There’s pain in those eyes. The kind of pain that comes from too much experience, too much knowledge. The unshakable burden of having seen too much. The twitch in the left eye, regularly irregular in its sudden shifts. Flinching from the danger that will strike in half a second twenty years ago. Eyes like these make you realise that a map is just a map, when the same event is as present here as it was there, at the very far end of the map. We never have trouble leaving these places, but sometimes the places have trouble leaving us. They become part of us, always right under the surface, as a second home, an unchosen home, that we know like we know our own heartbeat: completely and not at all. These places are the lands of closed eyelids, and we can never close our eyes to them. What use is running when the thing we’re fleeing lives inside? What dreams do painful eyes like those have? What happens in the deep of night?
What if I told you I have visions too.
That my dreams are not just dreams. That my memories are not of the past.
Would you believe me, or would you run away screaming? Thinking I was a madman; for telling you such nonsense; for keeping on living when I know what I know.
There are missing details to everything we see. I remember exactly how your lips felt against mine in our first kiss a year from now. I recall vividly how the blood stained the snow when I laid out in the woods, shot through the heart 13 years from now. But I never noticed where we were, when I touched your chin, looked into your eyes and kissed you with a smile. And though I spun my head around and around, I never saw who shot me down.
I have found that I am starting to remove myself from the world. Or, actually, redirect my attention to the world, might be a more precise phrasing. Since I found out what was going on: that my memories are yet to happen, I have been frustrated with all the things I don’t know about the future, rather than the things I do, and I have stopped looking at what’s in front of me; the glow in your eyes, the street lamps at night, the moving shadow as the train rides through the city at sunset. These things that used to be my entire world, these visions right in front of me, have lost their potency. I know what they will offer me, I know what they have to say.
The details. I have redirected my attention to all the details that usually go forgotten. Today I studied your windowsill instead of just glancing at it, and I learned that you’d rather have the things you want, than have things be the way you want them to be.
There has always been this feeling in my life that I never experienced anything new. But I just didn’t know where to look. Until now. The muddy details are where the truths are hidden, where understanding is possible. I have forever chased the things in front of me, when I should have looked sideways, should have smelled the air and asked a question about a common circumstance. I forgot to see when I looked, because I knew it all. I had seen it all before. It was just a rerun.
But the power of a rerun lies not in simple recognition, but in expansion of the already-known as we mix in our new impressions.
What was once a simple story becomes an atmosphere; an opportunity for action and telling – for being. It becomes a much larger medium for meaning. Whatever reason lies hidden in the details will open itself up when I look at it. It’s to the point where I can flip and turn the details, like sandy stones on a beach, and find the answers to my questions on their hidden undersides.
So when you kiss me, I will see you as clearly as ever, for your lips and your eyes, your hair, your fingers, the fragrance you always carry around in the wind, they have been imprinted in me since I first saw you in a dream.
But I will see so much more than that.
There are constraints. And there are imagined constraints. There are those relating to the physical world, and others that come into play with psychology.
I can only jump a metre off the ground. That’s a physical constraint. There’s gravity and my average physique.
I cannot just walk over to you. That’s an imagined constraint. That’s me putting up boundaries around what I can and cannot do. You’re not far away, not today. But I make sure we’re not in a position to run into each other, just like you make sure it won’t happen. It’s a symbiotically imagined constraint. It’s a very delicate thing, however foolish it is.
And however foolish we are.
I don’t know why we keep telling ourselves lies. I don’t even know if we tell ourselves lies or just each other. Once again I feel the imagination trying to barge in. Lying, I think, is not the right word for what I do to myself. I don’t tell myself that I’m in love with you. That would be a lie. I’m not. But I imagine that I am. It’s so easy for me, I sometimes can’t help myself but do it.
Being in love with you was my status quo for three or four years. It was the one certain thing in my life. However quixotic it was, it gave me a sense of security. I knew there was something I dreamed of. Something that kept me going forward when the rest of me wanted to stop, go backwards, disappear. There was a light. There was you.
I’m in a better place now. A much better place. There’s a real purpose to the things I do. The book we’re about to publish. My decision to specialize in political philosophy where I finally feel like I’m back to the talented version of me; the version that works harder for praise, and thrives when he hears that he has done a good job, that he has made a unique assignment; the version that takes criticism as a way forward instead of as a hindrance and a reason to give up.
