One of those days, yesterday, though not as bad as the following will make it seem–just didn’t feel much like doing anything, so sorry no post.
Thought I’d rerun this bit…from a long time ago, before The Second Awakening, both the blog and my own personal sense of it. More original stuff later on, I promise.
Ma Saison en Enfer
1. Un nuit en enfer/A night in Hell
The night your wife finally moves out of the apartment, at your request, turns out to be surprisingly shitty. You knew this day would come, probably suddenly, and you’ve wanted it, but now that it’s here you find yourself gripped with a slow-spreading, vastly deepening sense of loss.
You try to keep busy. You’ve already left work early, giving up billable hours just when you need them the most, to run home to make sure that the things you really want to keep have been clearly separated. As it turns out, you have a surprising number of purses, more than you thought.
You go to your therapy session and remain calm, and then head out to go to a gig at CBGB’s gallery with your best friend, who has been your rock through the whole thing. The singer starts launching old songs–”You belong to me” is the one that hits you the worst–and you end up in the bathroom trying to cry. As it turns out, you can sob but there are no tears, not now, not even at the end, not even for you.
2. Mavais Sang/Bad Blood
Maybe it was your fault all along; maybe it was how you were made, all the issues you never confronted. Maybe it was too much in your nature to compromise, to sacrifice. Maybe you thought that somehow, bizarrely, that made you more of who you thought you were, even as the compromises took you further and further away from that idealized, non-existant person.
Maybe it was that never in your life have you felt the need to ravish. Maybe it was that you lay fallow waiting for ravishment.
Maybe that was some taint of the genes. Of the blood, the blood of your father and your funny uncle.
But there came a day when your wife began to take potshots at you for not noticing her, and then your bad blood roared through your tortured veins, poisoning your vision, painting the landscape with loss.
3. Nuit de l’enfer/Hellish Night
There comes a night, as it must, when your wife and alcohol and your medication mix together to perfect a cocktail of hell.
A night when your wife will yell at you, when you will feel everything slipping away from you as she tells you how you are not a man, or not the man she needs, and those words will cut you apart and pare away your illusions of your own happiness.
And the ground of your hell is fertile, and her words take root and bear fruit.
In this night, she will tell you that after the next morning she is no longer sure if you will be together.
Dawn will come without sleep and you will waken to the realization that your marriage is over. You will feel nothing at first. Nothing is left to feel.
Nothing will matter.
4. Délieres/Delerium I
You waken to a wedding, and it saves you. On the dance floor she will beg forgiveness and claim forgetfulness, and you will hold her and feel relieved. You will resolve not to throw away your second chance, because you have stared into the abyss and it nearly ate you.
You will resolve all these things, though you don’t mean them. It is not in either of your natures to change course now.
5. Délieres/Delerium II
And for a while you both belive in the lie, because the lie has worked for so long. She will forget that you are not what you seem, not what anybody, even her, wants. And you will forget that she is a flesh and blood woman, not one of your fantasies that you try and shoehorn yourself into, to take the shape of your airy dreams. You will forget her impatience and her impulsiveness and your own propensity for inertia. You will forget all these things in the delerium of the most seductive drug, nostalgia.
You will forget all these things. But you will suspect.
6. L’impossible/The Impossible
She will tell you that she cannot deal with seeing you dressed as a woman anymore, and suggest that she spend the night with her girlfriends outside the city. You will be touched by her sacrifice and seduced by the thought of transgressing, for a while, the narrow boundaries of custom and biology. So you agree, though you grudge it, and hope for a day where the separation won’t be necessary.
And yet, and yet, like a canker the suspicion grows that there is more here than you suspect, more being said than you have heard. And yet, and yet, you think that what you suspect, the hair of shadow that now hovers like a flaw in your sight, cannot, must not be true.
Your plans are both disrupted for your birthday. You come home to change, still made up, in your new jeans and pedicured toes, and you sense her anger and hurt. You think it is just that she is home, alone, and confronted even briefly by your own perverted self, and you are sad, you grieve inside yourself for the you that never was and never could be.
You grieve, not knowing yet what you grieve for, not knowing that grief is going to be your lot.
When you finally learn the truth, discover the betrayal, it leaves you physically ill. You stumble out of the house on an excuse, and wander downtown. You sit in anger with your best friend and she has nothing to say, nothing to give but an embrace.
Later will come the confrontation, the flash of brilliance that has lit up the dark corners of your marriage, of your soul, and you know as the bolt cleaves the sky so your life has been cloven in two, and you have been put asunder.
And in that flash you see the empty plain of new possibilities, even as your future dies upon the vine and with it all that you were, all that you were trying to be for five years, all that you thought was worth having and sacrificing for. The sacrifice is returned, you look at it as a feast, but your hunger makes you sick and you don’t know how to begin, or even if you should.
You stay up late, far into the morning most days. Sleep is something you find only in the pills you bought at the drugstore. Even strong drink, which you avoid, does not bring it.
You find that you shared so many things. You replace a manicure set and several purses. You agree to give up the chairs in the living room, and her sister’s bed that you slept on for two years. You keep the cats but lose the rug and the toothbrush. You lose a bookcase but gain several shelves on your new built-ins, the ones she insisted on.
You find your arms aching for her at night even as your heart shrieks its anger and drowns in its own blood.
The morning after she leaves, this very morning, you come home to the apartment, the empty spaces like fading ghosts. You want to collapse and sleep, but the bed is gone and you are too tired to inflate the air mattress. You take a shower and go to work. You want to cry as you walk to the subway, but you can’t, because you are a man and there is no place to go and hide while you weep.
And you know that you will pass almost directly from this morning to another long, empty morning, despite not sleeping since the day before.
And though she is gone, it cannot, will not be goodbye, though sometimes you scream in your soul to just be left alone, to lick your wounds alone in silence.
You know there will come a day when you can see her again without seeing him in your mind as well. You know there will come a day when you forgive each other for what you did, what you did not do, and all the myriad days that should have come but now will never arrive.
And you know this won’t be the end of everything. You know it is the beginning for both of you, and the dammed stream of frustrated posibilities is already pushing you strongly from behind.
But you still want to weep, even though you cannot. You still want your tears, so you can say farewell to them. You still want her with you, and you can never say goodbye to that.
After Arthur Rimbaud
Translations of titles by Bertrand Mathieu
February 23, 2006