Saturday, October 13, 2007

Phombus Pucker Does "Borges in Love"

Phombus Pucker here (Got the word from Bob Dylan's much underrated novel, TARANTULA).

Phombus Pucker trying to write an essay on hearbreak.
He begins:

It abounded on all sides with high, unattainable windows, above a tiled floor, on which there was a trap door, leading to a cell or pit.

The Borges scholar in love. Trapped in a Borgesian image. Trapped by a lover already lost who was torturing him with "I just want us to be friends."

I am writing down the Borges thought in a Spanish that is dimly remembered, awkward in its construction, but the substance of it is there.

Abundaman en todos costados ventanas viejos y abas el derribar debuhan adelante una cella o pozo.

What a pit we get into when someone is with someone else and not us, and is nevertheless keeping us on a string.

You discuss this plight with a friend.

He surprises you.

"You will win because you have read Borges."


Is it possible, is it just possible that the maze of the Argentine master's fiction has to do with unrequited love?

"Yes," says the friend. "Borges did not marry until his seventies, and even that did not work out. He did contemplate suicide. 'All my work has been done.'" But Borges, as always was a survivor.

So it is unrequited love I am dealing with here as I write the Spanish words on a blackboard in a classroom, long ago. The students are out playing.

One of them, a girl of Mexian backround, peeps into my classroom through a half-opened door. She looks at what I have written.

My, what a lovely spiderweb, she says.

I go to chastise her. This is adult stuff. Not meant for kids.
And yet, she insists.
"It is about a spiderweb."

All that Borgesian scholarship, all that thought about Borges building Russian dolls, the biggest mold outside, then one slightly smaller, then smaller again...or, the old Borden's milk can label, with Elsie the Cow holding a can on which there is the image of Elsie the Cow, who is holding a can on which there is the image of Elise the Cow holding a can, on which there is the image of...

Zeus and IO

IO, the simple cow-girl with whom Zeus is in love, turning IO into a heifer so his wife won't know.

"The infection, the infection," IO the cow laments. She is followed by a montrous bee that is out to sting her.

For his own arcane reasons, Zeus has created a bee that would follow IO everywhere, stinging our cow-girl.

"The infection!"

And so it goes.

Says Confucious: Two people should be together, but because of social circumstances, they can not.

And so, the lover who has been left alone finds herself in a "cello o pozo"-- in a cell or pit.

But if you read Borges far enough, it may be a false cell or pit.

It may merely be the library of someone's mind and if you look up high enough, there are windows.


But windows.

# #


Josie said...

Been there. Done that.

Got the tee-shirt. said...

Quarks on same wavelength? said...

Oh how sharp those Bronte sisters, especially Emily.

(I sent this out to Tara a few days ago):

Cathy: You're very grand Heathcliff, so handsome. Looking at you tonight, I could not help but remember how things used to be.

Heathcliff: They used to be better.

Cathy: Don't pretend life hasn't improved for you.

Heathcliff: Life has ended for me. (A long pause) How can you stand here beside me and pretend not to remember? Not to know that my heart is breaking for you. That your face is the wonderful light burning in all this darkness.

Cathy: Heathcliff no, I forbid it.

Heathcliff: Do you forbid what your heart is saying to me now?

Cathy: It's saying nothing.

Heathcliff: It 'tis. I can hear the love of the music. Oh Cathy, Cathy.

Cathy: I'm not the Cathy that was. Can you understand that? I'm somebody else. I'm another man's wife and he loves me. And I love him.

Heathcliff: If he loved you with all the power of his soul for the whole lifetime, he couldn't love you as much as I do in a single day. Not he, not the world. Not even you Cathy can come between us.

Cathy: Heathcliff, you must go away. You must leave this house and never come back to it. I never want to see your face again or listen to your voice again as long as I live.

Heathcliff: You lie. I did come here tonight because you willed it. You willed me here to cross the sea.

After the party, Cathy demands to speak to Isabella about Heathcliff, thinking she behaved "disgracefully...

Josie said...

You sent that to Tara? I'm a bit obtuse. I don't get it.

Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I think I get it.

