Monday, October 11, 2004

A letter before I go (final version)

Tishrei 24

Dear Jarvis(1)

I admit it has been a long time since my last letter, and in the course of time the years have turned my pages yellow like oaks in the autumn, thus yellow even my thoughts about you in small fuses have become. I am writing and sending this letter with the only purpose that you will never read it, for the beauty of your earlier years constitutes already a wrinkled longing and I wouldn't take upon myself the burden of inflicting you with any sorrow that life with its poisonous drunkenness hasn't inflicted you with, and I do so with knowing callousness.

It's already past midnight you know; such as in that little Aeolic verse(2) I translated for you once, do you remember? I hope you certainly don't, but your memory is still fresh and growing stronger with the years, I'm just being self-deceiving and I sincerely apologize. In the darkening and swiftly enveloping midnight of Jerusalem I'm writing you this letter whilst he drowns in the death of sleep, renewing the vows made to his merciful God(3). In the meantime I am myself dwelling in heathenism and auguries as I did in earlier years and since my adolescence, since those endless days in the libraries of St. Claire's and St. Anne's(4). The years haven't stolen my jovial beauty and my skin is still firm and tight, inasmuch as white, even so more my thoughts have remained as vivid and terrifying as in the old days, and accordingly I've dedicated some space amidst my temples(5) for some technically fair infidelity, you know piety wasn't one of my best qualities and if any at all many of them were most likely sickening and wicked, past midnight hence I'm writing you this letter.

Despite yourself I never forsake Jerusalem, and through the years moving between the German Colony and the French Hills, between Baka and Nachlaot, between Katamon and Ramat Sharet, I have returned to my good old Rechavia, but that shouldn't surprise you even minimally for I had promised it in those days, and remember my mind works like a Swiss clock, almost like a Nazi soldier, mechanically executing fragmentary pieces of sentiments that could be better described as phenomenological thought. Yes, I'm still living in Rechavia, for where else could a writer live if not in Rechavia? I believe your lack of attempts to find me rooted only on the fact that you would be able to do so almost matter-of-factly, wouldn't you? But I'll let you believe that you thought that I left with my suitcases filled up with the books and papers of my shelves one simple good day, I'm assured that will make your heart relieved.

With the years I forwent most materializations of my life, and to a great extent I lived a very simple life until this day. Now in my pious and long owed infidelity I stare at the candles of Shabbat resting in some shelf near my desk and the dust caused by the hundreds of volumes I compiled over the years. You well know that religion and me never befriended each other, but when you grow older you probably learn to appreciate those things from a far, crawling into your adult preoccupations and claiming it doesn't have the power to touch you, but it certainly does. Looking at the flame being slowly consumed by the chemical reactions of air and the mercilessness of time gives me the heartening comfort of a well spent life, and closer to the tradition than I ever thought. You well know how many hardships I endured all through my life walking into the hued greys and vindicating myself with a sense of dutiful obligation from all what my soul believed in, yet tonight I might dare to say I've surpassed in this struggle and having sacrificed many bright days of my life, I've befriended tradition in the end. I'm not a believer as yet, you can figure that out yourself, but as long as he's, there're many things you simply have to learn to live with, and I don't say this with discontent, or disrespect. In the end of the day I did choose the man, chose the house, chose the furniture, the shelves and even chose the dishware for Passover, but the tradition I didn't choose, it plain chased me all throughout my life like a curse that in my intellectual supremacy I couldn't get rid of. Yet I'm satisfied I didn't.

You claimed in your letters that were never sent or even probably never written, that I shouldn't alienate myself and I should make my voice heard for some further understanding, but I lived somehow, a comfortable life without all those longing words, for I had many other things that fulfilled my life with a joyous calm. I thought about the lives of other women like Zelma(6) and Dina(7), I thought about Joan Rosenheim(8) and how much she reminded me of my good old friend Esther, and I found the search very satisfying for I believe I spent my time away returning to my foremost important place, my place. I'm glad you never sent those letters and that your mercy and even your pity never knocked on the door of my house and disturbed my calm, I'm glad you never read my books and I'm glad I never wrote you anything since that day in New York.

