One evening

This letter wasn’t written specifically to you. But I did think about you while writing it. These are things I would tell you if you were here with me. If I had the courage to. I am not sure I should be sending this to you. Just a little spittle on my screen.

There is a failure in all of us. If we do not set it free, we will never see its flipside. Perhaps when I am dead they will call me a genious. But maybe it’d be best if this, too, were forgotten.

I am a living, spitting,
aphorism machine


self-help
is the wind that makes
the plastic bag flap—

at this
we all howl

It’s raining. The evening is dark no matter how many lights I turn on. The music helps but I’ve heard it all so many times. The best stuff is the music that makes my feel sad and my heart swells up in my chest so that I feel full but I don’t know what to do with it.

These are the times when I can smoke nonstop, my arm reaching behind me get another cigarette as soon as I put one out. I get my best ideas when I smoke. Or maybe not my best ones, but it opens my writing vein. Thoughts hang in the air among the smoke. I can’t type while smoking though. The smoke gets in my eyes and the cigarette burns away without me noticing it. Then, when I come to a break point, when I need to pause and gather my thoughts, read over what I’ve written and correct my typos, then I would like a cigarette. But there’s still one hanging from pinched lips, stinking of burned filter. “I shouldn’t smoke so much,” is a thought that recurs often during these long, cramped evenings.

Afternoons and evenings are the worst. I am weary beyond my years, I feel very old. When I remember I am only 22, a flash of panic erupts behind me, just out my field of vision. Many things happen just beyond my field of vision. I was thinking today that maybe the darkness that I feel so heavy in the evenings has to do with my eyelids. It seems the weight is just above my eyes. I can’t see it. I try banishing the darkness by opening my eyes wide but it doesn’t help.

Once night sets, I feel fine. Better than fine: I feel ALIVE. It has always been this way. In the evenings I am tired and in the night I awake to a state more aroused than ever in the daylight. Yet I do not have trouble sleeping at night. This nocturnal acuity used to be very bad for my school because I always put off going to sleep. I never imagined that there was anything special in night, it was just that my days weren’t mine to spend. After I finished school, I learned how to go to bed early. There was always the next day. Only now I find it doesn’t work like that. Some days I get up refreshed only to look up at the time and count the hours until bedtime so I can “wake up refreshed.” A perverse way to while away one’s life, I know.

I am drinking vermuth, straight. I bought a bottle the other day. At 25 kroner for a liter it’s cheaper than wine. Especially alcohol-wise, as Rami might point out. I remember he told me about how he and some buddies of his had calculated what was the most economic drink to get drunk on, but I can’t remember what it was. Not that that matters to me when I’m writing. I’d rather not get drunk, can’t write at all with my brains sloshing around in my head. I could never understand how people in movies would always be drinking whiskys all day long and still get their work done. After two (whiskys, Irish please), I’m ready for a night on the town. Besides, it’s an icky feeling, being drunk alone with nowhere to go.

Finished my glass. Should I open a bottle of red wine or continue with the vermuth?

You can get very cheap mud-water whisky here. 75 kroner a bottle after the tax cut which became effective in the beginning of the month. Unfortunately it’s watery Scotch crap that burns your throat without leaving much of a flavor. Like spicing your food with a table spoon of ground black pepper: it’s hot but it’s inedible even you like spicy food.

Opened a bottle of red wine. Vinegary. I’ll probably drink too much of it and get drunk and start stumbling around the room, picking up things trying to entertain myself. It always ends that way.

My keyboard is crusted with gunk. I have no idea where it’s come from. I told Moa not to eat in front of my computer but when I saw her writing an email a few days later, eating a PERSIMMON--which has got to be the messiest fruit in existence--I gave up. Don’t like Moa anyway. Today she moved out so of course while she’s leaving we both start saying how sorry we are that her stay is over and how much we’ll miss our brief co-habitation. And you know what: we probably will. That’s how fucked up people are.

Just put out my cigarette. Time for another? Nah, I’ll wait a while. A good song on. Dave Matthew’s Proudest Monkey. Reminds me of Misu. I’ve been missing her a lot lately, just like last year at this time. This year repeating last year. Wonder how long this loop’s going to run. Last year I wrote about life crashing down in the absence of familiar structures, or the trappings of life, routine. This year I purposely tore myself from routines. I am living a great EXPERIMENT: when there is nothing around to distract you--no job, no friends, no family (well, there’s Elexa), no responsibilities, no TV--what is there? Without all this stuff “preventing me,” will I really do what I always tell myrself I would? Will I create, discover myself, take up new hobbies, make new friends?

These things we tell ourselves... There’s nothing profound to heard in silence, except what you want to hear. That’s not the sound of tree crashing in a forest, it’s the echoing plop of a turd hitting the water in the toilet bowl. It’s what you make of it.

If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no-one around to hear, is there a sound? If you take a crap and there’s no-one else making noise, can you hear the plop echoing in the bowl?

Repetition’s funny. When you wake up in the morning, do you think this day will be different than any before or any that follows? Perhaps every day is different, but do you really notice this? After living 8266 days, give or take a few, most days blur together--even the one I’m living today, without the midnight-struck lid on it. Repetition masks the little things. It has to if we’re to keep our heads. Can’t go around being distracted by every fluttering butterfly, can we?

