Cahiers du Vertebrata

a human being is never what he is but the self he seeks

Brad Mehldau – Now You Must Climb Alone / Walking The Peak


Rainald Goetz – To Live and To Write: The Existence Mission of Writing


The essence of this ongoing practice of writing is the difference between text and thought: the reading of one’s own words. And that is the fundamental experience of writing: that what’s there on the page doesn’t say what one wanted to say, that the self-will of the scripturality, the act of fixating, the textual verbality constantly impose themselves; very powerfully, the text says what it wants to, not what it’s supposed to according to the will of the writer. To experience this autonomy of writing, the texticity of statements, one needs to experience as a writer, as often as possible, constantly, how great the distance really is between a statement’s intent and what the words actually convey.


It’s often been observed that the everyday practice of writing has undergone a spectacular rebirth over the past years due to electronic communications devices. All this incessant writing everyone’s been doing in mails, text messages, forums, on blogs, Twitter, and Facebook has also, however, had the tremendous effect of promoting standardization, stereotypes, truisms, and empty talk to the degree that there’s practically no thought, experience, or even a second of life anymore for which a hiatus of speechlessness still exists; in every situation, everyone knows perfectly what sentence is supposed to come next.


The right kind of writing is very easy. Anyone who types and texts and presses ‘send’ knows this. When the feeling is right, the words are too. Writing is breathing. It used to be the writer’s life that was constructed this way, a singular existence, privileged, even sick, fantastically engrossed and absorbed in everything etc. And today, everyone lives this way: writing, constantly writing their existence-text, writing away.


Which world. — That’s wonderful, of course, but at the same time, the sensibility for it has decreased along with everybody’s me-empowerment, via their own text among other things, and that’s not wonderful. It’s a very extraneous, very alien world that the self encounters, unknown in a way that should unsettle everyone, arouse their curiosity, incite them to all kinds of everyday world exploration measures, etc. But that is not the case.


The world arrives on each person’s screen in a manner that is highly liquid, continuous, and quick: news, information, dispositions, images, and films, preselected by a collective of friends and acquaintances in a quantity so incomprehensible that self-protection requires erecting the wall of bored composure that used to typify the way the flood of TV information was dealt with. The gesture of composure today is that of the hand sweeping away towards the right, that staves off what one has seen, wipes it away, marks it as read and sends it down into the underworld of dead information that will never again inundate one.


Today it’s easier to know more, in more detail, than ever before, but it’s not this easy access that’s made it harder to profit from the fact. The great rupture in recent years comes from the subscriptions, the alerts, the dispatching automats that have been in use since around the mid-2000s, initially to facilitate things, to not have to concern oneself all the time with all the websites one wants to consult, which have since gone on to prevent any possibility of consulting a site oneself, to specifically seek out a blog that one happens to be interested in; once subscribed to, everything intrudes on the interested person unbidden and in an absolutely overwhelming continuity and number.


This intrusion forestalls appreciation. Even the most valuable messages, highly interesting new thoughts of someone’s on some blog, take on the status of annoying advertisement, become a thing to fend off: gone, gone, gone. I’m aware, I know about it, don’t need it.


Only for friends. — As the old millennium was drawing to an end, in 1999, my God, how long, how absurdly long ago that is, the German pop literature faction was also experimenting with this social media thing early on. Elke Naters and Sven Lager thought up an event and a site called “Am Pool” [Poolside], where maybe twenty or thirty people talked to one another internally, textually. I took part in it back then too, with my day-poems KRANK [SICK], which I uploaded there on a daily basis. It only took a few days to observe the extreme limitation in thought and intellect this social circumscription injected the texts with that were based on and conceived for it: the poison is the pretense, the texts automatically want to brag, the writer to present himself to the others in a braggardly manner. The underlying tone that emerges here is unpleasant, the nonchalance in one-uppance repugnant.


The reason Facebook has commercialized this so successfully is because it’s precisely the real-life loser — in the majority, naturally, in real life exposed as a zero in a matter of seconds, this is an effect of the flesh, to embody a person’s truth and to externalize it visibly for everyone to see — that especially yearns to be a really cool dude in the abstract space of the Internet, in a purely verbal sense. The braggart’s verbality is such a success because there are so many of these tricksters trying to fool one another, which explains why a sensibility for these subtle gradations in tone is not a particularly coveted commodity. Now, in many journalists’ texts, you can hear this sound that emerged in the braggart-contest on Facebook. Not a very nice development in language to come from pop literature and to have since turned into journalism.