Through the lack of satisfactions of my life, my lack of desperation and thrill, my lack of overshadowing sentiments and high-tempered pain, in the lack of all those things I searched for you many days, more than my heart would like to be reminded of, but I made sure to search for you in the screens of mist, in the fogs, in the overcrowded cafes of Ben Yehuda and the shops in Talpiot, and I searched for you there because I had the knowing conviction of never finding you and that relieved my heart from the sweet pain of memories, and through all those days you remained as simple dreams and impossible elucidations of Kunderian thoughts(9), I found some comfort in those thoughts and they never stopped cheering me, they never abandoned me to this day and wrapped me in the wicked pleasure of overwriting the past with a sword, of overwriting the past with Gaelic poems I wrote(10), with English verses, with stanzas and hexameters. I searched for you not in the darkening sweet black-hued days of my life when doubts and sorrows surrounded me, because I well knew that you wouldn't be concerned with my sadness and with my affliction for you not only would have yours too but would understand mine better than if you would have read each and every chapter of my books.

I searched for you instead, in those overshadowing and infatuating days of my life, in those days when I became a self-obsessed artist(11), in those days when the world seemed small posed in my hands and I outreached to kiss the hands of my fore bearers in the Helicon(12), in those days I did search and I found you in there, I knew where to look and from whence to turn; my mind searched for you in the red tables overlooking the Mediterranean, in the plains of Raanana and those leather-weary chairs that composed the milieu of good old Tel Aviv. My legs acted differently though, and they kept on looking for you in Jerusalem, in each and every corner of Ben Yehuda and Nachlaot, in those ageing wooden houses surrounding the wineries of Zichron, and in the tiny and woefully blue streets of Safed, don't blame me please, I searched in those places because I knew deep inside you would never again wander through those decadent surroundings, for the country was not big enough for both of us and fearing you will find me you simply didn't return there, I thank you so much for that. You granted me my decadence; to the same extent I granted you your emancipating enlightenment. So civilized from each one of us, but how poorly sophisticated of me and how banally superficial of you. It seems to me that such day stumbling upon each other in the streets of Manhattan, that would be the day when we would draw imaginary lines over the geography of the Holy Land, thereinafter I wouldn't dare into the overwhelming lights of the Acropolis(13), frozen in my ears through operas of Antigone and Electra, somehow else you wouldn't dare either into the underworld and the nine fold river of Stygia(14) that enveloped it with those sweet and dark waters that contained my thought, you never let yourself come any closer to our mountains with theories of Bacchants(15) for you knew well that the forest would reject you, so you couldn't steal my place in the Arcadia(16), even despite the book and those three days in Rome(17) you wouldn't dare into; the Dionysian dithyrambs(18) and Aeolic bridal hymns(19) would be thereof mine. I believe a certain day I saw you on the road to Jericho, but having morning just sprung my mind was still dazzled by the nightly thoughts, it therefore succumbed to my newfound Aristotelian body and slept away the astounding thought without repair.

I was never a newspaper's person hence I didn't read you either, it was totally uninteresting in my eyes, and in any case being such an opinionated person I could read nothing but Ha'aretz with its high-level critical thought, and spent uncountable minutes drowning into my sugar-less Austrian style coffee and the books section, the literature and archaeology section, I even read something about the rituals performed for the dead in Byzantium(20). When you come to think about it, as much as I despised Herbst and Agnon, irritating my good colleague Yoav, I would end up my road there (Iterum... verbum sapienta...) (21), being such an irrational contradiction, but all the events that have led my life thereinafter are nothing but a loyal proof that such was the weightless "muss-sein" written for me from a Beethoven's chart (22), the day of Shavuot, when we, the tribes of Israel were present in heavens for the delivery of the laws of Moses to the world. Without scholarly knowledge I assume I was already engaged in the study of the Classics in that very moment, for I can't understand in my pagan logic how could he give us the law and then create the world based on her, I believe the world shall have been created firstly and then the law(23), the Athenians would probably agree with my opinion and so would their deities, but I fail to understand the engineered dynamics in history of thought being an intellectual myself, yet the man who lies next to me doesn't, and although I've refused to speak to God all through these years it seems to me from the spark of his sight that he understands, and that nonetheless brings me endless comfort. I wish I could surround your island with those same waters of delightful ignorance, but you live in a city, where my mind has lived for all those years so I perfectly understand what it feels like, we don't really need to curdle up into it.

The fact is, I couldn't find you in the good old Hebrew newspapers for we never read them at home, you might believe he could have read you by accident; but there you're mistaken for I was his home and have been since then, an almost motherly home. And in my home there was no space for simplicity other than the wonders acted upon us product of mitzvot, tzedaka and the daily tefilah. Between the teachings of the prophets and the Classics there was no space for little writers, with the exception of those wonderful American novels I hideously loved and read only late at night trying to imagine you, Hemingway(24) and me all together at once sitting near some fountain and the Satmars(25) preaching us around.

You also have to understand Jerusalem is a timeless place, in the streets of Rechavia the years simply don't fly away, and that's how my hands are as immaculate as they were that day when my heavy suitcases with wooden boxes of regret and joyful youth abandoned your sight, I actually no longer remember if it was in New York or in Tel Aviv. Very much unlike you, aged and wounded by the echoes and manoeuvres of time, in Tel Aviv everything is in a fast forward. In Rechavia the news are simple idealizations of a modern state that dies in the outskirts of the neighbourhood for each one of us claims the ownership of the place to this day; the British, the Germans, the Greeks, the Jews, the Arabs, the writers, the intellectuals, the students, the homosexuals, and even us, the Akkermans'. As long as our understated ownership remains in procrastination not even God dares to interfere. Yes, we've also been subject to the deathly smell of blasts and explosions, but there's no soul in Jerusalem that hasn't and still even the dead claim some ownership in Rechavia, nevertheless a tremulous silence overwrites all of us, hence no possible debate on the matter ever takes place.

Do not think my life was an easy play to be in, far from the grandeur of the Classics it was a merely lived life, almost untouched and kind. I forsook the idols of my youth and went myself forlorn all through the years down the oaks of Sokolov Street; here don't laugh for I'm speaking the truth, we're a poorly creative country when it comes to naming our streets. Back then in the good old days of Ramat Gan I started my journey through life abandoning my comfortable life in the 5th store at the 18th in Sokolov Street; then I would be obnoxiously constrained and almost vindicated into the hastening mornings of Tel Aviv, being my only moments of peace those late night or early morning walks amidst the trees of Sokolov Street between your house and mine, between the cafes that separated my thoughts from my vicious inconformity before life, it was in Sokolov Street from where I could foresee the frightening mornings my life and its fascination for death and injustice would bear, it was in Sokolov Street where I dreamt about those little windows and the beautifully furnished homes I would see through, I dreamt about my life and my future, specially about my house.

Perhaps only because Sokolov Street and its tiny discreet windows featured outrageously happy and wealthy fulfilling lives, and I could see back then how far I found myself and probably everyone else from our ways up in life; that's just me being a progressive Jew(26), always hungry for more; a progressive Dutch Jew, fed since early childhood with strict and almost religious greed that would turn life into a long and carefully planned statement. Sokolov Street reminded me of good old Amsterdam, a pleasant childhood beneath a red roof and the fresh tiles of the spring. Yet I would end up my life once again in Sokolov Street, not in Ramat Gan nor in Tel Aviv, but in Jerusalem. Sokolov Street somewhere in between the timeless shades of Rechavia... and in there my home wouldn't shine like any home I ever saw in Sankt Gallen, in Amsterdam or in Tel Aviv. It would simply look like a house in Rechavia, like a house in Jerusalem. And still here I am, for the third time living in Sokolov Street, being such an intellectual and disacknowledging unconsciously who this Sokolov was though, for he doesn't come up in my daily conversations to the same extent that Begin, Rabin and Jabotinsky do. We're not concerned with the real persona of Sokolov here in any case, but more so with the "dramatis personae" of Sylvia and David Akkermans, still and after so many years resolute residents of Rechavia, rooted to the place just like one of our neighbouring trees, like one of our dead.

My life didn't commence in Rechavia if that's the question that troubled your fashionable mind in puzzling indifference, for as I was born to this world with higher expectations, with expectations higher than life was able to provide me with at that time. Once I defied your overwhelming nature I crawled down into my highest sensitivities to let them die for all at once, and my life... that life you've been so unaware of through the years took off ground from beyond the sea, amidst the most terrifying shallowness that would turn into Blues even stone-made souls like yours. From an overcomplicated and super-elaborate momentum, that would last for as many years as it would take to bury in the pavement any possible streams that would constitute a drive-away your way.

