Thursday, December 25, 2008
He was so incapable of knowing what he knew or to communicate it or shout it loud and he realized, as he thought this thought, that he was not able to know his own feelings let alone the feelings of others, so how could he know what he thought he knew when he did not know what he actually wanted. A sad song occasionally made him cry and he resisted that, he thought that it should not be said aloud and a really melancholic moment was worth an entire year to him he thought so too. But this had not been learned this year, he knew it before the year started to rush to an end, before he began to think these thoughts sitting near the same window where he had sat the year before. Why does a song sadden him more than the sufferings of people, real people in Congo DR or Afghanistan, he asked himself. Should he also not have some real ambition, like accumulating money and buying and selling and shattering his heart and the hearts of others without one thought, one remorse, one pang, one shred of any doubt? He knew this was too loud and too shrill a thought anyway, how could he think of leaving anything and just run, just leave everything and rush as the year was rushing, rushing to who knows where, as he again reminded himself of what he should think, what he had actually decided to think. He always ended up in not thinking about the real things that he should think about and always ended up in thinking of why a sad song saddens him, not about Congo DR or Afghanistan.
The year is rushing to an end, he thought, looking out the same window as he had looked out last year and he thought of the books he had read in the months gone by, places visited, cached, monuments conquered, movies ticked off the movie list. Yet he had learned nothing, he did not even remember the books he had read this year, except The Devils, which he had re-read, and apart from a few great poems, he knew nothing new about the world. How could he know anything he thought when he did not know what is inside him, deep inside, what he actually wanted, what he really thought, what he really thinks of. Thoughts like these are tiring he thought, as he thought of the year rushing to an end, as he sat at the same desk and looked out the same window where he had thought the same thoughts last year, when last year had rushed to who knows where, as this year rushes to who knows where. He was not even sure how much he loved her or how badly he wanted to have his heart shattered out loud, how badly he wanted to spend an entire life listening to sad songs outside badly lit cheap cafes on badly lit cheap looking streets, how much did he want to be like The Idiot inside and behave like The Outsider outside. These are the same thoughts he had thought last year as the year had rushed to an end and these are the same thoughts as he sits near his window, the year rushing to who knows where.
Monday, December 22, 2008
outside my mind,
If they could exist on their own
then you could play or toy with them,
touch them and see them exist on their own.
You could feel their silent melancholy, even
hear them speak of a hundred things,
of what I think and feel and don't speak of.
You could take these thoughts and
discard them later, throw them away, be sick
of them if you felt that way.
You could maybe perceive their occasional music,
how wordy, how worthless, how very sad they are,
how unworldly, impractical, how tense.
Or you could sometimes fondle them and
lock them away from day, sunlight, years, age.
You could shine them, polish them or correct them
or maybe you could sometimes, just sometimes,
listen to them late at night, before break of day,
and hear them speak of the longing they have
for similar unrequited thoughts,
or even for unrequited love.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
I like the fact that I’m not mad for you,
And that the globe of planet earth is grounded
And will not drift away beneath our shoes.
I like the fact that I can laugh here loudly,
Not play with words, feel unashamed and loose
And never flush with stifling waves above me
When we brush sleeves, and not need an excuse.
I like the fact that you don’t feel ashamed
As you, before my eyes, embrace another,
I like the fact that I will not be damned
To hell for kissing someone else with ardor,
That you would never use my tender name
In vain, that in the silence of the Church towers
We’ll never get to hear the sweet refrain
Of hallelujahs sung somewhere above us.
With both, my heart and hand, I thank you proudly
For everything, - although you hardly knew
You loved me so: and for my sleeping soundly,
And for the lack of twilight rendezvous,
No moonlit walks with both your arms around me,
No sun above our heads or skies of blue,
For never feeling - sadly! - mad about me,
For me not feeling - sadly! - mad for you.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
how will she ever know
my doubts these thoughts ceaseless heartbeats
how will I tell
how will I ever tell her
what nights do how days are how afternoons linger
how can I show
how can I ever show her
my fingers these hands the dusk of my skin
longing in my marrow
how will she see
how will she ever see
her name etched endlessly on the white of my bare pages
white of my eyes
how will she know
how will she ever know
what I am actually thinking burning melancholy
a shadow on my skin
Monday, December 15, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Thanks are only for Atenea for guiding me in this direction. The few lines below are from a poem of the great Argentine poet Olga Orozco's Far away from my hill, published in a collection called Engravings Torn from Insomnia.
