Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Life is Elsewhere

Because my creativity is low right now, here is an excerpt from Life is Elsewhere by Milan Kundera.
It's an...interesting...novel translated from French/Czech. The chapters are short--some I really enjoy, others I would cut if I were editing it. Kundera morphs prose and poetry in a smooth and elegant way that, at times, leaves the reader in immense wonder and awe.

At around that time he began to write a long poem. It was a story poem about a man who suddenly realized that he was old; that he was "where fate no longer builds its rail stations"; that he was abandoned an forgotten; that around him

They're whitewashing the walls they're removing
the moveables
They're changing everything in his room

So he rushes out of his house and goes back to where he 
experienced the most intense moments of his life:

Rear of the house fourth floor rear door at left in
the corner
With a name on the card unreadable in the
"Moments have passed since twenty years ago
please take me in!"

An old woman opens the door, disturbed out of the careless apathy she has been immersed in during the long years of solitude... she feels that all is well in this room, and that appearances don't matter, she says:
"Twenty years And yet you've come back
As the last important thing I'll ever meet
I have no chance of seeing anything
If I try to peer over your shoulder into
the future."

Yes, all is well in this room; nothing matters any longer, neither wrinkles nor shabby clothes nor yellow teeth nor sparse hair nor pale lips nor a sagging belly.

Certainty Certainty I no longer move and I'm 
Certainty Compared to you beauty is nothing
Compared to you youth is nothing

And he wearily crosses the room, "wipes fingerprints of strangers off the table with his glove," and relizes that she had lovers, crowds of lovers who 

Squandered all the glow of her skin
Even in the dark she is no longer beautiful
A worthless coin worn out by fingers

And an old song clings to his soul, a forgotten song, my God what is that song?  

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