22 December, 2006

A Textbook Case

... the removal of the pulp from the root of my rotting tooth followed by a round of oral surgeries which were themselves followed ultimately, followed one could say inevitably, followed one could say inexorably by the extraction of the ruined tooth, the lancing of the enormous boil on my scrotum by the top-ranked specialist in the city, framed magazine covers on his office walls showed his dignified face captioned with the phrase Top-Ranked Specialists, though I admit having wondered, on more than one occasion, who would specialize in this, who chooses to be a proctologist, I've wondered who chooses to be a podiatrist, for that matter who chooses much of anything in their life, does one simply become captivated by the pneumothorax, which was in its turn followed by the temporary paralysis of the right side of my face due to a textbook case, those are the doctor's exact words, a textbook case, of Bell's Palsy, although I say temporary paralysis there remain traces of this so-called temporary paralysis, traces of this paralysis that remain visible to this day, all of which were accompanied by the steady deterioration of my vision and a thirst which could not be satisfied, I could never get enough to drink, day or night, all of which immediately preceded my diagnosis, all of which were, simply put, part of how things began changing for the worse, changing for the worse is the best way to put it, how things began changing for the worse, from golden days as the golden child racing crew cut across the schoolyard to what I have become today, a bent, crabbed, dirty man, that's what I say to myself as I lie in bed at night, you are a foul and dirty man, I say you may live in a foul and dirty world but nonetheless you are a foul and dirty man, when I lie in bed I am ruthless, I am relentless, I am both ruthless and relentless, I tell myself you are a foul and dirty man, I say it again and again, I say to myself things my therapist has suggested I not bring up, things I might want to avoid, as she put it, I can hear her say you might want to avoid bringing that up in certain situations where you feel particularly vulnerable, nonetheless I do bring that up, I say to myself things that fill me with shame, words that violate the very precepts of my being, the very precepts of my life, words as weapons, the punishment never enough, never, some misdeed or other always goes unpunished, some transgression escapes unrecognized, hidden, as it were, by my skills, as my therapist put it, at rationalization and denial, rationalization and denial, few words have made me happier in this dismal life, few words have described me better, for who, after all, doesn’t want to be known, to be caught out and revealed, to be exposed, we all hide all the time when what we really want to do is expose ourselves…
22 December 2006

19 December, 2006

Bare Branches

Since the pains got serious, something peculiar has been happening. The entire landscape has changed. Bare branches against a lead-colored sky. What I experience is total dissolution. Total confusion. Something is happening to my memory. Melancholy speculations fill the measure of misfortune. The possibility of love. This hunger which pursues us every moment of our lives. One cannot live with too strong inner tensions. It's always the same old shit. If you allow yourself to start brooding like that you'll go crazy. I did not take it seriously enough, like everything else in this life. The foundation of the entire concept of the self is that it will continue to exist tomorrow. I recognize that I took the whole thing too lightly. Death and life are actually monstrous things. I am not particularly well. A terrible price is being paid. What I have learned: that there is no real escape from life.

19 December 2006
Source: Lars Gustaffsson (tr. Janet K. Swaffar & Guntram H. Weber)

18 December, 2006

Paper Flowers

All these many long difficult years have deceived me. Everything is broken. The air is unbearable. What is power if I cannot calm my inner torment? It is like trying to catch the Bitter-Rose. There is something that turns the accomplishments of the human spirit back into insignificance. I know how senseless everything is. Nothing but stone and paper flowers. My whole life has been botched. How am I supposed to act? I’m lying on the floor and thinking of my misdeeds. We’re all failures, in any case. Our life is nothing. Just keep going, dying little by little, growing numb and dying little by little, no safe anchor, no landscape, the trees bare. Everything is filth. My clothes stink of me, my thoughts stink of me. At the slightest jolt everything falls apart. Dead sun. Dead angels over the dead cities. Dead knowledge of my dead madness. Suffer. Be silent.

18 December 2006
Sources: Stephen Crane; Rene Daumal (tr. Roger Shattuck); Blues Song; Aime Cesaire (tr. Richard Miller); Thomas Bernhard (tr. Russell Stockman)

16 December, 2006

A Black Horse

Dawn came like a black horse. Then came again, mile after mile, of snow, ice, burning sand. Is the truth bitter as eaten fire? I like it because it is bitter and because it is my heart. The most shameful memory of my life. I guess I just wasn't made for these times. It's enough to say that one day I found myself alone, and fully convinced that I had finished one cycle of existence. Drunk on empty words. In silence I hunted for my memories. I realized the trap I had fallen into. Nothing but mystery and error, these melodies sighing like faintest breath. I've been waiting years to say all this to someone. A knife is neither true nor false. The wind sings low in the grass on the shore. All this will one day fade like foam, like a cloud, like all the world. Let us finish it quickly.
16 December 2006
Sources: Stephen Crane; Callimachus (tr. Stanley Lombardo & Diane Rayor); Brian Wilson; Rene Daumal (tr. Roger Shattuck); Aime Cesaire (tr. Richard Miller)

13 December, 2006

We Begin Again

Out into the mesmerized world, beyond the sunrise where the black begins, I am breathing the pure sphere of memory. Wild shouts and the wave of hair in the rush upon the wind. While our days tumble and rant and the wind tears up the rose, do we really need anything more to be sorry about? What's the use of escaping from ourselves? We never give up. Put everything aside but what is here. A dream of immense sadness. Who am I? It is a mess, my life, old father time has said his last hello. But it is good to be several floors up in the dead of night and the only decision you can make is that you did it. The only thing to do is simply continue. The only thing to do. Surely we shall not continue to be unhappy. We shall walk through the luminous humidity. We begin again.
8-13 December 2006
Sources: Frank O'Hara; Stephen Crane; Malcolm Lowry; Lars Gustaffsson (tr. Janet K. Swaffar & Guntram H. Weber)

07 December, 2006

At The End Of The Small Hours

I am mainly preoccupied with the world as I experience it. The thick dapple of heaven's cloudless afternoon. Ecstatic. In anguish over lost days. The dust is heavy on my shoulders. Rocked on the breath of inexhaustible thought, brushed by love's bristling sun, I am the light mist in which a face appears. I rise into the cool skies and gaze at the imponderable world. The wind has blown all the trees down. I can barely draw breath anymore yet the ships keep coming in. I have no more kindness left, and no more tenderness. I am preparing a slow disintegration of the external world inside my head. At the end of the small hours. Blue windows, blue rooftops, and the blue light of the rain. I want to rediscover the secret of great speech and of great burning. I declare my crimes and say that there is nothing to say in my defense.

7 December 2006
Sources: Frank O’Hara; Gerhard Roth; Aime Cesaire (tr. John Berger & Anna Bostock)