Performing exceedingly an Argive(27) in modern times I would challenge my own fate and defy the governing nature of history, -such a humanist thought. I would embark myself on a journey that wouldn't take me anywhere but once again to the streets of Jerusalem, headscarves and wooden canvas from where the most interesting thoughts would spring out in order to turn into novels, poems and one singled-out play that I almost compulsively wrote over the years. Estranged from my homeland(28) I would release myself from the terrible weariness of my blood and live up to a world of sensations and rationally calculated sentiments that wouldn't achieve its purposes of satisfying my young soul.

At the time I thought of you actually, because even being such an ignorant Francophile as yourself you would have with certainty found a pleasurable corner in the streets of New York, I personally didn't and yet I did keep a foresight just like any reasonably educated Jewish progressive woman would, and wandering through the appalling conspicuousness of American life I would never find my way back home, I would never return anywhere else than Jerusalem for my life turned out to be shorter than I expected, and my life in the capital of the world would prove itself more exhausting than anything else seen before, the callousness before the "grandeur de la cite comme le plus haute tour"(29) and specially the lack of grace, I lived in such graceless state. Back then we were already overwriting your odes, yes, David and me; it was an almost religious decision you wouldn't understand, an outrageously desperate decision that would save my life and would grant me the security of a traditional life, under the shade of the conventions and protected by an almost heavenly spirit of respect and tolerance; I constrained myself to live such desperately quiet and eventless life as an alternative choice that would break through my maddening destructive nature and turn it once again green. I devoted my life to less elevated pleasures, following each and every one of those demystifying conventions, becoming a lawyer whilst pursuing my studies in the Classics far from the tranquility experienced years back in the classrooms of St. Anne's, but I was satisfied for I had more than I could have ever dreamt of and the years would prove me upright and would grant me the justice of having followed almost slavishly the road of other simple men. I was still too British(30) for the United States of America, too conservative and too judgemental, too long-sleeved and uniform for the echoes of almost ultra-orthodox postmodernism. My life had been spent under different parameters and other than the greenery of Kent and Oxford and the unfamiliar and insular streets of Sankt Gallen(31) I had seen no other world; still I could easily deceive the easy-going American nature with my discursive speech and have some time off for myself.

After living in Israel I believed I couldn't have been lonelier anywhere else on the surface of earth, but life proved me wrong once again for my own good sake, because once you've lived in the land of your ancestors and tasted its addictive bitterness you would feel alone practically everywhere. Still I clang onto this loneliness and among the intellectual circles of New England(32) my first pieces of work started being published. Unfortunately you would never understand my refined language that well so that you could enjoy them but probably one day far off from the days of our burial we'll be translated and read by others, our words will be dissected by immature readers who will claim understanding and only then we'll rise from beyond the grave to claim our rights; momentaneously we're engaged in far more noble causes as to waste time explaining ourselves. An English woman living in New York, an English woman that became an American lawyer, an English woman married in New York(33). A British-fed European writer that would never learn not to frown. Up to this day still sugar-less and Austrian, that's how I like my "tasse de cafe".

Never again in my life would I be granted the chance to return not even to the woeful London stores or would recreate my dutiful mornings with royalties. Less fundamental issues took place instead, such as becoming an educated individual in a society of silk-weary donkeys, a world-class professional, a proficient wife, etc. but don't worry... I wouldn't disappoint you on this; I never could help myself from looking down on them(34). New York would prove my inherent need to journey back and forth through the days in encore and would bring me back home at last and for good. I would sweat once again under the inclement Jerusalemite sun of October(35), but for some time more I stayed in there and sorrowfully succeeded in any of my enterprises against my own will, financial responsibilities with almost Calvinist management and other shameful tendencies that would synchronize my life with the life and deeds of most other Americans.

