hell, we will embrace; brothers and sisters in a knowledge; full knowledge, of all that we commit.