A Top Hat Full of Emotions Manufactured Only for Me

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My dear Fernando Pessoa wrote: We manufacture realities. We use the raw materials we always used but the form lent it by art effectively prevents it from remianing the same. A table made out of pinewood is a pine tree but it is also a table. We sit down at the table not the pinetree …

Lately I have felt immensely connected to Pessoa and his so-true-it-hurts musings on life and one’s place (or mis-place) in it. I wrote a poem on the 4th of July that is titled (after one of his true observances in his The Book of Disquiet): “Everything was sleeping as if the universe were asleep.” I feel this sentiment deeply and see it constantly before me. Everything not only was sleeping, it still is … and this is I think what makes getting through my bad 5 days out of 7 worse. I know I have to try to forget about it, ignore it for my own sense of self and a direction toward a consistent contentment and stability but I cannot. Emotions are very difficult for me to let go of … no matter what the cost to myself, no matter how badly I want them to go away.

Today I was not completely honest to my new doctor telling him I only think of someone who was in my life (however minimally) only once and a while. Indeed I think of him often, too often especially considering the emotions it brings. I think I think of him so often because I want to understand what everything was, is, and how did I / do I factor into anything in the last 3 often emotionally mangled years of my life. Philosophizing of any kind is double-edged … what can make you feel well can also potentially make you feel badly. This is especially true of self-reflection and in talking with the doc about my regrets, fears, and feelings of inadequacy I realized all of the above are indeed contained within myself. All of these emotions and outlooks constantly cowering and crumpled together at the boot of my brain.

The questions that arise in self-reflection is why I believe Pessoa had multiple selves. I can see how this is comforting in the sometimes autobiographical and confessional but sometimes a created persons in my own poems. Many of the speakers in my poems are the mouthpieces of my deepest desires and heartbreaks, frustrations and violent visions … but it is sometimes (not always) safer with “someone else,” the persona you create. My persona is the table at which I sit; the proverbial table is part of me but it is something else (someone else) in its art. And so I am seeing The Book of Disquiet as a bible of sorts … now reading 10 passages a night before I go to bed.

The persona of Pessoa’s I am currently identifying with is Soares … a file clerk who leads a lonely and unexciting existence in Lisbon, Portugal. His reflections are a result of his emotional turmoil and expressive intellectual joys and nonjoys. What do I fear? Much and everything it seems … especially the brainchildren of emotions. Especially the ways I feel I have not only failed myself but others … and a great fear of failing as a poet and therefore as the person I feel I truly am as I sometimes reluctantly roam the earth with grudges in my pockets that both hold me down and motivate movement toward something.

And on the subject of fear … Triskaidekaphobia is a strong fear of the number 13 and Friday the 13th. I have always liked and enjoyed the number 13 myself since it has an alluring history. And I no longer believe in luck … but instead in existential choice more than plain chance. Sir Soares … speak to me when everything seems to be sleeping and we’ll evaluate existence. Sir Soares … cheers to our constant emotions manufactured like metal levers and placed in the hollow cup of our minds. Happy 13 …

Today is the big day …

 

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Published in: on July 13, 2007 at 8:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Such a Thing as Too Much Pessoa … at least in one night …


Fernando Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet is both exactly what I needed and exactly what I didn’t need. Unlike Berryman and Lowell and some other authors I have been reading, Pessoa is rawer than raw. By this I mean he is unapologetically cynical, diabolical, self-absorbed yet deprecating and much more. This can wear on a person like me who is not feeling my healthiest emotionally lately. Four hours of Pessoa was simply too much for me. I was warned, but did not heed that very important warning. A dab will do you of Pessoa … in one night. Like a good scotch, Pessoa seems at first merely calming, comforting, and oddly sweet … but the next thing you know, you’re drunk and haven’t the foggiest idea where you are. All you know is the place where you find yourself is a walled-in dichotomy … a place you want to run from and a place you never want to leave.

Published in: on February 19, 2007 at 2:28 pm  Comments (1)