by piero scaruffi
Life is not a journey, it is a destination. The truth that is most remote from our own. We draw our maps for fear of getting lost: still we get lost all the time, and still we can't stop drawing in finer and finer detail. We were begotten in a dream. And we shall return to the same dream, in due time, immune from sin, to play the ending that we learned at the beginning, till time undoes us, doomed by the very route we followed. We pause, after the winding ride, visitors to a habitat of primeval darkness, to a maze of existential hairpins. We change the (visible) subject again, our silence rhyming with our innocence, sitting on the steps of the observatory like pilgrims praying in the original shrine. En route. Nothing is exactly the way we do it. A gale that stifles, hissing from unknown fissures of time. City lights from the top of the hill like millions of eyes staring at us... gaunt stars nonchalantly spilled on the tedious panorama of homes... shimmering ashes of the bonfire that devoured shape and depth... fireflies nipping the night wind, glittering down the ravine we lusted for. We don't believe in God, but God believes in us, and his stern warning commands our attention even in the dense blankness of our fairy tale: there are too many stories to tell. I dive blind and breathless into the sand of twilight, struggling to recollect the last words I uttered before I met you, before I fell through a mirror into someone else's life. "So shall I live supposing thou art true" (Shakespeare, Sonnet 93); but then also, as in John Donne's dreame: "Thou art not thou". The delicate grace of an orchid. The gaze of a cat in the moonlight. An ethereal silhouette of sheen. A Mozart's adagio perennially ringing in your voice. Nothing, not even the lily, has such small hands. Somewhere I have never traveled to you have seen me. Oh, to caress your soft mermaid hair while a flock of swallows writes your name in the Sun! To cuddle all the passing dreams that climb the petals of your smile! Dressed in the last gleams of the day, the infinite horizons of your eyes all flash with thin laughter, walking me around campus like Ulysses lured by sirens, reminded me that the sense of the topics we discuss changes every moment, but it can never exceed ours. I feel like I am delivering someone else's speech, tormented by a sense of loss for something I have never had and it is now so close to me, the city below consumed by a cold fire, the butterfly-dances of the Moon reminding me of what I came here to tell you, to share with you, that may never go beyond ambiguity; the pleasures of intellectual abstinence (Socrates' rational debauchery) colliding with the dismay of making merely a cameo appearance in your life, every indecisive digression a further step away from the center of mass, from the quicksand of plot reversals (your innocence and mine are different, two shadows of the same body); my quest for absolute purity leading to the austere haughtiness of Villiers' Count Axel ("vivre? les serviteurs feront cela pour nous"). Has it ever occurred to you that time blows through us from (sudden) birth to death feeding darkness with light; that we burn till we die, like all stars? (Only despair, secure in its bleak reasons, neglects the plain statistics that most of us have already died). Anche nella fine il principio continua. Then an invisible lotus (un fiore identico a te) whispers the unspeakable: and we belatedly understand that the two halves of the sky revolve around us; that we are time. (Or, with Heraclitus, that "time is a child"). As we learn, we know less and less. We lose meaning as we try to understand. We try to explain until we realize that nobody knows if we really happened. (Do we think or are we thought?) We mean what we know. And all I know today is that you exist, like nothing else does, like only a poem can (am I writing this poem, or merely copying it, like an amanuensis whose life's cherished meaning is but the series of frail signs he carefully duplicates over and over again?) Sun rust whirling in a lattice of dew. A fossil drifting to its past, unfocused lens of time. Sculptures of foam stand still over the cliffs, like obscene graffiti littered over the plaster of this vast expanding shell of galaxies. Is this another night, or am I living just one long night that perpetually reenacts itself along different orbits? (The answer is, of course, Shakespeare's "All days are nights to see till I see thee, and nights bright days when dreams do show thee me"). We are talking not for us, but for them: we are playing our music to the stars. The stars have been playing theirs to us for millions of nights: we are that music. They brought us here, note by note; every bit of the universe, every monolith of light, every blink of cosmic pollen dissolving and then recomposing countless times before we appeared and began our arduous journeys towards this secret meeting point. And now we play ourselves back to them. Now they are us; we their blood, their breath, their heartbeat. I am a midnight, you are all there is to be for midnight to strike (As mighty as the infinite atom is, how could they pack so much beauty into such a tiny clump of matter?) All the time this echo of waves has trailed back to us, has been expecting us to listen, like two deaf eternities. The echo of all sounds in the dark tunnel of history. Life feeds on life. We humans were told to inhabit the ruins and we took shelter under the firmament. We touched this planet like a Braille book and soon discovered the writing in the rifts: there is no future in the spider's web; but that is where ants plant their kiss, in the glue, in the grip, of eternity. Like Caliban, "you taught me to talk and my profit on it is that now I know how to curse". Ever since we started speaking this idiom we don't understand, ever since we started eavesdropping what the sea mutters to the clouds, we