burrowing trails

The upside of the global print and publishing meltdown is that writing is there to read, free, all over the Internet. Except for the  hungered-after writers still blocked off behind subscriber walls, like the long-awaited review of  Mircea Cărtărescu in the LRB, that curious hybrid deprived of women reviewers or subjects and filled with  mad hobbyists but  still a great read from time to time. For those who can afford the subscription on international terms.

Finding a direct quote from  Cărtărescu floating free on some public forum and  musing on it all morning.


“My illumination would be scraped off, and above it, in neat, compact letters, a command would be written, as heavy as a curtain. But today, at the midpoint of my life’s arc, when I have read every book, even those tattooed on the moon and on my skin, even those written with the tip of a needle on the corners of my eyes, when I have seen enough and had enough, when I have systematically dismantled my five senses, when I have loved and hated, when I have raised immortal monuments in copper, when my ears have grown long awaiting our little god, without understanding for a long time that I am just a mite burrowing my trails through his skin of old light, when angels have populated my head like spiro bacteria, when all the sweetness of the world has been consumed and April and May and June are gone—today, when my skin flakes beneath my ring like thousands of layers of onion paper, today, this vivacious and absurd today, I try to put my disorder into thought.”

– Mircea Cărtărescu


Putting disorder into thought — the crazy late summer heat like a blow when you walk out into the street, a neighbour’s elderly dog aged 21 years and a hobbler who liked to  have his head scratched while he  sighed and  gazed  past you with his bluish unfocused eyes, was killed yesterday, knocked down as he lay deaf and  myopic and   too lazy to  move out of the shade right there on the street’s tarmac. Acute distress on hearing this, not accepting that age would slake his canine enjoyment of life, his  right  to go on into senility and  sleepiness. He should have been kept in the garden  watched over, guarded. And then he could have  pressed closer to the earth and let go  in his own time and timing.

Wrote a  hard thing this morning hard and  not necessary except as peeling back the scales and giving in to compulsion, my  hands moving so quickly to the keyboard, fingers searching out ways to say it and  then dipping back to another morning when I was sitting with a cheap cotton dress on, generic blue and white, not becoming,  and  drinking some kind of  pale brown milkshake, trying not  to show I was watching someone whom I had once cared about who had become Other. Damaged,  hardened and  the carapace stiff as dried mud, mud from the banks of the Zambesi, the  blood glaze bright on rocks, the  blades of the  helicopter frothing the  pale water, the reeds blown back, the dead to be left there, the dead to be carried within, what it meant to see someone die, what it failed to mean right then. So the person who had now no meaning left in his eyes sat there joking and  hiding his deadness, the  husk of withered maize, the  patterned skin like a bleached sheath left behind on the raw earth, the ground  exhaling and  no whispers from anyone or anything. All over, I heard you say to yourself and  inwardly I got up and went away so you would not catch me eavesdropping. Not then, not there. War, I thought, fuck war, and went out into the hot sun and closed doors as I went.


A streak of light in  complete darkness illumines nothing. You know how much darkness is there, how  unlit.





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