The rest… is silence.
To eat, or not to eat,
—that is the question—
whether ‘tis sounder for the stomach
to suffer the pricks and pangs
of outrageous hunger and resist,
—and by resisting, shrink this swollen shape—
or to indulge, and then sleep,
for after that indulgence, the sleep that’s
sure to follow spawns decrease of increase,
and makes of energy lethargy’s fool;
to eat, and sleep, and fatten as we dream!
Ay, there’s the rub; for in that fatness of form
what dangers may lie—the
hypertensive extinction, the diabetic
demise—must give us pause to consider
the view of a sugary grave;
yet what burro would not exchange
a future pleasure aloof,
for a present pleasure ahoof?
‘Tis a consumption devoutly to be wished,
when one of his stomach might its quietus make
with a baked pumpkin!
Thus do cravings make cowards of us all,
sugaring over the dieting hue of resolution
with sweet-scented cinnamon
and graham-cracker crust, and with this,
best intentions turn awry, losing,
in the act of consuming, the name of action.
What’s the matter? said Alex. I haven’t been sleeping, said Blurtso. Why not? said Alex. I keep thinking of Lizzy. Lizzy? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, a donkey I saw on campus. What’s so special about Lizzy? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, there’s just something about her… I think I’d give anything just to brush against her. Really? said Alex. Yes, said Blurtso, and it’s driving me mad. Like in the poem, said Alex. The poem? said Blurtso. Sure, said Alex, the sonnet by Shakespeare: “By day my limbs, by night my mind for thee and myself, no quiet find.” Yes, said Blurtso, that’s it. Shakespeare sure knew donkeys.
My Shakespeare paper is due tomorrow, I’d better get started. I wonder what I should write? I guess it would be too obvious to say that Shakespeare knew a lot, even though he did. He knew more than I know, that’s for sure. I wonder how he learned all the things he knew? I wonder if he went to school? I wonder if he wrote papers? I wonder who students wrote papers about before Shakespeare became Shakespeare? If Shakespeare would have known how famous he was going to become, he could have written a paper about himself. That would be easy. Even I could write a paper about myself. But I don’t think I’m ever going to be famous. I don’t think Harvard is ever going to offer a class called “Introduction to Blurtso 101,” or “Advanced Blurtso 320,” or “Blurtsearean literature and the end of Enlightenment.” At least I hope not, because I don’t want to be famous. If I were famous, I wouldn’t have a moment to myself. People would be bothering me everywhere I went, even in the library, and I’d never be able to get started on my Shakespeare paper, or my Blurtso paper, and I’d really better get started, because it’s due tomorrow.
Oh, bray again, bright angel!
wherefore art thou Pablómeo?
Pablómeo sayest thee?
By such a name am I not that what I am…
but wouldst Pablo become Pablómeo…
if such be thine demand…
pale past be gone, faint future damned…
for thee this present present,
that be that I am!
My rose, my sun, my Pablómeo…
my faithful heart that beats,
a burro that’s called a burro,
by another name smells as sweet…
“Another day,” thought Blurtseau, “and another night. The king is dead, and those who killed the king are dead, and Napoleon consolidates his power while those who would kill him wait in the wings. And the once-full moon that illuminated my vainglorious victory now wanes with a warbling light. Tomorrow the fighting will begin anew, the British, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Italian, Sardinian, Greek generals… and all the world spins with the bones of the living and the bones of the dead, so many dead, those who pursued a borrowed or inherited dream, white bones in the soil, white bones in the surf of the sea, bones as white as the flickering tail of the waning moon, sparking and submerging among the breakers, flickering water reflection of fleeting sun echoed upon half-eaten moon, half-eaten moon half-eclipsed by the globe it now reflects down upon… half-eaten glow that grows dimmer each day… until the moon, the day, the night, and all our blood-urgent exploits fall dark upon the darkness of the sea, and vanish in the low laving sound of the waves eating the rocks with their dance of disintegration.
“And when the moon goes black, the stars will mark my path to Montecristo where Echo, alone on her island, watches the same silver flicker on a different surface of the same sea. And the light that flickered in her heart? Has it fallen prey to the same dance of deterioration? Will I find the moon already extinguished in the sea of her breast? Eclipsed by the vainglorious sphere that was my haste to depart? The misguided course of this star-crossed corsaire pursuing a sinking star? Yesterday’s hero is the dark side of the earth facing the dark side of the moon, is darkness double, two-faced night’s faceless faces, an echo of existence which touches no ear, a shout across an infinite expanse, an unreciprocated smile, a source without destination, a word from the heart that never arrives.”
“My heart is an echo of the disintegration
of the heart of the universe
that penetrates and disintegrates my own heart.”