Peak and Decline

Antonio Contador

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    w.d.

—1—

P,
It’s late or rather it was when I got the idea to write to you. Looking to fall asleep, I saw that it was already… I’d like to spend the second half of my life in water, in that sort of authority that is the sea, which will allow me to overcome my fear of sleep. I’m burnt out. That all too vast expanse of water which I will be floating in will be the exact opposite of the first half that I spent uselessly trying to be an amphibian. In water, I will become once again the harmless fish I had been, despite a frightening name. I will be awkward and fat once again, whereas the individuals of my species are sleek hunters with a slender frame. I’ll be the one whose capture is appreciated twice over. My life principle will be falling on my back and plunging into the depths. Despite my physique, that slow fall gives off an Olympian grace, a surprising nobility for fish. By falling I will have all the time in the world to observe with my two lateral eyes the layers of water as they slip by—from the most oxygenated to the murkiest—along with the dance of the mullets and a few phenomena that have no effect on that tranquility—which you talked to me about—that is to be mine. Without knowing it, without wanting to, surprisingly at every instant during the fall I shall be a free and serene fish to the point of finding that funny.
D

—2—

D,
I’ve been well for the last few days. Well, in a complete way, a bit uncustomary. On the bus coming home, I mutely whistled and hummed our tune a bit… I would have wanted to do it for you yesterday. I gave it a try but I didn’t have the courage, and also I could barely hear you. I mean I heard your words but not your thinking. My mouth is towards the sun. After spending a good part of the morning at the bar, I lay down on the grass just opposite in order to… without really wanting to. Flat tact. From where I am—not where you think, that would have been too easy!—I can almost see you. Actually, it isn’t me who sees you, or you that I see. Going round in circles, we were a pair—do you like that? The world’s poor little good side, with its great qualities and its comedy, so cheerful and so sad at one and the same time. Your “good luck!” which was ill chosen, ill said, hurt me.
P

—3—

P,
Waiting for the train… solely in order to sleep—I’m making the most of it! Pathetically whitish night again yesterday. Night, of a white that annoys. Night, luxury that obstructs. Night, ache to which I am attached. You say that everything is plausible. I will be able to lie low.
D

—4—

D,
I say: not necessarily dash more often dash in the classic sense of the term often. Day, not night: a provisional “Ah!” Secret as to how long. Surprising lightheartedness. The great change—currently—would be that I can laugh in your face while having a clear mind about what’s what. That would suit me for other reasons. And moreover, I absolutely do not want to listen to your music. Go on, I’m interested, since it offers me a little something that bores me only a little, even delights me. Joy for the present. Naked joy, absolutely in keeping with its mediocre fullness. Joy but only just, not swaggering.
P

—5—

P,
Taboo of the earth’s core. The fish that I am trying my level best to be ardently wants something but what? Curious, the taste we have in common is running out. During the week, let’s take up our position elsewhere. Weekends, let’s try to stay too young. This evening or tomorrow? A fountain of tears of joy that has nothing vague about it at all. I don’t believe one word coming out of you! The right move? (Ah! The right move!). The right move would be to show one’s true feelings while looking for others. You ought to dance your joy. Dancing comes all by itself. Dance with your feet; listen to them dancing without moving. Scared that audacity is getting banal, the head has ITS subject right there. Wednesday is my birthday, I am going to celebrate it with your friends. Come along.
D

—6—

D,
Life overall, on the whole, has a certain meaning. You think you have glimpsed it in falling on your back, yet you are doing everything in your power to get onto your belly. What’s wrong? The idea that one builds better on one’s back. On our backs, the audacity of all for all! Our last minute will last fifteen so that we can tell ourselves anything and everything. I will use it all up. You will listen to me.
P