I had to foresee a life, a life no real passion would bring me into. Defying all postmodernism I didn't pretend to change the world, simply wanted to commute with it. And from that matches box-sized sorority room next to Lewisohn(36) I would never be tired enough from life as not to push for slightly more and eventually from push to push that college room, as impersonal and bookish as in the days of Ramat Gan, would turn in the course of the years into a home full of familiar touch. The mustiness(37) would never abandon me, just like religion as well never would. The house would become through the years a container of dead knowledge(38) and Classical decadence that would share the space in perfect harmony with an eclectic and sometimes superfluous, sometimes fascinating tradition. Even Baal-Shem-Tov and the Litvaks, Shammay and Hillel, Rambam and Caro, each and every one of them would find its place in my shelves with dystopian harmony. How much I rejoiced in the Talmud, I think Helen of Troy in my companion did too(39).

David has been a superficially religious man I must confess you, but never ever let him know that. I still believe I enjoy contemplating his joyful content, for I never really outreached that far, quite somehow the opposite. You would wonder how I outwitted many in my enterprise and built a Jewish home being far from a pious Jew myself, well... life acts upon us in strange ways I can just gather. The poet is granted perhaps a different outlook of life, perhaps he's closer to God than the ordinary believer might think. Religion is a pivotal concept in poetry I can ascertain; I knew it since the first time I read Homer and Sappho(40), even before I dared to touch a Hebrew bible. But don't fool yourself either; we still speak English most of the time.

In between the lines I firmly ascertain too that I've been more of a religious person than he has, but that's unimportant for reality has been slightly different. I haven't lived such an upright life and that very fact wouldn't surprise you even minimally, I'm allegedly convinced. I had my good lot of pleasurable cruelties and selfish encores, not that I regret each and every one of those young men, with nothing but few exceptions; and doing so I probably outwitted you so in my science and decidedly in most aspects of my life. It wasn't easy nonetheless, for I've thought about the coffee table even up to these long forlorn days(41), to and fro, a frozen monogram in my mind, being that a part of the story I would never forsake. Yes, I'm not even this ashamed to say that I did it in the back of my life, behind my own life, as if my house had a yard hideously engraved solely for my very own pleasure, a little dark forest nourished with the waters of silent disposable storms, like little tissues you would wash and flash away, devoid of any serious thought, as ephemeral and eloquent as in the good old days. I can't claim I've lived two different lives, neither have you I'm sure for there's enough evil in both of us as to discern overtime that we can embrace darkness and drown into the waters of the underneath for its liquors are passionate and vivify the flesh. My life was just one, the life of a writer, who happened to be the good wife of an observant pious American man, a lawyer in New York, a Classicist in good old England, and a poet in Jerusalem, all of them together and almost at once.

It was a sympathetically strange life because there was nothing about this life of mine that surprised me, except him(42). Yet only in order to inflate your over swollen pride I must confess I never found any fulfillment that could overthrow the dying banality and storms of conspicuous evil I felt when embraced in the delicate and intoxicating smell of your arms, such as in that Sapphic verse that still shall remain somewhere in that wooden box among the petals(43), can you remember that as well? Surprisingly life didn't treat me so bad in the end, there was no threat.

Do you know what's loving someone without being not even slightly attracted to him?(44) Well, I know it and I knew it for many years, but I shouldn't have procrastinated in so much longing to understand that and yet I don't regret it whatsoever. The fact of not having loved David for so many years but until our late days helped me to achieve what the universe of feelings forbade me from in those fascinating days of August when you overwrote my father the Sun(45). I decidedly planned for the future and designed a plan, leaving my swiftly darkening life outside its scope, for my life by categoric definition would constitute everything but a wholesome episode. Growing the yeast in my heart, the acute sorrows of my diseased nature called upon me in the clouds and mute breezes of February and March beneath the perfectly unfinished milieu of the sky in New York and Jerusalem, a childish portrayal. Such sorrows knocked on my door late at night and through invisible wired shrines that connected many of us together all throughout life, those sorrows found their way into my studio and my shelves, and prosecuted me with treacherous righteousness; I defended myself on my sly and claimed content in a long bygone Thracian morality I would follow only in between the lines of my books. I didn't achieve my very first purpose to defend myself though, I rather claimed for my own guilt, but randomly those sorrowful thoughts abandoned me due of time once they became one in the flesh with the paper, forming conjunctions and connection that haven't been altered by the axes of time, or any other circumstances.