Authorship is wrested from a highly specific limitation. If relevant texts arise, it’s not due to some sort of skill, a technique that can be passed on, but because they’ve emerged this way out of one’s response to a defect-complex configured in a highly individual manner, because the defect has brought forth sensoria that have enabled its exploitation for the purposes of text production. Objectively speaking, this is all completely uninteresting.


As a reader, one senses that every author that is somehow of interest is also crazy in some way. But that doesn’t matter, that’s irrelevant. What’s interesting are the results, the work, the books, the output in written form that goes beyond the author’s confines, that sheds, by proxy for everyone, the fear of being an existence-nothing paralyzed by a defect-complex.


Nothing else can be passed along. With writing time, in my case it’s been thirty years now, what becomes strongest of all in an author is the experience: how insanely rare it is that it actually works out. That is the essence of writing: it doesn’t work, I can’t do it, I don’t know why.


The Demon. — The demon inside me that rules me is cruel. I don’t know him, I hunt him with my intellectuality, I probably expend more energy than on anything else to find him, to understand, recognize, and in the end, hopefully, to finally disempower him. The effort fails. I can’t find him, I can only find his tracks, register the way he makes it impossible for me to live the way I want to: productive, steady, open, free.


In any case, the demon is a magnifying glass that enlarges everything that happens to me, brings it into focus. The completely normal behavior of the people around me: gigantic, in excessive detail, the horror. Just like in me, the thoughts and feelings inside me, the confusion: gigantic, oppressively gigantic and overpowering, dictating the moment completely. The next instant: gone. As though it had never existed. A mockery of the insane agitation that just now prevailed, gone. The skittishness of the demon torments me, it’s the self-contradiction of the obsession’s monstrousness a moment before. The demon is the gaze emanating from my eyes, which are extremely close together, every year they grow more closely, obsessively, absurdly together. I hate.


The demon wants to be alone and never write again. Read, lie in bed, sleep, read, and actually, quite honestly, more than anything else: perhaps to be just a little bit dead sometimes, or maybe completely dead, forever? Peace, peace is the longing, a permanence of total panic the reality.


Demon for sale, cheap, gladly. The demon impairs my work because it makes my life so insanely complicated. The work does not profit from a complicated life, actually I’ve always hoped that, hoped it would. But that’s wrong. The complicatedness stultifies me, weakens me, narrows my mind. When the demon is gone, I can see what I mean, think, want to say. When the demon is there, I’m blind. And then I try with a mad energy to concentrate, and this purpose locks my frontal lobe in a brutal torture vise, where it’s pressed together and wrung out, the result of this effort of concentration being an unfathomable depletion of the frontal lobe, the worst state of depletion, without any kind of concentration resulting from the exertion at all. The demon is a life-energy-annihilator of galactic dimensions. A life-annihilating galaxy pulsates inside me.


Then the person next to me says something while the person opposite is still talking: a brainwave short-circuit is the demon-induced result. Other people find it normal when two or three conversations are conducted simultaneously right past them, but when it’s exposed to sound in this manner, my demon emits a maddeningly piercing whistle that grows louder and louder until the short-circuit cuts it off. This is why the demon doesn’t love the sociability that I so revere. Even in the company of other people, the demon has one goal and intention: to drag me down, to make my delight in people impossible. My demon is bile and Saturn. Heavy and mean.


Go away, Demon, the compensatory hyper-focus delivers its ultimate demand, be silent, die, stop talking so that I can finally concentrate better, finally live better. The demon nods, amused. He is not at all funny himself, but the text about him is. This contradiction is called, text-typically: grace, clemency, nonsense, delirium.


Reading. — Constantly, incessantly, of course, everything. Reading as the fundamental vitality-enforcement of the mind, an indefatigable joy in gazing at these tiny black things, letters strung together into type, their beauty over and over again, in all its forms, inscrutable.


One’s feeling for language is always in a state of becoming, is unstable, changes constantly through what one reads and writes. Watch out! A feeling for language is highly vulnerable, it belongs to the sphere remotest from rationality, that of language’s musicality; even the keenest intellectuality fails to bring every dimension of this feeling in all its crucial subtleties under the control of its explicative verbality.


