Monday, February 22, 2010

Valentin Bulgakov

‘whithersoever I go I will go’ said the Witness, ‘I will go whithersoever I go, come back, then leave whithersoever… until coming and going are indistinguishable, the one becoming the other’. Stroking his cheek with the seal of his brass ring, the oxidation leaving a green trail on his face, he corrected his footing and said ‘then whithersoever will I never go anywhere again’. Collating his feet with the tiles on the floor, toes aligned with the sealant, he said ‘and that whore Valentin Bulgakov… whithersoever has she gone?‘ ‘you needn’t be so curmudgeonly’ said a woman in a hurry, ‘whithersoever you are is whithersoever you will be?’

Beginning at the ending he arrived whithersoever. This was nothing new; he had been going backwards for years. When he was a boy he did things backwards, chewing when he should be swallowing, listening when he should be talking, sitting when he should be standing. He did things stern to face, back to front. In doing things this way he got ahead of himself, never falling back or lagging behind.

He was the last to be first and the first to end when others were beginning. This made it easier for him to arrive whithersoever he had come. Or so he thought. In the back of his skull he knew something was awry, something tilting off-centre, oblong when it should be round, rectangular when it should be square. As much as he ciphered he couldn’t round off whatever it was that was pushing him off kilter. His skull was soft in the back. Maybe this was why he keeled to the left, sometimes the right, never moving forward in a straight line. Mostly there was a strange creaking in his jaw. Seesawing.

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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