But even so, I still fall back on my imagination every now and then. I let it tell me what I want instead of following (what I can only tentatively call) my heart. I let your light of the past shine whenever I feel like I’m suddenly drowning in darkness. You’re my life jacket, but I’m afraid it’s no longer you keeping me up but me dragging you down.
I don’t know what good I do you. I don’t know what good you see in me, if you see anything. If I’m not just a memory of something to you as well.
It must be about a year and a month since I said goodbye. It was meant to be forever, but it lasted till January, or February. I don’t remember. My life moved on. I felt the weight of your world lift from me. I was sad, but no more sad than I could manage. And I breathed clean air. I fell in love, over and over again. I saw the blue in the sky. I saw stars. Man, I saw fireworks.
And then you came back.
I was hesitant. But not for long. You came back like a whirlwind, dragging up the past: all the things I had said goodbye to, all the reasons I had had to remove you from my thoughts. You brought it all up again. But this time you had left him. You were on your own. For once, for the first time since the first few months I knew you, you were on your own.
And here was I, seeing you win me back over, and hopeless against it. I let my ‘new life’ slip through my fingers with every text I sent you. I was certain that this was it. This was when it would all happen. This life with you. I was so ready for it, I never even felt to see if what I felt was something real, or something imagined. I just went with the flow and did my best to get things going.
But here we are. Here we are.
I felt some glimpses throughout the year of what I’m feeling now. I had doubts, but I never took them seriously. I figured it was just my undecided self playing tricks on me again. I figured I would come to my senses whenever I saw you.
But I never saw you. And for every text you sent me I felt my response growing colder. I began to feel like it was more of an act of duty than an act of will, of desire. I never got back to the feeling I had, when I would smile just by seeing your name on my phone. When the simplest “hi” would send my heart racing back and forth, jumping from my stomach to my throat until I had to do push ups and jumping jacks just to focus my energy on something else for a minute. Before picking up the phone again.
I never got back to loving you. And I never learned to love you like a friend.
So what to do. I can try to stop my imagination running amok. It’s the damnedest thing: I still get jealous. I don’t know why. Because someone else gets to live my fantasy? Even when I don’t want that. It’s horrible. It’s absolutely horrible of me. And I’m so sorry. Det må du virkelig undskylde. But, you see. I think this is what I felt a year ago. I saw this horrible side in me, and I saw it come up only when I let you wander around in my thoughts. And I tried to let you go, but I couldn’t. I couldn’t do it. Not as long as you could still reach me. I couldn’t let you go without letting you go. I couldn’t kill this thing inside of me, as long as I kept feeding it. And this past year has seen me wander right back into the kitchen of earthly delights and fill up on everything, taking extras when I was not allowed to. Breaking all the rules. For eating and for conversation. And I’m so sorry. But this is what my imagination does to me when you’re in my life.
I don’t think I can ever learn to love you like a friend.
And I don’t think I can ever love you like I loved you back then. And anything short of that original love is less than you deserve.
And I wish I had a more positive way to end this. But sometimes a sad post just has to be sad.
I’m trying to write a space poem, or a poem of the universe, or a poem of love, or something like that. But it’s slim pickings. I feel the power of intentionality. When I lived in Copenhagen my mind was set on poetry and living and music and people. I wrote every night. My Document of Poems was at least doubled during that year. I kept at it some when I moved back, but ever since I’ve been living on my own I’ve found it hard to write any poetry that I’m really content with. Copenhagen was aided by my love for a friend who is the most poetic person I’ve ever come across. Our texts back and forth was one long line of poetry. I can’t trick myself into getting into that mood without some other person to bounce off of. I need the inspiration of conversation, and conversation like that is just so rare. We probably burned up. Isn’t that what they say about fiery love? We had a fiery poetry love for each other, and late nights, early mornings and cross-country train rides gave us the conversations of a lifetime in an 8-month span.
Now, living alone and on my MA in Philosophy, my mind is set on that. I’ve never been more tuned in to an educational project than I’ve been these past months. And it’s great, I love it. I’ve somehow found my niche in the midst of all these topics that I could have thrown myself into. I’m the only one who has set out on a political route, and I’m going to tear down the establishment (of course)!
But still, I wish I could wrap my mind around a few poems, or get back to working on the novel I started writing. There are some really good scenes in there, but I was suddenly overwhelmed by the workload for class and the novel drifted from my mind. I need better time management, however fiercely I’m against all that. I read an article about how we can see our days as 100 10-minute blocks (of time being awake), and we need to figure out how best to allocate them. How many blocks for food? How many for cleaning? How much time for reading and writing? How much for netflix and games? How much for snapchat? My snapchat allocation is definitely too high!
I find myself doing nothing, just dozing off without even relaxing, way too often. I need to somehow make all that time count. I need to, not necessarily plan better but, be better at saying to myself: what are you doing? Could you be doing something more valuable to you right now? I’m pretty sure my answer would be “yes” 80+% of the time.
I just cleaned my apartment, and I’ve had breakfast. Next up is taking a shower and then starting the day FOR REAL. I’ve already spent a bunch of blocks being lazy, lying around in bed thinking and not thinking. But I’ll give myself a pass today. It’s Sunday, for crying out loud! I’ll just pad myself on the back for actually spending some time trying to convince myself to spent my time better from now on.
Read, write, socialize!
Work, confusion, too-little-time. I think these might be the ingredients for a healthy heart. The last week has been sort of a flashback to this time a year back, when I couldn’t decide on a subject for my bachelor thesis. I’m writing an assignment of the same size (now it’s just called an assignment; things move fast) in the coming months and I am right where I was back then; shifting from one subject to the next, finding everything extremely interesting and dull at the same time, building up my list of literature with (it seems) every new page I turn – there’s always some footnote that grabs my attention, forcing me to order a new book, search a new subject, losing myself further into the depths of this great boundary between the known and the unknown.
But at the same time I have to credit the method: I have had none of my emotional flares while this has been going on. The nights I usually spent imagining futures, twisting and turning, cold sweat burning, I now just read away, the end of day closing in on me. And then sleep. Sleep all through the darkness of the night, leaving my dreams as dreams when I finally open my eyes on the other side of the divide; a new day, new chapter. Now, more than ever, I begin where I left off: progression. Working towards something, even if I don’t know what the end will hold.
Maybe that’s the difference between me in this state and me in all other states of my life. Here the process is so absorbing, I scarcely have time to even contemplate the end of the project and what the world will look like at that time. Heck, I’m going to a concert tomorrow, and that still seems so far ahead, as if hidden by the fog outside my window. I can’t really grasp it, even though it’s something I’ve been looking forward to for weeks now. Tomorrow might as well be tomorrow in a year.
Time seems to stretch in weird ways when you’re engulfed in a project, whatever that project might be. The deadline comes ever closer, at such a rapid pace you wonder what you did with the time that must have passed, while at the same time it seems farther ahead than ever before. It’s this difference between the time-as-days and time-as-work that forces me out of my melancholia. I guess there just isn’t any room for that in my castle of books.
There’s always room for Nicolas Jaar, though. I keep coming back to the 2008-2012 generation of indie (go ahead, flame me for my use of vague terms) and electronic music. So much happened in those years. Both musically and in my life. Those years were, in lack of a better term, formative. I still feel like the world is trying to catch up to what happened back then. There was hope. There was creativity. Movements were starting. The world was becoming a more accepting place.
Now it seems like all that has been forgotten. Was it too much pressure for the average American to see guys kissing guys, girls kissing girls, people wearing what they wanted to wear? Was it too much pressure for the world to suddenly see society form itself instead of letting religion form it? Did we somehow lose the only referee we had? Who will be the judge, when half the world believes the judge is in the sky, and the other half believes the judge is called law? And what happens when part of the people who believe the judge is called law use this for their advantage, rendering the law inconsistent?
What I’m trying to get at is: why does humanity create its own downfall so goddamn always?
I’m not angry. I’m not sad. I shed no tears for humanity. But I am confused. So utterly confused as to what I can do. What we can do. And that’s my project. That’s the assignment I’m writing. If philosophers do not strive to save humanity from itself, then who will? Priests, banks, loaners. There has to be a better answer than magic thoughts and magic paper.
There has to be an end.