Only in the afterlife of my youth, having become an empowered member of society(46) I slowly withdrew myself from those deceiving pleasures we thoroughly enjoyed together and embraced a more tranquil and less hastening life. My youth hasn't vanished away inasmuch as yours, for my hands are still young and even so more my sight, but I've lived a very different life than yours. In between the hardships and cruelties of our parallel realities I've spent many years drowning into unthinkable segments of beauty and splendour, making myself the recipient of small and seldom gifts from life that sprang in my thoughts. Unlike you, living down and underground(47), and in spite of being both of us sinners from a very kin, I shall just claim on my behalf I did keep some respect for the human race, and even when I may grant you the right to claim I never matured in the diseased bitterness of life I didn't let myself be led astray, and my whole life could have been described as a lengthy roadmap heading towards intellect, good and well.

I forwent the Oxford days(48), and you probably would understand what I mean by the Oxford days, yet let it be that way. Somehow I kept the traditions of those days for everlasting years that would come thereafter, for being such a loyal Hellenist myself, could it have been done otherwise? I can't complain that my youth was not well lived, it was simply awfully lived and contemptuously wasted in vain. But that's how it was meant to be, and I'm glad of having clung onto that therein. Some delicious emptiness as you've been nowhere else in life ever since then I gather, but I might be wrong, remember we don't approach the newspapers so often down here. How could I know?

The yellowing white of the days would bring us back to Rechavia, to the good and old Sokolov, almost made of gold. Here I would culminate my tentatively honourable life edging through the contradictions and circles of my life, writing a play and stand-up comedy about wife and the funeral of her wedding(49), and you can't imagine how many nights I spent sinking into the cynical laughter of having written such a venomous thing, yet unfortunately not many were made to wander through those pages. Language has a fascinating quality, it is Darwinist as well(50), and that's basically my art, dear.

I would write many other things as well though, however never again a play... I think I wrote the play just with some fresh taste of vengeance, but it was not a big concern. I wrote endless sets of poems and other verses, odes, a few novels and scholarly literature, being a writer was what my life was called for since those early days. All the contradictions of my life would fall in place altogether, the Bar examination in America, returning to Jerusalem to the good old streets of Rechavia, the Hebrew University, the rituals for the dead in Byzantium and many other procrastinations. The fear of my vicious foresight would never betray me either, inasmuch as my art didn't, it would rather cling onto me as the ivy that surrounds a tree and swallows the blood of life from the stem. My foresight would never sleep a day away. Until today I've been endlessly afraid, afraid of myself and of my talent, infatuated and de-constructed by my own art, by my discontent knowledge.

You don't need to investigate with further depth any particular details concerning my life for I might give you a brief description of my shortcomings; I married during my early twenties and right thereafter married my sisters and my cousins, everybody seems to lead a wholesome life, I'm satisfied I should say. I lived for unaccountable days of my life between New York and Jerusalem having seldom visited any other place, for life was merely too short for me as I said. I pursued all through my life my studies in the Classics until I became a doctor from all places in Jerusalem, I also became an attorney without much practice, and my art obviously has been no other than writing but I think I could have made an excellent attorney actually, but some things such as charts and clients have never slipped through the door of my studio room, I wouldn't have let it happened, and since it was my choice I didn't.

Sounds as if days of my life were not sufficiently unkind, eh? Well, let me tell you something, life is in the end nothing but a maddening fluctuation of thought, so let's not allow ourselves be carried away in complaints and regret over our endurances. I see you're still alone, aren't you? Well that doesn't surprise me at all; I think we knew it since then, didn't we? And let me add a little something, if it makes you feel better I'm no happier than you are, so please comfort yourself.

I achieved most of what any human soul would lust for, a house with a bright and tender man, an intellectual career from within my studio room, some little economic pleasure and a somehow quiet life. What can be wrong with all that? Maybe having married the wrong man? No, that's allegedly mistaken. I actually have been proven I chose the right path for I eventually made ends meet ends. After reading this letter you would think I have been reading Victorian novels just for too long, but well how could you ever understand me in that respect?, you're but one of those progressive Jews of today(51), how could you understand the cravings of a single young English woman(52)? You, whose eyes would never see the greenery where I spent my childhood wandering about, you'd never seen the yellows and the reds and the purples of Scandia, of Finnmark, of Cornwall(53). That's how I thought you would have thoroughly enjoyed living my life in America, it was somehow a second Tel Aviv, just far more appalling and artificial, but who knows? It could have fit you perfectly. My mind was still in England, and even when I never happened to return there, I'm still the lost daughter of Victorian echoes and provincial life(54), leaving asides all post-modernism I consciously renounced to. Not as a whole though, for in the yard that grew in between my books inside my studio room there was an heirloom altar for progress and change, for industriousness, such was the yard where the sculptor of my life carved in the stones of my soul. I wonder what the village people of Southern Scotland or Wales would think about all this, but what do they know matter-of-factly? They're just as miserable as we are, just less knowingly so.

