I found a page I copied for strangers. For myself, first. It’s the only page I’ve read I might never read again, since I read by drawing a straight line in dark pencil down the left hand of the book’s page, and then copied it flawlessly, because I felt attentive, and here other people could read it and wonder who wrote it since I did not write in French, nor will I ever. The place of publication in Paris and the translator’s name, as well as the dates of the original and the translation should have been hint enough, I thought, but only one of three had read it before me, and she knew much more than I what “The Renegade” was, what it meant, where it led, why Cioran had come to such conclusions in his first book, the one he repudiated afterward for being–what? taxing, obfuscatory, cynical, too much what he deemed “doubt about doubt itself”? My friend Gus, dead ten years, would know it like the lines in the palm of his living hand. Like the man on his way home after a decade away, searching for his dead brother of the wars and finding him in the place of no return, where incidentally no fires burn, they might be extinguished if the block of ice in which the Caretaker lived should melt . . . Gus would know by now what it was to be isolated among those who had no reason to even try to comprehend his actions and had abandoned any attempt to understand the banked fires of his mind long soon after the right side of his heart felled him in the alley behind the restaurant where he read and talked, but never wrote what he saved for the silence, the pour of hush around him broken only by his fingers clacking the keys. But I was still living, mind you; Gus would ask why, and what could I say? I had no alibi. I was a thousand miles away and how much farther I had to go even I did not know. Nor did I care as long as I lived within all my being.
(27 October 2013)
copyright 2013 by Floyce Alexander