I’m thinking maybe repetition can be turned around. Instead of compressing the small stuff, maybe repetition could be used to magnify them. Like looking in the right end of a telescope. This is my experiment. Toss out the million things I HAVE TO DO so that I can wake up each day and DO NOTHING. There is no hurry, no necessity. I will know the days as they pass and as they truly are. I wake up every day and say to myself: this day will be entirely like yesterday and the day before it. There is no need to grasp at things not at hand because they too are exactly the same as everything else.

The brain’s gotta give at some point. I can feel it right now, starving for stimuli, aching for something to work at. Pretty soon it’ll start inventing things to do. It’ll start eating itself, split itself into two, anything for something to process.

“Oh, what’s that! Is that a pen? Or maybe, maybe it’s a special pen, a magic pen. Look closely now, perhaps it isn’t a pen at all...”

My experiment might not exactly go as I hope. I’m not aware of any cases of prisoners, who are arguably in a very similar situation to my experiment, showing great leaps of ingenuity. And I know I’m usually at my best when I am immersed in my life--when deep in the thick of things I (must) do.

The darkness has passed. Already some time ago, in fact. Now am only unsatisfied and a little drunk. Am most displeased with last few paragraphs. Sorry about them.

No need re-reading what I’ve written. Of course I just have. Oh well. It all sounds pretty good when you’re drunk. I transcribed some poetry I’d written in my journal. Not very good stuff, compared to the earlier ones. I’ve shown them to exactly three people. Two said they liked them, Markku’s never indicated that he’s even read them. Another cigarette stumped out. So many dead ones in the fish-shaped ash tray on my make-shift desk. I rarely care for any object (or much anything, I hear a voice interject) but this ash tray is really quite lovely.

Trying to break habit of using semicolons. Their lure is the positioning of two sentences that are connected and of about equal value. This is like my thoughts: so many fleeting colorful strings loosely tied to together but which when tugged, accessed, turn out to be in a mess. Ill-defined: me, my life, and the world around me (the latter which frustrates me most--isn’t at least that supposed to be, uh, objective?).

When a a great wind blows against your face there is the world working against you. There is also the you who withstands the force of the world. Pretty fucking great, eh? Being here in Copenhagen is perhaps the greatest thing I’ve ever voluntarily experienced. Not that I wake up every day saying that. I haven’t yet seen a task that didn’t appear to be busywork from at least one angle. Is there a T-shirt saying: “Waiting for something better.”

Is there a thing that you wouldn’t exchange for something better? Is there a moment in your life when you thought: “I could stay here, in this moment, and I could forsake all other things that may or may not come later, and be contented, happy with this what I now have.” (Okay, maybe you didn’t think it at the time, but say, if you had been asked this question.)

Has there been such a moment in your life?

I have never thought that this is it, this is perfect. Are these moments real? Or are they created after the fact, after they’ve been “lost.” I have plenty of those lost moments of hindsighted happiness.

I’ve never, ever used the expression: “this has been the worst day of my life.” Not because I’m overly positive or anything, just because it has never occurred to me that the day might be so bad that it could be differentiated in such a way.

I have decided that I will regret nothing. This is an easy thing to decide. However, every single decision that I have made (and not making one is still a decision, just a stupid one) I can question--except one, which is right now dancing in a little victory dance on top of my screen. Tearing off the INSERT key from my keyboard has UNQUESTIONABLY been the best thing I’ve ever done.

Please reciprocate. Meanwhile, I’ll fill my glass. I’d offer you one, but...

There should be happy-cow milk. There’d be little notices printed on the back of the milk cartons: no nipples were harmed in the production of this milk.

In Fight Club (I’ve actually read the novel that the movie’s based on, if that makes it any better that I’m quoting such an obvious pop-cultural text--besides which: the movie’s better) there’s that great tear-away conjecture that in support groups people really listen instead of just waiting for their turn to speak. There’s a corollary to that notion: I’d like to meet people who care that you understand what they’re saying. So many words are loosed from lips that that lack both meaning and purpose.

What’s the the point of talking if you aren’t willing to shoot off a little spittle in the volley of your MESSAGE? Drool is required in a ranty-rant. If what you’re saying isn’t something that comes from your the pit of your belly--from where all true TERROR originates--then what’s the point? There’s always the American small talk at which Finns (and other Europeans?) like to laugh at; but how’s the filth that you’re spewing out any fucking different? Maybe Finns do less of it, but I’m sorry, word-filth isn’t something that pollutes the earth, so there’s really no excuse for it. Less or more, it’s still SWEET NOTHING. A few solitary perkeles, heartfelt though they may be, doesn’t mean you’re making the effort.

Or maybe it does. If that’s all there is, well, then maybe it’s all good. Just don’t come crying in my beer.

it's no so much that I want to tear down,
serrate the cancer I see

it's not so much that I want to destroy the old
and create nothing new in its place

it's more that there is beauty that I can live with
and people that I love

and it's that there's all these dreams
that make me pause

fire-arms and super-savings
the snap of a flag in the wind
the smell of mortar-shell in the morning

there are no masses that can legislate
the pleasure of a caress
or sate the craving of a cigarette

What the hell. One drunken evening.

Love, Ilya

---


  • Home
  • About
  • Preferences