Tuesday, October 31, 2006

New Jerusalem (5th part)

Part of the story which has been originally published in “1999” under the title “Novi Jerusalem”, Ljubljana, Zagreb; pp. 118-119, 65-66 © Borislav Pekic; English translation © Bernard Johnson.

for 1st part HERE

The concept of amusement did not exist. If one uses the mutant sense of the word amusement was to be found exclusively in other people. The only amusements were this other people.

Unity with nature had been complete. It is difficult to express this in terms of a world which rejects nature. Whatever one says wouldn’t be enough to describe absolute unity with nature which was achieved in New Jerusalem and in the whole Gulag. It was not only seen in life in close association with animals (rats, moles, wolfs, fleas, laces), but in their general customs.

They slept in the forest, on ice, in water, with nothing to impede the sensation of direct contact with nature and cosmos. That is undoubtedly facilitated by the wearing of summer clothing in areas where the mercury dropped even to 40°C below zero.

(It showed, incidentally, that they had also overcome the climate, not like their primitive world by a technique of isolating themselves from it, but by the regulation of body temperature by pure will-power, otherwise they would have succumbed to the cold long before reaching any kind of perfection.)

Personal possessions had not existed. For a civilization which rejects materialism this is the only natural stand. Those few, always the same, personal objects that had been located alongside the skeletons - a wooden spoon, an empty, battered tin, a needle made out of fish bone - could have had only a ritual significance.

Maybe the greatest innovation of this civilization was togetherness. The rejection of repellent privacy, pernicious individuality and ruinous egocentrism – sacred concepts of the mutant world – was completely rejected. Their program was to live together. They slept, woke up, reposed, lived exclusively together.

The people of New Jerusalem were never alone. (Except maybe with rats, since there were not enough for all in the same moment.) This philosophy i practice made the ZEKs an indivisible spiritual and corporal community - open to all animals, which lived together and reposed together in the grave.

(All graves that I have discovered were collective.) As a proof, however, that no idealism is perfect – which gives it its conviction – there were also people who lived alone in a relative material comfort. They were stationed outside the wire. I have proof that they were rare, or existing convicts who violated the common norms of the society and therefore, probably in order to be rehabilitated were convicted to that strict privacy and materialistic life.

Dogs are my only mystery. According to tradition they were men’s best friends. In the wires of New Jerusalem I didn’t find any dog’s skeletons. All were among the convicts.


The greatest achievement of this icy proto-civilization was its Para normality. The dream of mankind was incarnated. Whilst a certain lower stratum of life still has to endure the last torments in touch with matter, the upper develops in pure spirituality. The ZEKs’ rudimentary language gave proof of their capacity for paranormal communication.

New Jerusalem’s people spoke little, for they all thought identically, and the thought identically because they all lived identically. (Note: It seems that this supreme ideal satisfies also some historic, the one about brotherhood, liberty, equality.) Speech had always been a means of arriving at a bearable compromise with regard to reality.

As each mutant had his own exclusive reality, speech served as a means of communication with his machines, which maintained that reality. In relation to other people, it was not needed, because they existed for us only theoretically. Our speech disappeared, since there is no other explanation of reality to contradict it.

In New Jerusalem speech had disappeared for the opposite reasons: since everyone’s reality had been the same, there was nothing to be said about it. The reality can only be lived in. ZEKs paranormal powers maybe could be best observed in the effects on nature. Certainly, in order to practice, since there is no other explanation, they moved for miles whole mountains, which an ordinary mortal could not move even an inch, if they pushed it for ages.

The complete absence of art served to confirm without any scientific reservation that in New Jerusalem and in the whole of the Gulag mankind had achieved its archaic goal that life itself should become an artistic category, an artistic skill which would make all others superfluous. On the whole, living there must have been real – art.

The only thing that remained unclear to me was their religious life. I hope nevertheless, that I would be able to understand it as soon as I could decipher one concept which was evidently of a cultural nature. It is the so called “Slop-Drum”, a hollow, cylindrical article which probably expressed the absolute harmony of the community, as well as the harmony of the cosmos, and maybe also the harmony with the cosmos. The universal purpose of it was certain, since it stood in every chamber of New Jerusalem, in the same way as hearth gods and idols protected the homes of the earliest mankind. The secondary proof was the fact that it was not found in any houses of the convict’s colony. It could have meant that the lawbreakers, apart from not being able to participate in communal life, for a time were left without – god.

I had a my disposal an incomplete copy of a book, also found in the northern ice, which was called the ‘Bible’ and was, apparently, the history of some earlier imperfect world which had abounded in clear violence and unclear philosophy. In it were mentioned large number of divinities but the Slop-Drum was not amongst them. I had, however, found New Jerusalem. Of it was written:

“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal ...”

I, mutant Arno, as a result of this discovery, had been happy and sad. Happy that the prophecy had been fulfilled, sad that it had lasted for such a short time. (...)

The mystery of “sending to the cellar for fourteen days”, had been resolved, he had found a way out of the syllogism which had seemed to be a dead end.

If some generally accepted right – either to happiness of justice, for example – was not realized, it did not have to mean that it was deliberately denied. That would be something quite natural in an imperfect community. In an ideal one, it would have contradicted its ideal nature. As New Jerusalem had undoubtedly been a model for a perfect society, the crown of the best tendencies of the materialistic proto-civilization, the failure to realize some general right could have come about only because objective conditions for it had not existed.

(His expert judgment was that in the bad proto-state there had been hunger, because food had been badly distributed; in the good one, because there had been none. For the people involved, this perhaps had not made a significant difference, since they died in the same way both from the absence of food and because of injustice in its division, but for historical science, it was crucial.)

It was quite simply that a right which was generally accepted, could not be satisfied, because the conditions were not right for it. In this instance, the rats were a limiting condition of happiness because there were not enough of them. From this point onwards, his conclusion flowed in a quite routine way.

It followed logically, that given a scarcity of rats, happiness could be realized only in shifts. It had to shared, even though by the nature and understanding of the ZEK-civilization it was indivisible. It could only be enjoyed from time to time. And only for a limited time.

This kind of happiness of course, because there was evidence that people deprived of the enjoyment of the cellar and the rats, in the meantime, while they were awaiting their turn with the rats, were kept happy in other ways. (...)

A profound feeling for justice, implying that nothing living should be deprived of happiness had been appended to the general principles of the wise civilization of New Jerusalem.

From what he had found out about the past, it was certain that the crucial problem for first Mankind, a problem which in all probability had destroyed it, had been in arriving at an accord between the general right to happiness and the general right to justice. In the eternal ice of the North, these two rights had finally been associated, the contradiction of existence had been resolved, the eternal ideal achieved, the circle finally closed:

in New Jerusalem everyone had the right to his moment with the rats.

for 1st part HERE

Sunday, October 29, 2006

New Jerusalem (4th part)

Part of the story which has been originally published in “1999” under the title “Novi Jerusalem”, Ljubljana, Zagreb; pp. 63-65; 117-118, © Borislav Pekic; English translation © Bernard Johnson.

for 5th part HERE

And so far, they had not been able to resist him nor disrupt him from carrying out any of his actions however much wrong it was.

Dungeon They could express their displeasure only by trying to persuade him, (and here he was immune, here he was protected by his own truth, the rat in man’s embrace), or by the inefficient execution of archaeological tasks, not formulated in unambiguous orders, something that, because of his absent-mindedness, he was sometimes prone to.

Before he had become aware of such dirty tricks, fifty years had passed, during which time his scientific results because of such obstruction had been poor. Now he got round them by not only concentrating on the content but also on the form of the commands which he gave in connection with excavations or the technique of conservation.

It no longer happened that undoubtedly with treacherous premeditation, and not by unfortunate accidents as he had supposed, that one of extremely rare written proofs of the superiority of the frozen New Jerusalem’s civilization over the mutants’ was destroyed simply because he had been imprecise in his instructions regarding the method of the document’s restoration,

Luckily, one document, evidently a form of regulation or proclamation had not been totally spoilt. The robots strove for perfection, but they were not yet perfect. Otherwise there would not have been any documents left. As it was, there remained the final part of a sentence which was important, may be even crucial, for the correct interpretation of the “frozen” way of thought.

From it the concept of life in New Jerusalem stood out with hologrammatic vividness and clarity.

He had spent several years on the translation of the preserved sentence into his own language, after being confronted with numerous semantic difficulties, quite unavoidable when trying to explain the concept of one language by the concepts of a completely opposite, which above all one could not understand, since in the present world nothing corresponds neither in reality nor in memory.

But it had been worth it. Transcribed, the fragment of the sentence said:


If he had not already dug up the wonderful skeleton, if he had not known what was in the cellar, even if it had been successfully translated, the sentence would have remained unclear.

“Sending into the cellar” without rats would have had no sense. In the cellar fortunately were rats.

Moles too. And there had also been found a frozen nests of lice and fleas, charming little creatures; the first calm and inactive, the second of a more lively and mischievous habits, plebeian temperament, which, it seemed, the members of the ZEK species - that was how the New Jerusalem people had called themselves - bred as domestic pets and companions and even kept on their own bodies, going nowhere without them.)

The combined skeletons of man, rat and mole, with the aforementioned nests of noble sub-cultures, depicted for him unambiguously as actual eye-witnesses the system of mutual relationships desirable in the New Jerusalem civilization and perhaps the summit of an ideal condition.

He was however conscious of the fact that as a scientist he always had to be careful and not rush ahead with premature conclusions.

For it was not out of the question that in the still uninvestigated regions of the planet, somewhere in the south, west or east, might be a preserved still more advanced New Jerusalem, a still more perfect form of human happiness as a result of friendship with rats, fleas and moles.

In any case “sending into the cellar amongst the rats” could not be evaluated, if he wanted to remain a scientist, according to the present understanding about them (which as part of an obscure nature is rejected) outside the context of already established criteria for happiness in that community.

In that way it could have only two logical meanings:

that to be sent into the cellar was especially good for whoever was sent there, but, for unknown reasons, it could be enjoyed for only a limited period of time, in this particular instance – fourteen days. (Later he found proofs that the community with rats could last even for years.)

The explanation, although logically irreproachable, did not satisfy him. There was something unnatural in it. It was as if the good that came out of it were - a privilege. A definite priority which was not given to all and which had to be merited in some way, in some special way, to which, evidently, had been dedicated the first, now lost part of the sentence.

The New Jerusalem man had been sent to the cellar as a reward, and not because, even though for a short term, the pleasure in the exclusive company of rats was his natural right. And that, once again logically, contradicted the proven ideal nature of New Jerusalem.

A community where the good was not general, innate, an unalienable right, but which could be attained by and depended on human actions, which could, but did not have to be enjoyed, was not ideal, although it could be orientated towards perfection if there were continually more and more individuals in possession of that good, (brotherhood with rats), and less and less of those who were deprived of it.

