A poem by Jean Arp
I was alone with a chair on a plain
Which lost itself in an empty horizon.
The plain was flawlessly paved.
Nothing, absolutely nothing but the chair and I
The sky was forever blue,
No sun gave life to it.
An inscrutable, insensible light
illuminated the infinite plain.
To me this eternal day seemed to be projected —
artificially– from a different sphere.
I was never sleepy nor hungry nor thirsty,
never hot nor cold.
Time was only an abstruse ghost
since nothing happened or changed.
In me Time still lived a little
This, mainly, thanks to the chair.
Because of my occupation with it
I did not completely
lose my sense of the past.
Now and then I’d hitch myself, as if I were a horse, to the chair
and trot around with it,
sometimes in circles,
and sometimes straight ahead.
I assume that I succeeded.
Whether I really succeeded I do not know
Since there was nothing in space
By which I could have checked my movements.
As I sat on the chair I pondered sadly, but not desperately,
Why the core of the world exuded such black light.
I am on a lonely road and I am traveling
Traveling, traveling, traveling
Looking for something, what can it be
By Lydia Davis
They are lost, but also not lost but somewhere in the world. Most of them are small, though two are larger, one a coat and one a dog. Of the small things, one is a certain ring, one a certain button. They are lost from me and where I am, but they are also not gone. They are somewhere else, and they are there to someone else, it may be. But if not there to someone else, the ring is, still, not lost to itself, but there, only not where I am, and the button, too, there, still, only not where I am.
By Sharon Olds
I have heard about the civilized,
the marriages run on talk, elegant and honest, rational. But you and I are
savages. You come in with a bag,
hold it out to me in silence.
I know Moo Shu Pork when I smell it
and understand the message: I have
pleased you greatly last night. We sit
quietly, side by side, to eat,
the long pancakes dangling and spilling,
fragrant sauce dripping out,
and glance at each other askance, wordless,
the corners of our eyes clear as spear points
laid along the sill to show
a friend sits with a friend here.
What is ecstasy? The boy banging on the keyboard feels an enthusiasm (or a sorrow, or a delight), and the emotion rises to such a pitch of intensity that it becomes unbearable: the boy flees into the state of blindness and deafness where everything is forgotten, even oneself. Through ecstasy, emotion reaches its climax, and thereby at the same time its negation (its oblivion).
Ecstasy means being “outside oneself,” as indicated by the etymology of the Greek word: the act of leaving one’s position (stasis). To be “outside oneself” does not mean outside the present moment, like a dreamer escaping into the past or the future. Just the opposite: ecstasy is the absolute identity with the present instant, total forgetting of past and future. If we obliterate the future and the past, the present moment stands in empty space, outside life and its chronology, outside time and independent of it (this is why it can be likened to eternity, which too is the negation of time).
From Testaments Betrayed (1993) by Milan Kundera