Because the social always inundates the brain with an unworkable profusion of individual data, and not everything can be grasped, much less deliberated during the situation itself, it is once again the reception of text, reading, which makes a retrospective reenactment of personal experience possible through the example of other, comparable social situations evoked by the text; thus, what develops as the reading material presents and makes available to the reader the interference of his own experiences and those of others is this: a knowledge of human nature.

It is the specific interiority of this kind of knowledge of human nature that reading brings forth and that differs strongly from those formed in other arts — particularly the viewing of films calls for and creates a completely different type of identification with the other, one far less contemplative, of course — from the racing stream of time that sweeps events along as though in real life, for the most part even faster, makes them race and hurtle past one, etc. Which, complementarily, gives rise to an especially elaborate discursivity upon which aesthetic theory has always prominently developed, first in music, then film, pop music, and opera, from Adorno to Diederichsen.


Wanting to write begins with being fascinated by other writers only a few years older than oneself whose books can take on an ostensible ultra-plausibility, because an individual text project has already attained a work-generating precision, there’s someone who can actually do that, in all its infinity-dimensionality: write — while at the same time he still lives in the common here and now which one also, as the younger one, has access to and is fascinated by. Which is why, in the arts in general, and especially in literature, the most wonderful masterliness is inherently: young.



From the lecture “To Live and to Write: The Existence Mission of Writing”

Rainald Goetz, Freie Universität Berlin. To see the full lecture

(in German):

Excerpts translated by Andrea Scrima

Follow the link to issue 7–1 of Hyperion: On the Future of Aesthetics. 

Senior Editors: Andrea Scrima and Carole Viers-Andronico.

Scroll to page 63 or open the PDF:  Hyperion Goetz 2013

A Promise

Uspeti se… epilog



Pismo poslano prije dva mjeseca morskom poštom iz Hamburga sadržavalo je pozivnicu za njeno vjenčanje na čijoj je poleđini napisala “žao mi je, ciao i sretan put” i zlatnu ribicu – ja sam Riba u horoskopu – dugačku kao nokat malog prsta. Na debelom bijelom papiru je otisnuto Dr. phil. M…  dakle, završila je doktorat u Renanu. Već dvije godine. Bože, kako vrijeme prolazi! Je li Laclos napisao da je “najgore u vezi s ljubomorom to što živi mnogo duže od ljubavi”? Pomislio sam da će ovaj put biti obrnuto. Nisam bio ljubomoran. Otišao sam previše daleko i prije previše vremena. Sve što sam joj mogao napisati nije moglo spriječiti da postanem sjena. Izvadio sam iz kovčega fotografiju koja mi je toliko često pomogla i posljednji put gledao to zanosno lice prije nego što ću je zapaliti upaljačem. Zatim sam sišao i darovao ribicu vlasniku svratišta objašnjavajući mu da je to zapadnjački zodijački znak pun blagoslova, koji je otporan na sve postupke crne magije. Provukao je crvenu svilenu nit kroz sićušni prsten kojim je završavao rep i objesio amulet svom sinu Puthahu oko vrata. Puthah je veliki trogodišnjak izbočenih očiju koji kaka pomalo posvuda po svratištu pod popustljivim pogledom stanara. Na čelu ima malu mrlju kakvu nose sljedbenici Šive i srećom je previše lijen da bi se penjao uz pet stepenica koje vode do moje sobe.

“Žao mi je” – a tek meni! Razlog manje za povratak u Europu. Odsad svakom svoj život, svakom svoja glazba; na neko vrijeme moja će biti samo škripanje. Svakome i svoj rat; moj – koji nikada neće biti dobiven – neće zbog toga biti nimalo lakši. Krpe vinske crvene boje još su se raščinjale na gotovo crnom nebu. Dolazi kraj velikom neredu boja. I sâm sam bio kao neki general koji uzmiče u neredu, čije su se vojske zagonetno rasule u bljesku.