But the New Jerusalem community, the world of Gulag in general, as the inhabitants of this archipelago have been called – pointing probably to that meaning of the term that people of the proto-language attributed to the word “heaven” and “Eden” – had been ideal. All his other primary and secondary archeological finds had indicated that. In it life was good (the life with rats) only generally and given to all equally by naturalization of citizenship, the same as has been in the primitive society of that period where you acquire the right to take part in electing a bad government.


Their material culture had been almost non-existent. Obviously a residue of barbarism. Its rudimentary forms (dilapidated wooden huts, uncomfortable ramshackle beds, chairs which nowadays would be used only for torture), had been kept, it seemed, only to remind the people of New Jerusalem of the senseless burden from which they had been released when their aspirations had been directed towards more virtuous and pure spirituality. Sometime also as a symbol. (The barbed wire – a symbol of inseparable community.)

Their food had been puritan. There had been clear efforts on the whole community to eat as little as possible. Supposition of a high probability: in an attempt for the conditions of metabolism to be entirely transferred to paranormal forces and for man to be finally fried from his physical nature.

That of course had been an ideal which was difficult, if not impossible to realize. But nevertheless, he had evidence to show that many of the ZEKs abstained from food for days on end in order to quicken that elate state.


Work in that world is one of the great contributions to humanity. In the mutant world it was carried out by cybernet, and always had some purpose. In New Jerusalem, work had no meaning, and no purpose, except for its own sake, and hence it arrived at that profoundest hidden sense which all civilizations, both before and after New Jerusalem’s had sought for in vain.

The sense of work was therefore exclusively in the work itself and nothing else. Temporary and periodical benefits were no more than its chance by-product. I am not sure, I have not enough facts, if those sporadic gains are covering some real needs of that, in all other aspects satisfied, community – and that in itself would be self-contradictory –

or whether it was the usual error and the technical omissions in the corresponding activity. When they were building a house, which was sometimes even finished, was this the result of some remnant need or a sad failure.

(Commentary: It was simply incredible that the wisdom of all those successive human civilizations, like a blind man next to a full bowl, had overlooked the simple, almost simplistic and obvious conclusion that work could only have a sense if it realized it within itself, and it could realize it within itself only if it was senseless.)

for 5th part HERE

New Jerusalem (3rd part)

Part of the story which has been originally published in “1999” under the title “Novi Jerusalem”, Ljubljana, Zagreb; pp. 61-63 © Borislav Pekic; English translation © Bernard Johnson.

for 4th part HERE

All of nature, while it had still existed, had been like that. Both the ugliest, as was the better part of it, and that which, adapted to man’s imagination, could be looked at differently, without arousing disgust, possessed that insolent, arrogant self-confidence of the self-created.

Everything that was right, good, artificial, depended on something outside itself, could be classified according to external criteria which always defined the value of the thing created in relation to something else of the same species, or according to its purpose, if no model for it existed and could in every respect be subjected to comparison.

A stream could not be compared with a hill or a waterfall with a forest thicket. From the analogy between sea and lake nothing could be derived apart from the conclusion that both were full of lifeless hydrogen and oxygen in the proportion of two to one.

There was no point in saying which of two stones was better, even if that were possible. The grass was absolutely, almost insanely useless in every of its shape, and the primeval forest useless in a completely different way from each individual tree.

The stars turned senselessly, empty spheres, indifferent to the Earth, which, for its part, knew nothing of them until wise robots discovered their sense for the creation of that Earth, the metal womb of its Species. Nature depended only on itself; its products had no standards, patterns nor rules which guaranteed artificial creations their purposefulness, harmony and beauty.

Nature was ruled by Father Cronus (Chance) and Mother Gaea (Chaos), the cause and result of despair in the human world, and the basis in it of the merciless indifference of events.

But what could the New Jerusalem’s proto-man have found in that indifference, what had bound him to nature, joined him to it enough to erase all the differences between men and rats – according to his hypothesis, the basis of human history – so that he, Arno, should have extracted the skeletons of that history out of the hollow of a carbonized tree, from underground areas, which, when they had been functioning, must have been submerged in water at least up to knee height, this was the sole remaining enigma in the otherwise logically irrefutable interpretation of New Jerusalem, which he had recently also solved.

A little later, he was standing on the top of a bare hillock from which the worn stone crumbling away a mark of some fossil, probably of an ancient horse.

Shading his eyes with his hand from the reflection of the setting sun on the metal shoulder of the robot sent out to reconnoiter. The time until its return – he was hoping for news that the other man had bee found – he intended to spend with the meadow.

He expected the unpleasantness of escort by the machines, programmed with enmity towards nature as a hostile principle of creation, from which man was excepted because he was no longer born but modeled in placenta simulators with the hope that, in the distant future, he would be free of the last spark of repulsive mortal life and take on the immortal perfection and sterile purity of a cybernet.

He had long ago got used to their quiet resistance, the resistance of the obedient. It had been going on for almost two hundred and fifty years, if the criss-cross pattern of his primitive calendar were to be believed, in which it was, on the only place on the planet, where time had been re-established.

The fact that he alone of all the mutants worked, even bothered to occupy himself with something - although with the robots at his side nobody really needed him - was quite enough to arouse suspicions. The fact that his work was to do with archaeology, a proto-science inseparably linked with the phenomenon of time, made things even worse.

Given the current knowledge of the past of the Species - without the revolutionary correction to be found in his discovery - and the awareness that that past must have been what it had been, (although in fact it was not known what it had been), that it must have ended in cataclysm, for otherwise it would not have been what it had been, (if it in fact had been),

to take an interest in it in any of its aspects, particularly in the archaeological one, where it must have been at its most disastrous, causal, primordial, creative, could in that history-less time only mean a serious processing confusion in the mutation of the genetic material from which he, Arno, had been produced.

And if there had still been a government, authorities, law, or any kind of compulsion, even only surviving customs, if each man had not by now been entirely independent, his own mankind, hermetically isolated from every other individual-mankind, this out-of-the-ordinariness would have meant serious personal repercussions for him.

At the very least, an operation to remove the error from his brain. But to arrive at that monstrous conclusion regarding the imperfection, and even the failure of the mutant way of life from that unnatural work, and deduce the superiority of that of the proto-people, if one looked at it though the undoubtedly highest model, New Jerusalem frozen into northern ice, was quite beyond the computation power of his robots.

The desire for this monstrous error to be revealed as the truth - as the need unfelt for thousands of years to actually communicate something, even though it itself was monstrous - went well beyond the measure of built-in tolerance of even the most primitive machines in his service, those pitiful screws whose intelligence knew only of the routes of their own corresponding printed circuits.

But they could do nothing about it. They were prevented by the three-part law A.S.I.M.O.V., built-in to every cybernetic creation as an everlasting principle as far back as the dawn of the Simulation Era:

in all circumstances even as far as self-destruction, the robots had to obey him and defend him, except in the case of him raising his head against another man, (and since it was not known where other men were, this was hardly likely), or, against himself; if he had demanded that they help him to commit suicide, or not to hinder him from doing so.

He sensed that in these exceptional circumstances too the robots might find a possibility of opposing his eccentricities.

If they were to interpret an attack on the mutant idea of solitude, incorporated into the central nucleus of the mutant way of survival as “raising his hand against himself”, if the attempt to do away with the present civilization through the discovery of its senselessness could be seen as suicide – for by doing away with it he would also be doing away with himself, then they could justify their action on two counts:

the prevention of murder and the prevention of suicide, and arrive at the annulment of the A.S.I.M.O.V. prohibition and do something about it. In either case, his iron mentors would have cause for reflection.

But the case was without precedent. To arrive at such ideas would require them to put into operation lengthy and complicated reflective combinations. He hoped that his proclamation of the truth would precede their conclusion that they were allowed to prevent him by force.

for 4th part HERE

Saturday, October 28, 2006

New Jerusalem (2nd part)

Part of the story which has been originally published in “1999” under the title “Novi Jerusalem”, Ljubljana, Zagreb; pp.58-61 © Borislav Pekic; English translation © Bernard Johnson.

for 3rd part HERE

As soon as he disembarked from the helicar with a chosen cybernetic escort he saw at once to his satisfaction that there was nothing on the island that contradicted the possibility of human life there. As everywhere else on the planet, nature had been fundamentally, methodically eradicated.

Any micro-fauna that had temporarily avoided annihilation had retreated into the ground, leaving on the surface only the least noticeable and most resistant insects: chameleons, masters of mimicry, and fleas, those bed-fellows of eternity. The rare flora had returned to the forms of their mossy origins, or recalled their dim, logogrammatic images but only as carbonized, friable skeletons.

The ground had taken on the ghostly color of washed-out lime and rocks crumbled to dust at the slightest breath of wind. In cracks and hollows a trickle of water, slowly choking without oxygen, and the dry beds of ancient rivers sent up eddies of purple dust like startled phantoms. Nothing here could have prevented man from developing and perfecting his precious solitude.

Nothing, except one still living patch of earth, discovered near the camp the day after they had landed. Although it was only a limited area, something that in more barbarous times must have been a pasture or some such useless vestige of land, and stretched out only as far as the stunted edge of a line of half withered elm trees behind which there dragged itself, thick and heavy as pitch, the all-but defunct current of a primeval stream; nature here lived as if there were no man, or as if he did not concern it.

But he was deterred from getting back into the helical and flying off at once by the evidence that life here was scarcely noticeable, in fact it was disappearing. And in addition, it was reduced to a meadow dug up by molehills, incapable of infecting the majestic deadness of the surrounding programmed zone with the life of which it itself had less than sufficient.

His robots neither shared his opinion nor felt that the meadow was quite so innocent of danger.

They were well aware that the regenerative power of nature was barely less than their own – although it was nonsensical, since it didn’t produce anything useful - and that a single bud on some by chance neglected tree, if left enough of time, was enough to once again set up the deadly cycle,

to again produce the prehistorical slime, from it to create one-cell organisms, aging to colonize it into poly-organic structures, then to form them again into amphibians and led them onto the solid ground, start a regime of sheer chaos on the planet, and return man to the slavery of its unpredictability.

They had wanted to pacify the meadow immediately with the standard combination of mechanical bulldozing and the injection of a lethal dose of radioactivity, but he would not allow it. (...)

A. Ramos-Stanley KubrickThe robots had a built-in, codified memory of the Species, the history of its mutations, induced as spontaneous (although, apart from his, another case spontaneity he didn’t know), the origins of the way of life they had adopted, the explanation of the collapse of the First Mankind –

he doubted that it was very different from that passed down through inherited human tradition – perhaps even something which was of significant concern for the New Jerusalem proto-civilization, whose super-human warmth must have been preserved even by the ice, and which called the description of that collapse into question.

For that, one simply needed the right key. That was what he lacked. None of the mutant had it. It was as if that key, after memory had been filled and closed off, had been thrown away into nature to disappear with it. And before he found it, deep within himself, like some missing part, or in nature itself, perhaps even in that miserable patch of meadow whose existence, as if to spite everything else, had some purpose, message, secret, he would not be able to rid himself of it. Nor of the robots, however much he couldn’t stand them, for the key, since it could be in them.

