ALENAFANELA


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January 15, 2008, 7:53 pm
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Браточки, Мат се вдъхновил от мойта риба (виж първи юли туканка) и написал отговор. Каза, че не било негово писание, понеже идеята била моя, ма от друга страна не бил съгласен с туй и онуй, що се сменяло първо лице с трето, не било ясно кой ловял и пр. Та по-долу го публикуваме отговорчето. Първото нещо, което човекът завършил от сума време, години май. Браво на нас. Рибата може да е боклук, ма очевидно комуникативна работа, а ний тва целим – да предизвикаме реакция! Прощавайте, че още малко задържам suspense-а, ама все забравям да си допълня мисълчицата за “Защо пишат хората?” – с една мисъл на Фелини от “8 и 1/2”:
“Исках този филм да ни накара да погребем всичко мъртво в себе си.”

Аре, спирам и качвам.

Lepidoptery Part One: the Common Blue Butterfly and its Habitat  

He dragged. And dragged. He took a drag on the cigarette, took a drag of the rough red wine, and dragged the cursor across the screen. Drag, drag, drag. Momentum and inertia stricto sensu fought against Momus, Morpheus and inertia in common parlance. The former won, barely. He dropped the file – another futile list of places visited seen, or books read, or films seen, or songs heard, all half-remembered now and doomed to oblivion were it not for their preservation in the amber of the computer, in its electrum of electrons, in its silicon sap – into the new folder. A wonderful holiday in London here, a wonderful holiday in Prague there. Futile. And pointless. But not without circumference. This was a slap in the face to Pascal – nothing of the divine about this bubble of emptiness. The file, this cataleptic catalogue, could expand infinitely, with a flexible circumference – but without centre. Without centrepoint, and without any points at all. Useless epiphenomena, thetic speech, babble.

 He pondered the urge to preserve. To make one’s mark. To proclaim “Veni, vidi, vici” (when all the available evidence pointed to a denial of the latter at least), to scrawl “Lucius pinxit” and “Suspirium puellarum Celadus thraex” on the walls of Pompeii, all unknowing as to whether time would guard the scribe and efface the scribbling or do the opposite (as the eventual and ineluctably actual outpouring of a very different kind of silicate amber would prove), to affirm “Cogito ergo sum”… 

Ah, how nice it would be to lay claim to such a tradition, such a heritage. Saving files… that was closer to philately. What did Rutherford say? “In science there is only physics; all the rest is stamp collecting.” Well, the physics that permitted his means of cataloguing was undeniable. Electrons dancing on the head of a silicon pin, photons bearing witness. But what was he doing with them? Mere recollection, mere bricolage.

 A nice haul of trophies in a nice trophy cabinet. All his sins remembered – and indexed. To be retrieved at will, to be pointed out – all indexically. Or to be locked away, out of harm’s way – the purple prose accorded the same treatment as such specimens would merit from another, now long-forgotten, Index. But even philately implies recognition, of appreciation, of another human being’s tents and triumphs. Communication, human contact, if only with the dead. Stamp albums? Galleries in miniature. Lilliputian Louvres. (A wonderful holiday in Paris.) This meticulous, minutious, mincing hoarding is closer to mummification. Still lives? Oh no – the French has it closer; natures mortes. This taxonomy is taxidermy. We have here a cabinet of stuffed owls. Undignified, unworthy, when… … the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness… It shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: 

But then again, no – too noble. These scattered thoughts, these dim adumbrations, these ragged fancies, are not brother to the owl of Athena. (They prey on the mind, of course, like the strix dwelling on the outskirts of Tartarus, like the strigoi and strega, like harpies bizarre – but only on the mind of the author, their creator and progenitor. They will trouble no one else. And they will outlive him – no strix on the Styx! – as long as the computer memory lasts.). They are a bird far more obscure than the Athene noctua. They are sparrows.

 I am like a pelican of the wilderness: I am like an owl of the desert. 

No.

