Constellation Blues

Category: Literature

Haruki Murakami

“Spend your money on the things money can buy. Spend your time on the things money can’t buy.”
“One heart is not connected to another through harmony alone. They are, instead, linked deeply through their wounds. Pain linked to pain, fragility to fragility. There is no silence without a cry of grief, no forgiveness without bloodshed, no acceptance without a passage through acute loss. That is what lies at the root of true harmony.”
“Sometimes I feel like a caretaker of a museum — a huge, empty museum where no one ever comes, and I’m watching over it for no one but myself.

Bruce Lee’s confidence

I know that I have the ability to ACHIEVE the object of my DEFINITE PURPOSE in life; therefore I DEMAND of myself persistent, continuous action toward its attainment, and I here and now promise to render such action.

I realize the DOMINATING THOUGHTS of my mind will eventually reproduce themselves in outward, physical action, and gradually transform themselves into physical reality; therefore I will CONCENTRATE my thoughts for 30 min. daily upon the task of thinking of the person I intend to become, thereby creating in my mind a clear MENTAL PICTURE.

I know through the principle of autosuggestion, any desire that I PERSISTENTLY hold will eventually seek expression through some practical means of attaining the object back of it; therefore, I will devote 10 min. daily to DEMANDING of myself the development of SELF-CONFIDENCE.

I have clearly written down a description of my DEFINITE CHIEF AIM in life, and I will never stop trying until I shall have developed sufficient self-confidence for its attainment.

Constellation Blues

Like Einstein’s universe, it is both boundless and finite. Boundless: it runs back through time and space to the very beginnings of the world and to its utmost limits. In my being I sum up the earthly inheritance and the state of the world at this moment.

And yet life is also a finite reality. It possesses an inner heart, a centre of interiorization, a me which asserts that it is always the same throughout the whole course. A life is set within a given space of time; it has a beginning and an end; it evolves in given places, always retaining the same roots and spinning itself an unchangeable past whose opening toward the future is limited. It is possible to grasp and define a life as one can grasp and define a thing, since a life is “an unsummed whole,” as Sartre puts it, a detotalized totality, and therefore it has no being. But one can ask certain questions about it.

Simone de Beauvoir

​“It is necessary to fall in love – the better to provide an alibi for all the despair we are going to feel anyway.” ― Albert Camus

a lost letter

memories skimming across the milky way
ageless threads pulled out
a voiceless glance into the darkness

the wait is over
and a moment of reunion

a smile flashing
after years of isolation
against the wall
in the crowded room

the wait is over
the beginning of happiness.

The Death of Butterflies

…in a slow, prolonged, torturous death they had struggled in agony for hours, days, perhaps weeks. And they were the children of Ziedonis [the god of Spring, literal translation: blossom time]: flowers that had come to life and separating from their stems had risen to the sky. But then tormenting man had come and ended that in the most brutal manner. Is there a more unmerciful being than man? I shook with sobs, and I felt as if someone had grabbed my shoulders and was shaking my whole being. Was the Ziedonis himself that now cried with my tears? Had not he taken me by the hand and led me here so I could see what kind of injustice was being done to him? Didn’t he want to tell that behind all beauty hides death, suffering and dread? I too felt as if I had a pin stuck through my heart and I would have to bleed slowly, perhaps my whole life long… What I felt was not only my personal pain but the pain of all nature with which we are organically bound.

And quickly gathering the butterflies in her apron, she tossed them into the blazing furnace. Sudden death was far better than prolonged torture, she reasoned, and she went out to accept her punishment.

-The Latvian writer, Aspazija. Translated by Astrida B. Stahnke.

You are completely free of affectation:
silent you sit, watchfully tense,
just as silence itself pretends to nothing
on a starless night in a fire-gutted city.

Consider that city–it is your past,
wherein you scarcely ever managed to laugh,
now raging through the streets, now sunk in self,
between your insurrections and your calms.

You wanted life and gave it all your strength,
but, sullening spurning everything alive,
this slum of a city suffocated you
with the dreary weight of its architecture.

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a shadow following humanity
in the shape of a willow
small leaves drip off
jagged edges slice the headstones.

the past breathes:
branches reach in all directions.
written in DNA, the seam on the heart
pulls apart the immortal stars.

too cold and the crickets quieted
the shadow skirts the edges
of a soul looking to be whole
from a war: never changes.

-Marlena Myles
War: Never Changes.

A Working Memory

Dying to share his thoughts, he would call in the middle of the night.  Reading to me an essay or speech, I was amused by his mind’s eagerness to share its delighted news.

Yet, he never remembered anything I said.

Even worse, he never remembered he already excitedly told me his thoughts.  Again and again, the same life-changing essays.

I’m one of those people who can never allow others finish what they’re saying without interrupting, but I somehow never had the heart to interrupt his passionate phone calls to say, “I’ve been thoroughly informed of those thoughts… By you”~

Suicide and the Dream of a Ridiculous Man

“The consciousness of life is higher than life, the knowledge of happiness is higher than happiness”—that is what we have to fight against! And I shall, I shall fight against it! If only we all wanted it, everything could be arranged immediately.”

From The Dream of a Ridiculous Man by Fyodor Dostoevsky

I stumbled upon an audiobook version of this short essay by Dostoevsky purely by chance. Seeing the title alone and being a fan of his other works, I couldn’t resist. I’ve always thought that when you’re ready for answers to your own personal questions, you’ll find them in literature, always by chance. True gems!

Anyway, to the story: essentially the Ridiculous Man has always known he was a “madman” and was laughed at by his peers. Growing older and making his way through his studies, he realizes the more knowledge he gains, the more he is consciously aware of his predicament:

Dostoevsky writes:
“I suddenly felt that it made no difference to me whether the world existed or whether nothing existed anywhere at all. I began to be acutely conscious that nothing existed in my own lifetime. At first I couldn’t help feeling that at any rate in the past many things had existed; but later on I came to the conclusion that there had not been anything even in the past, but that for some reason it had merely seemed to have been. Little by little I became convinced that there would be nothing in the future, either. It was then that I suddenly ceased to be angry with people and almost stopped noticing them.”

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