Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sunday afternoon

Still a lot to unpack but instead I open the windows to ventilate the lingering afternoon heat. For another week, we do not have a DSL connection at home so I cannot check if this or that expression actually works in English. It is never easy to be an architect of silences in a foreign language, maybe not in one’s own either. This week I have been driving more than 1100 km on my own, back and forth along the High Coast listening to public radio or different music channels. As a parent that is something I rarely have the time to do otherwise. One host played a couple of songs by Frida Hyvönen, talked about rooftops in New York and wild silences in ways that immediately took me back to 2008 when I was living in Jersey.

Last summer at the Monocle Café in London I actually asked if they had some ironic distance to it all. The guy at the bar said he himself preferred to think of it with an ironic twist but he was not sure if that was true for everyone else working there. But is it really possible to not see irony? What if someone like Karen Blixen would have lived today? Thinking more about it, is that maybe why some people prefer to stay away from Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Because social media would force them to commodify their own aesthetic? It could well be.

Maybe I think too much about the wrong things. Some days ago, 298 people were shot down by mistake. Children are dying in the hospitals of Gaza and I worry about sparkling moments and self-irony on distant shores. Yet, life is not reducible to survival alone. It is also about what one does with one’s life and, with or without God, we are left with these questions of authenticity and being. While neither ethics nor aesthetics will ultimately matter much, we still have to make that decision if we should go running ten kilometres or eat another brownie (I prefer to do both). While some may be satisfied by prudential reasons (it is “healthy to exercise” or what not), there is definitely more to it, it is about overcoming, it is about trying to make it right, to acknowledge mortality and finitude without running away.

Later that same year I went to Melbourne and I remember writing a poem called “Gay trams” (I guess I was trying to make my own version of Ekelöf’s “Strountes”). It is not particularly good and I never posted it anywhere but here it is:

An empty gay bar
twice as safe that way
Like that Latvian tram
heading for Zolitude
I search the night
for a familiar inward track

The memory is incomplete
maybe because it never happened
Her ethereal way of
extending the smallest of things
to push while being receptive

Stealing from a song: 
rollercoaster slow
Maybe trams can do that too?

An occasional flirt with the
bar man
Of all things I am not afraid
but boldness will only take
me
that far

In this regard
three zero day was a revelation
that the tracks are being laid out
irreversibly
until they all run out

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