Why is it such an obsession to plan the rest of my life? Is it a peculiar symptom of the mid-life crisis? Does medicine know such cases?
My hypothetical age at death is 98. I calculated it with an online calculator, and I strongly believe it. 50 years of life is 600 months. Till now, I have lived 586 months. Some 30% of my life was spent in my present relationship. My husband elaborated an estimation speaking of some 950 sexual intercourses, but there is a large margin of doubt in this.
98 years, it gives 1 176 months of life, of which I already consumed 586 months. The remaining is 590 months. In strict mathematical terms, I'm not in the exact mezzo del cammin yet, but I arrive there soon (well, it is also impossible to say for sure that I will not die a couple of months before my 98th birthday, or linger for some time after it).
The money I possess divided by remaining months still gives the sum of some 200 euro a month. I have enough money to survive, basically, in very modest conditions, in my apartment in Kraków, especially if I add some predictable income, such as the retirement money. As deep as my distrust of Poland might be, there is still 50 000 PLN on my retirement account, and some retirement rights that should, or at least might be made valid when I reach the age of 60. Nonetheless, historical and economic incertitude over a period of 50 years is tremendous. I was born in such a different world, the communist Poland. I am only able to fathom the degree of our destitution, because I actually lived it. Otherwise, it would be beyond my imagination. When I was a child, my mother literally lived with no cash reserves whatsoever, just enough to reach the end of the month. I guess that many people still live like this. I never did. I started to work and accumulate small cash reserves very early in my life. I remember to have reached the bottom, quite deliberately, only once, after I bought my flat in Kraków and roughly all the things I needed in it. The last 500 PLN went for a scanner, which is a luxury. It was the exact moment in which Poland joined the European Union. It was somehow symbolic for me to have spent the rest of money at that time. It was like starting a new life, from zero.
So I can say that, beyond the flat, all my resources accumulated over the span of those 17 years. It's almost hard to believe, given the above calculation that grants me at least a bowl of milk and a piece of stale bread till I die at the age of 98. Another substantial jump happened after 2016, i.e. since I am in the West. Even if I actually work like a Gypsy, one year in every two or three. But the money is still in plus. In all my life, I owed no money, not even on a credit card.
I recon there is no warrant for these remaining 50 years. Harder times may come, and I might be forced to search for new sources of income. One day, I could translate books again, as I did in my youth. I discarded this possibility for a long time, the work became too badly paid to interest me; but one day I might translate texts from minor languages into English. I also think about painting, it could be something I might be interested in doing in my old age, when no university wants me. But overall, in those new half a century, my growing intimacy with the global tongue seems to open new horizons of comfort for me. I took a good benefit from my high level of Polish; I used to be rather good in it. Now I start to feel the same in English, that old mastery that once made me live in and on the old tongue.
Certainly, I have competences, I have my academic title, at least to look good on my business card. I step into this new abyss of time with a temblor, as if I had to jump into it with a bungee line. But I do have a bungee line, a much better one than most people.
In fifty years from now, how many things will still be? Will my flat still exist? Will there still be Poland? And a European Union? And a France? Or the reality will differ as profoundly from my expectation as my current life differs from my childhood in the destitute communist country, some 520 or 530 months ago?
There was a time George Steiner seemed similarly obsessed with the potential of the future tense, with our capacity of speaking of the sun raising over our graves. What about the sun raising over my grave? When I feel the death coming, there is one thing I must do. Pay for this website to be maintained online for yet another 10 years. By that time, I believe, people might enjoy the retro flavour of my photos and travel narrations. Perhaps they will taste bitter-sweet as a nostalgic testimony of a Belle Epoque.
Today I've read in "Gazeta Wyborcza" about the czystki (purges? - there must be a synonym created to speak of Russian history, but I treat the word as untranslatable; the word "purges" make me think about preparing edible snails for cooking) at the Pedagogical University in Kraków. The topic should not interest me. It was a predictable thing to happen since the moment they made a law about retirement at 60. It was clear that sooner or later it will be used against female professors. Now they think about making another law, about the retirement at 55, and it will be used against female professors as well, I have no doubt about it.
I had no love nor tenderness for those matriarchs wrinkled like poisoned apples that used to haunt Polish universities; I suffered too much for them; they were a factor of very negative things all along my intellectual career, and very little good ever came to me from them. Certainly, they did not incarnate either wisdom or competence.
Well, they purge both, females at 60 and males at 65, there is little difference. They do the same in the Netherlands at 67, which is apparently little difference as well. But as I think about it, I see it more clearly that the probability I might ever return to teach at any Polish university is in sharp decrease.
And it makes me bitter about the things that happened long ago. The sort of chronopolitics of which I was victim all along my life.
I did my PhD at 26. Jerzy Brzozowski tried to stick a vague accusation of plagiarism to my back, "bo coś to chyba za szybko".
I did my Habilitation at 31. It was obstructed by Marcela Świątkowska, the then director of the Institute of Romance Philology at the Jagiellonian University, who called the director of the University editing service, Pan Kocój, to publish my book "w drugiej kolejności". For I was too young for a Habilitation.
I had to wait 13 years even to start speaking about a professorial degree, much longer than typical male candidate, and even though, Robert Sucharski, the then dean of the Faculty "Artes Liberales", University of Warsaw, obstructed the procedure, so I finally got my full professorship after more than two years of procrastination, such was the unwillingness of giving it to an unworthy female like me. I was 46.