Doubting Thomas said...

At seventeen years of age, the eyes open wide to see the unfolding world. Writing of love is writing of puppy love.

At sixty, the eyes are weary and cynical. One knows how love blooms...and dies on the vine.

Borges is the unexplored plain. The madman seeks something new to shake off the cynicism. said...

Sorry Josie,

I am not playing very good billiards these days.

Some of my shots kind of carom too much.

I'm just trying to show how a master (mistress?)handles a plot like the one with Heathcliffe and Catherine.

I guess I'm just all over the pool table today.
(Ball rolls off table).


ivan@c said...

Hi Tom.

Welcome back.

Egad. Sela is back, and so is Tanya of "She's a Writer".

What next? Bernita?


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

See ya around you.... be well. said...

I think I'll read Moses Maimonides' "Guide to the Perplexed."
...But that one's about religion.

Migod, I'm a Fiddler on the Roof.

JR's Thumbprints said...

Just remember Ivan, when you're shingling, don't forget the drip guard. said...

That's a pretty good slider, JR.

Left bent leg on roof, and the other in the eavestrough, so you don't fall off. :)

eric1313 said...

Wow, Ivan. This is pretty damn good.

And look! (trying to sound biblical here) There is a begining where we see the escape rout, the windows, high, unatainable.

Behoild! The end in sight from the start!

Look! We have a Borges schollar in love, a heartbroken man writing of a heartbroken man--Russian Dolls, the cow, the milk, the cow the milk... ad infinitum.

He digs his pit in the shadow of the dirt pile of the pit that Borges likewise dug.

Russian dolls, cows milk cows... milk coming from the cow lampooning a human living off od it's essence...

Look! Zeus would turn his lover into a cow. How can this have been? Sad ancient housewives making a good story to explain the nasty behavior of their husbands. The Norse had the same deal! Freya, voluptous inspirer of poetry and bravado, could turn into a horse. This explained a lot to pretty scandinavian women, who would wonder why their husbands would somtimes bed a horse instead on them...

Human nature collapses in on itself, becoming animal nature...

Here nor there? Maybe. (You probably didn't think about that!) (or maybe you did! let the pooch go!)

Look! The seveth seal opens! the high windows of the library, be it pit or cell. The beginning is at the end, all is a circle

a circle
without end.

Abandon love--not! It may abandon us, but we will chase it as surely as a pooch chases it's own tail, when not chasing other's tail...

Good writing Ivan.

I needed the exercise!

eric1313 said...

It really was good. I didin't understand it all, but I saw all the connections you made, and how the beging and end weren't just tied neatly, but looped into each other, the circle of infinity--
What folly. What fun.

Great work. As you see above, I was typing furiously, mistakes all over.

I was laughing my ass off.

Love is indeed a merry chase.

eric1313 said...

...even if it comes to naught.

which it often does. said...

Jesu Cristo,

I think the commentary is better than my text.


eric1313 said...




eric1313 said...

This was really good. It inspired me to be an ass on paper up there.

It was damn good, Ivan.

It's a self contained short. It works, I thought. said...

Thanks Eric.

I would have liked to have had the actual Borges story in front of me so I could have done a better job on my "echo", but, as always, when you try to research too hard, you can't find the damn thing...And Borges in text is hard to find online.
So I used what I remembered of Borges' short story--I've even forgotten the title--to do my blog on.

the walking man said...

Fear not Ivan the tarnish on the intellect has remained unpolished and gleams only beneath the patina or beneath the high windows where sun never reaches the depth of the Borges pit of the final doll within a doll within a doll within a doll.

It is the air which causes the oxidation anyway, which is why only the innermost toy remains copper colored.



sandykessler said...

what's with all this heartbreak and writing so powerful that I feel such saddness?Is it going to be a dank winter?out out hope cometh ..great reading though I would like to link on for future. I promise not to terrorize you

Josie said...

Hi, Boychik, Eric's comment is fantastic. It explains a lot.

You have won an award at TomCat's site.

Josie said...

Walking Man,


I can't get over how well you guys write when you comment on this blog.


Ivan said...