Like all mutants, he paid little head to nature. There was nothing personal in that, it was just that his experience of it, apart in the form of the ever-changing ice, a kind of solidified illusion, had been almost nil.

But he was a chimera, in the language of the proto-people – a procedural’s error in the laboratory recombination of his parents’ genes, an unforeseen retrogressive mutant in the strictly progressive mutation process of the Species, some unclear and inexplicable reversion in the continual forward progress of Second Mankind towards the perfection of individual self-sufficiency.

He was the firs scientist in the course of eons of people’s reconditioning against useful work and reflective thought – which was left to machines, programmed never to allow again a situation where the human hand, mind, will, any kind of human capability’s individual participation would ever be needed again – and from all other mutants, each more distant from each other and each more perfect in his different way, he too was different – but in an unheard of and dangerous respect:

he had been born with a flair, quite unknown to his contemporaries, for finding certain likenesses even in the greatest differences, and with a longing to bring them closer together, and that in an era of ideal separation, with other separate identities in order to re-establish a unified World from the deliberately dispersed particles of what had once been a Whole, a World once again capable of remembering and prepared to be continued, a World which would not permit of any Third Mankind and in whose innate lasting continuation nothing would begin again from the beginning.

The discovery that nature was part of a deep, if inexplicable, relationship with the people of the frozen New Jerusalem civilization - a community of man, rat and mole, was his incomplete but approximate model – led him to suppress his genetic revulsion towards everything not created by a robotic pseudo hand, invented by its pseudo mind, everything not artificial, and to overcome the principle that “life is a copy of a machine that works badly and man is an image of an imperfect robot”, and directed him towards a study of nature whenever he had the opportunity to come across it in any shape or size at all.

It happened, in fact, very rarely, but it did happen. It had happened now, when suddenly, instead of the expected grayness of a dead landscape, he had caught sight of the love field over which dandelions flaunted their yellow flowers.

It gleamed in the golden sunlight with golden glow, quite unaware of its striking ugliness. Like a deranged cripple, a veteran of a score of lost battles, and proud of his truncated stumps.
for 3rd part HERE

Friday, October 27, 2006

New Jerusalem (1st part)

Part of the story which has been originally published in the book “1999” under the title “Novi Jerusalem”, Ljubljana, Zagreb; pp.53-57 © Borislav Pekic; English translation © Bernard Johnson.

for 2nd part HERE

Dedicated to Alexander Solzhenitsyn.

1st part

“Decades pass, the scars and wounds of the past
heal over for ever. During that time, some
of the islands of the Archipelago have fallen
apart and been covered by the polar sea of
oblivion. But one day in the future, the
Archipelago, its air, the bones of its
dwellers, frozen into the northern ice, will
be discovered by our descendants like some
incredible salamanders ...”
(A. Solzhenitsyn, “The Gulag Archipelago”)

“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God, and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal ...”
(Revelation 21-10)

It was the rat’s skeleton which had opened his eyes to it all.

It would have meant nothing, of course, if it had been found by itself in the ice-bound cave of the New Jerusalem settlement where the proto-man’s underground shelter had been preserved, frozen solid, or together with the remains of other rats.

But it had been dug up in close proximity with the skeleton of a man and a mole, and it was that that has given the archeological find its enormous importance, equivalent to the discovery of Troy in the history of First Mankind.

The skeletons were clasped tightly round each other – as in some bony cradle, the animals deep in the man’s pelvis zone – and all three had been caught in the hibernating grip of northern ice crystals for millions of years, most probably from 1999 and the world cataclysm of which they had been part.

For exactly how long could not really be known since the calculation of time had long since ceased.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The writer in exile

This fragment has been originally published in “Pisma iz tudjine”, “Znanje”, Zagreb; pp. 13-16. © Borislav Pekic; English translation ©Zdenka Krizman and Maja Samojlov, as “Letters from London”.

You may wonder – not without reason – what a Yugoslav writer is doing in London. Why isn’t he in his own country, where – by the very nature of his calling – a writer ought to be? Why isn’t he with his own people, immersed in the reality of his land, in the environs of the language in which he writes?
Why isn’t he living among the people he is writing for?

S.Reames_Dichotomy At first glance, this is an unnatural state of affairs. But, if we look back in time, we will see that history is full of such “unnatural” situations. It is almost unnatural for a writer to live at home. The great figures of the future of Russian literature, from Solzhenitsyn to Zinovyev, are writing in the West.

Ionesco, Milosz, Kundera, Kochout, and Szkvoretzky are here. Marguerite Yourcenar lives in the United States, Robert Graves on a Spanish island. The English poet Auden is dying in Switzerland and the Columbian Marquez gained fame in Paris for the Hispano-American literature.

Between the two World Wars, the “lost generation” of Anglo-American writers moved to Europe, into voluntary exile from the way of life they had renounced so that, paradoxically, they might portray it more profoundly and deeper, from the farthest possible physical distance and from the most exclusive spiritual independence.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Where are Yugoslavia’s billionaires?

This fragment has been originally published in “Pisma iz tudjine”, “Znanje”, Zagreb; pp. 89-92. © Borislav Pekic; English translation ©Zdenka Krizman and Maja Samojlov, as “Letters from London”.

One knows in principle who and where the British billionaires are and one could only be mistaken in the number of billions. In any case you are not going to find them in the same place as ours. Where you are going to find ours I will try to explain. For that I have to turn to one of my visits to the fatherland.

K. Malevich - Suprematism-3 There was a dose of vengeance in my desire to observe the English entering my country. For, in my time, I have had to enter England in the face of polite, but considerable, difficulty. Over and over again, I have had to explain my presence in Britain. The question was not unusual. I had been asking myself the same thing all along.

Aboard the plane bound for the Adriatic with a large group of Britons and a few Yugoslavs, I said to myself: your time has come. However, the British breezed through passport control, while I was once more called upon to do some explaining. One thing they wanted to know was why I specifically wanted to visit the coast in August. Luckily, the smooth passage of the British was just a trick, and later they had to pay for it.

The line at the Passport Control moved quickly. Then a cold air hostess appeared with a group of my agitated countrymen, leading them ahead to jump the queue in order to catch a connecting flight to Belgrade which was waiting for them. This we all understood. What we failed to understand was why they were still at the airport when we were already well on our way to the coast.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Ne-vreme u naslonjači

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 404-405). - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

Sedim u fotelji pored baštenskog prozora. Iza stakla natiče moluskno-žuto more. Poput diareje. Priroda je dobila proliv i sve je kaki-žuto. Žutilo prodire u nameštaj koji pucketa svuda oko mene. Zujanje obližnje drvare, kao panika desorijentisanog tvrdokrilca, udara o staklo sluha ...

Kandinsky-UniversS radija Rossini, uvertira „Sémiramis“. Tajfun zvuka. Zatim Strauss „Imperijalni valcer“. Zamah još traje. A onda antiklimaks – Adagio, Albinoni, pogreb u kasnu jesen, apsolutno beznađe, kraj ...

Na zidu, preko puta, hlad postaje tvrd. Promene se stalno događaju. Samo treba imati vremena i oko. Parket je uglačan voskom. Prijatan miris izobilja. Izobilja nema, samo njegov miris u vosku. Pravom i onom iz memorije ...

Smrkava se. Fekalične boje prirode postaju crne. Sve tamni kao na slikama starih majstora. Samo jedan zlatan zrak, kao koplje zaboravljeno na bojištu. Takvo koplje, ali olovno sivo, nosi i riter, kome na zidnom goblenu višeglava aždaja nudi svoj, bledim pamukom, izvežen trbuh ...

Kakva je to noć koja mi dolazi kao lopov?

Noć slobode koja nam je izrečena kao presuda na smrt?

Noć zavere protivu pravca vlastitog krvotoka?

Noć ustanka senki koje će nam se otkinuti s peta da na naličju ovog sveta stvore svoj?

Noć u kojoj će me, između dva noža, nadživeti samo stid?

Noć prostitucije sa uzalodnostima?

Smaknuća koje se ne oseća?

Noć posle koje se savest nalazi tamo gde smo ostavili papuče?

Noć u kojoj se trune na rukama uspomena?

Noć Leonida Njegovana, koji će, ako bude stvoren, pucati ne da se brani, nego da diže buku, u nadi da će je neka budućnost čuti?

Noć La Gen-a, koji je čekajući zoru i giljotinu, učio pravopis?

Noć straženja pred Onim što će doći, a ja neću znati ni dan ni čas u koji će doći? ...

Osam je sati. Vreme je da se spremim za doček Nove godine. Sutra je 1955. Pa šta?...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Crni građanski redengot

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 402-404). - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

Crni građanski redengot i crveni prsluk Théophile Gautier-a

Jedna od najsvirepijih posledica velikih poraza je migracija forme. Pobednik stvarno pobeđuje tel naknadno, kad vam počne uzimati ono zašta ste se borili, kad od vaše forme započne praviti svoju prirodu ...

Revolucionarne pobede odnose se nad onim društvenim snagam, kod kojih je nekadašnja priroda, iscrpevši vitalnost postala tek – forma. Preuzeta od pobednika, postaje postepeno ona opet priroda, ali njegova ...

Istovremeno se događa suprotan proces. Poraženi prihvataju formu pobednika, koja postaje njihova priroda.

Procesu revitalizacije na jednoj strani proporcionalno odgovara proces devitalizacije na drugoj. Pobeđeni se regeneriše, pobednik degeneriše.

Istorijski primeri ...

Postoji i naš.

J. Gillray_Vengeance.jpgOdbacili smo svaki odgoj i pravili od sebe budale da bismo srušili režim. Prihvatili smo od levice davno napušteni promiskuitet, i namesto građanskih dogmi opijali se egzistancijalističkim nihilizmom i rakijom (pri čemu nas je rakija više i brže opijala). Oblačili smo se kao strašila da bismo sablaznili komunističke puritance koji su demonstrirali građansku strogost i jednostavnost ...

Migriraju uvek najpre preteranosti ...

Revolucija postaje patron porodice i cvrčka na ognjištu, koga simbolizuje nezgrapno temeljan nameštaj firme „Todor Dukin“, a građanska klasa, u licu svojih naslednika (bez nasleđa), predaje se zavereničkim organizacijama po kućama, čiji su prozori zamračeni kao u vreme bombardovanja.

Revolucija pledira za Red i Rad; građanska klasa, koja je i Red i Rad pronašla, premda se poslednjim i nije uvek lično bavila, propoveda Nered i Nerad, a zatim odlazi u kafane da ih, praveći buku, simulira.(Pevanje „Uskliknimo s ljubavlju“ na pravoslavnu Novu godinu.)