........You appeared in my life as if in a distant music,
suspended from who knows what wall of tender homelessness,
listening to the leaves' still stifled murmur over my sleepy youth,
and you chose the sad, the hushed, all that is born beneath oblivion.
In what corner of yourself,
in what deserted corridor do the clamorous steps of a happy season
murmur of water in some meadow prolonging the sky,
hopeful song with which dawn ran to meet us,
and words, no doubt as distant from a special place,
in which the impossible was dying?
You don't respond at all, because any answer from you,
has already been given.
Lejos, desde mi colina
Translation Mary Crow
Friday, December 12, 2008
"Stand on the highest pavement of the stair --
Lean on a garden urn --
Weave, weave the sunlight in your hair --
Clasp your flowers to you with a pained surprise --
Fling them to the ground and turn
With a fugitive resentment in your eyes:
But weave, weave the sunlight in your hair".
Why fugitive resentment.......why not simply resentment? The lady or I imagine a young woman( the hair is brown or light brown, long naturally, it must weave) turns away or is forced to turn away, with resentment in her eyes but the narrator implies that the resentment is hers, her natural choice. Resentment.....out of the blue, why, how, sudden, thus unjustified, quite uncalled for, for had she not just flung some flowers to the ground, which were the narrator's earlier or were presented to her, as a parting memento, as a parting consolation. The narrator actually sees her resentment, as she turns away, having just thrown the flowers to the ground, with a pained surprise, after having expressed a resentment, however fugitive. He is surprised or she is pained, but the resentment is hers alone, the fugitive resentment is hers alone. She is not clever enough to hide her resentment, she should have suffered after throwing the flowers to the ground, after the pained surprise. But she turned away with a resentment which turned to be a fugitive resentment, the only resentment should have been in just flinging the flowers to the ground, after the pained surprise.
"So I would have had him leave,
So I would have had her stand and grieve,
So he would have left
As the soul leaves the body torn and bruised,
As the mind deserts the body it has used.
I should find
Some way incomparably light and deft,
Some way we both should understand,
Simple and faithless as a smile and a shake of the hand".
I assume now that many years have passed by, the narrator is wishing for the lady with the brown hair to be in grieving still, after he had left her standing on the highest pavement of the stair, after she had turned away with a pained surprise, after she had revealed a fugitive resentment. He resents having left her as he did, but he is not resentful of having left her. He imagines of another faithless way, a simple and faithless way. ( notice the simile, it is so clever, he is so clever) Since she had turned away with a pained surprise and with a fugitive resentment in her eyes, he would have wanted her to understand and believe of a simple and faithless way. I do not know whether he has desired her physically, it might be so, he might be hating it now, but he wants to see her standing there, still grieving, not with pained surprise, certainly without a fugitive resentment.
"She turned away, but with the autumn weather
Compelled my imagination many days,
Many days and many hours:
Her hair over her arms and her arms full of flowers.
And I wonder how they should have been together!
I should have lost a gesture and a pose.
Sometimes these cogitations still amaze
The troubled midnight, and the noon's repose".
It is autumn now, in reality, in his body and mind too. She still compels him, I am willing to believe it, he has thought of her, many days and many hours. Didn't she have long brown beautiful hair, and now he reveals that her arms too were covered with her hair. He should not have been so sure of himself as he was then, he should have run up the steps, to the highest pavement of the stairs too, as she had turned away with such fugitive resentment, with such pained surprise. He should have lost his pose, he should have flung something too, after she had flung the flowers to the ground, after she had turned away with a fugitive resentment, with a pained surprise. Does he not remain troubled now, at midnight and at noon?
La figlia che piange is one Eliot poem that I still admire, for I no longer read Eliot. It is a great poem. The distance between reality and imagination, between torturous reality and torturing imagination is narrowed by imagination alone; desire that is thwarted, desire that was thwarted or suppressed is brought forth by imagination alone. The lady might not actually have thrown the flowers away in disgust or pain but the fugitive fleeing resentment is only a moment's life, it passes away, it leaves, it flees, it is always running away. The narrator has reverted to an imagined movement, for these moments are all imagined, her resentment, her pained surprise, her weaving the sunlight, her resentment, her pained surprise. The pain is his, the cogitations are his, the disturbed repose his, the troubled midnight his alone.
