Thursday, November 17, 2011

It wasn't in me. It went out and in.

For the time I copied a Rilke poem to put inside the copy of Miles Davis’ autobiography I’d purchased for a boy, became extremely upset a few hours later, and wrote, “Fuck you. Never call me again,” instead.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A postcard from Roberto Bolano to Enrique Lihn

from East of Borneo.

Monday, November 7, 2011

If there is an ocean it is here.

If anything of moment results - so much the better. And so much the more likely will it be that no one will want to see it.

There is a constant barrier between the reader and his consciousness of immediate contact with the world. If there is an ocean it is here. Or rather, the whole world is between: Yesterday, tomorrow, Europe, Asia, Africa, - all things removed and impossible, the tower of the church at Seville, the Parthenon.

What do they mean when they say: "I do not like your poems; you have no faith whatever. You seem neither to have suffered no, in fact, to have felt anything very deeply. There is nothing appealing in what you say but on the contrary the poems are positively repellent. They heartless, cruel, they make fun of humanity. What in God's name do you mean? Are you a pagan? Have you no tolerance for human frailty? Rhyme you may perhaps take away but rhythm! why there is none in your work whatever. Is this what you call poetry? It is the very antithesis of poetry. It is antipoetry. It is the annihilation of life upon which you are bent. Poetry that used to go hand in hand with life, poetry that interpreted our deepest promptings, poetry that inspired, that led us forward to new discoveries, new depths of tolerance, new heights of exaltation. You moderns! it is the death of poetry that you are accomplishing. No. I cannot understand this work. You have not yet suffered a cruel blow from life. When you have suffered you will write differently"?

Perhaps this noble apostrophe means something terrible for me, I am not certain, but for the moment I interpret it to say: "You have robbed me. God, I am naked. What shall I do?" - By it they mean that when I have suffered (provided I have not done so as yet) I too shall run for cover; that I too shall seek refuge in fantasy. And mind you, I do not say that I will not. To decorate my age.

But today is different.

The reader knows himself as he was twenty years ago and he has also in mind a vision of what he would be, some day. Oh, some day! But the thing he never knows and never dares to know is what he is at the exact moment that he is. And this moment is the only thing in which I am at all interested. Ergo, who cares for anything I do? And what do I care?

I love my fellow creature. Jesus, how I love him: endways, sideways, frontways and all the other ways - but he doesn't exist! Neither does she. I do, in a bastardly sort of way.

To whom then am I addressed? To the imagination.

In fact to return upon my theme for the time nearly all writing, up to the present, if not all art, has been especially designed to keep up the barrier between sense and the vaporous fringe which distracts the attention from its agonized approaches to the moment. It has been always a search for "the beautiful illusion." Very well. I am not in search of "the beautiful illusion."

And if when I pompously announce that I am addressed - To the imagination - you believe that I thus divorce myself from life and so defeat my own end, I reply: To refine, to clarify, to intensify that eternal moment in which we alone live there is but a single force - the imagination. This is its book. I myself invite you to read and see.

In the imagination, we are from henceforth (so long as you read) locked in a fraternal embrace, the classic caress of author and reader. We are one. Whenever I say "I" I mean also "you." And so, together, as one, we shall begin.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

"Wet, dreary, showery West"

Things I forgot about but remembered today: post-yoga cigarettes, bone-chillingly cold weather, how gin was once my favorite spirit. I haven't been reading very much lately, except for the occasional chapter of Journey to the End of the Night and newspapers, mostly The Chronicle or The Wall Street Journal. I make plans and immediately dread them - what if the bus is late? What if I have absolutely nothing to say to them today? Have I worn the right thing? Did I bring enough cigarettes? Living in the Bay Area has worsened my anxiety. Re-reading Kierkegaard's The Sickness onto Death - which I do sometimes before bed or on BART - doesn't make it any better. I'm upset that I didn't bring more books up during the move, especially comics. I eat a lot of barbecue - unlike Los Angeles, you can get a good barbecue meal here for under $10, sometimes even $5. I get tired often, not just in a way that means I need sleep, but tired of certain people and situations, like how the white people in my neighborhood fail to look me in the eye every goddamn time, or how I can't walk anywhere without someone asking me for something - money, my number, a cigarette. I read The Atlantic Cities almost everyday, even though the articles often feel incomplete. I got new boots three days ago, and that night had a dream that my feet hurt in them. They did.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Girl, girl, girl

Today I walked into Trader Joe's with the intention of buying three things: a sandwich, spiced cider, and a container of Fage yogurt. I walked out with three bags filled to bursting, containing double creme brie and Asian pears and small packs of almonds, among other things. I forgot about the sandwich.
Maira Gall