Pokušao se vratiti na posao kako bih uzvratio istom mjerom slikama koje su me spopale. Kad bismo znali čemu se izlažemo, nikada se ne bismo usudili biti zbilja sretni. Posegnuvši ponovno za Starim Zavjetom nabasao sam na sljedeće tri riječi: “Jakob ostade sam”. I još k tome iščašena boka, jer se hrvao s Anđelom! Ovdje nema ni sjene nikakvog anđela, prošao sam bolje od njega. Saberi se, Kalibane, probudi se Gribouillle*, sa svim svojim vožnjama, planovima, tom manijom odlaženja i dolaženja, neprestanog mijenjanja obzorja. Ono što nikada nisi prestao tražiti možda je ovdje, sada, u ovoj vreloj sobi, nadohvat ruke, šćućureno u mraku i samo u mraku.

*Kaliban – lik iz Shakespearove drame “Oluja”; Gribouille – lik iz romana “Gribouilleova sestra” grofice de Segur


Nicolas BouvierRiba-škorpion

s francuskog prevela Sanja Lovrenčić


Béla Hamvas, Pisma


Deseto pismo


Smirio sam se tek onda kada sam shvatio koliko je ovaj život opasan. Sve do tada bio sam malo turoban, i dosađivao se. Od tada sam raspoložen, jer vrijedi. Opasnost je oštar vjetar sudbine i ja se samo u oštrom vjetru osjećam dobro. Kukavičluk ne pripada mojim vrlinama. Uvijek sam tražio ono što je najteže. I našao sam oboje, osamljenost i vedrinu.

Tri puta mi se dogodilo isto. Toliko isto da bilo koje od triju lica u događaju mogu mirne duše zamijeniti i uzeti jedno umjesto drugoga. Bile su to tri potpuno različite žene. Jedna plava, teška i snažna, kao valkira, druga poput dječaka i egzaltirana, a treća tamna, duboka kao bunar i žalosno bespomoćna. Zamislio sam pravi život, došla je prva, i ispostavilo se da nije ostvariv. Nato sam zamislio još veći, došla je druga, i ispostavilo se da se ni on ostvariti ne može. I od toga sam zamislio još veći, došla je treća, i ispostavilo se da se ni taj ne može ostvariti. U sva tri slučaja ljubav je planula u trenu.

Jednom sam više dana tumarao među brdima. Bilo je jutro kada sam se spustio niz padinu, u dolini je ležao majur. Bio je rani rujan, još ljeto a već jesen, zatišje i polutama u smiraju dana. Sada, mislio sam, sada ću je sresti, nju koja upravo isto tako zna da ću doći, kao i ja da će ona doći. Ona, koja se ujutro upravo probudila s mišlju da će to biti danas; s njom, koja u svakom koraku vidi kao svrhu to da se približi meni, ona, koja se zagleda u svakog stranca, nisam li to ja, koja zna da dolazim, kao što i ja znam da joj se približavam, koja ako se penje u vlak, misli ne sjedim li ja u njemu, ako čuje nečije ime, misli da je moje, ako čuje glas, misli da ja govorim. Sada ću je susresti ondje kod majura, ondje leži ispod drveća, čita da nečim ispuni vrijeme dok ja ne dođem, tamo me čeka, kao i uvijek, čeka, i kada me opazi, diže se i dolazi, prirodno, bez riječi, ode sa mnom, i ja s njom, zajedno, jer ona je postala ja, i ja sam postao ona, i od ovog trenutka tako nešto kao ja i nema posebno značenje. Prijeđem preko majura. Kao da sam ja ona, tamo ugledam pospanog ekonoma, nadničara, vlasnikov stan, s bijelim zavjesama na prozoru. Ovdje je živjela, ali sada će poći sa mnom. Bez pitanja i bez riječi. Što će prvo reći? Nešto vrlo jednostavno, valjda to, gladna sam. Ili, kamenčić mi je upao u cipelu. Ja je pogledam i pomislim kako je lijepa, ali to joj ne kažem, jer ona ionako zna da to hoću reći i smiješi se ozbiljno. Prijeđem preko puta i grabim prema gore. Potpuno sam smiren. Iz te smirenosti znam da ću se zaista susresti s njom. Kako neobično, da se odjenom sve razriješilo, najednom se sve izgladilo, i sada može doći što god hoće. Eno je. U travi bijela halijna s plavim točkicama. To je ona. U meni ni malo treme. Prvi puta se u životu ne bojim.  Sada je već dobro. Pristižem, put zaokreće ulijevo, travnati se brežuljak razdvaja od neba, a iza njega na užetu vidim, suši se hrpa haljina, i ona plava s točkicama. Na padini pak nema nikoga.

