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  1. From Mircea Cărtărescu's Blinding Volume I: The Left Wing:
  5. But today, at the midpoint of my life’s arc, when I have read every book, even those tattooed on the moon and on my skin, even those written with the tip of a needle on the corners of my eyes, when I have seen enough and had enough, when I have systematically dismantled my five senses, when I have loved and hated, when I have raised immortal monuments in copper, when my ears have grown long awaiting our little God, without understanding for a long time that I am just a mite burrowing my trails through his skin of old light, when angels have populated my head like spiro bacteria, when all the sweetness of the world has been consumed and when April and May and June are gone – today, when my skin flakes beneath my ring like thousands of layers of onion paper, today, this vivacious and absurd today, I try to put my disorder into thought. I try to read the runes of windows and apartment balconies full of wet laundry, the apartments across the street that broke my life in two, just like the nautilus that walls over each outgrown compartment and moves into a larger one, inching through the ivory spiral that forms the summary of its life. But this text is not human and I cannot understand it anymore. What remains inside – my birth, my childhood, my adolescence – seeps through the pores of the enormous wall in long enigmatic strands, deformed, anamorphic and foreshortened, nebulized and diffracted, numberless, through which I can reach the small room where I sometimes return. Pearl over pearl over pearl, blue over blue over blue, every age and every house where I have lived (unless it was all a hallucination of nothingness) filters everything that came before, combining it all, making the bands of my life narrower and more heterogeneous. You do not describe the past by writing about old things, but by writing about the haze that exists between yourself and the past. I write smaller and smaller crania, of bones and cartilage and membranes … the tension and discord between my present mind and my mind a moment ago, my mind ten years ago … their interactions as they mix with each other’s images and emotions. There’s so much necrophilia in memory! So much fascination for ruin and rot! It’s like being a forensic pathologist, peering at liquefied organs!
  6. To conceive of myself at different ages, with so many previous lives completed, is like talking about a long, uninterrupted line of dead bodies, a tunnel of bodies dying one into the next. A moment ago, the body who was here writing the words “dying one into the next,” with his face reflected in the dark pool of a coffee cup, fell off his stool. His skin crumbled away revealing the bones of his face, and his eyes rolled out, weeping black blood. A moment from now, the one who will write “who will write” will be the next to fall into the dust of the one before. How can you enter this mausoleum? And why would you? And what mask of tiffany, what surgical glove, will protect you from the infection emanating from memory? Years later, while reading poetry or listening to music, I would feel ecstasy, the abrupt and focused clot in the brain, the sudden surge of a volatile and vesicant liquid, the windowpane suddenly opening, not onto anything outside myself but into someplace surrounded by brains, something profound and unbearable, a welling-up of beatitude. I had access, I had gained access to the forbidden room, through poetry or music (or a single thought, or an image that appeared in my mind, or – much later, coming home from high school by myself, stomping in puddles along the streetcar tracks – a window glint, the scent of a woman). I entered the epithalamium, I steeped myself in the amygdalae, I curled up in the abstract extension of the gold ring in the center of the mind. The revelation was like a cry of silent happiness. It was nothing like an orgasm except in epileptic brutality, but it expressed tranquility, love, submission, surrender, and adoration. These were breakthroughs, ruptures leading to the cistern of living light from the depths of the depths of our being, rendings swirling in the interior limit of thought, turning it into a starry heaven, since we all have this starry heaven in the skull and, over it, our consciousness. Often, though, this interior ejaculation would not reach its consummation but stop in the antechamber, and the antechambers of antechambers, where it stirred flickering images that were snuffed out in a second, leaving behind regret and nostalgia that would follow me for the rest of the day. Poems, these illumination machines, debauched me. I used them like drugs, until it was impossible for me to live without them. I’d started, sometime before, to write poems too. Among so many graceful lines, enchanted and aggressive, I would find myself stringing together, for no reason, passages of nonsense that seemed dictated by some other being. When I re-read them, they terrified me like a prophecy come true. In these I spoke about my mother, God, childhood, just as if, in the course of a conversation over a beer, I had suddenly started to speak in tongues, with the thin voice of a child, a castrato, or an angel.
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