CONCERNING A CLOSE FRIEND
There are incomparable things in his stories -- precipices, Charlie Parker, holes, Sucette, Buicks, Boris, X's, Moinous, gaps, Old Man, Noodles, saxophones, and much more, sex and masturbation, love -- and then passages that are irritatingly fastidious, artificial, almost dishonest.
It is hard to know what to think of him. He is so absolutely caught up in his own form that he becomes its slave as often as not. Like fire, he delights in his own form. Some of his digressions invade whole pages like a liquid mass. He creates every kind of clumsy equilibrium, charming trembling equilibrium, and then suddenly nothing, a hole, a gap, a detour, while the arms of the balance remain wedged for a moment in a perfect horizontal line before collapsing into another chaos waiting for the shape of another chaos, and to think that I have to contemplate this for years and years to come yet.
He makes little scratches on the paper to indicate absence. He thinks that absence cannot be said. And yet he eliminates, deletes, erases the superfluous to try to speak absence. Or rather to make absence speak.
He is incorruptible, uninjurable, unchangeable in his effrontery, his cunning, his wonderment.
He is. He exists in one and the same way. He is in every way like himself. Or is it the reverse? Unlike himself. In no way can he be injured or changed. He is not subject to time. He cannot at one time be other than at another.
He is here all the time. He always manages to be present, one way or another. He is hard as stone. As uncatchable as the wind. As evasive as water. He never gives up. Never compromises. So he claims. He's stubborn. So stubborn. Comme une mule, disait sa mère. He doesn't give a damn about time. He cannot accept not to be everywhere at the same time.
If this is the night, he will be there. He will arrive early, before everyone, and leave late, after everyone.
He thinks: Is it possible that I may be a great ... no he does not think it, he says it aloud ... à haute voix, since he says it in French: est-ce possible que je sois un grand ... ? But he can never finish the sentence. He has never finished a sentence in his life.
He notices, rightly or wrongly, that he has used the subjunctive. Que je sois ... Curious, he thinks. The subjunctive always implies doubt. Doubt? Does that mean he will never get to the end of his sentence? Always hesitate before the end? Remain on the edge? Leaning against the wind.
He has given up hope because hope is a form of moral responsibility. Still he remains an incurable optimist.
He knows that it is not possible not to know what you know. But he also knows that he often confuses memory with imagination. Makes no distinction between what really happened and what he imagines happened.
He sometimes confuses himself with his shadow. And sometimes don't.
He learned early in life that laughter is always tragic. And so, to save himself, he invented the laugh laughing at the laugh. And then he flopped among the daisies.