понеделник, 28 януари 2019 г.


I am writing a postcard to L.;
I have to catch the train in an hour, and the postcard is red.

While I write, in my mind: a Sunday morning,
September. A room with a red wall.
At the balcony: someone has forgotten a glass of white wine,
half-empty. The rain is falling in it, stirring tiny waves at its crystal edges.
It is the first rain to break the spell of a heavy-footed summer; and there have been
friends and laughter and music the night before. I have turned 20 years old.

L. and I sit next to the window, entranced with that glass. The table behind us is still
full of cake and cutlery, and more glasses.  The city is quiet; we will clean later.
We talk, but I cannot hear the words; time has molded them mute.

It is a foreign country, indeed, the past.
I put her address on the envelope. She’s in Sofia, but the post code is new.

On my way to the station, I will ponder once again
how the double names of streets and neighborhoods in Brussels
allow one to feel as if present at two places at the same time.

L. once drew a painting of a poppy field. Maybe that’s why I am
sending her a red postcard.

(14th December 2018)

четвъртък, 30 август 2018 г.

"You're doing this again", says G., smiling. "What, what exactly?" "Getting all excited about coincidences"

It's Thursday, I'm in the middle of packing, Adrian and Gilles are in the garden, and while I storm back and forth on the stairs, stressed over I don't even know what, they stop me and we chat, and they calm me down by, well, being A. and G. (gosh, gonna miss them). 
And while we go through everyday minutiae, jokes, Roland Barthes (I still have to return "Camera Lucida" to G., but then it's more about "A Lover's Discourse"), the possibility to send messages to yourself on facebook (like, yeah), everything, really, at some point I indeed excitedly start to explain how I commenced reading Nabokov's "Mary" this week, on one of the train trips to Brussels. And in it Ganin is counting down the days to a Saturday when he is supposed to move out from his room, and I'm doing exactly the same, counting down the days to a Saturday when I am supposed to move out, noticing everything, following the last traces of what this town has to offer.

So yeah, "You're doing this again", they know me by now, getting all entranced by stories, the possibility of stories, little threads connecting whatever it is happening with whatever has to be (my God, I cannot even explain it properly). 
"Mary" (or "Mashenka", as is the original title in Russian; I like it way better) is not actually about  moving out, of course. It's about nostalgia, most of all, I guess, but I will reflect on this more once I've finished it. The style of Nabokov is a delicious embroidery. Stumbled upon the book last Sunday, when I went to the shop together with Alex; it was raining a bit, he stopped at one of those book exchange boots that randomly pop out on some streets (and that are always, always full of shitty titles actually), picked this one up and was like, "you could find this interesting", although he hasn't read it himself. 

And I love reading it on all these train rides that I have to embark on this particular week; savouring the change that is on its way. 

петък, 3 август 2018 г.

"Before you slip into unconsciousness
I'd like to have another kiss
Another flashing chance at bliss"

Woke up with this going on around my head (doesn't happen that often to wake up with a song, but it is a wonderful thing nevertheless). 

"The Crystal Ship" starts with one of the most beautiful opening phrases ever. Not even sure why I love it so much; it's probably the simplicity, the way it draws a complete picture of a feeling with only two strokes. That's how I wish to be able to write.  

Sitting on the floor at my parents' living room right now. It will start raining soon; they've left the city for the weekend, I have work to do. My high school books are just nearby and I can imagine bringing back to Belgium Morrison's biography. It was the thing that got me into the Doors all those years ago; and I remember sitting in this very apartment, on this very floor, having to study for a test on Ancient Greece's culture, reading instead about Jim's own enthrallment with Greek mythology.

Whenever I'm home, I always bring back to Belgium with something very random, anyway. In February it was a favourite pillowcase - a blue one, with the sea and a ship. I stole a book with Joseph Brodsky's essays from a friend, as well; not sure when I will return it to him, actually. I remember my flight to Brussels that day was a very early one; I remember the moment we landed at Charleroi I received a text from my flatmate (his nephew had just been born - and because the parents didn't want to know the sex of the baby beforehand, it was revealed it's a boy only upon birth; so I was greated back on Belgian soil with an ecstatic "we got a penis!" message. Kind of loved the hilariousness of it all, and the fact I was to know about a new life being born). I remember  going for a walk later in the afternoon, just before a meeting with a friend, and sitting by myself at the Metfaoor with Brodsky's book; and Doors and the War on the Drugs were again on the speakers there, and it was very cold on the streets, and the coffee was okay, and the new semester was just around the corner. 

“Ultimately, one desires a site as one does a person. Bodies and cities involve the same seduction, give rise to the same tales of love. We absorb them with the same passion: one can literally fall in love with a place.
As “Hiroshima mon amour” shows, crossing the borders of a foreign body - the body of another touched for the first time - can compare to the cluster of emotions involved in approaching an unknown landscape. A libidinal drive moves us to a place and lets us absorb it. One may get lost in the new geography.”

Giuliana Bruno, “An Atlas of Emotions. Journeys in Art, Architecture, and Film”

четвъртък, 2 август 2018 г.

First thing I noticed about the night in Sofia the moment I stepped out of the car: there is the melody of the crickets all around, even in my typical "big-city" neighborhood. Whereas in Leuven, for all its secret gardens, and parks, and whatnot, I don't think I've ever heard it. And I guess it's one of the reasons (a weird, infinitesimally small reason, but still a reason) contributing to never actually feeling completely inspired by the city -- the type of all-encompassing inspiration one feels sometimes. I'd go to sleep and wake up to the constant song of crazy birds in the Begijnhof, of course; and I'd love the tiny murmuring of the river near my window; there are also the horrible frogs in the park with the blue bridge. All those sounds around, and I love taking notice of them; mapping my way through a place by a geography of melodies. But crickets? Not even once. 

Probably I'm wrong, and now I can actually imagine going on a full-blown investigation mission once I'm back. The Abbey? Or Arenberg? Or near Adrian's house? Walking around town and paying attention in order to spot a cricket, that sounds too much like me. 

Discovered only recently that every year since my grandfather passed away, my grandmother has been buying a book for his birthday. She writes a simple Happy birthday on the first page, signs it with the first letter of her name, and writes down the date. They are newly published books he would've been interested in: about history and politics, etc. It's a bit of a heartbreaking sight; five books sitting on one side of the  bookshelf, a sixth one is going to be added this September. A mark of time passing, but also a very simple, elegant form of communication and remembrance. 

сряда, 1 август 2018 г.

A fast little note I've taken at 7:38 pm, 29th July.

"I am sitting on a bench, which is positioned in front of a small piece of brick wall, randomly standing in the middle of a garden. Next to that wall there is a dry tree that has spread its only two branches in a way that evokes to mind deserts and Texas, and 90's action movies. I am reading Zizek's "Event", and I'm waiting for my laundry to be done. What will follow afterwards is preparing my luggage and seeing my mother and brother for dinner, and going for a drink with a friend. Then it will be tomorrow, and Brussels, and the flight to Sofia."

This year I've enjoyed keeping a track of the way nights before a flight home and mornings before a flight back to Belgium look like. The sheer randomness of events, the sudden realization how odd the details of everyday routine could seem if they are to be dissolved in observation; the fullness of time condensed, the always present feeling that everything is slightly off and surreal because I will be crossing borders and because I have slowly started to belong to two worlds that rarely converge, but also -- and this is more important -- I don't think I will ever be able to fully, absolutely belong (to a place) again