when it rains it’s the same everywhere.
the loud bullets of raindrops on my shoulder as i get out of the centre culturel :
the mango tree nods its wide leaves and lets the rain water bend its back like a swimmer on his starting block, then fall, to the steaming earth.
the earth, you, you sweat like rugby players in winter.
the earth, now you’re giving me the same diction as you did a year ago :
when on a black young night you fixed the stars to light a path for me, down a slippery hill, and then up, up, up.
the round pimples of my camper soles held on tight to the rough shiny sharpness of the asphalt, and i thought, yes, now i can make sense of the world !
it gives nothing to us directly, its hands have been tied behind its back since prometheus used them to steal—you know what he stole !
and we have been born since with our livers outside.
but on a night like this you, earth, shrug your shoulders and let man have his way again.
on a night like this i see new blood patterns on the old marble floors, the leaking of god’s grand design in the simple square of man’s genius.
do people still say bonsoir at the cote d’ivoire ?
what about that diction you just gave me ?
oh, it’s no longer useful to me, as useless as the feathered races and sylvan scenes and fleecy cares of the augustans.
no, i must rebuild my diction from less than scratch.
how, i mean how can you build a javanese dramatic monologue with english as its bricks ?
it is like using straight bricks to make a curve on an art deco balcony :
the edges will stick out and cut you, its own impatient, deluded creator.
thai whores speak in broken english, but their voice stays intact.
no, no, no, this is what i do, paint the white black with words.
i must find a way.
would people believe me if i just make out that everyone speaks english here, broken and unbroken ?
it’s possible. people do.
then, if i write the dialogues as though the people were othello, desdemona, lady m., then i won’t have the problem of translation !
everyone will speak in his native tongue !
i thought about the tall plastic cups of strawberrypinkness, which i imagined as lassi, but didn’t do anything about it when i saw the mas-mas reel in the sambal bowls with the soft hook of his index finger.
i liked the girl in the lime green shirt. like me, she sat one university chair apart from the rest.
the way she said, “for example”, as if there was no better way to express herself.
(that’s it, see, she did speak english! there is no need to think what if she really was just translating her thought into english.)
the messy sweatiness of her fringe, the square of her javanese jaw (i realized at 8.57 pm she really looked like shanty).
i liked her promise of ordinariness.
it is hard to fill up even a page, it feels empty even when i’ve covered it with single spaced arial 11s.
i am tired, though i know i should never stop working just because i’m tired.
becak drivers are tired.
pemulungs are tired.
the wagon-draggers are tired.
i am not.
tiredness is not relative.
hunger, scribner death in the afternoon, golding metamorphoses, ferry ars poetica, memoirs of hadrian.
when can i stop hoarding book and start reading them ?
perhaps when i’ve got no more money to buy one.
today i realized too that they’ll refuse to say your name if the words have never before been rat-tat-tapping on the rooftops of their mouths.
they’ll say michael, because it’s easier.
some things, i guess, will always be different.