Is there anything wrong with that? Perhaps, only perhaps. Was there anything wrong with my life? Perhaps, only perhaps. As far as appearances go I'm near the end of many of my roads, yet yearning for a glorious beginning once again, wisdom they'd call it. Let's leave my question unanswered with a simple perhaps, let's just say I sympathize with the tradition, with the convention, with the lack of radicalisms, let's say that I spent several years being the anonymous thinker, the anonymous poet, and why not an anonymous lover. Let's leave it all in perchance. My newfound beauty in the aftermath of that summer was my only crime; you know there's no blame to place. Everything else I've been indulged for.

Towards the end of this letter I might just intimate things with you and let you know that James and me also happened to meet once again, it's ironic because again I couldn't beat my vice for auguries and foresight, yet I found him very beautiful and sad, alone like most of you, post-modern men. He was very kind to me, and he thought I hadn't recognized him - but the eyes could never lie, hence he didn't address me at all. It was a few years back in time, when I was curator at some gallery portico he visited by chance, and from his expression I think he didn't believe his eyes, Sylvia in Jerusalem? Sylvia in some kind of productive life? Sylvia in a smile? He was so deceived by the thought, poor thing. Yet I do appreciate his kindness, it was such a big "chesed"(55). That makes me think he did read those epilogues I sent him years back after I went to New York, it seems they never stopped to hurt him, as much as they never stopped to heal me somehow else, to cheer me. Strange, no? I believe he reckons that he is part of a tragic past that somehow doesn't seem to haunt me, and it would be unkind to remind me, right? Well, that was extremely loving and kind. Almost gentle.

As far as you go, I believe we don't really need to stare into each other's eyes at this point, since so much yellow has come down in the meantime. So much longing has been forlorn and everything that was thought true just became a private space to cling onto in a winter's night. And in the end we've never been so apart, I've foreseen each and every single hue that touched and coloured your life and unsurprisingly you might have eventually done the same. Silence was a golden cage all through these years and it even vanished the muse of my words, so that in my mature age you even stopped being a subject in my pages, and still today concerned with painteresque characters such as wife(56) and Harry Goldstein(57) that were creative products of your sickening love, I betrayed you ever since those little poems, ever since the Aeolians(58).

Lastly, I simply want to thank you, for I'm indebted to you, I thank you so much for having left that day, for having broken the continuum of a perfectly sunny life in the tiles of Tel Aviv and Ramat Ha-Sharon. I thank you so much for having left my life unfinished and for having deceived my soul with such cold callousness, not that it would teach me any lesson but yet it would lead my life through different tea-rooms and stone-walls, through different thoughts and almost heavenly confirmations about the come about and go of my own life. I thank you for having left one day without an explanation and on unreasonable grounds, I thank you for having buried my future under your own two feet, from the funeral of such broken dreams(59) the writer known as S.A. was born. Your awful fault, your awful lot.

Thanks, Jarvis... for having left my life so unfinished and drawn so that I had the chance to finish it myself, to re-write scripts again and to bring in shelves, colours and build space for other people. All of it over our graves, yours and mine. I might die any of these days with the conviction that we did outright good, and specially I, benefited from this all.

I regret not having loved more, not having given more, but it is no good time for sentimentalisms, for humanisms, as any sound protestant would claim. I've granted myself the chance to live inside my life, oyster-like, as much as you hated it. I do too, but it works out.

Fortunately we're only characters in a novel that hasn't been written, just like wife and her poor miserable gestalt, but who am I to pity the writer or feel sorry for him, for her? Aren't they sufficiently wounded up? Yet I believe he must be a deeply sad young man, but there's some dreadful and wicked fascination of beauty to this.

With all my love, ever since and again many thanks


Truly yours





Sylvia(60)



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