Saturday, October 5, 2013


pencil, collage, watercolor
I've been slowly reading "The Book of Disquietude" by Fernando Pessoa (translated by Richard Zenith, The Sheep Meadow Press, NY). I have to take it in small doses because, on the surface of things, Pessoa (and his heteronym Bernardo Soares) is eloquently preoccupied with the meaninglessness of Existence. Pessoa is such a fascinating creature though! With him as a guide, we find that meaninglessness contains everything and is a portal focused on all things and people as they truly exist. His awareness of his perceiving Self and his inability protect himself from Awareness is what makes time stand still and race away at the same time.

Sometimes, Pessoa is loosely lumped in with writers like Borges, who I haven't read in many years but now see that I'd like to revisit. In some ways though, —mind you, I've only read a little about and by Pessoa, Borges seems less personal. Borges seems more playful and literary. Pessoa on the other hand, is attractive and repellent. He peers through both ends of the telescope (or a microscope) at himself and his world of shadows. We see the late afternoon light in Lisbon where the sun loses its way and gets tired and the dust gently dances and does not settle. In this afternoon city there is ink on my cuffs and I cast lines and dots out on paper. And I do this everyday.

There was a time when the world stood still. Pessoa captures some of that. It's terrifying, boring and enchanting --depending on how you approach things. I'll take enchanting.

Many "Obrigados!" to Paula Catāo for sharing Fernando Pessoa with me.


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