Revolucija preuzima nacionalne mitose, mladi ih šoveni izlažu preziru. (Jer „Uskliknimo ...“ je buka, nije ideja.) Revolucija dreždi za kancelarijskim stolovima, izmišljajući zakone koji će joj obezbediti trajnost; pasionirani obožavatelji zakona i trajnosti, građani, kuju planove kako da ih izigraju, kako promenu stalnom da učine.

Revolucija je sela u naslonjač; oni koji su naslonjač smatrali jedinom prednošću koja nas razlikuje od životinje, odaju se histeričnoj pokretljivosti, i zamaranju bez svrhe. Revolucija je najzad počela da razlikuje ljude u bezobličnoj „narodnoj masi“, koju joj je u nasleđe ostavila ideologija; građanstvo žrtvuje svoje individualnosti kolektivnim zaverama, karbonarskom mraku u kome sve mačke moraju biti crne i sve jednako presti.

Revolucija čita starog Balzac-a, gleda „Labudovo jezero“, sluša Mozart-a i skuplja se u red pred izložbama klasičnih majstora. Mi pretpostavljamo Schönberg-a, Joyce-a, Picasso-a, pa su nam već i oni pomalo staromodni. Revolucija igra tango iz Burskog rata, mi držimo da je Rock prespor ...

Kao Théophile Gautier na premijeri Hugo-Verdi-jevih „Hernani“-a, građanska klasa oblači crveni prsluk da sablazni revoluciju, koja po istorijskim foajeima već uveliko hoda u salonroku sa kamelijom u zapučku ...

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Na Rosandićevoj izložbi

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 402). - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

Senzualna nežnost. Iskustva Lezbosa u drvetu. Majke koje ostaju i kad svega nestane. Jedan Hristos koji liči na mučenika našeh veka. Ticijanovi anđeli ...

Rosandić daje svojim oblicima sekundarno patološki pečat. Klasika je tu pokvarena iznutra.

(A on objavljuje Strašni Sud – Modernoj!)

Ipak, vrlo dubok utisak ...

U jednom ćošku, Smrt koju niko ne vidi, drži kosu. Kosa se presijava na suncu s prozora. Ovo je nesumnjivo predsmrtna izložba. Majstora guraju učenici u kolicima. Njegove ruke odlaze u nepredviđenim pravcima ...

Profesor S. sa Primenjene priča mi da je pre nekoliko meseci posetio Rosandića. Pomenut je Meštrović.

S.Renard_Vanitas2 „Ah, taj zanesenjak,“ rekao je Rosandić „on hoće da bude sculptor sculptorum! ... Taj čovek, koji je napravio tolike glave, doživeo je najposle da izgubi – sopstvenu.“

Izložba raznežava. Platon je znao zašto je iz svoje idealne države prognao umetnost ...

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Cenzurisano i ravnodušno

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 400-402). - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

Poziv u 29. novembar. Ne kaže se zašto. Ne govorim roditeljima. Nisam uznemiren. Ništa nisam učinio. Ali groblja su puna onih koji ništa nisu učinili ...

Oblačim plavo odelo. Vezujem kravatu. Kad sam to pokušao u noći između 6. i 7. novembra 1948, rekli su mi da nije potrebna. Stvarno nije bila. Kući kaput, koji sam posle nedelju dana od kuće dobio, doneo mi je ime „popa“. U njemu sam bio smešan, ali me je grejao.

Dali-Exploding Raphaelesque HeadPretpostavljam da je malo zatvorenika sedelo na podu ćelije u vlastitom kućnom kaputu. U njemu, međutim, ima nešto čudesno. Toplota doma je u sitnim stvarima. Otpor je u onim najsitnijim. U redovnom brijanju pod bombama. U presvlačenju za večeru u sred džungle. U učtivostima dok ste u govnima do guše ...

Dan je prolećno ružičast.

Zgrada u 29. novembra je siva kao mrtvačnica. Izvesna hladna pobožnost vlada nesrazmerno prostranim hodnicima. Primaju me ravnodušno, kao što radnik na konvejeru prima predmet na obradu. Predmet je uvek isti, posao oko njega uvek jednak. Monotonijamuti oči ljudima iza šaltera ...

Gore, na spratu, pokazuju mi kartonsku kutiju s rukopisima koji su mi bili oduzeti priliko puštanja iz KPD-a. „Pogledaj da li ti je sve tu,“ kaže službenik ljubazno kad primećuje da sam spreman dohvatiti kutiju i nestati čak i da je prazna, da su u njoj moje cenzurisane fekalije. (Možda i jesu?)

Ne očekujući rukopise, nisam poneo njihov spisak. Ali se svega sećam. Otvaram kutiju. Prebiram. Pravim se da papire pregledam. Sveske su raznih formata, debljina, boja. Na njima crvenim slovima ispečatan znak CENZURISANO. Na svakoj piše „Osuđenik Borislav Pekić“, a zatim moj „kućni broj“. On nije uvek isti. Inventarisan sam u raznim vremenima pod raznim brojevima ...

Tu je i Genealogija Doma Njegovan Turjaški, na dva u tubu svijena, tvrđa papira, širine 50, dužine 150cm. Genealogija je u crvenom tušu, arhitektonskom kaligrafijom, radio A., osuđeni tehničar u KPD – Niš. Žao bi me bilo da je izgubljena. U nju smo obojica uložili veliki trud ...

Sveske za poeziju, međutim, nema. Iscepao sam bio meke korice desetak tanjih plavih svezaka na kockice i u zavodskoj knjigoveznici povezao ih u platno. Ta je knjiga bila svakako najraskošnije što sam posedovao. U nju sam bio prepisao svoje pesme, do kojih sam još držao. Nje nije bilo. Nisam osećao nikakvo žaljenje. Sveska je bila lepa, i kad se listovi s pesmama iščupaju, mogla je nekome poslužiti da u nju beleži zaista važne stvari ...

(Kod kuće, među drugim papirima, nalazim jedan iščupani list i na njemu poslednji stih neke pesme:

„Vratićemo se kao što se refren vraća,
U elegije vaše dovršene bedom,
U mašte vaše, oblik, biće redom,
Naša će sena ko Pan s frulom da korača.“)

U jednom trenutku dolazim u iskušenje da ponovim „scenu sa naliv perom“. Odustajem. Ravnodušan sam. U svetlosti nelagodnosti, s kojom sam u sobu ulazio, izgleda mi bedno da se, izlazeći, pravim važan. A i ravnodušan sam, stvarno ...

Odlazim, noseći kartonsku kutiju, s osećanjem da nosim vlastiti leš, za kojim nema ko da plače ...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Račun koji nema kome da se podnese

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 396-399). - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

Račun koji nema kome da se podnese nije račun. Uredno knjigovodstvo ničemu ne služi, ako se crvena strana nikome ne može podneti na izmirenje. Pa ipak...

Pre podne, u protokolarnih jedanaest časova, čini vizitu gospodin ( ), bivši vlasnik bivše ( ), bivše Kraljevine. Ukratko, stvorenje apsolutnog pluskvamperfekta. Dobija najpre slatko, pa kafu i konjak (prezentni nažalost, od koga trnu zubi, ali koji je bolji od kamene sode).

Daumier-Don Quichotte Zatim dobija mene. Izvučen sam iz sobe i ugodne nezavisnosti, posle dugih pregovora, na, ugovorenih – deset minuta. Bilo ih je manje od pet. U prvom sam i ja popio konjak. U drugom sam popio drugi. Usta su mi bila u stanju potpune čulne apatije, srećno nesposobna da učestvuju u razgovoru.

Pluskvamperfekt je u međuvremenu, vrlo obavešten i logično objašnjavao zašto se komunisti u Jugoslaviji ne mogu održati duže od godine dana. (Budući da mi je to već objasnio, obavešteno i logično, još pre sedam godina – odmah posle rezolucije IB-a – i to u ovoj istoj sobi, a čini mi se i pred istom garniturom slušalaca, nisam protivurečio.

Niti ću to učiniti posle narednih sedam, kad mi tu izvesnost i po treći put bude objašnjavao. Jer čovek koji dosledan svom mišljenju ostaje punih petnaest godina, mora biti i logičan i obavešten.) U četvrtom minutu Pluskvamperfekt me je, upravo u svetlosti skore i izvesne promene situacije u „korist svojih dobromislećih ljudi“, zapitao zašto se nisam još malo strpeo, što mi je, naime, sve to trebalo? (Moj zatvor, i sve ostalo.)

Petog minuta ja sam se digao, rekao: „To se i ja pitam“ i izašao. Obavešten sam od majke da je Pluskvamperfekt bio uvređen, a i ona da moje ponašanje smatra neukusnim. Pluskvamperfekt je, naime, došao da mi se yahvali, u ime svoje i drugih „dobromislećih ljudi“, bez obzira što ostaje pri uverenju da sam – idiot.

On je valjda, po analogiji, po kojoj, ako C vuče na jednu stranu, A i B na suprotnu, A i B moraju vući na istu, on je, dakle, verovao da smo mi otišli u zatvor zbog toga što smo želeli da se njemu vrate bespravno nacionalizovane bivše ( ) bivše Kraljevine. Bilo je, naravno i drugih stvari, izvesnih sporednosti u idejama, ali je Pluskvamperfektov posed bio ono glavno.

Mogu ga uveriti da se u obe tačke svoje optužnice vara. Nisam izgubio nekoliko godina zbog njega, premda sam ih izgubio. Nema, dakle, razloga ni da se vređe, jer u pravu je i u drugoj tački – bio sam, naime, idiot. I to bez obzira na to da mi je taj idiotluk bio mio, da mi je mio i sad, i da ga se u ime nikakve naknadne pameti nemam nameru odricati. (Glupost, naravno, ostaje glupa, ma koliko mi lično u njoj uživali.)

Pluskvamperfekt je zaslužio svoje konjake. Podsetio me je na izvođenje jednog računa. Šta sam zatvorom izgubio znam. Neizvesno je šta sam i da li uopšte nešto njime dobio?

Koliko vidim, jedina hronična vrednost koju sam iz zatvora izneo je – tuberkuloza. Priča o robiji kao izvoru životnog iskustva – mit je. Ako ga ne pojede zaborav, svako u zatvoru stečeno iskustvo vredi jedino – za neki drugi (budući) zatvor.

Priča se, takođe, da čovek ima vremena za stvari za koje ga napolju nije imao. To je laž. U zatvoru se nizašta nema vremena, osim za zatvor. A onda, vremena nedostaje uvek tamo gde ga ima najviše. Kako se u zatvoru čovek može naučiti nečemu ako su načela po kojima se u njemu živi suprotna načelima tzv. slobodnog života? Učite uglavnom beznačajne, neupotrebljive ili pogrešne stvari.

(Pored toga možete naučiti kako se prišivaju dugmad na košulje, krpe čarape, kuca u zid Morzeova azbuka pogrešno, kako se briše stražnjica bez papira, i računaju dani do islaska tako da ih je manje, kako se na klozet papiru pišu pesme zupcem od češlja, dobija temperatura žvakanjem presnog krompira koji je ubio prve konkvistadore ili korača robijaški sporo.