U svima trima ženama imao sam osjećaj da ću se s njom susresti, s njom koju ne treba obmanjivati, kojoj ne treba lagati, koja dolazi, odnosno s kojom ću poći, jer to dvoje su jedno. Jednom sam rekao jednoj, svejedno kojoj, da ću baciti kalendar. Neću imati više ponedjeljak i utorak, već vlasdan i obrvdan i maliprstdan, ona će biti moj kalendar. Jednom sam s jednom od njih, svejedno s kojom, proveo tri dana, prošla su tri puta dvadeset četiri sata i ni jednog trenutka nismo ispuštali jedno drugo. Da sam je pustio, boljelo bi. Kako su samo blistali ti dani! Kako je bila važna svaka riječ! Kako je bilo važno odjednom sve izreći! Sve je razumjela, i ja sam sve razumio. Pogladio sam joj kosu i pitao je, je l’ da? Na što je odgovorila, da. I zaista je tako bilo.



Petnaesto pismo


Evo iz onoga vremena i jednoga cijelog pisma koje je ostalo jer ga nisam poslao: “U posebnom sam stanju i sasvim lud, jer te ludo volim. Ali ova je ljubav budna i pametna i zdrava. Ludo budna i ludo pametna. Dvostruko ludilo, odnosno potpuno čišta mahnitost. Sada sve mogu. Oslobađam se već nekoliko tjedana i sve su mi stvari u redu, i tako sam ti blizu, kada bih se malo više ispružio, mogao bih ti dohvatiti sjenu. Do sada mi je svaki plan bio fantazija. Počevši od prekjučer, svi su mi se snovi ostvarili, približavam se svojoj radosti i opasnosti. Kažeš, radost je u redu, a što je opasnost? Haljina s točkicama? Da. Koliko li samo negdje čekaju mene! Upravo koliko i ja čekam nekoga. Samo to ne razumijem, kada već toliko čekamo, zašto se već ne susretnemo?”

Tada sam vjerovao: sada. Otići ću do nje i sjest ću u travu. Da joj kažem, stigao sam? Vidi. Da joj kažem – što? Što da joj kažem? Tu je dobro biti? I što će ona reći? Pogledam je. Je li lijepa? Ne znam. Uhvatim je za ruku. Kako li je poznata ova ruka, od prije rođenja. Ovaj njezin vrat. Uvijek je za mene ovaj vrat bio ovakav. I struk joj poznam i ramena, kao što joj poznajem toplinu i miris daha. Toliko mi je poznato u njoj, kao jezik u ustima. Doma sam. Ne ustajem, ni ona, već ustajemo. I do sada sam ovako živio, ali je stolac kraj mene bio prazan, prazna je bila i druga strana kreveta. Više nema onog ja. Idemo, hodamo, savamo, gledamo, živimo. Ne okreće se. Nije zaboravila ništa kod kuće. Nikomu nema što reći.

Spavala si u prvoj noći, i ja sam se na trenutak probudio. Ruke, noge, kosa međusobno su nam se dodirivali. Zagrlila si me oko vrata, lice ti se privilo na moje rame, i što je rame trebalo reći da bi se razumjelo s licem? I reci, je li ikada postojala žena koju, kada se na cesti srela s muškarcem, nije trebalo uvjeravati i objašnjavati joj? Koja zna da nikad, nikad neće biti još jednom, kažem nikad više neće moći ponovno vratiti ono što je proigrala, riječima, pitanjima, ispitivanjem, čekanjem na nagovor. Nešto je trebala reći, barem toliko, da ne. Trebala je radi nečega poći kući, radi mačke ili podvezice. Protiv meje joj je bio potreban saveznik, morala me izdati barem čipki. Svejedno što je bilo, novac ili vjera, majka ili odjeća. I sada misliš da je ovako bolje? Misliš da postoji takav saveznik, vrpca, očeva kuća, svećenik, dakle nešto zbog čega će žena u tajnosti žrtvovati muškarca, misleći da je na dobitku? Misliš da nisi sebe izdala? Zadnji put sam napisao da nam ni jedan zagrljaj nije bio potpun. U boli i očaju pitaš kako to može biti. Pisala si da si sve zbacila sa sebe i željela si biti samo žena, kako to da ti nisam mogao dati tu radost koju si željela? Odgovaram. Ne znaš se potpuno prepustiti, jer jednostavno ne pripadaš meni. Nisi li utajila radost već time što mešetariš? Reci, jesi li to samo preda mnom utajila? Tužan sam nakon zagrljaja. Ne stoga što te nisam dosegnuo nego i zato što ti mene nisi potpuno dosegnula. O, ako čovjek laže, sebi laže. Nisi dala, nisi ni dobila. Tijelo je jako teško prevariti. Ako govoriš, sve ti vjerujem, ali kada si mi u zagrljaju, onda daješ to što je u tebi, ono što je istinsko, jer sam neposredno tamo s tobom. Reci, koliko si me puta izdala počevši od toga da si me izdala već prvog trenutka? Koliko puta si me prevarila s haljinama i popovima i čipkama? Još imaš obraza očekivati cjelinu? Uvijek si se prilijepila za nešto, i još očekuješ da se zadovoljim ovim zagrljajem? Upropastit ću se, ali i ti isto. Shvati, ne zahtijevam. Ti si ta koja preko mene zahtijevaš samu sebe. Posrednik sam prema tebi samoj. Jedno kroz drugo jurimo prema sebi. I ako meni lažeš, primoravaš i mene da si lažem. Preko sebe ja sam tebi ti. Nema poricanja, bijega, pogađanja, varanja, izdaje, koji nas neće oboje otrovati odmah i jednako. Otrov, otrov, otrov proigranih mrtvih trenutaka. Hoće li ikada biti drukčije? Hoće li biti? Reci!



