Monday, January 03, 2011

Jotting down a dream... (Part II)

"For some reason, Michael Cunnigham's "The Hours" is still at the top of my preferences on how modern writing should be made to conversate with literature. To some people it appears that Virginia Woolf's crucial demands on literature were nowhere radical, but I think this has to do with the fact that they already forgot that politics is not literature and that literature must never leave the domain of art." -A.

"I remember one morning, getting up down, there was such a sense of possibility, you remember? that feeling? And I remember thinking to myself, this is the beginning of happiness, this is where it starts, and of course there will always be more; it never occured to me it wasn't the beginning, it was happiness, it was the moment, right there." -Clarissa Vaughan

The dream takes place again but it does not suffocate, as if the space had changed and no longer stretched itself to match the previous night or the callousness of a morning to follow, it could have happened anywhere, hadn't the yellow light covered with galactic dust, unmistakably made me stood by the gates of Jerusalem, or at least, significantly near, so that I could smell the frankincense blending in with the thyme, the chickpeas and the mint leaves learning how to swim in the burning scorches of the turbid waters that suddenly, at the call for noon prayers in yet a thousand mosques, is miraculously turned into fresh tea. Not everything had been beautiful then or even readily available to understanding, the poetic fixation on the index of the past gave free way to different shapes of the present to assemble themselves comfortably upon the sand, being infinitely more frightened by the solid immutability of the stone than by the fragile syncope of the sand - It seemed as if the stone could live forever, or even for yet another thousand years, which is much longer than forever, and how sorry it would be for one lone person to feel the very same, for a whole suffocating eternity of time. Other symptoms were also sensual more than they were loving, the inert death of the birds was felt more intensely than the jolts in the city and the noisy steps of the madman, trying to find a way back from the light, as if it were only in caves that men are allowed their privatemost thoughts; the gardens, it seems, and the flowers in the spring, the wadis and the waterfalls, the hanging ivies and the peaceful benches, they only seem to add another imprecation in the list of unfulfilled miracles, of mere facts of the world, to uphold against god. The sand is less threatening, more receptive to the music, it could be confused with sheets of paper and with the gown of a woman chasing after planes in the sky instead of picking up the shells - that's the kind of ambitions she's got.

Once again I fail to remember anything of particular importance whilst jotting down the dream, but its importance seems ever so much less at the moment of facing the nudity of the paper than the vices of the memory, trying to re-arrange every little thing in the world in order to adjust to the cruel demands of the dream itself; quite happy it had been, I think, and all the more unimportant not because of its simplest joys but because of its most absolute and reckless incompatibility with the present, manifold times richer and brighter, lustful and intense, slightly murderous like an alphabet, useless for poetry and for fairy tales, not systematically different altogether from the cyphered code to be seen in the neon-lightened boards at the train stations while not incompatible with the languages of science, taken advantage of by dreamers, philosophers and astronauts alike. The dream appeared as a peacefulmost consolation, one single moment of security, one single moment of safety from the rush of the waters toward the nothingness, flowing on and on, in circles and cycles, frantically, passively angered, but smooth and powerless. Perhaps the remembrance of the madness, nowhere close to a religious experience, would be all the more comforting, the loud screams of the lovers and the stealth escape from the movement of lips and limbs, the stalls of the artisans in a cold night framing the transport lines with such delicate and formless accuracy and at long last, the departure, the cruelties typical of intense emotions, the silence of a telephone, and that beautiful vision; not sure whether imagined or not, of the voice in the other end trying to pacify my exasperation while pissing on myself with one hand against a painted wall and smoking with the other, the smoke patting me heartily on the back and my eyes, darkened by all too common poisons, searching for a moment of lust, a little distraction, a minute of fame or shame, anything that could make the supreme guilt by-product of helpless passion, easier to tamper or more difficult to enshrine.

There's no comfort in this though... But the dream, always the dream, appears like a fickle, watered down and weak before the imponent hours, and the hours before, the crucial waiting and the geographical patience of those places, where we had been once happy. The dreams were nothing unique insofar as they were static, inept and sterile in a certain way; perhaps they give us some information about anything that we've taken happiness to be after all, a little shopping boulevard in lieu of heaven, something very bland and pathetic, and why shouldn't it be the reason for which we're not granted a place in heaven, so little did we want from the earth, so small and indistinguishable from misery our comfort zone had been. But the hours, the hours of vigilance, they were somewhat lost in the sobriety of the day; that's something I can't handle too well, the sight of all those many colors, the skin of the enemy, always so fresh and untainted, this is what eternity must look like - Just one single day in town, without night and without sleep, without poison but also without rest, the continuity of it all, the bus lines, that moment that you thought then while you waited, behind the spotless white table, shaking from the fear, that moment that you thought, could change your life in less than a moment, arm you with wings and set you on a flight at the expense of the heavy weight of your socks, and yet it passed, perhaps you missed it, perhaps that's when the world world began anew. Yet the helpless realization that it was just one another fraction of time, one hour less of sun for your eyelids and the steady walk toward the grave, nothing else but that. How unsinful and irrelevant, apparently useless for the pen, if you know how to use one, otherwise easy to forget, prosperous as it had been, the view from the glasswindow, the most intimate desire to shipwreck; perhaps a bit of a death wish could have added one centimeter of height to the marshmallow stairway that was supposed to lift that moment up into heaven, you would have done anything to avoid it, let go of your life or kill a poet in the story perhaps so that the others might live and forget altogether - because poets can't, it might well be that they do no good to write or speak, but forget, they can not . But it wasn't anything like that, it was like any other day - instead of heading for heaven, you stood on a line, to enter the ice skating ring, in that horrible plaza, told more than a few lies and then disappeared with your soul, wondering all the time, why on earth would you bring such a heavy suitcase to a skating ring, on a sunny day in a colorful trope, how befouled you were, so that instead of carrying it to heaven, you abandoned the suitcase in a dream.

