Once a Cage Went Looking for a Bird


Here I am, sitting in my cage on the second floor, typing words that don’t come through; trying to express without the desire to express, without the ability to express, but nonetheless trying to express that which cannot be expressed. 

The same ancient problem remains: what to do in a meaningless world where all actions are futile? Do nothing. Go nowhere. Stay where you are; stay and suffer and don’t complain. Don’t bitch about anything, don’t moan, don’t make a sound. Suffer in silence. Be stoic about it. Come on now, don’t squeal! Just endure. 

You can’t left up your arms? You can’t breathe? You can’t close your eyes and sleep? You can’t bear it anymore? You can. You will. You’ve already done so for so many years now. You’ll make it through the coming years despite everything. 

The essential thing is not to hope for a change; not to fool yourself with plans; not to move an inch in any direction. Just stay where you are. Death has your address. What about the words? Fuck the words – they heal not; they do not cure anything; they merely intensify things. Let’s wait with the walls and the chairs. Let us be silent and patient and passive in the face of it all. 

Type the words to kill time; type more and more of them. Don’t type any new ones, just the old ones, the familiar ones. Write, write, write! Write because we can’t afford you a psychiatrist or a friend or a park bench anywhere. In this world, there is only you and the words and their sounds and shapes and the uselessness of everything else. 

You can write about anything or nothing; you can write through everything: through hurricanes and thunderbolts and loud blasts of music; you can write through deaths and diseases; you can write in absolute light and absolute darkness and absolute joy and absolute despair; you can write through nukes and napalm bombs and chemical wars; you can write through the fall of Byzantium and the extinction of all beauty and meaning. 

You don’t make sense, my words. You don’t make sense too, say the words. Ah! I wish I had been born and died a thousand years ago in the plains of Jericho. I wish I had been an orange tree or a cup of wine in the hand of a Roman prostitute. I wish I had been a lost ship in the Pacific or a pearl hidden in the deep blue sea or a paintbrush in a Renaissance painting. 

The words run like wild horses. They don’t mean anything because nothing means anything. It’s midnight. A new day is born. I hope the sun will rise from the West this time. Goodnight. Goodbye. Don’t forget to water the flowers and pat the dogs and the cats and save the whales. 

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Younes El Hamidi
"I am a machine condemned to devour books."


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