—7—

P,
My soft scales in a gray that is overly blue. Your fingers… higher… right there. Dorsal fins on rabbit skin, the energy of a carp, less the shame. Straight on or in profile, what emerges is the full red of my eyes, which you put out, leaving two unmistakable holes from which small air bubbles issue. You say that I should take care of myself. One more prison! For your own, I will retain but one principle from them. Under normal circumstances—I am saying too much—I attach no little importance to a slew of concrete things that are based on chance and connect me to two facts, i.e., write in your thoughts, erase my own. Some particular case? The viper wrapped around your frail arm, knowing its spoils are a sure thing. First, an arm, then the second one, then your erect neck, immediately your outstretched hands, the fingers wide apart. The colors of your cheeks suffer because of your useless effort. The viper is your prison, don’t hold it against me. I’m out of cigarettes.
D

—8—

D,
Yesterday I dreamed that a naked woman, her left foot still wearing a shoe, stretched out on a couch in an interior appointed with wall hangings and tapestries, was lying just in front of me. Her right arm was bent and rested on two satin pillows. Only a hand could be seen of her left arm. Her gaze was turned to you, who were shamefully studying her. With a sudden movement of the hand, barely concealing the humiliation that the scene presented to my eyes, I held out to her a bouquet of flowers which she deigned neither to accept nor to refuse. There followed a silence constructed like a piece of music that serves no purpose.
P

—9—

P,
Sorcery! Your signature. Will-o’-the-wisp copy. In your cavern and beyond, a dust deposit accumulated into a fable. Double Satan! Horns-claws-tails. Absolutely in keeping with the tradition, that something, like a gas issuing from your mouth which becomes stoney when it hits the air, is the place where the howling pack comes to drink. We have exhausted all the possibilities of art, shaken all the trees, rendered the opiate clammy. Enough in a bit. Mournful saddened. Moon reprimands. Vileness, feet together. Shaken with a crash.
D

—10—

D,
From afar, it looks like a post from which water is gushing. A story coming to an end. Everywhere life. You decide on nothing, it’s to be expected. You have to be told everything more or less. Lose reality from your sight so that all you have left to do is slowly laugh towards the gate.
P

—11—

P,
Decked out and bright and beautiful. Pensive from a train of thought I like, with a vast and nameless horizon. In our dialogues, muted, a lamentation that I recognize from the very first breaths, and which I try to destroy straight off, the way one burns one’s juvenilia so as not to see the pitiful aldermancy there. In water: field of jellyfish, malicious machines. Que será, sirrah! I hurried along my ever-harried Sunday. A few notes for the music. With all due respect, I can only show my support to what pinches me off and perks me up. Notes in a sidekick key, ode openings, they bore me. Wagered, they will decay. Just as important as… Responsibility… That for which… Taken on them. Literature takes care of me but I flee. The very glow of none. Late or early the day. Night, neither whole nor last. Night is always nixed by something, the something of a great waste. To erase the limits of the language of the night (places of words and posts). Pertinent opposition: day is a delay of night when nigh. Night never surrenders.
D

—12—

D,
I don’t imagine anything. I didn’t know, you understand. Prey to tired thoughts, I write to you without stop on the pages of a cheap trashy novel—I can’t recall the title. I write over all its pages without an ounce of respect; I run across it as I flee your hounds. This novel, trampled and trod on, let it speak! Is it so hard? Sleep after the nap, me too.
P

—13—

P,
I wandered for nearly an hour. Willingly. The air was rank. The more I wandered, the more it reeked. And even though I no longer wanted to wander, it’s all that I could do. Truth be told, I didn’t know which to choose, the wandering, or my way. And choose at what point? While I walked, your dream of the bouquet of flowers assailed me. I no longer remembered the details, just the lone silent moment when waving the bouquet you stood there not saying a word and had to decide between keeping your arm stretched out or lowering it. To lose the game, you have to play it. Am I sure? To play unintentionally, a game where nothing goes on. In water, I myself am surprised. It often happens. I fall gently but the silence keeps me from sleeping. So as not to lose my unit, I pretend. It is but a start.
D

