"All writing is a love letter, said the great Deleuze. Reading is also an act of love, and, sometimes, this love, in reading, writes." Dom Gabrielli
How many times over the past several years have I come to meet other kindred souls who have also been kissed by my Beloved? When I say Beloved, I speak of the great 13th century Persian poet Rumi … yet I also speak of that which is nameless; a source ineffable. For those of us who have stumbled blindly upon this divine encounter, have drank the ancient wine of this intoxication, shred the indescribable kiss from the same invisible lips. We have been lost and found in the same breath of longing, suffered through our raptures, and beg for more of the same. Here, those of us in communion with the Beloved, run with open arms toward our death–in our desperate attempt to capture with the tender futility of our words, that which escapes all definition. Hence, poetry is born and we find ourselves in company of the lover.
In Dom Gabrielli's book sof poems, A Strange Frenzy, one clearly recognized the dream within the dream, face within the face, and song within the song. Within these pages of sacred language, those who have also danced with the Dervish will be enveloped within the silent communion of knowing … while those who have yet to encounter, will long to share in the frenzy.
We all have our stories … of that speechless day when we have encountered the nameless. Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing … not the exact time and day of that pivotal moment that turned us inside-out, calling us to abandon all our preconcieved notions and ife as we thought we knew it.
I recall the night of my desperation–sitting in an attic window and tearful prayer. It was the very next day–New Year's Day of 2005 to be exact–when I saw a billboard with Rumi's quote: "Beyond all the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I will meet you there." Who is this Rumi??? I returned by bus from my trip to Boston where I had witnessed the great sign. Upon arriving home from the bus stop, I threw my suitcase in the back of my car. And instead of stopping home or at my office headed straight to the nearest bookstore, where I piled my arms with Rumi's work, sat in a cafe in ecstasy, brought those home as sacred treasure, and buried my heart in them til the sun nearly rose. My life has never been the same since. Quite literally.
It is books like Gabrielli's that have the potential to introduce readers to the same divine union … the divine madness. It is poetry such as that that is a continuation of the original source; a whisper transcending generations. It is a collection such as this that may penetrate the unexplainable understanding in which someone else will abandon their usual course to follow his words toward their own transfomration. For it is possible that we are all an incarnation of the same potency, another facet and expression of the whole through this timeless invocation we call poetry.
"Is the one I love everywhere?" Rumi.
Perhaps one of my greatest appreciations for Gabrielli's A Strange Frenzy is not just the declaration to the mysterious Beloved … but the understanding of the limitlessness indefinable essence of what I believe to be the purest form of love. It is the abandonment of the tired cliches of an over-used and misunderstood notion. It is writing that liberates from the souls from chains and confines of possession, and makes no apologies for discarding the dogma surrounding the finite perceptions of love, which are admirably conveyed in these excerpts:
i have always been
before and after you
love of my loves
you wish to imprison the animal
which escapes you
i will always escape you
i run faster
i run in other fields
in the tinted pastures you cannot hear
But it is also Gabrielli's understanding of the great absence: the necessity of silence, and beauty within nothingness. How small we are within the whole, how great we are within a single grain, and the necessity of our breaking to reveal the tender marrow of understanding. It is a celebration of the question that has no answer, for the question is the answer itself.
i lean into the ropes of nothing
where your voice courts
the invisible murals
in the blind part of me
in the silent world of me
i say me
i should eliminate it
i should stretch it out
and flatten every notion of person
What is certain after completing the feast of this small collection, is that there is no end to the feast that lives iinside of you. A Strange Frenzy is a beckoning for inner explaration as much as is a declaration of experience. May we all be so fortunate to heed its call.
-- Leila A. Fortier