Béla HamvasMađarski Hiperion

(pr. Ivan Ladislav Galeta)

Franz Kafka, Letters to Milena



“Good heavens, Milena, if you were here, and my pitiful, unthinking mind! And still I would be lying if I said I missed you: it’s the most perfect, most painful magic, you are here, just as I am and even more so; wherever I am, there you are too, and even more intensely.”


“What do you think? Can I still get a letter by Sunday? It should be possible. But this passion for letters is senseless. Isn’t one letter enough, isn’t one knowing enough? Of course it is, but nevertheless I am tilting my head way back, drinking the letters, aware only that I don’t want to stop drinking. Explain that, teacher Milena!”


“It’s so wonderful to have received your letter, to have to answer it with my sleepless brain. I can’t think of anything to write, I’m just walking around here between the lines, underneath the light of your eyes, in the breath of your mouth like in some beautiful happy day, which stays beautiful and happy even if my head is sick, tired, and if I have to leave Monday via Munich.F”


“I am on such a dangerous road, Milena. You are standing fast by a tree, young, beautiful, your eyes are subduing the sorrows of the world with their brightness. I can’t listen both to the terrible inner voices and to you simultaneously, but I can listen to what the voices are saying and confide this in you, trusting you like no other person in the world.”


“Do you know, darling? When you became involved with others you quite possibly stepped down a level or two, but If you become involved with me, you will be throwing yourself into the abyss.”


“Where am I trying to lead you with all this? I’ve lost my way a little, but that doesn’t matter, because if you’ve accompanied me, then we’re both lost.”


“At the same time something occurs to me I once read at somebody’s house, something like this: “My beloved is a fiery column passing over the earth. Now it is holding me enclosed. But it does not guide those who are enclosed, just those who see.”
(now I’m even losing my name-it was getting shorter and
shorter all the time and is now: Yours)”


“Today I looked at a map of Vienna, for a moment it seemed incomprehensible to me that they would build such a huge city when you only need one room.”


“An old uncle of mine is arriving tomorrow evening from Paris. It is a blow because it will take time and I need all the time I have and a thousand times more than all the time I have and most of all I’d like to have all the time there is just for you, for thinking about you , for breathing in you.”


“Somehow I can’t write about anything but what concerns us and us alone, in the middle of the crowded world. Everything else is foreign to me. Wrong! Wrong! But my lips are babbling and my face is lying in your lap.”


“It’s a little gloomy in Prague, I haven’t received any letters, my heart is a little heavy. Of course it’s impossible that a letter could be here already, but explain that to my heart.”


“And when you go to bed tonight, as a good night wish from me, take in – all in one stream – everything I am and have: all of which is blissfully happy to rest in you.”


“By the way, why am I a human being, with all the torments this extremely vague and horribly responsible condition entails? Why am I not, for example, the happy wardrobe in your room, which has you in full view whenever you’re sitting in your chair or at your desk or when you’re lying down or sleeping (all blessings upon your sleep!)?”