You got a parrot video up on your site.

You would enjoy the site of a friend of mine, Pam. She has a site titled "Audio Video Disco.. I hear..I see.. I Learn."
She is in Australia, raises horses and sheep and keeps the wildest birds.
I appreciate your comment.

Ivan said...

Afternoon, Josie.


So Tomcat has an award for me on his site.

To coin a phrase:
Well dog my cat!

I'll have to float over and have a boo.


Shesawriter said...

I echo the sentiments of been there done that. Unrequited love should have been the title of my teen years. It was hell on a stick.

eric1313 said...


I think we are all on that wavelength.

If we were really good at love, we wouldn't have time to write. And nobody really likes happy stories or poems, they need to have a touch of longing at the least, heartbreak and sorrow at the most.

Forrest said...

Now, I'm not a Quark...

But I know what love is.

(And I ain't got it!)

Josie said...

Gosh, things are quiet over in your neck of the woods, Ivan. Where is everyone? said...


Would you be old enough to remember Janis Ian's Seventeen?
Made me want to stop writin' and
playin' the guitar.

Right in the old solar plexus.

Ivan said...


There were times when I really dug this one by the Eagles:


Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
You been out ridin' fences for so long now
Oh, you're a hard one
I know that you got your reasons
These things that are pleasin' you
Can hurt you somehow

Don't you draw the queen of diamonds, boy
She'll beat you if she's able
You know the queen of hearts is always your best bet

Now it seems to me, some fine things
Have been laid upon your table
But you only want the ones that you can't get

Desperado, oh, you ain't gettin' no younger
Your pain and your hunger, they're drivin' you home
And freedom, oh freedom well, that's just some people talkin'
Your prison is walking through this world all alone

Don't your feet get cold in the winter time?
The sky won't snow and the sun won't shine
It's hard to tell the night time from the day
You're losin' all your highs and lows
Ain't it funny how the feeling goes away?

Desperado, why don't you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate
It may be rainin', but there's a rainbow above you
You better let somebody love you, before it's too late

Now aren't we all depressed? :) said...


Getting a guy with your old website mixed up with eric 1313.

The Forrest I remember was a man of 59.

So I guess that was Eric commenting.

Oh what the hell.
We're all talking about the same thing. said...

Hi Josie,

Thanks for checking.

They're aall back with a vengeance.
Like in he old days of pinin' and whinin' over love.
We were all doin' the same thing. said...


I couldn't get into your comment space yesterday.

Tried commenting on My Irrationalities, but couldn't find a place to comment in.


eric1313 said...

ha! Sorry Ivan.

That was my "Forrest Gump" impersonation. From the movie with Tom Hanks. It was part of his incredible run of three Best Actor Academy Awards consecutively.

2-Forrest Gump
3-Saving Private Ryan

"I'm not a smart man, but I know what love is."
That was the line I was butchering.

It fits me, oddly enough.

I think the "Desperado" song fits me well quite well. I've heard it often enough.

Especially the last lines.

Something about guarding against a broken heart, it gets out of hand. We then chase love away. If I have, then so be it. Love is still out there, for all of us it is, somewhere, lurking, checking us out from the corner of it's shifty eyes.

I'm still just here to write. But I should open my heart more than it is. I'm always ready to let it slam shut in a second, so I can try to be impervious to hurt.

It's not the best of ways to be.

But, in the meatime, I'm just writing. That's what I love doing.

Can you blame me? said...


I am in too much in a funk to coomment much tonight.
In the first chapter of the actual novel, Forrest Gump, the author feels he's in the tradition of Dostoevsky.
Ah, the Insulted and the Injured!

I think I am going to pass out now.



eric1313 said...

Night, Ivan

I, too, would be insulted by that. said...

Forrest Gump as Dostoevsky.

The mind boggles.

But then, but then...Holden Caulfield?

There is something of old Fyodor's
A Raw Youth here.

I am especially fond of the line out of Dostoevsky, spoken by the raw youth:

I do not like women.
When you go one way and she the other she can't make up her mind whether to turn right or left to dodge you.
"And they stir up all that dust with their trains..."


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