I want to read a really ambitious novel, one that tries to find a grand, big truth and isn’t afraid to show it, to tell it and stand by it. I want to read courage. And I don’t even care that much if it is filled with flaws and only half-finished. It’s the scope of the project I’m interested in: the idea. It’s the belief that there are truths to be found; truths that matter, because there are so many truths that don’t. Truths that are just purely matter of fact with no changing relevance to my life or your life or the age of the trees around us. I want a truth that puts leaves on branches and helps cats get down when they’re stuck 10 feet above ground. I want something that makes me feel, ’cause God knows I haven’t felt the World in too long now. I simply drift along, taking small chances here and there but never actually sacrificing, never putting myself out there with the risk of getting let down by the World as the World has a tendency to do. No, I just breathe, I just breathe and read and write, and live my little life like there’s no point making decisions, there’s no changing the circumstances we’re in, even though I know there is, but I don’t feel it. I never feel the lasting effect of the change. I always end up in the same place, the same time: caught again. I know there’s a world out there. I know there’s something that I normally refer to as “different,” which is what I long for. Call it the green grass on the other side, call it the fresh beach after the tide, call it anything you want, it’s what I long for, it’s what I’m so afraid of finding and finding out that it never was all that different to begin with. Like that cat in the tree again, stuck, seeing the exit lane but staying put: why risk it? why risk it all?
I don’t know how to look at myself anymore. My vision is blurred – both out and in. Am I just lazy? Am I afraid? Am I in the land of Demons? Am I here? I need a dream. Any dream. I haven’t thought much about death after I had those dreams where I got shot through the heart three nights in a row. I didn’t know what to make of them. I’m still not quite sure, but they’ve released me from my thoughts about death. They have given me a certainty: That’s what it’s like? – nothing much to see here, and I have been able to (or, really it’s been much more automatic than “been able to”) steer away from thoughts, thoughts that have otherwise lingered on my mind for as long as I can remember. It’s not that I have filled that vacant space with thoughts about life though. That’s my main problem at hand, I think, not knowing what to think about. I don’t have a focus. Where’s my melancholy? Where’s my yearning for something? That’s probably what frightens me the most, how excruciatingly hollow the halls of my mind seem to get whenever I hit these dry spells. I’ve talked about how I’ve instead managed to focus on my studies, and that’s correct, to some degree. I’ve definitely been more attentive and studious than ever before, but no matter how much energy I put into it, it’s always the things outside of it, or only very peripheral things to it that truly get me interested. I miss being a kid and the only thing I had to do to get interested in a thing was to look at it, and all of a sudden I would hear these questions in my head, what is it? what does it do? who made this? I’m just not interested anymore, or I know the things I feel like I should know? Which sounds super self-involved. Which I probably am.
My main aspiration is to create one grand work of art that encompasses all the major art forms. It has sound, it has words, it has pictures, it has form, it has motion, and it evolves when different people look at it, because that’s what the World does. It’s summed up in meaning, but meaning is created by us whenever we look at something and think about something and talk about something, and act with something: We create meaning, the meaning gets created between us. And that’s another of my problems: I spend far too much time alone, and when a person spends time alone, meaning begins to disappear, it evaporates like a lone puddle of water on a stretch of road, losing its density, losing its form: shrinking, until the puddle is but a dark spot on the road, a weak memory of what once was. That’s meaning to me, a weak memory. Something I had, but lost, and have been finding in glimpses ever since. But what’s a glimpse to a vision?
What’s a glimpse to a vision?
I had a dream of cities, of going places and meeting people. I had a dream of dining with parents and lovers, and I had a dream of dying. And then another. And another. I have a habit of being shot through the heart these nights. I’m not trained in the arts of the meanings of dreams, so I can only take from them what impression they leave in me. I wake up not frightened, not angry, not scared. I simply wake up and realize I wasn’t shot after all. I turn around and fall asleep again. I sometimes sigh. I sometimes cry – but whether they’re tears of relief or something more sinister I can’t tell. But I acknowledge that I can keep on living for another day, even if I will have to go on living with the knowledge that I felt perfectly fine dying in that moment. It was bound to come at some point, I suppose. I’ve always dared death to come at me with all it’s got.