Ali, šta će vam sve to napolju? Napolju vam drugi prišivaju dugmad, sporazumevate se telefonom, a ne Morzeom, pesme kucate mašinom na biblijskoj hartiji, temperatura vam ne treba, a morate svuda biti prvi, a ne kao na robiji – osim kad se deli hrana – poslednji) ...

Napolju morate biti veći od sebe da bi vas primetili. U zatvoru je biti neprimetan najveći nauk života. Zatvor je mašina za mlevenje mesa, kroz koju netaknuti prolaze samo najsitniji komadi ...

Govori se o tome da zatvor čoveku daje duhovnu snagu. Međutim, ko s njom tamo nije ušao, neće ni izaći. Moć se u stvari unosi, iznosi samo nemoć.

Govori se, takođe, da čovek tamo upozna ljude. I plemeniti ljudi i nitkovi mogu se upoznati i na slobodi. Čovek, najzad, ne ide u zatvor da bi pravio poznanstva.

Slušao sam mnoge priče o zatvorima, čitao mnoge knjige o njima. (Ne verujem da će među njima biti moje.) Većina bivših zatvorenika pokušava post festum da svojim robijaškim danima nađe neki smisao. Niko ne mari da gubi vreme. Dok verujemo da smo se zatvorom bar u nečemu okoristili, verovaćemo i da smo tamo živeli ...

Nema u tome ničeg rđavog. Ali teško onome ko je jedino u zatvoru živeo (kao i onima koji zaista žive samo u ratu). Terško onima čije su najlepše uspomene zatvorske. Teško onima za koje je njihov zatvor kruna njihove ljudske istorije.

( ) je uvek pričao o svojim kazamatima s ushićenjem. Govorio je da je – rođeni robijaš. Onako kako postoje rođeni vojnici ili rođeni umetnici. Eto, on je tako bio rođeni robijaš. Tek u četiri zida njegove su prave sposobnosti dolazile do izražaja.

Nije objašnjavao – koje, ali budući da je sposobnost preživljavanja po najmanju cenu jedina koja se u zatvoru stvarno broji, stvar postaje malko sumnjiva. Pogotovu ako se zna da je ( ) bio doušnik Uprave.

U zatvor, razume se, ponekad treba ići. Nekad je to neizbežno zbog spoljnih okolnosti (uhvate vas, na primer), drugi put zbog unutrašnjih (nešto se mora učiniti, nez obzira na posledice). Ali tada, tim slučajem, koji je uvek nesrećan, mora vladati jasna svest da je zatvor – mesto čistog gubitka ...

Mome unutrašnjem iskustvu do 1948. nedostajali su spoljni dokazi. Zatvorom su vrata dokaza što sam ih tražio bila za mene širom otvorena. S druge strane zida ništa nisam našao. Praznina je bila sputana ograničenjima, zabranama i lišavanjima. Ali šta stvarno može ograničiti prazninu? Čega praznina može biti lišena da bi bila veća?

Nada koju ću od sada gajiti ne sme da se oslanja na zablude koje sam nasledio. Ona mora da naslućuje, da traga, da pronalazi svoje i nove. Moaram odbaciti svako pamćenje koje želi da me pokori, i moju robiju produži, moram postati od nasleđenog stečen, između svih ciljeva koji mi se, iz ovih ili onih razloga, predstavljaju kao moji, moram otkriti zaista svoj.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Ostrvljani ili vreme prilagođavanja

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 393-396). - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

Ostrva i ostrvljani

"I sva ostrva pobjegoše, i gore se ne nađoše."
(Otkrovenje Jovanovo, 16-20)

Kad kažem "ostrvo", najpre imam predstavu nečeg izdvojenog. Zatim – zabačenog, izuzetnog. Iza toga slede predstave usamljenog, zatvorenog, nepristupačnog. I najzad, bezbednog i samodovoljnog. Predstave su, međutim, lažne. Donovo kopno spaja ostrva ispod vode, koja od nas sakriva istinu neizdvojenosti. (Postoje, doduše, ploveća ostrva, i u njima izvesna nada.) Neizdvojivost u prostoru. Neizdvojivost u vremenu.

A na samom dnu tajne leži – Atlantida.

Rembrandt_MeditationKad ispliva na površinu opšteg privida, ostrvske opsene izdvojenosti sasvim će nestati. Hoće li to za našu civilizaciju biti dobitak ili gubitak? Kako ćemo, kao vrsta, podneti konačno smeštanje u kosmičke koordinate, nevidljivu paukovu mrežu bitka, koju smo poštovali samo ako nas je priznavala kao jedini mogući viši život, a odricali je čim bi nas upoznala sa verovatnoćom nekog drugog i još višeg?

Hoćemo li i dalje bežati u svim pravcima i od svega što nas spaja i osuđuje na uzajamnost? Hoćemo li i dalje biti ostrvljani koji sumanuto tragaju za svojim ostrvima, za svojim nedodirljivim izuzetnim, bezbednim plovećim mrtvačkim kovčezima?

Moja je pozicija nemir ostrva koje želi da pliva. Duboko ispod vode spajam se sa kopnom sponom koja se tanji. Ali da bi se prekinula treba nešto više od ravnodušnosti. Treba neka agresivna ravnodušnost, a ona više nije ravnodušna. Umesto sponu da kida, cementira je muljem svojih odbijanja. Ploviti je nemoguće ...

Moralna samodovoljnost je nemoguća. Gde je ima, nema morala. Tek osvešćenih instikata. Ma koliko držali do svog ostrvljanstva, do svoje nezavisnosti, ma koliko čuvali čistotu, samoizvornost, hermetičnost, ljudi obrazuju moralno kopno. Na takvom kopnu nema istinske nezavisnosti ...

Može se, možda, do izvesne mere zavisnost suziti. Ali čemu? Čemu biti nezavistan?

Zašto biti mrtav? Zašto biti ostrvo?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Historical Novel and the Historical Reality (4th part)

The essay has been published in Serbian in the 12th tom of Borislav Pekić's Collected Works, Belgrade, by Partizanska knjiga in 1984. Pekic has delivered a lecture under the title "The Historical Novel and Historical Reality" at the School of Slavonic Studies of the London University on the 14th March 1984, and they have published it the same year in 1984. English translation © by Bernard Johnson.

back to 1st part HERE

ossian.jpg I shall now try to illustrate this thesis with examples. There isn't sufficient time for proofs so regrettably I shall limit myself to assertions.

Since it is better to get the unpleasant duties out of the way as quickly as possible, I shall begin with a model of a badly historical novel, written by a good writer. Robert Graves evidently without any particular artistic, spiritual or philosophical need, wrote a novel about Belisarius, a general of the Justinian era, which is only a little better then the kind of novelettes about English history, which are written by housewives, who have become bored with having nothing to do after their children have left home, and bad luck has it that they have competent libraries within easy reach.

With the feeling, if not quite of Gibbon's ill humor towards Christianity, then at least of that same lack of understanding of the Eastern Mediterranean and the complex spiritual climate of an age in which the fate was been prepared for the future Byzantine orthodoxy's heresies and schisms, he chose a time of greater clarity in which the Latin tradition in the sense of the reigning idea, was still alive on the Bosporus, in the hope that that would keep him in close contact with his theme, just as it had done when he had written his brilliant story of the Western Mediterranean and Claudius the Emperor and God.

A skeptic and a pupil of the rationalists, a great admirer of, but also a destroyer of myths, in his "Golden Fleece", a much more successful literary work, he had already distorted the magical formula of an archetypal myth, for the sake of the common sense interpretations of the people of our age. He turned the gods into colossi of human vices and virtues, so following I must admit the favoured practice of educated Greeks, and he looked at men and their destinies in the same cynical way as we look on them today, and not at all in the way a Greek of classical antiquity looked on them.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Historical Novel and the Historical Reality (3rd part)

The essay has been published in Serbian in the 12th tom of Borislav Pekić's Collected Works, Belgrade, by Partizanska knjiga in 1984. Pekic has delivered a lecture under the title "The Historical Novel and Historical Reality" at the School of Slavonic Studies of the London University on the 14th March 1984, and they have published it the same year in 1984. English translation © by Bernard Johnson.

for 4th part HERE

So far we have said what the historical novel is not, and what it shouldn't be.

But what is it?

What are its temporal and spatial limits? What are its substances for? What is its role in our materialistic civilization, free of a need to look over its shoulder and frightened of looking forward?

There are no spatial limitations. There can be none until we shall spread our unhappy history throughout the universe. And in practice there no temporary ones if we are looking backwards. Only the future is closed to it, except if it is viewed as the past which repeats itself. Themes from legendary prehistory may be taken.

The darkest areas of the birth of European civilization can be dwelled into, when cults and cannibalism, the divine and the animal could only just be differentiated and preparations were been made for the enactments of those great deeds, which we have noted down in the written memory of the species, as in my "Golden Fleece".

Themes from the immediate past can be treated, if they are at all passed, as is the case of Solzhenitsyn. Constituent parts of our spiritual past can be projected into an illusionary future, as did Orwell in "1984". The distant past can be poetically and metaphorically resurrected, as was the case with Mann's episode of "Joseph and his Brothers", or as with Marguerite Yourcenar who relived spiritually the times of Imperator Hadrian.

One can finally with Dobrica Ćosić dramatically and in the highest sense authentically evoke one of the most crucial but at the same time most illustrious episodes in the history of ones own people.

R. Magritte-This isn't a PipeBy its very nature it must be the substance of reality, which is described, and in no circumstances only its empty form. The historical novel therefore is a magical attempt to recreate the spirit of a past time on the basis of the available, when ever possible definite facts, which are correctly understood and brought to life in a true contexts, through its real relationships, actions, ideas, feelings and states. It is not an attempt to show what that time looked like, but how it really was.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Historical Novel and Historical Reality (2nd part)

The essay has been published in Serbian in the 12th tom of Borislav Pekić's Collected Works, Belgrade, by Partizanska knjiga in 1984. Pekic has delivered a lecture under the title "The Historical Novel and Historical Reality" at the School of Slavonic Studies of the London University on the 14th March 1984, and they have published it the same year in 1984. English translation © by Bernard Johnson.

for 3rd part HERE

And so we come to the biological-paleontological example in comparison. Go to the Natural History Museum and take a look at the gigantic skeleton of a dinosaurus. All its bones are there, well preserved by the Northern Ice. And we know what the dinosaurus looked like.

K. Malevich-Suprematism-1But let us suppose that we haven't found all the bones. Just one, any one at all. We are still not left entirely helpless, Science tells us. We have at our disposal exact methods, by means of which from just one single bone, we can deduce the appearance of the animal.

The method is, of course, rather more logical, analogical, then exact in a mathematical sense. This can be seen from the diametrically opposed forms, which on the basis of the bones at their disposal, different scientists have proposed, when some other extinct species was in question.

