from February 20th 2013
Tell me what it is like to be free floating of all concerns, perhaps in a state of prolonged confusion, your body somewhere in ashes.. Why do you visit me out of everyone in the world? Is it a valid metaphor, the waiting room before the final deciding factor, once the results are in, and you go into the clouds or under the fire. But this is a fairy tale, ghost, is it not? Tell me you are real. Show me. I want to feel your dead hands on the back of my neck to make my hair stand on end. Your hair feels like a cold breeze. You whisper incomprehensible words into my ears with poetic intent.
Will you tell me my worries are trivial? I’d imagine so. You would laugh at my petty concentration on the absurd banalities of modern existence, especially here in Los Angeles, the entertainment asshole of the world. This is where all the shit god hates comes from, you will tell me. You will say the city of angels has fewer of these winged beast now than ever before and the numbers shrink and shrivel…
You will laugh at the direction of stupid humanity. Following this or that trend. It is about immortal originality, you’ll say. Your dark eyes like mist in forest groves. And you reel me in, telling me all of things I want to hear about the mysterious existence I find myself in… and then strike.
from The Land At The End of the Earth
“.. I thought about the daughter whom I had so wanted as a living witness to myself, in the hope that, through her, I might be granted partial redemption for my mistakes, my defects, and my faults, for the failed plans and grandiloquent dreams to which I dared not give form and meaning. Perhaps one day she would write the novels I was afraid to attempt and find for them the exact color and rhythm, perhaps she would enjoy with other people the close, warm, generous contact that I both wanted and feared, perhaps she and I would achieve a patiently won understanding that would, in a way, justify me, and for which her mother had waited in vain for years. You see, I, too, often let sentimentality stand in for a real desire to change and blithely inflict wounds on other people in the name of that peculiar blend of self-pity and repentance that more often than not disguises a fierce egotism. The lucidity bestowed on me by that second bottle of vodka is so unbearable that, if you don’t mind, I’d rather move on to the muted clarity of Cognac, which dyes my inner mediocrity the faint lilac of painful solitude, which at least partly justifies and pardons me. Isn’t it the same with you? Don’t you ever feel the urge to vomit yourself up? As I grow older and the need to survive becomes less pressing, less urgent, I see myself more clearly than… But here’s the Cognac: by the second sip, you’ll see, your anxiety will change direction, existence will gradually take on a more pleasant shade, we will slowly begin to appreciate ourselves, to defend ourselves, to be capable of continuing to destroy. With this ninety-proof bandage on my esophagus, I feel free to take up my narrative where I left off a few moments ago…” Antonio Lobo Antunes