Burbank California and Teresa of Avila
Burbank, California


Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) tells her nuns how foolish it is for them to feel ashamed of their own insights into the existence of God as proof of that existence. They are also fools to look down on anyone who can’t tolerate this claim of interior witness. None need threaten the ego of the skeptic, the story seems to go. I want to blog about this in Aspen this winter. “But about what, specifically?” asks my brother Kyle. With his long legs and the practiced stride of a tightrope walker, he follows me in his ladies’ heels through the set of the new Gunsmoke. “There’s a suggestion of tolerance here,” I say. “A boring one,” he yawns. “Why not forget about your ancient figures for once and study me in my realness?” “Your realness?” “I didn’t wish to be born, you know. With the universe in its immensity pressing down on me, the only real thing left for me to do is to try to enjoy myself, if you know what I mean.” This may be less substantial than a true saint instructing women cloistered at Avila, but I do know what he means and will write about it in December. Lifting the whole situation out of the Spanish Renaissance, I will recast the nuns as contemporary men and women, the citizens of our hometown, and give them new and various occupations, many of which must be green jobs that didn’t exist when we were children. To understand Kyle’s vague notions of purpose and pleasure, I will feature him and the life of him fading in and out with the multitudes. I will number my posts, as there will be a lot of them, and call each one Burbank.



The poem Feeding involves a cup.



When out of the blue the child asked what the difference was between homicide and suicide, she cried, “You’re spilling!”—and that he please hold his cup upright. When he asked if suicide were more common than homicide—or if homicide was more common between the two—she said, “You’re getting all wet!—please hold your cup upright, or if the next time you’re thirsty how about I don’t feed you?”