I ask you to keep this in mind, for we shall come up against a model of this kind of pseudoscientific understanding of history again, when we get to our argument with positivistique theory of the historical novel.

But let us be tolerant. Let us allow the scientists to forget this instance, and you to forget they have forgotten about it, and then putting aside the history of their discipline say that something like that has never happened. Let us say that all the scientists, quite independently of each other, from one surviving bone managed with no difficulty at all, to reconstruct the skeleton of the animal, and from that its probable appearance.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Historical Novel and the Historical Reality (1st part)

Pekic has delivered this lecture under the title "The Historical Novel and Historical Reality" at the UCL, School of Slavonic and East European Studies, on 14th March 1984. It was published as an essay in Serbian in the 12th volume of Borislav Pekić's Collected Works, Belgrade, by Partizanska knjiga in the same year. English translation © by Bernard Johnson. 

for 2nd part HERE

Ladies and Gentlemen,


I find myself in the awkward position of a craftsman called upon to speak about the theory of his trade, a theory which goes much further then either my own capabilities or my practical requirements. When you are cutting up the cloth for a suit, its a little use to know how scissors were invented. The only thing that matters is whether you can use them properly or not.

But, since I am in this position, I must do the best I can. So having made this reservation, I shall end my excuses here, and proceed with my task.

From different roots some of which may well seem to you round-about, passing through divergent and convergent circles of perception, I should hope to arrive at certain conclusions regarding the nature of relationship between imagination and experience, or between artistic reality in the historical novel and the historical reality of the past. That is my chosen theme.

These conclusions will form the basis of my thesis, which I shall then, within the limits of the time at my disposal, attempt to illustrate from two groups of historical novels: the first I consider to be successful and the second unsuccessful.

The first group is made up of "Joseph and His Brothers" (Josef und seine Brüder) by my spiritual teacher Thomas Mann, "Hadrian's Memoirs" (Les memoirs d'Hadrian) by Marguerite Yourcenar, "A Time of Death" (Vreme smrti) by Dobrica Ćosić and don't be too surprised "1984" by George Orwell. "War and Peace" has been omitted intentionally. The case of Tolstoy is too complex to be attempted in a brief outline.

The second group is comprised of a single book, but it nevertheless provides an excellent illustration of the rationalist and positivist tradition of the historical novel, so dear to writers of the Anglo-Saxon language background. I believe a single piece of evidence sufficient to show inadequacy, whereas rather more are needed to give proof of virtue.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Godine koje su pojeli skakavci (IV deo)

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 389-391 ) - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

(Jesen, 1953)

Najzad su mi vraćene stvari oduzete još u noći hapšenja. Novčanik, sat. Naliv pera nije bilo. Zar sam ga imao? Naravno da sam ga imao. Jesam li siguran? Naravno da sam siguran. Kakvo je bilo to naliv pero? Opisujem ga kao krajnje divnu stvar. Divnu i skupu. Dva činovnika Uprave tiho se konsultuju. Oni će videti u čemu je stvar. Vidite, kažem.

Posle desetak minuta dolaze odnekud, iz dubine stovarišta zatvoreničkih stvari, s ravnodušnim licima i obaveštenjem da mog naliv pera nema i da moram otići bez njega. Očekuju da odem. Ja se, međutim, ne dajem lako. Zadajem im muke. To je, nema sumnje, moja osveta. Nije Bog zna kakva. Ali je momentalna i to se broji.

"Želim svoje naliv pero," kažem mirno. "Ja sam ga imao. Oduzeto mi je prilikom hapšenja."
"Zar je to sad tako važno?" pita jedan od njih, smejući se.
"Važno je."
"Onda se žali."

"To i činim."
"Šta činiš?"
"Žalim se."
"Nisam mislio sada."

"Nego kada?"
"Kad izađeš."
"Ja sad izlazim."
"Pa izađi."
"Kad dobijem svoje naliv pero."

Glupavo ponavljam da sam ga imao, da ga očekujem natrag, i da ću sve preduzeti da ga dobijem. Ne pokazujem nameru da se bez njega mrdnem odavde. To je naliv pero sada moj raison d'être. Šta mi vredi sloboda bez naliv pera? Šta mi vredi život bez naliv pera?

Oni postaju nestrpljivi.
"Slušaj," kaže jedan, "ovde su sve tvoje stvari."
"Nije moje naliv pero."
"Jebem ti naliv pero!" kaže on hladno.
"Ono je moje," kažem kao da se time definitivno stavljam na stranu naliv pera.
"Jebem ga!" kaže ovog puta s uživanjem. "Jebem ti tvoje naliv pero!"

Drugi je staloženiji. Uviđa da bez naliv pera neću izaći. Otvara fioku svog stola i iz nje vadi jedno naliv pero.
"Evo ti naliv pero! Jel' sad sve u redu?"
"Nije," kažem, "ovo nije moje."

Objašnjavam kako je moje izgledalo. Da je bilo zlatno, sa crno-zelenim oklopom koji se malko presijavao. Ne stižem do detalja opisa. Izbacuju me. Jedan moje stvari (bez naliv pera), drugi mene (bez naliv pera, takođe).

Kapija škripi, otvara se, i ja ulazim napolje (izlazim unutra).

Osećam se vrlo mali u prostoru boje čivita. Daleko, u dnu aleje koja se završava lučnom rešetkastom kapijom spoljnjeg zatvorskog kruga, čeka me, takođe vrlo mali, moj otac. Liči na kap mastila. Kap se razliva u mrlju i eto tu smo. On je prva okolnost slobode. Moja prva zavisnost. Prva zavisnost koja je došla po mene. (Ostale čekaju kod kuće, na ulici, iza tajanstvenih ćoškova budućeg života.) Rukujemo se, ljubimo. Nema pitanja, nema odgovora.

On izgleda dobro. Na njemu je crn, težak grombi kaput. Vodi me prema fijakeru. Primećuje da sam mršav. To je istina. Da sam bled. I to je istina. Umoran sam, kažem. Šta osećaš, pita? Ništa, kažem. Ništa ne osećam. Osećam ništa. Otac se pravi da me ne razume. Da je prigodno ništa ne osećati. Ima, naime, vremena. Ovo je tek početak. Spoljnje unutra se tek načelo.

Ne zapažam mnogo. Geometrijske forme neba i zemlje. Blede, zamagljene perspektive s drvećem, poput kopalja neke izgubljene bitke. Hladnoća vazduha i krutost nogu. Koračam kao ptica.

Dakle, to je sloboda.

De Chirico-Melancholy of a StreetDok se vozimo prema gradu, levom konju u zaprezi prska iz stražnjice izmet. I to je sloboda. Konjska stražnjica. Kiseo zadah balege. Udar potkovanih kopita. Pusto polje strnjike. Telegrafski stubovi kao nedovršena vešala.

To je, naravno, samo jedan deo, mali i nevažni izgled slobode. Mali, nevažan i ružan. Najednom se osećam izgubljen. Beskrajno mali. Splasnuo sam kao kap voska na usijanoj peći svoje slobode.

Otac govori. Šta on to priča? Moje je ime bilo u Službenim novinama? Trebao sam biti pušten još29? Ali Uprava nije verovala? Smatrali su to štamparskom greškom? (Neka greška jeste, u to sumnje nema.) Vodili su se telefonski razgovori sa Beogradom. Otac je u gradu čekao tri dana. Morao je intervenisati lično Savezni ministar A. R. ( ). "Pustite sina starog Pekića smesta napolje!" rekao je.

Ne osećam se ni najmanje pokradenim. Tri dana prebačena iz Šupljeg u prazno, ne znače mnogo.

Ručamo u kafani. Pijem crno vino. Ne prija mi. "To je novost," kaže otac. Biće ih više, mislim. Ali među njima neće biti ova. Vino je jednostavno rđavo. U zatvorskoj bolnici sam navikao na prvoklasne likere. Likere na bazi medicinskog alkohola. Vodeni polu-proizvodi me ne zadovoljavaju.

Ni polu-proizvodi slobode. Nedovršeni, beznačajni otpaci.

Sitne slobode smrtno me zamaraju. Sve su to neosetne smrti moje stare ličnosti. Poput izumiranja ćelija za koje i ne znamo. Ja sam počeo da se menjam.

Ne, nisam se baš dugo držao pod ključem.

Izašao sam unutra. Unutra je ulazio u mene.

Predveče odlazimo na stanicu. Ne sećam se kako smo proveli tih nekoliko sati. Mora biti da smo razgovarali. Stanica je kadaverski modra. Promrzla plava svetlost lepi se za lice. Putnici izgledaju zimski bedno.

Sve me podseća na okupaciju.

"Želiš li nešto?" pita otac.
"Ima li ovde pečenog kestenja?"
"Jeo bih pečenog kestenja," kažem.

Sad znam šta je to što želim i što sam uvek želeo. Tokom svih tih godina u kojima sam mislio o uzvišenim stvarima i pravio velike planove.

Bilo je to – pečeno kestenje.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Godine koje su pojeli skakavci (III deo)

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 385-388 ) - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

(Jesen, 1953)

29. Novembar je prošao. Vrata su se otvorila pomilovani su otišli. KPD je tog istog dana, kao da jedva čeka, zarastao u mrcvareću rutinu i vlažnu jesenju čamotinju. Idućeg Novembra ponovo će prenuti, i pošto pouzdane vesti, poput dobrih duhova, budu puštene iz zatvorskih kibli, još jednom otaljati svoj tradicionalni mesec uzbuđenja i nade.

Svi su se vratili svojim iluzijama, koje su zvali realnošću.

Ja sam se vratio svojim Njegovan-Turjaškim. Svojoj realnosti, svojoj iluziji.

Stajao sam u redu pred Ambulantom, kad je po mene došao Nadzornik. Znao sam, klervoajantno izuzet iz stvarnosti i njene logike, da sam pomilovan i munjeviti trenutak, kao ispaljeni grom koji još nije pogodio trenutak u kome mi je Nadzornik prilazio, pre nego što će me pozvati da spremim svoje stvari, bio je najlepši, najuzbudljiviji u celoj epizodi. Jedini – lep i čist momenat mog Izlaska.

Kad je kazao što je imao reći, lepote je nestalo. Ostala je činjenica da će me odmah pustiti i ona je izgledala očajno prazno, i tako će izgledati, bojim se, još dugo pošto budem izašao.

Rocky_FreedomIzvesnost da se nešto dogodilo vulgarna je prema neizvesnosti da se to događa. Pretpostavka bogatija od fakta. Nada plodnija od sigurnosti. I mašta dublja od stvarnosti.

I najzad šta to znači "biti pušten"? Reklo bi se da je to očevidno. Da se čovek uvek pušta – napolje. Pušta se, međutim, i unutra. Za "puštanje napolje" i "puštanje unutra" jedan je termin. Ono napolje isto je tako hermetički zatvoreno kao i ovo unutra. Može se, dakle,izaći i unutra.