The most lasting impression of those dreams is a sense of calmness. I’m just perfectly okay with dying in those moments, and I guess it… comforts me, but at the same time it frightens me somewhat. It makes me question my life: do I have nothing that I really want to stay alive for? Am I just ready to go if it is to be? I don’t know. I’ve always maintained that death is just that: death. But at the same time it’s DEATH. It’s nothing, it’s no-more. And that’s what’s so confusing. There’s really nothing you can do about it, and I’m tired of this world trying to cure every disease, trying to keep us alive for as long as possible. Why? Why should we live to be a hundred years old if our bodies just weren’t wired that way? We will see more happy moments the longer we live, surely, but if we die we simply won’t know of the moments to come. There’s everything to gain by living, but nothing to lose by dying.
I took a walk in the sunset tonight, past the church, down through the city and all the way to the castle yard, with its flowers and trees, paths and rivers. I had music in my ears when I walked to it, but I always remove my headphones when I walk into the yard, preferring to listen to the silence and birds. Preferring indeed to feel how the outside world can keep my thoughts at bay. I miss the end of bridges, the open oceans from my home town. I miss sitting down with my feet in the water, becoming part of that big blue that stretches all around the world. I miss trying to feel the currents of Japan from Denmark.
I miss my stupid belief in coherence, in some sort of holism. I’m faced with the task of specializing in the field of Philosophy. And I’m at that point where every new option sounds extremely good to me. I swear, I feel like a first-year student again, believing everything I hear, thinking to myself: “wow!” I will try to pull myself together and find ways to weave through these options so I can end up with a line of enquiry that I find interesting in two years as well as in two weeks. I just hate decisions. My most convincing argument for free will is that there is no way anyone or anything could have designed me to dodge decisions this often. Decisions, situations, you name it, I dodge it. I get so tired of myself every now and then.
The sky seems more full of airplanes these days. That tends to happen whenever I really begin to feel stuck in a place and look for new experiences, new challenges. I really hope my plan to go to Austria next summer will come through. Otherwise I’ll have to just go and do something on my own. I have to get away. I have to see something different. Mountains, languages I don’t speak, food I’ve never tasted, bad music that becomes good for its novelty. I need something new.
So baby, what we’ve got
has lately not been enough.
(Kings of Convenience: Stay Out of Trouble) It seems like forever since I last quoted a song in a blog post. I really ought to make some form of change inside my apartment. If nothing else then just tidy up the place; get rid of the things I’ve come to realize that I don’t ever use. I always bring too many things with me when I move. It’s silly, really, and now I’m just stuck with them. I never manage to take a deep, hard look at everything and throw the things away that have no use to me. I don’t know if I’m sentimental to things. I guess I am. I can think of a hundred ways some little piece of cardboard might come in handy in the future … distant future. So I won’t get rid of it. Well enough, I say, enough with this nonsense!
I’ve been thinking a lot about my wardrobe this past week. I think I’m ready to shift into a more “mature” style. I’ve come to like shirts, I just don’t own a whole bunch of them. I’m very much a t-shirt and sweatshirt guy. Comfort and band merchandise throughout. But I think part of this new-me project – that I’m apparently in the midst of – consists of changing into a person that looks more like someone with an actual future. Maybe that way I can forge a lasting impression on myself so I won’t have to constantly doubt whether or not I’m cut out for life. If I look the part, then hey: it must be true!
Passion and its brother hate, they come and go
It could easily be made to stay for longer though
Many people play this game so willingly
Do I have to be like them, or be lonely?
Love is no big truth
Driven by our genes, we are simple selfish beings
A symphony that’s you
Joyously awaking the ignorant and sleeping
Of what there is to it
Getting me through it
(Kings of Convenience: Love is No Big Truth) You told me about the time you stood right behind Kings of Convenience at a concert with some other band and were too afraid to go talk to them. Paralysis. That’s what I feel around most people. There were people in the castle yard which made me take a huge detour around that section of the yard so I wouldn’t have to somehow end up in some imagined situation where I would have to talk to them because hey that would just be the end of the world am I right? See why I hate myself? God I’m so bad at anything “social”. And yet the novel I’m writing is going to be composed of a lot of the social moments from my life. They’re always the ones that stick out, which should spur me on, but I guess that’s also part of the reason why I’m afraid of the social gathering. Even though I rarely end up taking center stage, I’m always certain that I will end up making a fool of myself. I’m always certain that I won’t fit in, and when you enter society with that mindset, then damn right, you won’t fit in, or blend in, or be anything with the word “in” in it. You won’t even be in trouble. You’ll just be – on the outskirts of society, looking in from the outside. You’ll be me.