I do not know what

My world is not like the world of other people, I want much more, I demand much more, there is inside me a thirst for the infinite, a constant anxiety that I do not even understand, because I am far from being a pessimist; first I am an exalted one, with an intense soul, violent, tormented, a soul that does not feel well where it is, that misses… I do not know what!

Florbela Espanca (Correspondence, 1930)

 

 

Monday’s poetry came late to me this week

Running aimlessly

I am not, nor have I ever been a focused person. My attention is always distracted by some real or imagined connection or possibility. This obviously means that I’m the least efficient person I know. I get things done when they need to get done because I do not like to disappoint those who depend on me getting things done and because I procrastinate until I really have no other option. But, in general, inspirational quotes and sayings on how “things will happen if you stay focused” do not resonate with me. Staying focused will not make everything happen. Or, maybe it will, I just haven’t tried it.

I am not even one of those “existentialist pessimists” who thinks that all hope is an illusion. No, I do cling to hope and believe things will get better. If I just wait. They don’t. They haven’t.

You are only excused for happiness and success if you generously agree to share them. But if one is to be happy, one should not worry too much about other people – which means there is no way out. Happy and judged or absolved and miserable.

Albert Camus, The Fall

And now that I realize this and that this certainty seems to occupy my mind whenever I’m awake and sometimes even in my sleep, I can’t keep on waiting because it would be absurd. Although I should, by now, be way past the age of existential crisis, it does appear that sometimes it takes too long to build up the courage to become who you are and own the mistakes you have made while trying to convince yourself that you were different.

No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!

Friedrich Nietzsche, Schopenhauer as Educator

Trying to stay focused on being ” my own story” seems to be hard enough at this point but it’s better than waiting or just refusing to see what went wrong.

Getting started, keeping going, getting started again — in art and in life, it seems to me this is the essential rhythm not only of achievement but of survival, the ground of convinced action, the basis of self-esteem and the guarantee of credibility in your lives, credibility to yourselves as well as to others.

Seamus Heaney

Photo: Words on Walls, Lisbon, September 2017 ( Running aimlessly is to wait in movement)

I am full of questions

This poem had the human contribution of Ursula Andkjær Olsen, and my intervention while sort of dancing with an old book with a black question mark on the cover but, is was composed by the Turn on Literature Machine.

After a week of immersion into the depths of Electronic Literature I am none the wiser. I am left with questions.

Our phones can speak to us (just as a human would). Our home appliances can take commands (just as a human would). Our cars will be able to drive themselves (just as a human would). What does “human” even mean?

Now they are people

And I’m in awe of all the possibilities of moving within words of seeing them transform into a physical experience. But still.

 

 

References

If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You Even Know?

Q & A

  
What is Worth Knowing?

That van Gogh’s ear, set free
wanted to meet the powerful nose
of Nevsky Avenue.
That Spain has decided to help
NATO. That Spring is supposed to begin
on the 21st March.
That if you put too much salt in the keema
just add a few bananas.
That although the Dutch were the first
to help the people of Nicaragua they don’t say much
about their history with Indonesia.
That van Gogh collected Japanese prints.
That the Japanese considered
the Dutch to be red-haired barbarians.
That van Gogh’s ear remains full of questions
it wants to ask the nose of Nevsky Avenue.
That the vaccinations for cholera, typhoid and yellow fever
are no good – they must be improved.
That red, green and yellow are the most
auspicious colours.
That turmeric and chilli powder are good
disinfectants. Yellow and red.
That often Spring doesn’t come
until May. But in some places
it’s there in January
That van Gogh’s ear left him because
it wanted to become a snail.
That east and west
meet only in the north and south – but never
in the east or west.
That in March 1986 Darwinism is being
reintroduced in American schools.
That there’s a difference
between pigeons and doves, although
a ring-dove is a wood-pigeon.
That the most pleasant thing is to have a fever
of at least 101 – because then the dreams aren’t
merely dreams but facts.
That during a fever the soul comes out
for fresh air, that during a fever the soul bothers to
speak to you.
That tigers are courageous and generous-hearted
and never attacked unless provoked –
but leopards,
leopards are malicious and bad-tempered.
That buffaloes too,
water-buffaloes that is, have a short temper.
That a red sky at night is a good sign for sailors,
for sailors…..what is worth knowing?
What is worth knowing?

What is Worth Knowing? (1986) 

Sujata Bhatt 

Photo by J M P , Venice (2012)