An autumnal summer on the hills is like a prose poem. The breeze is
a gentle rhythm I feel but do not hear in the modest little trees, and the
yellowish plants are peeling images, and eloquence provokes similes
with its cunning verbs. The only celebration on these mountain paths
is provided by the lively sparrows, who flit between sense and nonsense.
Nature is a body divesting itself of trivial adornment until the figs,
grapes and pomegranates ripen and the rain awakens forgotten
desires. ‘If it weren’t for my mysterious need for poetry, I wouldn’t need
anything,’ says the poet, whose enthusiasm has waned so his mistakes
have become less frequent. He walks because the doctors have advised
him to walk, with no particular goal, to train the heart in a kind of
indifference necessary for good health. Any idea that occurs to him will
be purely gratuitous. The summer only rarely lends itself to verse. The
summer is a prose poem which takes no interest in the eagles circling
— Mahmoud Darwish, “Like a prose poem,” A River Dies of Thirst. (Archipelago Books, 2009)
I, sometimes, forget that Kafka didn’t experience the Second World War and it blows me away every single time.
It’s been a slow day and I’m painfully aware of the changes I need to be making. My draft folder began filling up. With bits, random pieces, and mostly incoherencies. Words are words.
Sting’s Shape of My Heart on a chilly evening.
Did I do the right thing? What if something is really wrong? I did. No, it isn’t. It should be this simple but isn’t.
12.49 am. 14*C. Cinnamon, yogurt, and actually writing. Rain and the stillness of a sleepless night. Measurements of a Friday night.
“Everyone is doing the best they can from their level of awareness.” Therefore, if you will improve your awareness, you’ll improve your performance in all spheres of your life.
Batman still sneaks up on me when I don’t expect it.
Eric Clapton’s My Father’s Eyes. There are some songs and then there are others.
We went for a walk. It was still warm; the last of the summer hung in the air like honey. It could have been like that except for the air pollution and the terrible feeling at the pit of my stomach. The annoyance, the lack of silence, all of it.
I dragged him back to Jericho. Numbed my senses down. Let him carry on without me. There was an Italian guy that I got into an argument with. How capitalism needs to be dismantled. I vaguely remember shamelessly quoting Don Corleone.
I felt dangerously like my old self.
Then the bunch from Serbia. I took a cigarette from them but couldn’t finish it. Some things do change. Pa gde si, šta radiš ovde?
Do I remember what happened? Does it matter? A string of days loosely connected by a daily routine of Prague. Between the books, the wine, and broken sleep; there isn’t too much space for variety.
More research; more books. I am drowning in my own meanings. Meaninglessness. I wish I had the discipline to keep this going. To create more, to be more productive. Instead, I pile up excuses. I keep on extending credit to myself but I am running out of space. Out of energy to maintain the front.
I always remember our years in China and the struggle with some of the cultural differences. Saving one’s face, never saying no. But the longer I am away, the more I realize how much of these customs I have allowed to seep into my bones. They became a part of me.
I feel like a stranger to myself almost everywhere I go yet I still blend in. Nothing intimidates me yet I am scared of everything.
I am short on the word count but I need to keep this going. I have to.
I am up before 5.30 am. I am up before the sun. It isn’t the end of September yet and I am already dreading winter. Waking up in the dark, leaving work in the dark. Perpetual darkness. I suffer every winter. But I am getting ahead of myself.
The kiwi fruits I bought two weeks ago are finally ripe. Do I miss the subtropics? I make the porridge of couscous and spices. I need to buy dates. Arabic coffee. Turkish. Whichever. Do I miss the Levant? I do, oh I do. Later I look up the flights. Return flights to Amman, Beirut, and Marrakech for next to nothing. I am restless but first the trip across the Atlantic. Then I’ll see.
I message her long before she’ll wake. My first words are I should go back to Bosnia. When can you have me? I think of my birth town and my insides scramble.
Cultural absolutism and the nostalgia for a community. Reading about Palestine, reading about all of it has unleashed emotions, which I have been keeping inside me for too long. Those who have never lost anything will never understand the rest of us. But an eye for an eye will leave the whole world blind. Is it a coincidence that Gandhi was assassinated in 1948? Is anything a coincidence?
Later in the day, we are back in Kampa. I call them again. We are always laughing. Patriarch caught a raja just in the bay in front of our house. A small one but still. There is sting somewhere between my ribs. I never do not want to be there. The night sky threw a blanket of chill over the city, especially by Vltava. I suggested Jericho, again.
We ended at Bukowski’s and I knew I was somehow just over the edge. Tired of repeating myself, tired of repeating everything else with it. Omar kept asking me whether I was okay. I kept saying that I was. But there wasn’t the happy smile he was used to and it betrayed me.