Šta znači "biti oslobođen"? Teško – slobodan. Možda oslobođen jednog uslova i stavljen u zavisnost drugog. Iz jednog sistema ropstva transportovan u drugi. Moje oslobođenje, dakle, nije samo izlazak unutra. Ono je još i prinudno. A po svemu i – lažno.

Ono će, razume se, biti ugodno. Dopuštaće izvesne mehaničke slobode u jednom širem mehaničkom krugu zavisnosti nego što je zatvor. Neću više morati da srećem ljude koje ne trpim, da slušam reči koje mrzim, da radim ono što ne volim. Možda neću trpeti i ljude "napolju" (u tom novom unutra), ali ću bar imati mogućnost da se negde sklonim.

U sobi sa sto ljudi, čovek se nema gde skloniti, osim duboko u sebe, a tamo, opet, stvari su najčešće zamršene i stvarnog plandovanja nema. Reči koje mrzim neću morati da uzimam u obzir kao ovde, gde sve što je izgovoreno predstavlja suštinu života od koga zavisi. A da radim poslove koje ne volim svakako neću morati.

Da li neću?
Ove koje ovde ne volim, verovatno ne. Radiću one koje neću voleti tamo.
Moraću u obzir da uzimam neke druge reči koje mrzim.
Ljudi koje neću trpeti zameniće ljude koje sada ne trpim, i od njih se neće moći pobeći, pa svet bio ravan svojoj pravoj veličini ili sveden na dimenzije jedne robijaške ćelije.

Ništa se bitno neće promeniti.
Kao što se ništa bitno nije promenilo u noći između 6. i 7. Novembra 1948. godine.

Odlazim na sprat Druge zgrade, u bolesničku sobu. Pakujem se. A. V. plače. Bili smo dobri prijatelji. Nikad više nećemo moći da budemo tako dobri prijatelji. Obojici je to jasno. Nećemo uopšte biti prijatelji. Radovao se što odlazim i žalio što me gubi. Ali ono što nas je sada razdvajalo bilo je jače od svakog osećanja.

Ja sam već napolju. Ja više nisam onaj čovek koji je pre pola sata otišao u Ambulantu po svoj lek. Stranac sam. Stranac za sve u sobi. Stranac za Z. F., Šiptara iz Mitrovice, s kojim sam trenutno bio u "kolektivu", nekoj vrsti dobrovoljne "zajednice paketa", koja je moju majku istrajno nervirala ("Ja nemam nameru Šiptare hraniti doboš tortama!"), u toj pojedinosti, a ne u načelu, jer na moje zajednice sa V. R., obrazovanim i otmenim pravnikom i Đ. K., uglednim i umnim oficirom bivše jugoslovenske vojske, nije imala nikakvih primedbi.

Stranac za M., koji se brinuo o meni dok sam bio bolestan, za L.-a, s koji sam igrao šah, za B.-a, kome sam pisao pisma kući, pokušavajući da njegovu porodicu prenem iz obamrlosti i ugodne nezavisnosti koju je njegovim zatvaranjem, očevidno, stekla, te nikakvim molbama i apelima nije htela da je izgubi. Stranac čak i za starog pedofila u ćošku, čija je skrotalna kila ličila na topovsku đulad. I ne samo stranac. Neman iz drugog sveta.

Treba što brže odmagliti odavde, mislim, treba im se što pre skinuti s očiju. Trpam stvari u kofer, ostavljajući im sve što žele. Ali, oni tako malo žele. Kao da od mene više ništa ne žele. Da su i moje stvari za njih postale neupotrebljive. Stvari bića drukčije prirode od njihove. Prestajem da ih delim. Ostavljam ih na slamarici. Kad odem posvađaće se oko njih. Ali onda te stvari više neće biti moje. Kao ni stvari mrtvih.

U otpusno-prijemnoj kancelariji Uprave uzimam svoju platu za pet godina, jedan mesec i tri dana. Po odbitku šest meseci istražnog zatvora, 2 dinara i 75 para na dan. S obzirom na to koliko sam stvarno radio, ja sam preplaćen. Zatim je nadamnom izvršen prilično nebrižljiv pretres i oduzeti su mi svi rukopisi, da bi mi, posle cenzure, bili poslati na adresu koju sam dao.

(Neki od osetljivih, krišom vođeni Dnevnici iz Istražnog zatvora, već su našli svoj put napolje, premda ne verujem da ću od njih imati mnogo koristi. Oni za Novembar, Decembar 1948, i Januar 1949. pisani su istrgnutim zupcem češlja na klozet-papiru najgore kakvoće, te su ličili na nečitke, nemarno udarene vodene žigove.

6. Februara moja se tehnika obogatila. Bio sam pozvan da s potkrovlja Obilićevog venca siđem na sprat sa isledničkim kancelarijama, gde sam imao potpisati produženje istrage za još tri meseca. I ovog puta, naime, policija i ja smo se slagali da sa mnom još nije završeno. Islednik je iznenada odazvan.

Bio sam uveden u susednu malu prostoriju, čija je namena bila neizvesna. U njoj je stajao samo jedan sto, s lavorom ispod prozora. U jednoj od praznih fioka stola našao sam komadić olovke, ne duži od malog prsta. Sakrio sam je u pocepanu postavu kaputića. Ali je dugo nisam upotrebljavao.

Sumnjao sam da mi je podmetnuta, kako bih pomoću nje pokušao da dođem u kontakt s mojim drugovima, razmeštenim po potkrovlju zgrade. Tog meseca, Februara, Dnevnik nisam pisao ni zupcem za češalj. Produžio sam ga olovkom tek u Martu, kad sam bio siguran da nisam žrtva trika nego korisnik policijskog murdarluka.)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Godine koje su pojeli skakavci (II deo)

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 382-385 ) - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

II deo

Prvi put koristim savet knjiga i samovlasno proširujem odobrenje da ponesem cigarete i šibicu. Trpam u džep sve svoje stvari. novčanik, naliv pero, sat.

"To vam neće trebati," kaže mlađi.
"Šta će mi trebati?"

Ne dobijam odgovor. Izgleda da mi ništa neće trebati. Ništa osim – memorije. To je trebalo agent da kaže. Šta će mi trebati? –ja da pitam. Memorija – agent da odgovori. Dijalog bi tada bio pravi. Definitivan.

Stvari ipak ostaju u mom džepu. Naliv pero sam dobio za osamnaesti rođen-dan, pre nekoliko meseci pre Velike mature. Računalo se da ću sa njim pisati bolje domaće zadaće. (Ja sam pisao sasvim pristojne proglase.)

Ugled Treće muške gimnazije nije od njega mnogo profitirao. Bilo je zlatno, s crno-zelenim telom, marke Pelican. Ali u njemu nikad nije bilo mastila. Uvek sam pisao olovkom. Ili kucao na mašini. Ali, pero sam nosio. Delovalo je intelektualno. Nisam nosio naočare, a s nečim je čovek morao demonstrirati da misli.

"Potpišite nalog", kaže stariji i pruža omanji formular.

1953-KPD-Nis-01.jpgTo je nalog za moje hapšenje. Ima već jedan potpis. Moj simvolizuje džinovski napredak pravosuđa i svesti o nepovredivosti ličnosti. Habeas corpus – Imam telo! Telo koje je nepovredivo bez mog pristanka. Niko, naime, ne može biti lišen slobode, dok lično taj čin ne odobri. Društvo i ja smo, dakle, saglasni u pogledu mog slučaja. Oboje smo za moje hapšenje.

Nalog liči na revers. Poput robe predajem se na upotrebu drugom vlasniku. Odričem se vlastite slobode. Hapsim, zapravo, sam sebe. Nemam više telo.


Stupam u kuhinju, u bljesak.

Jesam li dobro video majku? Jesam li zapamtio sve što će mi biti potrebno? Još vrlo dugo, verovatno.

Moj prijatelj ( ) zvao je mamu Marie-om Antoinette-om, zbog sede kose na mladalačkoj glavi i izvesne prestrašenosti s kojom je otvarala vrata kuće. Da li su i njega uhapsili?

Kroz hodnik, kao kroz tunel u polusenama, vidim oca. Pognute glave sedi na klavirskoj stolici. Preko pižame mu je prebačen kućni kaput. Kraj njega stoji prvi sused iz zgrade. I on je u pidžami i kućnom kaputu. Sa strane je treći agent. On, najzad, deluje kako valja. Crnje. Vilica mu je četvrtasta i zamrljana bradom koja se nikad ne može izbrijati. Kožni kaput mu je raskopčan.

Prizor deluje nestvarno. Ali mi saopštava da, po svoj prilici, pretres još nije završen. sused je svedok koji će mu prisustvovati kao nepristrasno, neutralno lice.

Sused se tako i drži. Savršeno nepristrasno i neutralno. Kao da je tokom sna prebačen na drugu planetu. I da ništa od svega ovde ne razume, niti prepoznaje. Naročito – mene.

Ne pruža mi ruku. Gleda u neke mutne daljine, tamo iza crnih prozora. Ne verujem da to čini namerno. Neugodno mu je. Oseća se kao saučesnik ovog hapšenja. Kao njegov instrumentalni deo. Znam da već prilično dugo namerava u inostranstvo, ali da ima teškoća sa pasošem. Verujem da će već sutra na njemu krampati s obnovljenom snagom.

Kroz glavu mi sablasno prolazi skorašnji prizor.

Odlazim u neimarsku ulicu Stojana Protića da posetim intimnog prijatelja ( ), studenta medicine. Gvozdenu kapiju mi otvara čovek u kožnom kaputu. Savršeno je sličan mom čoveku u kožnom kaputu. Proizvod je iste trikotaže. Bezličan poput mašine. Tek – funkcionalan.Shvatam nepriliku.

Pokušavam ga ubediti da stvar nije hitna. Prijatelja mogu videti i sutra. Zavisi koga od njih, kaže. Ne znam koga hapse, ( ), ili njegovog brata ( )? Od toga zavisi i ko mi je prijatelj, koga posećujem. Idiotski je imati prijatelja koga hapse. Jedva nešto manje biti prijatelj nekome čiji je brat u zatvoru.

Zbunjen sam. Najradije bih rekao – nijednog. Najradije bih kazao da sam pogrešio kućni broj. Unutrašnja izdaja bila je munjevita, i nekorisna. Ulazeći, pokušavam da je sakrijem iza činjenice da i ja imam svoju tajnu, da je prizor kojeg ću zateći možda predujam nekog u kome ću ja igrati glavnu ulogu.

U dnevnoj sobi koja gleda kroz staklena vrata na popločano dvorište pod venjkom, moj stvarni drug sedi na jednoj stolici. Mene posađuju na drugu. Krećući se između dva agenta, njegov stariji brat ( ), student arhitekture, pakuje svoje stvari. Svoj novčanik, svoj sat, svoje naliv pero. Čudesno sabrana, majka, gospođa ( ), pita može li poneti pribor za brijanje. Ne može, odgovara agent.

