“I’ll tell you, my friends: it’s all in the nerves. The nerves that tense and relax as you approach the edges of companionship and love. The razor-sharp edges of companionship and love.”
― Roberto Bolaño, Amulet
47. I dreamt that Baudelaire was making love to a shadow in a room where a crime had been committed. But Baudelaire didn’t care. It’s all the same, he said.
Roberto Bolaño, Tres
“One day the person you love will say she doesn’t love you and you won’t understand. It happened to me. I would’ve liked her to tell me how to endure her absence. She didn’t say anything.”
-Roberto Bolaño, from “Antwerp”
“I told him that when I was a biologist I would have time to see those cities and countries, and the money too, because I didn’t plan to travel around the world hitchhiking or sleeping just anywhere. And then he said: I don’t plan to see them, I plan to live in them the same way I’ve lived in Mexico. And I said: well good for you, then, I hope you’re happy, live in them and die in them if you want; I’ll travel when I have money. Then you won’t have the time, he said. I will have the time, I said, you’re wrong, I’ll be the mistress of my time, I’ll do what I like with my time. And he said: you won’t be young anymore.”
-Roberto Bolaño, The Savage Detectives
SELF PORTRAIT AT TWENTY YEARS
I set off, I took up the march and never knew
where it might take me. I went full of fear,
my stomach dropped, my head was buzzing:
I think it was the icy wind of the dead.
I don’t know. I set off, I thought it was a shame
to leave so soon, but at the same time
I heard that mysterious and convincing call.
You either listen or you don’t, and I listened
and almost burst out crying: a terrible sound,
born on the air and in the sea.
A sword and shield. And then,
despite the fear, I set off, I put my cheek
against death’s cheek.
And it was impossible to close my eyes and miss seeing
that strange spectacle, slow and strange,
though fixed in such a swift reality:
thousands of guys like me, baby-faced
or bearded, but Latin American, all of us,
brushing cheeks with death.
-Roberto Bolaño, translated by Laura Healy
35. I dreamt I was falling in love with Alice Sheldon.
She didn’t want me. So I tried getting myself killed
on three continents. Years passed. Finally, when I
was really old, she appeared on the other end of the
promenade in New York and with signals (like the
ones they use on aircraft carriers to help the pilots
land) she told me she’d always loved me.