From The Book of Disquiet:
First it’s a sound that makes another sound, in the nocturnal hollow of things. Then it’s a low howl, accompanied by the creaking of the street’s swaying signboards. And then the voice of space becomes a shout, a roar, and everything shudders, nothing sways, and there’s silence in the dread of all this, like a speechless dread that sees another dread when the first one has passed.
Then there’s nothing but wind, just wind, and I sleepily notice how the doors shake in their frames and how the glass in the windows loudly resists.
I don’t sleep. I interexist. A few vestiges of consciousness persist. I feel the weight of slumber but not of unconsciousness. I don’t exist. The wind. . . I wake up and go back to sleep without yet having slept. There’s a landscape of loud and indistinct sound beyond which I’m a stranger to myself. I cautiously delight in the possibility of sleeping. In what seems to me like a slumber there is always a sound of the end of all things, the wind in the darkness, and, if I listen closely, the sound of my own lungs and heart.
I’ll leave you to your Sudoku puzzles
and cryptography I can never make sense of.
My telepathy is weak,
or maybe the strength of our wireless internet connection is to blame.
I saw the smoke signals
and traced the braille in your letters
but neither gave me clarity.
I wonder how much time we collectively spend staring at our cell phones and computer screens,
and if we’re any better off for it.
Every time I check my e-mail it’s mostly spam,
and I don’t care for most of what is said on my Facebook newsfeed.
Kerouac didn’t have to deal with this and neither should I.
I’ve read a thousand Wikipedia articles
and spent hours on Netflix
but I haven’t been to the Eiffel Tower
or even the Grand Canyon.
Before the internet I had board games
and because of this I can solve the murder from the paper you’re reading,
it was Reverend Green in the kitchen with the revolver.
Sometimes I get myself mixed up with characters from books.
I think about the time I ran away from prep school.
Then I think never mind, that was Holden Caulfield.
I don’t think anyone can verify that Holden Caulfield and I aren’t the same person.
I know that I certainly can’t
and I don’t want to.
From Witold Gombrowicz’s Diary, his letter to the members of the Discussion Club in Los Angeles, Argentina:
Thank you for your nice Merry Christmas and Happy New Year’s wishes and for the news that the first meeting of the Club was devoted to discussing my works, which delights me. Allow me, dear members, to return the compliment with a few remarks on the subject of the activity to which you devote yourselves, i.e., the art of discussion.
I wish to share my reflections on this matter with you because it is with great pain that I see that discussion belongs to those cultural phenomena that usually bring us nothing but humiliation and that I would call “disqualifying.” Let us think about the source of this venom of ignominy with which discussion plies us. We undertake it assuming that it will throw into relief who is right and what the truth is, in connection with which men primo, designate a topic; secundo, define notions; tertio, take care to articulate with precision; and quarto, take pains to maintain logical argumentation. All this is followed by a Tower of Babel, a muddle of concepts, a chaos of words and the truth is drowned in claptrap. How much longer can we maintain that professorial naïveté derived from the previous century whereby we can organize discussion. Are there certain things you still do not understand? Do you need more blather in a world sick with discussion to understand that gabbing is no bridge to the truth? Do you want to illuminate your darkness with this candle when not even a lighthouse can penetrate its walls?
I am walking to a friend’s house and thinking about publishing a book of poems.
I think “wouldn’t it be really cool if by the time I got to my friend’s house, my book was already published.”
A dog walks by and his owner gives me a dirty look.
A car almost hits me and I feel euphoric and alive instead of scared and small.
By the time I get to my friend’s house, I haven’t published a book of poems.