“It’s simply a weakness, a mood of the heart, which knows exactly why it’s beating nevertheless. Giants have their weaknesses as well; I believe even Hercules fainted once. With my teeth clenched, however, and with your eyes before me I can endure anything: distance, anxiety, worry, letterlessness.”


“With you in my heart I can bear everything, and even if I did write that the days without letters were horrifying, it’s not true; they were just horribly difficult-the boat was heavy and it’s draught was horribly deep, but on your tide it floated nonetheless.”


“Letters like the two today, small and happy or at least spontaneous, are almost (almost almost almost almost) forest, and wind in your sleeves and a view of Vienna. Milena, how good it is to be with you!”


“I’m tired, can’t think of a thing, and my sole wish is to lay my head in your lap, feel your hand on my head, and stay that way through all eternity-



“For about half an hour I’ve been reading the 2 letters and the card and only now do l realize that I’ve been laughing the whole time. Was there ever any emperor in the history of the world better off than I am? I walk into my room and find three letters waiting for me, and I don’t have to do a thing except open them – my fingers are too slow! – lean back and – be unable to believe that I am so fortunate, so happy.”


“Did I praise my luck too highly? Aren’t milk and butter and salad any help at all, and do I have to have the nourishment of your presence?”


“Won’t you reach out across those stories to me, and leave your hand with me for a long, long time?”


“I never understood physics and I do not understand the “scales of the world” and I’m sure they don’t understand me any better, and I am here just like I was in Vienna and your hand is in my own as long as you leave it there.

Franz wrong, F wrong, Yours wrong/nothing more, calm, deep forest”


“I see you bent over your work, your neck bared, I’m standing behind you, but you don’t know it-please don’t be frightened if you feel my lips on the back of your neck, I didn’t mean to kiss it, it’s only love which can’t be helped.”


“In that case this would actually be the last letter you receive before we see each other face to face. And these eyes which haven’t had anything to do for a month (all right: reading letters, looking out the window) will see you.”


“I don’t think I could offer congratulations of any length for your birthday without coughing. Fortunately no congratulations are necessary, just a thank you for being on this Earth, where I wouldn’t have even begun to expect you might be found.”


“Who else can tell a story so well? While I was reading it I felt I was walking up and down in front of the cafe, day and night, year after year; every time a guest came or went I would peer in through the open door to check that you were still inside. Then I would resume the pacing and waiting. This was neither straining nor sad. And how could it be straining or sad to wait in front of a café when you are inside!”


“I’m so happy to breathe again with you so near. Today between your letter and mine, there is a clear good being together, breathing deeply – as far as this is possible in the great uncertainty.”


“Because I love you (you see, I do love you, you dimwit, my love engulfs you the way the sea loves a tiny pebble on its bed-and may I be the pebble with you, heaven permitting) I love the whole world and that includes your left shoulder-no, the right one was first and so I’ll kiss it whenever I want to (and whenever you’re kind enough to pull down your blouse a little) and that also includes your left shoulder and your face above me in the forest and your face below me in the forest and my resting on your almost naked breast. And that’s why you’re right in saying we were already one and I’m not afraid of this; on the contrary, it is my only happiness and my only pride and I don’t at all restrict it to the forest.”


“Moreover, perhaps it isn’t love when I say you are what I love the most – you are the knife I turn inside myself, this is love.”


“Robinson had to make his dangerous voyage, had to suffer shipwreck and many other things – I would only have to lose you and would already be Robinson. But I’d be more Robinson than he. He still had the island and Friday and many various things and finally the ship that took him away and practically turned everything into a dream. I wouldn’t have a thing, not even my name, since I’ve given that to you as well.”


“Sometimes when one wakes up in the morning one thinks that truth is right next to the bed, like an open grave with a few wilted flowers, ready to receive.”


“Last night I dreamed about you. What happened in detail I can hardly remember, all I know is that we kept merging into one another. I was you, you were me. Finally you somehow caught fire.”


“Aren’t our eyes made to be torn out, and our hearts for the same purpose? At the same time it’s really not that bad; that’s an exaggeration and a lie, everything is exaggeration, the only truth is longing, which cannot be exaggerated.”


