Read: 2666 Roberto Bolano
Listen: Gunfighter Ballads Marty Robbins
Brew: Dulsao do Brasil
JANUARY 10, 2010
2666 (Part I) [see Part II]
It is a heavy book in all aspects. In weight and in the weight of the blood and toil invested in the writing of it. Also the weight of humor which pokes at us like the edges of a wire strung across the top of a wall built to stay intruders, yet low enough that the most agile could still leap over. Or if one had the thickest head of hair imaginable, so that the thorns from a sacred crown would not actually pierce the scalp but annoyingly press against it. 2666. When I heard of its existence I became so agitated with desire for it that I sent an agent out to find it, as I was on my hands and knees in the center of a large drawing, and I could not break the thread of the line I was executing. So I sent another in my steed and watched with one eye impatiently even as I was supposedly concentrating on my work.
When at last I had the book in my hands I was satisfied and I placed it by my bed and there it stayed for quite some time. I needed to possess it but I was not yet ready to read it. I regarded the title page and the dedication and the quote from Baudelaire. Later I read and reread the contents page but did not read the note from the heirs. I did not begin to read the book until one restless night around the time of the blue moon of December, which was also my birthday. Now I am obliged to carry it about, as I do not wish to be parted from it. It takes up a lot of space when I am not reading it, on the small table I sit at in my cafe. There is only room for the stack of napkins I write on the bic pen my cup of black coffee my cup of hot water and a plate of brown toast and olive oil. Now I have to eliminate the saucers and make room for the book. I have tried to read and eat my toast but the drippings from the olive oil quickly stained the thin pages and obliterated whole phrases.
In any event a person who helps me with acupuncture has counseled me not to read while eating. He says that both require energy. Eating requires energy and one should concentrate on eating when eating. Better for the digestion and also less taxing on the mind. So now as I wolf down my brown toast dripping in olive oil, I sadly am not skidding the thoughts of the character Amalfitano as he hangs a mysterious book centered on the poetics of geometry on a clothesline in a yard in the dusty town of Saint Teresa. I am simply eating and downing my coffee as fast as possible. And why so fast? The answer of course is obvious—because I want to get past the business of eating and plunge right back into the abysmal pool of 2666. Yet I have to wonder if wolfing my toast is good for my mind or digestion. In any case I raise my hand for another round of hot water and black coffee. I sit on edge as the plate with toast crumbs is somewhat laconically removed and then at last, readjusting my sitting position, I crack open 2666 to page 201 that begins The night before the excursion, Amalfitano heard the voice for the first time. Indeed promising. Yet it is all promising. One promising phrase line paragraph part one after another part another promising string of pearls from the posthumous mouth of Roberto Bolano.
So now I have written upon all the space available on my pile of napkins. Why did he have to die? I cannot help but wonder as I slip on my coat and hit the cold and disinterested streets. There is no traffic. I forgot my watch cap and my ears are suffering a bit. My brain is looping the bass line of Billie Jean mingling with a phrase that may have come from the book. History has a future. I should have gone down to Blanes and looked for him. For Roberto Bolano. Then what? It is a small Catalan beach town. I could have visited and paid my respects then found a cafe and become a beach bum. That is what I should have done.