—14—

D,
I like it here. At first I was frightened, I cried—I couldn’t help it probably. I was someone only sometimes. For the other times, I was mad at nobody. It’s very different now. My little habits and their environs. I am thinking of something else. Sorry.
P

—15—

P,
This evening, weary of the contempt I bear you. It is I who bear it. I can weep for you no more. I hide you someplace but where? We were wretched, etc. etc. and in that we were on conquered lands. For the rest? “Rest” as a simple formality.
D
PS: Klavier for piano, melodie for melody.
PS2: Lying on my back in P’s garden, an automatic sprinkler sends me tiny droplets of water on my face with clockwork regularity. Caught up by the luminous specter emerging from the fine mist suspended over the mechanism, I am hardly aware that everyone has left, that it is night, that I am cold.

—16—

D,
On one of the shores of Lake Lan, the clan of Alôn (all together now): Oooooona!
On the other shore, the clan of Nôla (all together now): Oooooola!
On the bridge, under threat, dragging along as a master and a slave before sending you down to the bottom. The mystical singularity of the choice. The jubilatory morality of choosing neither one nor the other condition. Cheating with language and speaking of the practice that aims to stay there with you and pay the price, a heavy price.
P

—17—

P,
The object slides from one side to the other; the voice betraying a raw arrogance, the social cushions on one of the sides. On the other, the hunt and its codified expressions, to stubbornly persist, to move entwined flesh and tongues. Alter self; the power to flee the herd even though it reforms in me. A place with no center—myth of the pure negative and, in the end, unbearable place. Painted—it’s fairly obvious!—he thinks he’s me.
D

—18—

D,
Turn my back on the strictly functional form of your arrayed beauty, made by Man—in his image. Personal charm, a back like an uncatalogued zoological species. Brief beauty of a back turned but which will yield a profit. Authorized rule dirty trick, curved dirty trick from one trick to another, one easily fitting the other, losing a bit of its mesh, moreover. Humped over, polite, I straighten up, exposed naked to the view of things doomed to vanish.
P

— 19 —

D,
Eternity there. Effort of the joyous, excessive living being. Hanging object. Adapted scene. The research at the conclusion of a wrong; its clarity in the proposition. I don’t remember the title of your novel but its affinities, yes. Two observations: 1—A hero at a standstill: quite right. A hero that is identified by her or his way of being in agreement. 2—the fall: I have no gift for reading about it. Normally, I never finish the books I’m reading or my sentences.
P

—20—

P,
Withdrawn from the world, I reconnect with my technique. You pointed out to me, concerning the novel once again, that I haven’t got the hero I thought I had. Short, circumspect hero, portraying himself in a calm world of others. Deaf hero — hard S? Soft S? Sovereignty of choice. Semantic mercy, free and without opposition. Pardon that generates meaning or offence that undoes language.
D

—21—

D,
Mana! Major anxiety. Better and better anxiety. A creation problem: failed but welcomed. All kinds of difficulties. Laziness, too. Refusal to read. Know how to refuse. Then no, were it unknown to a number of other forms of knowledge. My worry? To try, then enjoy the refusal coupled with a desperate vitality.
P

—22—

P,
Me—There!
You—What?
Me—(Fake loud by stretching out the “ere”) There!
You—(Fake loud by stretching out the “aht”) What?
Me—(Fake high and loud, say anything with no intention of being clear)
You—(Nod approval while having in fact understood nothing)
Me—(Underscore that nothing in any way possible)
You—(Underscore that any way possible any way possible. Slowly start walking while half-looking ahead)
Me—(Make some sort of sign so you stop, anther so you understand that I’m going to catch up to you)
You—(Begin to run straight ahead, slowly at first, then increasingly quicker. While accelerating, drop something on the ground)
Me—(Recklessly cross the street and pick up the something)
You—(Disappear)
Me—(Look closely at the something picked up. Toss it at the foot of a tree. No longer try to catch up to you)
You—(In your wild flight, thoughts ladeeda ladeedadaaaa)
D

 

Antonio Contador