note to self
If the ugly part of your soul could be isolated, like a fleshy mole on the side of your neck, and somehow removed, preferably with a Schick Double Injector razor blade, you would have to be very careful about how you disposed of the resulting gram of flesh. Such a thing cannot be buried, tossed, or flushed, because the efficacy of these techniques is never certain. No, the ugly tumor of your weakness must be burned, using all the rites of transformation at your disposal. I’m not saying you actually have to wear a miter and surplice, but at minimum, a few minutes silence would confirm the seriousness of your task.
Of course, souls are not corporeal, and the character of any individual cannot be parsed. Transcendence is temporary, and so probably not worth aiming at. But if you were to attempt such an experience—the removal, say, of some hobble shackled to the ankle of your will—just please grant me this one favor: Keep your focus trained not on the experience of change itself, but on the action that it frees you to perform. If you jump into the air and double somersault over the reckless driver about to hit you with his Humvee, be sure to land gracefully and keep walking.
Hotel Palindrone, Landler 1702
Archaic Torso Of Apollo
We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,
gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.
Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:
would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.
Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Stephen Mitchell
Ted Weems & Orchestra, “Heartaches”
"Here’s what I think, Mr. Wind-Up Bird,” said May Kasahara. “Everybody’s born with some different thing at the core of their existence. And that thing, whatever it is, becomes like a heat source that runs each person from the inside. I have one too, of course. Like everybody else. But sometimes it gets out of hand. It swells or shrinks inside me, and it shakes me up. What I’d really like to do is find a way to communicate that feeling to another person. But I can’t seem to do it. They just don’t get it. Of course, the problem could be that I’m not explaining it very well, but I think it’s because they’re not listening very well. They pretend to be listening, but they’re not, really. So I get worked up sometimes, and I do some crazy things."
Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle