Things are stirring dangerously around us, we who want to explode our darkness - Ernst Bloch
I don’t look in the mirror very often. Can you blame me? I’m not what you’d call a good-looking person, black rings under my eyes almost as ominous as what Shelley called the “gigantic shadows that futurity casts on the present”. Yeh. I was reading him this morning, Shelley, 5 o’clock or something. Poets, he writes, are the “mirrors” that reflect those “gigantic shadows”. Quite a job description. But not quite right. Kind of outdated. Because you’d have to be some kind of imbecile not to have noticed that whatever “futurity” might be taken to mean, its been cancelled, yeh. And if that’s true, then the same will soon be going for the “present”, for Shelley’s “mirrors”, for their “gigantic shadows”, and come to that, the rings under my eyes. Whatever. I manage to laugh about it most of the time. I joke to friends about how much I’m looking forward to sitting on my balcony and watching the mushroom clouds. When they leave I close the curtains and sit there on the floor with my head in my hands. I have no idea what I look like when I do this - I possess one mirror, and I spent most of last night crouched on the bathroom floor, scratching intricate little diagrams into it with a razor as a means of warding off something or other. Some aspect of my reflection, probably. Perhaps the bit that laughs at the prospect of mushroom clouds. Because whatever it is that I see when I look into the mirror, it is not something I wish to accept. I don’t recognise it. A small constellation of cells and forces which from one angle looks like a cruel approximation of whatever it is I think of as “my face”, and from another like a peculiar calendar of incidents both real and imaginary, both forgotten and remembered, transformed in the darkness of my apartment into the implosion of an obsolete sun or the thought patterns of a human monster or some eerie combination of the two. I sit on the bathroom floor and grind my teeth. The sounds they make mimic the diagrams I’ve been scratching into the mirror. They sound like how I imagine the edges of the cosmos must sound, mumbling wraiths, vastly incompatible alternate realities scraping together like some kind of hideous sorcerer’s rattle, the recitation of a catalogue of human incidents that I want no part of, human history as a vast accumulation of butchery and idolatry. If I was a beautiful person I would simply be a butcher. How I long for a mirror that could reflect nothing. Something sharp enough to scrape our infernal shadows from whatever remains of the sky.