 I watch, and am as a sparrow alone upon the house top. But then again (again), Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God? But he is not hunting anything now. He is just categorising, taxonomising, compartmentalising. Rearranging. Dusting and polishing. Bother spring-cleaning? The rented room is a mess, but the files and folders are irreproachable. There, life is indeed a well-thumbed machine. So even that predatory instinct is beyond you. You are more cruel than the guttersnipes with their twigs smeared with bird-lime (and there’s another amber, not pyroclastic this time, but as heart-scalding as anything compounded of mistletoe and turpentine must be) and more fatuous than the periwigged gentlemen with their albums full of Penny Blacks and Penny Reds – indeed , you are down there with the Penny Dreadfuls. True, no one actually hunts stamps, stalks them and snares them, outside the nightmares of Boris Vian, but you are no Nimrod either. You’re a collector. A butterfly collector. Or a gemstone collector, possibly? Animal, vegetable or mineral? You’ve been staring at the lapidary blue of the screensaver for hours now. Lost in its lapis lazuli, its chalcedony… Oh no. No Chalcedon for you. No Ephesus or Nicaea either. A few memories of Constantinople, that’s all. The blue waters of the Bosphorus and bluer skies. And that screen is blue. Not violet, not ultraviolet, not amethyst stained with the tears of Dionysus and sanctified by a promise to avoid the pleasures of the grape (you’ve broken that promise too many times, in any case). And the hard drive doesn’t run on cobalt, and isn’t a Kobold’s lair. No goblins here. (We’ve established that there may be hobgoblins and bugbears, harpies and furies of the mind, but that is another matter. We’ll come to Alecto, Megaera and Tisiphone later.) No, here you are pinning and mounting butterflies. Lepidoptery, not lapidary. Styginae and sphingidae not strigidae (yes, and the styx infernalis and the acherontia styx may well follow where the strix will not!), hawkshead moths not hawks. Your blues are gossamer-winged, but common. Common Blues. He stares away from the screen. There are some files that he will never create. He ponders conversations never held, letters never sent, roads not taken. Counterfactuals, counter-clockwise, all widdershins yet wise (yet wise after the event). Then he returns to the actual nature of things past, not flinching from their nature, as brute fact and brutal facticity. No confessions – neither Augustine nor Rousseau he. These are words to be remembered, not to be reported. Mediations only – if he cannot be Augustine or Rousseau he will aspire to being Marcus Aurelius. Do you love me?*I care about you.Do you still love me?*I care about you.Don’t you love me anymore? *I care about you.Have you stopped loving me?*I care about you.Can I make amends, and make you love me again?*I care about you.I love you.*I care about you.I still love you. I have never stopped loving you. I know that you thought that I loved someone else, but I didn’t. I cannot imagine loving anyone else. I cannot imagine life without you.*I care about you. And I’m sorry. (Yes, this happened. These things do. And this memory will never be filed away – it does not need a folder to imprison it when it is locked within the ribcage, not apeiron or aorist but lodged in the aorta.) There’s one for the trophy cabinet. One for the ranks of mounted butterflies. One for the killing jar, the chloroform and the pin. How many angels would care to dance on that pin, he wonders? Angels don’t dance on graves. (And if there are no goblins here, then there cannot be angels. But if there are furies here, then there might yet be angels. But if… and if… ) So it is up to the electrons, after all – they’ll pirouette and gavotte for anyone: cyberspace is promiscuously prurient.  But he won’t type it up. He won’t offer it as a token act of contrition to the hard drive. Won’t preserve it in amber. Won’t use it in his defence at the Areopagus. (A wonderful holiday in Athens.) The Erinyes shall not hear of it. And the Moirae already know. Word association again. Back to the acherontia styx and her two sisters: and the acherontia lachesis and the acherontia atropos. Why wasn’t the first one named acherontia clotho? Oh well – not all bad things come in threes. And it is appropriate that he cannot summon up that image – nothing is spinning here, after all. Nothing except the electrons. Was he really no more than a butterfly collector? The image is absurd – a Victorian gentleman stalking through the grass in knee socks and pith helmet, with net held aloft. A Hemulen? Unbidden images of Tove Jansson’s “Moomins” books. (A wonderful holiday in Helsinki.) Still, it could have been worse – he could have imagined the cruel industrialist in the Japanese monster movie “Mothra”. And of course, now he has. But, he reminds himself, he is not actually, actively, hunting. He’s categorising, taxonomising, compartmentalising. Copying and pasting, cutting and pasting, cutting and running. He wonders what she might be thinking. He wonders if he should be wondering that. He asks himself some questions, and the questions form the basis and bedrock of that same file that he will never save, never even write – but he will remember the text of it, engraved and illuminated upon the goatskin of his heart, and will know that a God who sees every sparrow fall will read it with