CVII. The Unstable Wind

April 20, 2013— So much anger and hatred exist in the world. It seems someone or some group is always on a crusade. Some, bearing standards, ride horses across continents. Others tote pressure cookers, setting off bombs along a racecourse. I raise my pen and write, bidding my instrument be more incisive than a sword, that it serve towards enlightening a mind rather than eliminating a head or limbs. What good would the latter do, anyway? In the long run you’d be the only one left standing – which would be O.K., I suppose, if you were a misanthrope.

Over the course of the five-day pursuit of the Boston Marathon bombers, I have watched the news and observed reactions on television and across the Internet. Understandably, these traumatic events produce pressure and cause stress. Throughout these days I have tried to move through the stress, neither to add to it nor to be receptive to it. I’m not very good at this. But I am aware of its polarities; I think about it; I correct my thinking on those occasions I catch it headed off to join either opposing team. This awareness ushers me one more step closer to the finish line. It takes long; I stumble often; I get thrown out of religions, like I get thrown out of stores, like my ancestor may have gotten thrown out of England. My experiences lend credence to the rumor about my ancestor; although, unlike he, I don’t fool around with the lord of the manor’s daughter, I go straight for the lord of the manor. This last sentence is metaphoric. Or, maybe I did go for the lord of the manor – and got thrown out. This is why I write “The Scheherazade Chronicles” (check out my Facebook page), my tales to save the maidens from certain death at the hands of this particular lord of the manor, the maidens in this case being humanity.

These last few lines may make you think I’ve gone over the edge. One of the fun things about being a writer is that you can go over the edge. I love that freedom of imagination, that freedom to create my world as I desire it, if only on a sheet of paper. But, think … if I can conjure up all these images in my head, reeling out like a whole movie – one with a happy ending, then why cannot I and the rest of us create the worlds of our lives to be such. When I was young, I read Emma’s childhood book Tales of the Arabian Nights. It is a beautiful book, with a forest green cover and colorful illustrative plates throughout the glossy pages. This book lit my imagination as campfires illuminate the tents beneath a deep sapphire sky.

The camels are restless. I have to surrender my ego as best I can in order to wrap my mind around recent events. This week I’ve heard individuals saying things like, “I HATE that person. He or she should fall into a deep pit of snakes with a pressure cooker nailed to his stomach and a Catherine wheel rolling down the center of her body.” Vivid imagery. I heard the Marathon bombers’ father and aunt say Americans framed their boys. The family are Chechen, admitting that in Chechnya they have to move around and be watchful to slip between agencies, whom, by a word or deed, they may offend. Well, if you spent most of your life in such a police state as Chechnya, might you not react likewise? Who would influence you?

I heard that the older brother of the two bombers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, shot dead by police this week, had stated that the media conditions everyone. I don’t recall the exact quote. The media can condition you, if you let it. It is easy to allow yourself to get lulled into a trance in front of your TV or the Internet, especially, it seems, by social media. I try to avoid too much screen time, but I get sucked in, too, sometimes. As some comedian said, “Ve must be wigilant!” (If you remember who the comedian is, let me know, please.)

It may be of note that Edgar Allan Poe wrote an epic poem titled “Tamerlane.” It was first published in 1827 in the collection Tamerlane and Other Poems,” not credited with Poe’s name, but rather by “A Bostonian.” In his poem, Poe has Tamerlane sacrifice his young love for a peasant girl in order to gain power. On his deathbed, Tamerlane regrets his decision to create a kingdom in exchange for a broken heart, his love’s beauty now in his mind but “shadows on th’ unstable wind.”

How was it that Ambition crept,
Unseen, amid the revels there,
Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
In the tangles of Love’s very hair?

Isn’t that always the way. Making reparations in this regard means just more stuff to untangle in the next lifetime.

Tamerlane owned the Silk Road. Tamerlane is the Latinized name for the Turkic ruler, Timur – Timur the Lame, the Persians called him – (April 9, 1336-February 18, 1405). He conquered West, South and Central Asia. Timur means iron, and he referred to himself as “The Sword of Islam.” He was a great patron of art and architecture. He walked with a limp, because half his body was paralyzed.

We never know what moment we may tread upon the fringe of a dark magic and all the rich colors of today be pulled out from under us.

My thoughts and prayers are for all those who suffered losses from the Boston Marathon bombing. I wish them well and in the future, at the very least, all of the good that has come to me.

As for those two young men, those brothers who set the bombs, I can only feel great sadness and compassion. I cannot hate them, because I don’t know – I do not know their karma, their history, their needs, and the complex interrelationships with all affected by this tragedy. This is well beyond the scope of my little mind.

—Samantha Mozart