Ustajem sa stolice. Zašto? Zašto ne bi mogao? Kakav je to način? I uopšte! Svestan sam da u tom času, praveći od sebe magarca, iskupljujem kukavičluk na kapiji. I da nisam od građe od koje se prave – ilegalci. Isuviše sam zainteresovan za moralnu stranu stvari. Na to kako ću izgledati u vlastitim očima. U očima agenta koji me je uveo, jasno mi je, izgledam kao – kreten.

Gleda me sa simpatijama, čini mi se, kao da kaže – Sedi, budalo! Sedam. Dovraga sa žiletima. Dovraga sa moralom. Ali, kad ( ) izvode pružam mu ruku i njegovu čvrsto stežem. S njim sam. Varam se. Kako se samo varam! Niko više nije sa njim. Sam je.

Kao ja sada.

Kao i svi pre mene. Kao svi posle mene.

Otac ustaje. Beo je. Pružamo jedan drugom ruku. To je izmirenje. Poslednja godina bila je mučna za obojicu. Bio sam nesnosan. Nervozan, zabrinut, netrpeljiv. Sad, kad je, izgleda, sve gotovo, opet sam miran. Još nema pravog olakšanja, prestoji još puno neizvesnosti, ali ona najdublja je nestala.

Nemam vremena da mu to kažem. A ni potrebe nema. Sve je on to noćas shvatio.Uvek smo se dobro razumevali. Čak i kada je drugima izgledalo da za to više nismo sposobni.

Opraštam se od majke. (Ujak je negde van kuće.) Ona ne plače. Zahvalan sam joj. Ali, to se moglo i očekivati. Ona je jaka. Uvek je bila. Jaka i racionalna. Gura mi u džep par čistih maramica. Čisti mi okovratnik od dlaka poslednjeg šišanja. Čini sve što je oduvek radila kad sam odlazio iz kuće. Najzad mi dodaje i mantil, prepravljen od službenog očevog mantila kojeg je nosio sa pohodnom uniformom sreskog načelnika, još godine 1936.

U predsoblju vise dva mamina ulja. "Predeo u ton" i "Brdski potok". Dva drobnjačka pejzaža viđena prestravljenim očima jedne Panonke. Tu su još od mog najranijeg detinjstva.

Kao dve nežne uspomene na dane koji se više nikad neće vratiti.
Kao mrtva straža na grobu poslednjih preživelih uspomena.
Osećam lakat u rebrima.
Osećam - budućnost.
Vrata prošlosti za mnom se zatvaraju.
Samoća ...

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Godine koje su pojeli skakavci (I deo)

Publikovano u Odabrana dela Borislava Pekića, knjiga 12, Tamo gde loze plaču, (str. 379-382 ) - Beograd, Partizanska knjiga, 1984, © Borislav Pekić.

(Jesen 1948)

"I naknadiću vam godine koje izjede skakavac, velika vojska moja koju slah na vas."
(Prorok Joilo, 2-25)

Vrata se otvaraju i spram gole kuhinjske sijalice, poput zlatne aure, u njihovoj se rupi, kako se rasanjujem, postepeno obrazuju dve senke. Jedna okreće prekidač u zidu sobice za poslugu u kojoj spavam preko zime i dve mutne senke postaju dva čoveka u smeđim kožnim kaputima. To je najviši izraz revolucionarnog šika iz Sedamnaeste, žirado šeširi i polucindri pobedničkog proletarijata.

S početka, međutim, podsećaju me oni na avijatičare koji su izgubili kurs i čiji se aparat srušio kraj moje postelje. Nemam, naime, nikakvog razloga da u njima vidim anđele s nekom blagovešću. Blagovesti su već prilično dugo nestale iz mog života.

Između njih, u daljini, u ambulantnoj belini emajliranih pločica, susrećem beskrvno lice majke. Iznad njega visi ogledalo u crvenom celuloidu, išarano staračkim olovnim pegama. U njemu bljesak sijalice briše konture kuhinjskog nameštaja i ponoćne posetioce ogrće sablasnim pokrovom. Desno, na zidu, okačene su prugaste kuhinjske krpe. Još dalje, slepo je oko baštenskog balkona. Ispod, posuđe se cedi u lavabo.

S radija se tiho, čisto čuje Schumann.

"Du bist meine Ruhe" – "Ti si moj mir".

Zaboravio sam da ga ugasim. Pogled mi pada na kristalnu pepeljaru s pikavcima, kutiju "Morave", šibicu i zelenkaste korice knjige. Nietzsche-ova "Volja za moć" iz Kosmosove biblioteke Karijatide.

Lepo, mislim. Ma kakvoj si se moći iz nje naučio, nema više mnogo izgleda da je koristiš. Odsada će se Moć ogledati na tebi.

Vrata se zatvaraju. Majčino lice nestaje.

Ležim nepomično. Jedino što s nogu zbacujem pokrivač, ćebad presvučenu čaršavom. Nastojim licu da dam izraz umerenog čuđenja. Znam da tako rade svi uhapšenici. Svaki se uhapšenik čudi kako je izvučen iz skrovišta što ga je izdubio u sopstvenoj imaginaciji. Sem u imaginaciji, međutim, skrovišta nema.

(Znam, naime, da je ovo hapšenje. Đ. M. je zatvoren pre tri dana. Danas je bio 6. novembar. Verovao sam u srčanost i izdržljivost Đ. M.-a, ali i u izdržljivost policije. Na ovo sam bio spreman već 4-tog. Tajna je jedna i nedeljiva. Traje samo dok je sve što se nje tiče – tajna.)

Da li je ovo što osećam strah? Ne vredi se lagati. To jeste strah. Ta iznenadna ispražnjenost, vrtoglavica naglog survavanja kroz prostor čije granice ne vidim.

Stariji od njih – obojica su, uostalom, vrlo mladi – pita me za ime.

Procedura počinje. Sad se valja iskazati. Nipošto otkriti da se bojim. Treba se ponašati kao pred opasnom životinjom. Hladnokrvno i sabrano. (Zabluda je očevidna. Držeći se hladno i sabrano pred divljim psom, očekujemo da se on povuče. Kad se pred policijom držimo hladno i sabrano, mi uistini ne očekujemo da se ona povuče. Kako se onda stvarno hladno i sabrano držati?)

Istiskujem iz sebe svoje ime. Ne zvuči baš sasvim posrano kako sam se bojao. Pre nekako sramežljivo.

Kolike knjige o hapšenjima ne pomažu. Tolike priče o hapšenjima ne koriste. Kad po vas dođu, to uvek izgleda sasvim drukčije. Kao da se prvi 0put događa. Kao da je to prvo hapšenje od Postanja sveta. Geneza hapšenja kao proces. Čudo.

"Uhapšeni ste u im naroda. Ustanite".

Ustajem. Zapažanje mi je mutno, diskuntinuirano, konfuzno. Ustanovljujem da legende o izvanrednoj bistrini u krizama nisu istinite. Ne bar uvek. Kod mene svakako nisu. Svestan sam jedino najsporednijih pojedinosti prizora. Dugo nisam sekao nokte na nogama. Soba nije izvetrena. Popodne imam sastanak sa J. Jedan od agenata ima retku plavu kosu, drugi na kožnom kaputu mrlju veličine ljudske šake.

Mlađi mi na postelju baca odelo. Kaput i pantalone u kockastim smeđim šarama. Da je od koprive, bilo bi pod prstima ugodnije. To nije odelo koje sam sinoć nosio. Shvatam da su oni u kući već neko vreme. Da nisam probuđen odmah. Da je pretres možda već izvršen. Da sad ostaje samo obući se – i otići. (Pretres me ne zabrinjava. U kući nema ničeg što bi me optuživalo. Ništa – osim mene.

Osećam stid što sam go. Ud sakrivam čaršavom. Njegova belina nije hirurška. To je boja mrtvačnice. Nogavice pantalona su tesne. Više nego ikad ranije, čini mi se.

Sulundari, mislim, sulundari. Reč mi se najednom silno dopada. Mogla bi biti i ime nekog Maga. Albertus Magnus, Cagliostro i Sulundari. Sulun Dari. Ili možda Su Lun Dari.

Stariji prilazi noćnom stočiću i uzima u ruke Nietzsche-a.

"Ha!" kaže živahno. Zatim mi gazi bosu nogu čizmom. "Izvinite. Soba je tako mala".

Schumann Sa radija se čuje Schumann-ova čežnja. Stopalo me krvnički boli. Ali ja opet, uz nos svakom "razbistravanju uma u krizama", ne vidim ništa od koristi. Zamišljam Schumann-a u beloj, naboranoj košulji za klavirom. Vidim njegove naočare s tankim žičanim okvirom. Oko njega su deca. Najstarija ćerka, Elisabeth-a, okreće note.

Agent gasi radio. Slika ostaje. I bol u nozi.

Zatim slike nestaje. Bol je još uvek tu.

Obučen sam. Neko kuca na vrata. Majčina ruka pruža debeli pulover. Ona ovde jedina misli. Ja se bojim.Agenti rade svoj posao. Mi smo suviše zauzeti da bismo mislili na sutrašnjicu. O njoj misle samo naše majke.

Posle hapšenja Đ. M.-a, rešio sam da spremim nekoliko tradicionolanih stvari za verovatan slučaj da dođu i po mene. Nisam ih spremio, jer bi to bio dokaz moje krivice. Bio sam idiot. Ti, svakako imaju protiv mene jače dokaze od jednog ćebeta pod krevetom.

Ako ih nemaju, imaju Đ. M.-a.

Sad imaju mene.

Dokazi će doći sami po sebi.

Ali jedno pitanje mora biti postavljeno. Besmisleno pitanje. I upravo zbog njegove vapijuće besmislenosti. To je prosto – ritual. Cela je ceremonija ritualna. Uvek isti kanonski odgovori slede uvek ista kanonska pitanja.

"Šta zašto?"
"Zašto sam uhapšen?"
"Ti to najbolje znaš."

Znam, na žalost. I ne pitam se da li bi bilo bolje da ne znam. Znam da je bolje da znam. Krivicu je teže izmišljati nego je imati. Stvarne su krivice uvek lakše od izmišljenih. Čovek koji ima sakriven revolver, pokaže ga ... Sakriveni se tenk ne mora pokazati. Veruje se na reč ...

Nazuvam cipele. Pokušavam da kontrolišem prste. Kad zagospodarim levom rukom, desna drhti. Kad desnu smirim, leva zatreperi. Niko me ne požuruje. Učtiviji su nego što sam očekivao. To me vređa. Nemaju prava da budu drukčiji nego što sam ih zamišljao. Bol u nozi, odumirući, teši me. Po svoj prilici – i nisu.

"Mogu li da ponesem svoje cigarete?"

Na radiju su novčanik, sat, naliv pero. U novčaniku nema novaca, naliv pero je prazno, sat stoji. (Pretpostavljam da je prošlo jedan posle pola noći. Nemačka stanica koju sam slušao emitovala je klasičnu muziku do dva.)