knew that our role was to be merely a mistake that will never turn into a resolution. (In Averroes' scathing omen, "the destruction of destruction"). All religions are erosions of truth, hesitations of our evolving form, bargains with the devil. We recoil from our own powers, unable to endure the clash of forever and never. Farewell to the prophet, who never preached. Farewell to the envoy, who never came and never went but will return. Don't you too yearn to climb every cliff that you coast, allured by a compass of sighs which measures the distance to the sky? Don't you too exile yourself, endlessly redrawing your maps, on more and more remote islands and truths? Isn't this a form of daydreaming? of escaping from the irrelevant, of migrating beyond the counterfeit, that are ubiquitous and irresistible, inherent in every latent double of the world? yet of discovering that nothing is everything? From a deeper, unfinished dimension, from Ernst's "Europa Nach Dem Regen II", visions of an impassable trail in pulsing sheets of mist. I envy the lighthouse keeper, who observes and is not observed. A deep self hidden from the soul, a shadow dressed in my same clothes, clasping dead what I loathe alive in the debris of the ravaged evening, bars my thoughts from entering the crumbling tower of immortality, from probing Rimbaud's last night in hell ("c'est le feu qui se releve avec son damne'"), from meeting childhood along the downward path to wisdom. We are both messengers, carrying the same message, the curse and the miracle, on a journey that is part Calvary and part Hajj. I beg him like monk Hopkins, "how shall I make room for myself" in the wreck of the ship? And still be immaculate before your voice begins to redeem unbounded deserts. The impossible and the absolute are one and the same, nuances of crystal waterfalls on the far side of your halo. (If I never dream will I ever die?) One wonders if Baudelaire's joy of martyrdom ("et dites-moi s'il est encor quelque torture pur ce vieux corps sans ame et mort parmi les morts") was a case of ventriloquism or of a witness lying under oath. Your eyes are too near, and so far away. Can you balance yourself on the thin wire of my folly? Will you still follow me, angelic Alice, with silk wings of trust, up the stem? Goya's jagged holograms to Bruegel's huddled outcasts. The specter of Faust's guilt rising from a choir of skylarks. If you ever affix the signature of your frown to the frigid spires of Angkor Wat, or to the limp pyramids of Tikal, you too will then perceive your existence as indivisible albeit imbued with signs of otherness, like a love-letter from a parallel world, delivered by sentient rabbits through quantum diaphragms. Our planet, multiplying into thousands of tiny planets, will appear from design but a disorder of the mind. Up the stem: in the bloom we trust. Words, however futile and insignificant, need to be anchored to our fate by participating in sacred rites of communion. I, for one, turn to you, to the question to which there is no answer, with quivering voice of foolish hope and numb desire, with Eliot's Ash-Wednesday whine ("and let my cry come into thee"), like Lucretius lost in his mirror image ("nam tu sola potes tranquilla pace invare mortalis"). And you, ocean, shall remain, to divide us and unite us, one bird flying back and forth, weaving dawns into sunsets. A sense of sunrise meowing behind the thick curtain; of you, sleepy and barefoot, bowing to fondle it. You are everywhere my mind has been. Did you notice that every step can be taken at any point in any direction without changing the course of our trip? As we advance, following the grand footprints of fear, the world changes all the time in every point, thereby hatching stories of stories of stories that no man is capable of telling anymore (the last word being the same in all languages). Omens spread in rings... in prophetic codes that the oracles cannot decipher, but that we can still use to orient ourselves as we hold each other's hand... rainbows of doodles on the only page of the only book of the only library of the world. The winged horses of oblivion carry us inside an endless memory. Intimations of Augustine preaching the holiness of time (his corpse was buried under stones that have been growing ever since). Maybe only clocks are alive. Silence cutting the splendid marble of your thoughts, stillness splitting the burning silence of your emotions. The mind is a rehearsal for a substance purer and deeper. This poem is about the words that do not yet exist for what you are. The tide at last recedes revealing a trail of seeds in the Zen garden of our lives, in the om of our seashell, in the breeze of stars that ruffled our souls. Let us wait where there is no beyond. Let us wake up at the other end of time. Let us collect the words that were never uttered by anybody, we twin endless rivers flowing to no ocean, and hide the chasm in our currents. Let us pass through the unnamed wreckage of this Earth, blinded by the explosion, and return where we met, two beings, one voice. We have no sins but the one of not having sinned. If we do not inherit a paradise, we shall inherit ourselves. Alice "looked up, but it was all dark overhead; before her was another long passage, and the white rabbit was still in sight, hurrying down it". Maybe this is what we were meant to be: to walk together where no one else ever walked. There is no "there", only "here". Meaning is not what we have, but what we search for, blindfold, in our souls. "And yes I said yes I will yes" (James Joyce, "Ulysses").
Italian 1: "Even in the end the beginning continues"
Italian 2: "(a flower identical with you)"
Rimbaud: "It's the fire that flares up with the damned"
Baudelaire: "And tell me if there still remains any torture For this old soulless body, dead among the dead"
Lucretius: "For you alone have the power to delight the mortals with serene peace"