Since heaven is supposed to look a lot like dreams, thus, it was an obvious choice, especially at night, when the sky is no longer visible and heaven stands nearer as the cool air bathes the ankles and the wrists, not because heaven is supposed to be cold but for more visual reasons, as the empty streets and the cold sounds inundate the images of the day and make then appear overflown with a certain abandonment to lust. I am not sure if it was lucidity what was being lost, but there were these voices, they played instruments for me, everyone was so beautiful then, beautiful and absent, untouchable and I was just an elf, being soothed by the piano, unable to catch one simple glimpse of living person or thing, they were inert objects, dancing like marionettes, without bleeding or exhaustion, they were tireless in their tune and all the songs did I know, like never before, I wouldn't be bothered by their inhumanity and their bones of coal and their flesh of cloth, I danced amidst them like a recently crowned king in a lonely planet of his own throwing a parade for the sun. There was this pain too, dancing with me all along and I knew he had been there since the moment of defeat, he wouldn't let me cry this time because the rules between us were very clear; we could only cry out of beauty but never because of ugliness, and since he didn't leave me for a single moment of that night or the morning after, I was unable to weep and the only stance of mourning had to be bled into an empty page, that in itself refused to soak in the blood and I had to watch it, for a whole week, dancing around the edges of the paper, changing from black into magenta and then sometimes cerulean and purple and grey. I had to smear it on my body after bathing in a river of the size of a bathroom, together with my parfum so that I could go on living, and if it was an issue of going on living or not, it was not because of the pain but merely out of embarrassment. That's how I slipped into the dream, in the early morning as I tried to avoid the reminders of the sun, the most basic knowledge, the knowledge that it had been just another day and never a work of art or a moment of truth; those moments remained hidden, messianically, often forgotten and seldom unchanged, they were more like the stone and less like the sand, you wouldn't realize that the garden had changed into a palace until you have already crossed the threshold.

The preference over the dream lies precisely on the fact that the imagination is still at work here and you might comfort yourself in thinking that it is much more powerful than reality and that it plays no role whatsoever in configurating those moments of the day that powerfully appear and vanish at the same time, that reality is a realm independent from supplications and from wonder, you're completely powerless in it and therefore infinitely innocent. They are not in the past, the dreams, they never happened, they are not looking into the future but merely speak to the denizen of the present, they offer him a certain weak salvation that he couldn't otherwise attain because nothing can be saved from the present, not even the future or the past, without the most reckless and courageous risk to lost the present itself. In jotting down a dream, this is exactly what happens, the dream is too innocent and unharmed, boring to say the least and completely at peace with itself, so much in contentment that you're even permitted to glance into yourself during a moment of happiness, so that perhaps they become important only once you're dead, but can't be jotted down properly when you're a writer, or a storyteller or an epistolar confessor. There's no fear in writing down a dream, in sharing, there's no use to art, for itself the dream could pass as a masquerade for the kind of art practiced by poets and philosophers, it survives on a diet of abstractions and eternities for sale, and when there's no fear, the poet is unable to find out anything about himself or the beloved one or the world as such whilst he is trying to describe the old oak tree inside the bedroom and above the table, using words that would be adequate only to describe the madness of a lake or the still of a man. When you, as a writer, live haunted by fear, you're ought to re-invent yourself in order to write and therefore to "invent" writing, to create styles discreet enough to safeguard the intimate privacy of your pickpocketting activities on earth, so to say, to re-translate life into another sort of life that might be understandable to you as a human person and therefore to others. It is fortunate though, that it was such an useless happy dream because the asffixiating hours, those that you keep silent about, they surface on their own, slit your throat and leave you defenseless, without you even realizing that they passed.

"Still she loves the world for being rude and indestructible, and she knows other people must love it too, poor as well as rich, though no one speaks specifically of the reasons. Why else do we struggle to go on living, no matter how compromised, no matter how harmed? Even if we're further gone than Richard; even if we're fleshless, blazing with lesions, shitting in the sheets; still we want desperately to live. It has to do with all this, she thinks... It seems that at that moment she began to inhabit the world; to understand the promises implied by an order larger than human happiness, though it contained human happiness along with every other emotion". -Michael Cunningham

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