attention – and hope that this same God will mercifully spare her the details (for God, whatever He is, can surely not that sort of lawyer!), while again returning to the fear that the furies, on the other hand, would gleefully recount every last one. I never wanted to change you. I loved you as you were. You were wrong to think that I wanted otherwise. I never wanted to change anyone, except myself. Nobody should try to change others. They have no right – and I say that, as someone who does not believe in rights, but only in duties. I felt that that I had a duty to change myself. For you. Did I fail so badly? Well, that is a defence of sorts. But wait… if he hadn’t wanted to change her, did that mean only that he hadn’t wanted her to change? That he had wished her to stay as a nymph, in all senses from the mythological to the entomological? To deny her any metamorphosis? To keep her as another pinned and mounted member of the family of nymphalidae? Such butterflies were never yours to catch, never yours to keep. That silicon pin, with its dancing leptons and its downloading lepidoptera, underpins nothing but purloined letters in a dead letter office down memory lane. Letters unstamped – no Tyrian plum, but only a Plum Judy. (A Punch for Judy? No, you never did THAT, it’s true. You never were that either, nor a Red Pierrot.) Plum Judy, Painted Lady, Common Jezebel? (No, she was none of those things. Nor was she Morpho, Hecuba, or Morpho hecuba! She was not Vanessa annabella and she was not Vanessa cardui. She had her own name.) This passion for naming, this onomania masquerading as onomancy, is wearing thin. The onomania becomes monomania and becomes mythomania. Stop.  He DRAGS himself up from this torpor. He has been sitting at the keyboard for hours. Just rattling an abecedarian abacus. Not algebra; not calculus. And why not? Ha ha – because there’s no rate of change. Because there’s been no change at all. (And that is what she noticed.) Shuffling files around – from lepidoptery to Lego. That is no way for a grown man to behave. Files and folders? Websites? Webs pure and simple. Cobwebs (not cobalt webs). Spiders’ webs. Spiders catch flies, but they also catch butterflies – it makes not a jot or comma (ah, another of the family of nymphalidae) of difference to them. So even the inner voice accusing him of mere collecting mania is off the mark. It is the internet that has netted him. I have  come to accept my uselessless. I have always been useless. Like a butterfly. They too are useless. The ecosystem could get on very well without them. And they are so very ephemeral. Like me. So yes, I am a butterfly. And not one dreaming that he is Zhuangzi (or Marcus Aurelius!), either. I have no such illusions. But perhaps I was, like a butterfly, diverting for a few moments. At least to you? For a while? He is pensive now. And he wants to share his thoughts. Indeed, he wants to share his entire being – but with a ghost. Not a spectre per se – she is still alive (as far as he knows and hopes), but she is now no more than a fading echo resurrected via old files to be saved or deleted. She is gone now, someone else now – she still lives, but she has been granted that metamorphosis that he may have denied her. And she – like all women – never trusted in men’s ability to share. Or perhaps she only distrusted him? He’ll never know, now. And whom could he ask? Not the internet – that amorphous entity who has somehow become its interrogator’s own jailer. He thinks of his friends instead. Her friends instead. He wonders what he might ask them. He decides that he would ask them nothing. He understands that they have their own problems. But he would like to talk to them. He would. Yet, and yet, and yet…. He values his friends’ opinions, and yet… he is caught. Netted. Trapped. Fascinated. Unable to tear himself from the play of types and tokens on the screen, and the play of words in his own head. Stendhal Syndrome? Or Stockholm Syndrome? From al-jabr to zahir in a few hours of reverie. From al-jabr to zahir via kabbala and tarot: more abecedarian, Abilafian, exercise. That is no way for a grown man to behave. He knows now that he was always captivated not by beauty per se, but by the endless permutations of the kaleidoscope, the shuffling of letters in Scrabble, the intricate stratagems of chess (although in the latter he was only ever a moderate player). Algebra without solution: jabbering and gibberish. Al-jabr: “reunion” and “setting of broken bones”. Well, there is no reunion on the cards, and the heart is boneless. So what does he want? A phantom? A will o’ the wisp? (The name of a restaurant… in Lithuanian: Žaltvykslė. A wonderful holiday in Vilnius.) A will o’ the wisp? Yes. He wants that. Just a woman to call a wife, to think of as a wife. Present or absent, quick or dead. It would make not a jot or comma of difference to him. (Ah, a girlfriend in a comma? Extraordinary.) Žaltvykslė. Or Ignis fatuus. And it’s puns now. Puns on Smiths songs. Girlfriend in a comma, indeed! Even if she did look a little like Rita Tushingham in the video! At least the references were higher earlier. So now he is left staring at the screen. The wide blue yonder, the narrow blue bandwidth of the here and now.  Time to go to bed. More work in the morning. More trawling through the undeniably charted waters of the internet, more dredging through the periwinkle blue, the aquamarine and the ultramarine.  

