“I can give you my loneliness, my darkness, the hunger of my heart. I am trying to bribe you with uncertainty, with danger, with defeat.”
~ Jorge Luis Borges
Few writers have had such an impact on me as Jorge Luis Borges. I discovered him a long time ago, in college, right when my initial, teenage infatuation with Pablo Neruda was starting to wear off.
I was a rebel. Borges was a rebel. I was troubled. Borges was the eloquence of trouble. He didn’t just have a love affair with poetry. He married poetry, and it is epic and nearly divine to read how he makes love to it even as they’re fighting or when they clearly dislike each other.
I guess I liked him not because he welcomed darkness; anyone can do that, really, just watch the news. I liked him because he wasn’t afraid of his own shadow. He just noticed it, accepted it and turned it into art.
So I woke up this morning with a Batman heart soaked in spring. And between tired sips of lukewarm coffee, a Borges poem I’d memorized back then, suddenly showed up on my lips.
But first, press play.
After a while you learn the subtle difference
Between holding a hand and chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises,
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes open
With the grace of a woman, not the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way of falling down in mid-flight.
After a while you learn…
That even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your garden and decorate your own soul,
Instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure…
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth…
And you learn and learn…
With every good-bye you learn.
~ J. L. Borges
I don’t know how to put this but,
“I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the [men] that I have loved; all the cities I have visited.”
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