The Infinitive Form
By Viktor Nell
Translated by Sonya Genel
To become ice. It is very easy. It is easier than it is to back away into shadow, easier than it is to change the color of eyes to the pitch black of night, easier than it is to paint the twilight on a crumbling mirror, amalgam shedding off. There is nothing around that is whole. The silver peels behind the mirror glass like soap bubbles in a centrifuge.
“It is easy to become, if you believe”, the Zebra was saying, “knowing that it is real made it is easy to become the bamboo, to become the reeds, and the thin trunks of scorched young eucalyptus.”
Not to fear playing the Game. The Game is only wrong up until The Line. Beyond The Line, where the kaleidoscope of words stops, where faces silently grow forth through masks, where lies are abruptly broken off, apprehensions come to an end. It is difficult to begin to play the game, until out of the corner of your eye you catch a glimpse of the old stage hand, who no longer sees your lies, who has believed in the transformation, and who has forgotten about you.
“It is easy to become the bars of a cage”, the Zebra was saying, “it is easy to penetrate the fence of the boorish Eskimo’s menagerie.”
Peeling layers of paint do not frighten the one who becomes the house. The wall is only as sturdy as it appears before the last step up to it. Upon being reached, its flat face loses substance. Focus is lost, dissolving beyond perception.
Funny, how the wall separates you from yourself.
Then you become a word. There is nothing more absurd than to become a word. To become a word is to become nothing. In the churning brew of words bubbling galaxies creep away. You become a word only when cement boils in your stiffening veins.
When going through the layers, do not fear the empty spaces in between. There is nothing whole. Nothing is whole. The fallen leaves of last year’s autumn do not bear streams of rain.
To become water, to seep into subterranean warmth, is easier than being the decaying bark and insect wings that lay upon the surface. It is heavy and unbearable work to just lay, to silently gaze into that which seems transparent, into the formless azure above and beyond the lifted fingertips, into the atmosphere’s firm crystalline lense which is always pressing down on the hypothalamus.
Or to become the azure sky itself, to take upon yourself the great heaviness of glass. Glass can never tell the truth. There is no glass. It only distorts the movement of the truth, slices it into oozing pieces, and passes it through itself. Sometimes, if the amalgam peels are present, it is passed back through, returning horribly deformed.
To doubt the glass. The glass is heavy, difficult, and biased. But the truth never happens to be heavy. The truth is permeable, a light a delicate weave. To become the truth? Pointless. There is something easier to become, easier than becoming the wall or the cage bars.
To become ice.