He thinks of her, in his autumn, she stands on the stairs, oh if only she were still standing on the stairs, he would have rushed up the steps, after she had thrown away the flowers, after the fugitive resentment, after the pained surprise. His feelings, his rush and roar now, his troubled midnight results from narrowing the distance between the love that never was and the love that has always been in his mind, in his life. This world exists only in imagination, for these feelings are rehearsed in memory, these steps are taken in memory alone, what has never happened has always been happening, in his mind, many days and many hours, disturbing him, his noon, his midnight. The reversion is in his mind alone, the troubles, the turning too. This love has been perfected in his mind alone. She stands on the highest pavement but it is only because of him that she would have ever turned away. Everything that never happened has happened in his mind, perfected by desire, matured by memory.
I think he still thinks of her, fugitive girl, fugitive woman, fugitive brown hair, pained surprise, sunlight, sunlight, flowers, arms and flowers, all hers, but all in his mind. Her pained surprise and her fugitive resentment too.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Eyes that last I saw in tears
Here in death's dream kingdom
The golden vision reappears
I see the eyes but not the tears
This is my affliction
This is my affliction
Eyes I shall not see again
Eyes of decision
Eyes I shall not see unless
At the door of death's other kingdom
Where, as in this,
The eyes outlast a little while
A little while outlast the tears
And hold us in derision.
Thomas Stearns Eliot
was interrupted by the world,
I had meant to listen to all your songs
and read all your words
and sing your praises.
I had meant to sing along too, hum the songs
you give me, songs that I don't understand or know.
But the feeling of something warm, a warm breeze
was interrupted by the world,
I had meant to throng your world
with certain useless words of mine
like sadness or melancholy.
The feeling of something warm
was interrupted by the world,
I had thought of things that I dare not
think of now, even though the time is gone
and I have myself here alone with me.
Who gives us this right to hope of warm feelings
and singing sad tunes? And where are the warm breezes now
and warm feelings too?
But I still think of warm thoughts
even though the world interrupted
but this poem is just by the way too.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
in a sad dream, I heard a sad song last night
in a sad dream
and I kept the pieces during the day,
pieces of the sad song that I dreamt of.
I had heard that song before, I remember
you used to hum it, as I would sit next to you
as you would hum it in the train to your apartment
outside town, I would see you off
to your doorstep, do you remember?
You loved the tune, you said you liked the words
too, words that were incredibly sad, like "you will
leave me, I know, There will be pain". The humming stuck to
me alright, you see, I dreamt of it last night.
And all day, I kept picking the pieces of that
sad song that I dreamt of last night. I saw you
off near your doorstep, I mean in my dream, as I heard
that sad song, and all day
I have kept on picking the pieces.
This is for atenea.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Friday, December 05, 2008
about you tonight. I will not write of heaps
of dead bodies, of numberless graves, of snow and
rain together, the cold art of forgiveness,
the dying of the dying.
My city, my dark disease, I will not write
about you tonight. I will not write of nights
of vigil, the cold stare of longing, the dismal
evenings, frosty blood soaked afternoons, the fallacious
art of hope, the dust of pain.
My city, my tormentor, I want to forget you,
leave behind, alongside my books, the double ache
of love requited and unrequited, the mendacious
sellers of dreams, the false dawn, the vague art
of vermilion skies, fake art.
My city, my hundred thousand nights, the endless
litter of burnt candles mixed with the bones
of my ancestors, the canopy of those endless roofs,
that sage afternoon, that hopeless morning.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
of sword-strife that the Tartars entertained,
where are the massive ramparts that they flattened?
Where is the wood of the cross, the Tree of Adam?
The present is singular. It is memory
that sets up time. Both succession and error
come with the routine of the clock. A year
is no less vanity than is history.
Between dawn and nightfall is an abyss
of agonies, felicities and cares.
The face that looks back from the wasted mirrors,
the mirrors of night, is not the same face.
The fleeting day is frail and is eternal:
expect no other Heaven, no other Hell.
J.L. Borges, from The Self and the Other
Nekhlyudov in Tolstoy's Resurrection
Monday, December 01, 2008
or ever come near to describing
the melancholic grandeur of parting?
Who can dare say that poetry can express
the space that a death leaves?
All elegies are written in vain
and all poetry is vanity.
Even the greatest poets have only left behind
the scraping echoes of their words only,
words that hang occasionally resplendent,
only occasionally though, though mostly in shade.
Words barely touch the skin, the lived-in skin
of our lives,
futile, mostly clumsy, often vague,
they give the illusion of having approached the point
Voice betrays words and words betray the essence
of the moment, of living, of dying, of whatever makes us
dull, sensitive, selfish and human.
However, the moment of poetry is also the moment of existence,
to rise against the immense unknowing of silence,
the insensitivity of poetry itself
and the artless finality of separations.