the absurd device

Oct 24 2002 Kelly Norton

It seems unfair to be sitting here with my heart thumping lively in my chest, to consider that the preacher's heart is probably doing the same with the fifty other hearts facing him at the front of the chapel. The heart, one big muscle pump forcing ketchup into little sausage casings over to two big bellows made of single ply garbage bags. The body is such an absurd device. It always reminds me of the early flying machines, using unsuitable materials in a machine that demands so much trust. Someone behind me sighs and I picture lungs deflating. Others have fallen victim to failing lungs. The pews are littered with functioning nervous systems where folds of sticky gray matter discharging chemicals creating a slide show of memories. The preacher uses the term “incorruptible soul” and I wonder why memories were not made part of the soul, why they were entrusted to the unreliable brain. Hell, maybe that is why we keep blogs. I touch my shoulder to my neck envisioning the pulsing artery that lies somewhere beneath; I do this anytime I think of the faulty inner workings of the body. I do it when needles appear on television. Artaud had gone insane, his folds of gray matter not producing the chemical reactions they should have, and one cause had been his dread of a dependence on “meat”. The promise that an incorruptible soul lied buried somewhere within was no consolation. I wonder if anyone else sitting watching the front of the chapel resented their bodies for the uncertainty it brought to their lives. I wonder if on the way up the steps of the funeral home, any of these souls had looked down and said “knees don't fail me now”. I wonder what distinct chemical reactions had made it possible to separate the soul from the body in the first place. But most of all, I hope this whole soul thing works out, for the sake of all these damn failing bodies.