The tall stele of death, of extinction, of the end, erected everywhere, but invisible.
Life is never fully attained. That is why it is life, advancing, greedy. Life doesn’t sustain life: it consumes the living. Life would rather cause death – with its passing, as its passing.
We don’t know what death is. But nor do we know what life is. For the same reason.
What opposes life, as soon as it arises? For something opposes it … Or does it destroy itself, with its single movement?
How will death overtake me? It is mine, mine alone. I feed it myself, while alive. We bring about our own deaths.
When someone ceases to exist, whether or not we believe that they have ceased for good, and even if we think that they have ceased to exist, as though they had never been, what is there in this “ceased to exist” which has “ceased to exist”? It appears that there was something, nevertheless. Never-the-less.
We know nothing about what lies beyond death. We know only this nothingness. But at least we know this nothingness…
There shouldn’t be a word for death, a death which we don’t know, which doesn’t exist.
Don’t say: after death. Death precludes any after. Fix your gaze upon this strange afterwards.
A dying person doesn’t continue on elsewhere. It is their very own journey, and all of space behind them, collapses at that very moment.
Death, hurdling the obstacle by becoming it. Absorber-absorbed.
In all that exists there is only one way with no return.
Everything which is livid, wan, strangely attracts us. We have a secret alliance with this world which is not or is no longer the world. The grey dawn, the kingdom of the dead.
Dying, we pass into the invisible. But maybe we don’t leave the world. Perhaps we only become invisible. Like the soul used to be, before.
Nothingness has only a blind hold over being, which it can never comprehend. The same goes for being in respect to nothingness.
Before birth – “after” death, is it the same thing? Before being born, I didn’t exist, except as a “yet-to-come”. “After” death, I will no longer exist, except as what was. In both states there is a similar kind of suspense or repose.
This very one that is, might never have been. Is it the one that it is which might never have been?
How can I think that I might not have been, since I am the one who is thinking it?
Or, is it because I am not actually the one who is thinking it…
Death, for those who are dead, doesn’t exist anymore, it simply doesn’t exist. Nor does life. What is left?
The more one “knows” life, the less one can “know” death, like when we were young. Inversely, the more one “knows” death, the less alive one feels.
Everything which comes into being must become undone in order to enter the invisible.
I will let go of everything upon my death … This makes no sense. I will no longer be there to “let go” of anything. One lets go before that decisive moment – so why put it off?
Upon death, one lets go of the moorings: all those things through which we exist, beings and things. It is due primarily to this that we die, cease to be. Those who have no attachments, as it were, don’t die.
It is the dying body which leaves the soul, abandoning it beside all that it has ever loved.
Those who no longer exist, by their departure and removal from the world – absurd removal – also comprise the fabric of the world. Absurd fabric, lying in its continuous woof – haunted by its failings and at the same time comprised of its failings – over the absurd.
What the dead didn’t possess while alive, they will never possess. Doubly odious this “didn’t possess” and this “never”.
Many are brought, then taken, that’s about the sum of it.
Death speaks to us in the photos of those who have died, looks at us through their eyes.
If it is my body which dies, I am not my body, nor this corpse.
But if I am basically my body, then what part of me dies, in my body?
The teeth that we brush, while clenching them, are not those of a smile, nor intentional. But already those of a calavera.*
It isn’t the fabric of death which decomposes, but what remains of life.
Old age. The body becomes stiffer and stiffer, slowly grows “rigid”.
Flesh coming to an end, exhausted, withered, shapeless, slowly becomes soul. Becomes its soul.
The dead are not done away with. But merely stripped of everything.
“He has only been dead a little …” – No, forever.
To die may be difficult. Nevertheless no one fails to.
Glimpses of oneself, of destiny, come at the end of life, like the bird of Minerva who only goes out at dusk.
The living body only stems from oneself, in one’s perceptions, one’s movements: our leaks. No body is more tight-fitting than a corpse.
All that is left of us, without a doubt, is our destruction. No ash, merely the fire of destruction.
Perhaps death is only a departure, which is forever and endlessly only a departure.
If the dead don’t leave the world, they disappear, rot in it. In which case the world itself disappears and rots.
The dead don’t know death – like the living, that we are, don’t know life, being merely living beings.
Each body which tumbles into death, like a felled tree, can no longer support itself, becomes its own support; no longer rests on anything else, but in itself. Such is, first and foremost, the meaning of rest in peace, requiem.
As long as you can come back, you haven’t really taken the trip.
If all is but a dream, death is too. Unless death is the wake-up call.
Perhaps we are actually no more dead in death, than we are truly alive in life.
Life must be effaced from time to time. Hence night and sleep.
Life goes slowly by, in the autumn tree. Life happy, languid, peaceful. Preparing itself for a long sleep.
When death toils, is it in being or in nothingness?
The body must rest. The mind too. And the heart. Even love.
Death: the final and supreme fatigue, unconquerable, unconquered.
When death comes, there must be no more thinking, in order for it to be death.
We must no longer think.
All that exists will remain, as it were, at the end – in what isn’t. For all that exists, is like what isn’t, and what isn’t, like what is.
Corpse… At last just my body. Free of desires, fantasies, soul.
I am still alive … Trembling with joy in this “still”. But merely “still” alive – is this still living?
In death, I will rest in myself, will rest only in myself. That is why it is so important, while living, to rest within oneself.
It is leaving this world which is wrenching and agonizing. Entering into nothingness can only be imperceptible and gentle.
Is death perhaps inconsolable because it is death?
It’s impossible to say whether it is life or death which has the last word. Maybe neither of them do?
At the moment of death, life is nothing more than what it is: a bit of weight.
Between you and the rose, there is the emptiness of you and the rose.
Blown far from the tree by the wind, the fallen maple leaves pluck up courage as far as the door. Some even enter the house, humiliated visitors.
Roots are the tree upside down, in the night.
December 21, 1988
* Calavera is Spanish for skull, like those seen on the Mexican Day of the Dead.
Requiem, Arfuyen, 1989