Why Wine is Forbidden

“Sometime in the night my Beloved turned on me and swallowed me whole. I disappeared. And that’s the sin. Literally, without. Empty. Disconnected. Lost.”

So I love red wine.

The passion behind that statement deserves its own sentence.

In fact, if it weren’t for this pesky disease, I would be Rumi and she the honorable Shams of Tabriz.

I flip open my Essential Rumi this afternoon and, no kidding, I land on this one:

Why Wine is Forbidden

When the Prophet’s Ray of intelligence

struck the dim-witted man he was with,

the man got very happy and talkative,

Soon he began unmannerly raving.

This is the problem with a selflessness

that comes quickly,

as with wine.

If the wine drinker 

has a deep gentleness in him,

he will show that

when drunk.

But if he has hidden anger and arrogance,

those appear,

and since most people do,

wine is forbidden to everyone.

Selflessness (ego abandonment).  Comes Quickly (Knowledge, not Wisdom).  And, when drunk (I think we can all draw our own conclusions there).

That’s the trifecta for me in that poem.  It’s not about our so called true colors shining while under the influence.  I don’t believe that.  We are all capable of volatile displays of emotion at any moment, drunk or not.

What I see happening here is borrowed enlightenment, descending in a passionate rush.  An enthusiastic one night stand.  There’s no conversation, no engaged dialogue, no authenticity.  The Love element is unstable, implodes, and comes out the under side on its back.

Without traction, without mindful intention the addict’s sensualist power turns on her and everyone she encounters.

Ever chasing that sweet spot, on the brink of delight, Billie Holiday moaning in the background; then suddenly (or so it seemed in retro), fetal and broken.  With someone I love telling me how “different” I seem.  What do you mean, I’d say?  (Denial).  I don’t know, you’re just different.

God, that line really haunted me for some reason.  Still does.

Sometime in the night my Beloved turned on me and swallowed me whole. I disappeared.  And that’s the sin.  Literally, without.  Empty.  Disconnected.  Lost.

I’ve never been a fan of fire and brimstone conversion no matter the circumstance; but I will admit the analogies resonate.  Addiction is Hell.  An abuse of communion.  A perversion.  A demon to be exorcised.

Until then, the ray of intelligence falls over and over again on a dead body.

<Insert soulful sigh>

But as for this night, Lovers: “the woods are lovely, dark and deep,” and we are the moon rising and the wolf within, licking a wound where Rumi’s Light will enter.

One damn day at a time.

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