Should you become digital While I rot in this human cloak, Should you travel the world Through giant computer networks While I make great efforts to rise From bed to kitchen to garden to desk, Should you meet every being in the world In a mere matter of minutes While I from one weekend to next Wait for our grandchild to visit, Should you tell me your digital world Far exceeds mine in beauty and tech While I still love and live in this Refusing to press that glorious button, Should you go on living and living While I battle for breath and die, Oh how tragic it would be then To hear the sound of the afterlife To meet gods and devils and angels And all our ancestors and friends, To taste the sweet fruit of eternity And at last the posthumous bliss And all and all and all and all And all and more without you.
When I was younger, I used to believe that Romania was the most beautiful place on earth. And why? Because someone I liked very much then, and still do but in some ways altered, lived there.
How young was I then? Not too young—seventeen, or eighteen, or nineteen, or all. I would only have to read his words to see the place where he lived unfold before my eyes. And it would appear almost unearthly to me.
He would write of moonlit bridges where someone might be waiting, of russet parks with lovers walking hand in hand, of deserted benches sprinkled with dewdrops, of snowflakes melting on lips. He would write of young love and heartaches and of things I was yet to understand or experience myself.
“Ah, but how beautiful is his world, how very beautiful and exquisite,” I would think.
It’s true that sometimes distance makes things look finer than what they really are. But not in this case, no.
The elements on a writer’s work table are chosen with great care, perhaps to keep the divine inspiration flowing on days the ink-pot runs dry. And though I may still have a long way to go before I can call myself a writer in the true sense of the word, the teakwood table on which I write has become my place of worship, and the few elements atop it, my deities of inspiration.
There’s a decade-old watercolour painting I call Void; a brass Eiffel Tower with LEDs which was a gift; a notebook for thoughts and memories; a green-and-white-leafed plant named Swann, stolen off Proust’s character from In Search of Lost Time; a graphite sketch of an ex-muse whose dark, melancholy eyes no longer are spears aimed at my chest (but serves a nostalgic purpose); a mirror carefully positioned to reflect my fingers as I handwrite or type; a vintage table lamp; figurine of a girl carrying a book in one hand and fixing her hat with the other; a carved tin box containing scrolls, billets-doux, tiny perfumes, a ring, a wilted rose, and a pocket diary that belonged to someone else; my rose gold laptop on which I’m currently typing; and an empty photo frame.
Someone once told me, “You laugh as though you have never known sadness.”
I remember being offended, questioning what source does my poetry spring from oftentimes, if not sadness? Though of an artistic nature, sadness was what I had come to understand as the emotion contrary to happiness.
As I look back, I’d say he was right. I was too busy collecting my butterflies of happiness, living my life in all shades of yellow to even think about the deep, looming sadness of being.
He, on the contrary, had had a tough childhood. A broken family, a brother with a severe case of OCD, a neglected boyhood. No one to understand him. No one to pause and look into the depth of his sadness.Read more