“I’m not saying goodbye. There isn’t any goodbye, unless gravity, which is lying in wait for me, pulls me down entirely. But how could it, since you are alive.”


“This afternoon I couldn’t get out of bed, not because I was too tired but too “heavy,” this word keeps recurring, it’s the only one that fits me, do you really understand it? It’s something like the “heaviness” of a ship that has lost its rudder and says to the waves: “I’m too heavy for myself and too light for you.”


“So now I’ve been brooding over this letter until 1:30 at night without doing anything else, just staring at it, and through it at you. Sometimes-not in a dream-I see in my mind: Your face is hidden by your hair, which I succeed in parting right and left, your face appears, I run my hands along your forehead to your temples and now I’m holding your face in my hands.”


“How did people ever get the idea they could communicate with one another by letter! One can think about someone far away and one can hold on to someone nearby; everything else is beyond human power. Writing letters, on the other hand, means exposing oneself to the ghosts, who are greedily waiting precisely for that. Written kisses never arrive at their destination; the ghosts drink them up along the way.”


“And now my “best regards” after all – what does it matter if they collapse at your garden gate; perhaps your strength will be all the greater.”



As you are writing
The ink grows less
The sea increases

Giorgos Seferis


Uspeti se…

…Zašto se na zapadnim jezicima kaže “pasti u zaljubljenost? (tomber amoureux, fall in love) Bilo bi prikladnije “uspeti se”. Ljubav uzdiže kao i molitva. Uzdiže i zanosi. Kod kukaca istokrilaša sve spolno razvijene jedinke odmah dobiju i svoj par krila. Ponovno sam je gledao uza se jedne noći na pristaništu u mom rodnom gradu. Ljeto, tišina, zora se bliži. Poznavao sam je tjedan dana (Kant, Hermann Hesse, tenis). Smatrao je divnom. Hodali smo jednakim korakom, bez ikakvog šuma. Bez poteškoća bih prepoznao mjesto na kojemu sam osjetio nešto poput zasljepljujuće razderotine u noći, na kojemu mi je sreća proždirala pluća. Odjednom je život izoštren, muzikalan, razumljiv. Samo ništa ne govoriti. Krajičkom oka pokušao sam vidjeti kako s njom stoje stvari. Poluosmijeh otkriva bijele zube, dug korak, krijesta vala. Ni riječi. Ipak je trebalo nešto učiniti. Zagrlio sam veliki lakirani jarbol koji se uzdiže na molu i uzverao se do vrha ne osjetivši napor. Gore, posljednja svjetla luke odražavaju se u tamnoj vodi. Ona – nije veća od mladice ruže. Treba vjerovati da i ovaj oblik očitovanja ima svoju rječitost: kad sam se spustio, bez daha, ruku punih špranja, našao sam je kako se ludo smije, očiju sjajnih od nestrpljenja, već napola razodjevena. Uspeti se…

(Nicolas Bouvier – Riba-Škorpion)

What I Do Is Me, For That I Came


Arvo Pärt – Have you thanked God for this failure already?

“What are you doing? What are you writing there?” The girl, who was around ten, asked me. “I’m trying to write music, but it’s not turning out well.”, I said. And then the unexpected words from her: “Have you thanked God for this failure already?”


Blue Labyrinths

An online magazine focusing on books, philosophy, critical theory and a collection of interesting ideas. Don't get lost.

A little tea, a little chat

notgettingenough's book reviews


I disagree.


poetics and poststructuralism


"It’s always with another key that you unlock the house—inside: the snowdrifts of what’s never spoken." —Paul Celan


Blog za rasprave o filozofiji, znanosti i kulturi

History of Our World

Life, Death and Basinski.

FineArt Photography & FoodStyling by Luna Jovanovic

nagovor na filosofiju

sabiranje putokaza

Teatarski osvrti

regionalni magazin izvedenih umjetnosti

John Tottenham

Failed Visionary


From διά (dia, “through, inter”) + λόγος (logos, “speech, oration, discourse”).

5 minutes of sleep, less

..the picture diary from/of/by l.k.j. Lil..

Izrječiti se iz Stvari - poezija

a human being is never what he is but the self he seeks


a human being is never what he is but the self he seeks

Sve ostalo su priče

a human being is never what he is but the self he seeks

six glasses of water

I could afford to be good, kind, generous, loyal and so forth, since I was free of envy. Envy was the one thing I was never a victim of.