Oh no. He has pulled himself back from his spiralling descent into metaphors and metonyms. He has abandoned his taxonomy of taxidermy. He does not see life in terms of entomology, or ornithology, or philately, or anything else. No illusions and no allusions! No Eumenides and no Eumeninae! (Surely just in time – if he must think of furies and fates, he does not want to consider atropine, no matter how a fair lady may make him think of belladonna. If he must think of caterpillars and chrysalids, he does not want to consider anything emerging from them but butterflies themselves, and certainly not the Potter wasp!) He has avoided the Scylla of “contexture deficiency” and or “contiguity disorder”, with its attendant over-reliance on metaphor, and the Charybdis of “selection deficiency” or “similarity disorder”, with its converse mania for metonymy. If he has avoided both such a Scylla and such a Charybdis, such a devil and such a deep BLUE sea, then why should he cast himself headlong into another maelstrom? Why retreat from the lava of Pompeii only to drown in these waters?

 But you have not pulled free yet. Even now you are spinning words like the absent Clotho. Lost in a web of language like the hitherto unconsidered Arachne. (How could you have forgotten her, after your painting the worldwide web as a spider’s parlous parlour?) And now, via another Ovidian and Athenian metamorphosis, as drunk on aconite as you previously were on atropine. (You left a lot of the wine untasted. Had you even noticed that? You heard the owl outside, though.) Images and imagoes dance promiscuously and pruriently in your head. Even as you thought of the Potter wasp, you punned again, on “Schroedinger’s Caterpillar”, as if by coining the term you could fix quantum theory in your head any better than you can remember how the computer on which you were typing worked! An endless play of signifiers, signifying nothing in all its sound and fury, sound and vision. But there is no joie in this jouissance, no vivre in this différance. It is a prison house of language, after all. And – to mix more metaphors, here in your panopticon you are at the eye of the whirlpool. Things are being pulled inwards. The centre can hold all too well – all these mementoes are being swept into a heap, a sorites paradox in reverse. And fast – faster than the waters of Reichenbach Falls, faster than the dynamics of an asteroid. They are entering BLUE shift. Yes. Blue shift. An Alice blue shift. (“Alice Blue Gown”?) Into the rabbit hole, into the black hole, into the inferno. Vergil for a guide, Beatrice for a muse. Beatrice for a muse. Alice for a muse. Berenice (and Lenore, and Leonora, and Morella) for a muse. The muses for muses – and Melpomene seems to be winning out over Clio and Calliope. Morpho for a muse? Morpho hecuba? Morpho diana? Vanessa for a muse? Vanessa annabella? Vanessa cardui?  And other such Common Blues. Stop. The joke has worn thin. And you had a perfectly good muse of your own. 

She was never a muse.

 *Why do you never write anything for me?You don’t like poetry. And I haven’t written any poetry since we met.*It doesn’t have to be poetry. It could be a short story.I haven’t been inspired to write anything lately.*So I don’t inspire you. Oh well.No, I didn’t say that. If anything or anyone did inspire me, it would be you… it is just that I get overwhelmed by information, overloaded with data, overawed, and then I just freeze up. I get paralysed. I might suffer from Stendhal Syndrome.*Still, I wish that something would inspire you. You used to be inspired. By other things. By other people. By other girls.Not every girl should be a muse.*But maybe you’d be happier living with a muse.I’m happiest living with you.

*But maybe we are too different. Not compatible after all.

 And that had signalled the death knell, more clearly than any deathwatch beetle – whether Xestobium rufovillosum or Atropos divinatoria! (Back to all things atropine again. If it’s not butterflies it’s beetles. Back to the severing of the thread.) When a woman suggests that she is not right for her man, she means that he is not right for her. There again, compatibility – and recognition of such – must be mutual or it cannot be at all. Unreciprocated compatibility? That would be asymmetric. Unbalanced! Left-handed. Sinister! 

He relaxes. And forces himself to attend to the true nature of things. To go back further. To the earliest days, the earliest disagreements.

 *Why must you always categorise things?Because that is what we all must do. Similarities, and even similes, help us make sense of the world.*Must we always make sense of the world?Yes, if we don’t want to be trapped in solipsism, or autism. Sorting things keeps us safe, keeps us moored, keeps us anchored.*But you seem to be coming adrift. Obsessed.Actually, I’m not obsessed with anything. I wish I were. I can’t seem to fixate.*I have noticed. 

That was it. That was the key. That is what she had noticed. His own restlessness, his own desire to never settle and to keep changing. Even his wish to change for her sake. She may have wanted him to let her change a little, but she wanted him to change less.

So he closed the window. The azure of the screensaver reminded him of nothing now – it was blue, nothing more. Not even electric blue. A tabula rasa.

Then he remembered. Wasn’t that shade of cyan the colour of the Blue Morpho?

Then he remembered. Didn’t cyan represent sloth, despair, acedia?

Then, for the last time that evening, he applied his private ars combinatoria, moved from Morpho to Morpheus, (blue)shifted from sloth to sleep, and he forgot.

When he awoke at the keyboard he couldn’t remember if he had been dreaming about butterflies or if a band of raggle-taggle gypsy moths had been dreaming about him. But, thankfully, the sky was properly cerulean, and the air outside reminded him of nothing.

Salvation of a sort. But that salvation was also his undoing. If he had been reminded of nothing, he had learnt nothing.

He’ll be chasing butterflies and will o’the wisps soon again. Ignis fatuus.

 Форматирането не стана както трябва, ма ми се доспа. Ако имате коменти, моля, пишете ги на английски, че да си ги чете сам. Buona notte ragazzi!


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