This summer I will be 49. I have more that 200 publications and a vast international experience, the competences my colleagues do not possess. And here I am, in the margin of everything. It is hard to avoid the presumption that I am the person that should have been in a leader's position at a Polish university. But clearly, things are more complicated than that, and the political aspect of the whole issue is only accessory. Even if the party "Law and Justice" were not in power today, I would be equally unwelcome at a Polish university as I was long ago, when "Law and Justice" did not even exist.
Next summer, I will be 50, the age of invisibility for a Polish female. Certainly, there will be no final restitution, it is a dangerous illusion that one day they will recognize me as a great scholar, invite to their academies, give me a little office and a desk of my own I never had. A catedra! These are things from other times, from other epochs, that are no more. I should not even think about it.
At 55, in some six years and a half from now, they would be glad to congratulate me. At best, they might publish a volume in my honour, give me a medal of some kind, or something similar. And send me home.
This is why I should think, on the contrary, about asserting my presence in the international context. Writing strong books that would travel worldwide. Finding a source of income. Otherwise, I have a long, very long old age in front of me, in a degree of destitution that the poverty of my childhood barely helps me to imagine. An existence of a marginalized Polish woman in the era of national-Catholicism.
But why am I even writing about that. It is a history I decided to leave behind. When I was 46. Because I knew that Poland, sooner or later, would betray me, cheat me - when I was 16. I procrastinated 30 years. The biggest obstruction, the greatest time-turner were those 30 years - the best three decades in Polish history. I should not truly call them luminous; but they were less gloomy, they permitted to survive easily. Too easily.
And now I have another half a century to live, till I turn 98. Not six years and a half, but fifty years, that ought to be filled with intellectual work, with all those writings to come. And no guarantees whatsoever, no institutions to endorse it, no promise of founding anything beyond a bowl of warm milk with a bit of stale bread in it, and some sugar.
There are two news items from Poland today. One, that there is a a sort of trial in the Constitutional Tribunal, that will decide if the European law applies to Poland. Roughly speaking. The second one is about the report published by the National Library, claiming optimistically that 42% of the Poles declared having read at least ONE book in 2020, A WHOLE BOOK OR A FRAGMENT of it. A mind-boggling 10% declares having read SEVEN or EVEN MORE (I guess entirely, not just fragments of seven books).
I took care of counting the books that are with me on my sofa right now, those I have directly in my physical space, those I can grasp if I stretch my hand. They are 17, even though I will not perhaps read all of them. Further ones are sleeping in my bed or stuck in the side pocket of my handbag. Well, I am a professional, of course. But in a way, all this section Travels&Literature is a hobby as well. All this project of reading at least one book from each country of the world, even Belize and Lesotho and Palau. It is so simple, even idiot, that I should be ashamed of it. It is something that comes in a straight line from my childhood, from my early fascination with the globe, with atlases, even post stamps from around the world. From that sweet awareness of open horizons, experienced for the first time in a closed and impoverished country, where travel was an impossible luxury. But most of my people shall not even know where Belize or Palau or Lesotho lay, on which continent. How sad it is to think about this, right now, when the European dream may burst like a soap bubble, just after one surreptitious parliamentary session, a resolution taken at wee hour. It is so easy to keep things away from the awareness of my people. If a majority of them, in a whole year, did not read either a book or a fragment of it.
I spoke about Europe, and porcelain, and Persian carpets, and wove paper, and fountain pens. But in fact, as my Ramadan recollection, I considered quite an opposite option. On my various bank accounts across Europe, I have accumulated the equivalent of over 500 000 Polish zlotys. As I tried to calculate it over and over again, it seems to signify approximately 2,000 Polish zlotys a month, from the end of my present commitment more or less till the day I turn 70. When my last Fryderyka porcelain cup is broken, having withdrawn my last 500 euro from my Dutch bank, I might eventually be ready to die. I might spend those years on sheer contemplation, in my Cracovian flat, listening to birds in the trees outside. Depois deito-me para trás na cadeira / E continuo fumando. / Enquanto o Destino mo conceder, continuarei fumando, with the only difference that I do not smoke. The sheer air pollution (the city is badly situated in a valley, smog particles continue suspended in the stagnant air for an eternity) might cut my half a century short, so I would need no money whatsoever as soon as I turn 70.
Nonetheless, it was, it still is, a reasonable place to live. Better than most. Although I got used to the idea that only the best place on earth, Leiden, is good enough for me. The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Instead of sitting up the rest of my life, I might go to Germany now, as a scholar travelling in search of knowledge, to live a proud life, a life of dignity that I never had in Poland. I could spend those years in luxury that the salary of a German professor can buy. Why do I still hesitate? Why is the dead silence of Eastern Europe still appealing to me? Should I call it the facility of an enslaved existence? The inveterate habit of being no one that stuck to my soul like a virus, like a toxin?
I know these are just theoretical musings. My life will flow on, distant and indifferent to any solemn decision I might have taken. They will decide for you, says my Moroccan lover, and probably he is right. I will go to Germany or stay here in France. No matter how long I stay seated musing on my 2,000-zloty undisturbed existence, there will be something sudden to make me wake. An idea, an aspiration, a mistida, as they call it in Guinea-Bissau. Yes, even them, they have a word for it. Mistida, something pressing, a problem to solve, an affair that calls for immediate action.
That rediscovered time I have in front of me (my husband doubts that I might last that long, but I feel equal to it) still puzzles me. From the list of things to buy, I acquired an elegant fork and knife that I intend to take with me to Germany. Next time I go to the supermarket, I will also buy a soup spoon and a little desert spoon. It is a cute, spindle design vaguely evoking high-tech chopsticks; the steel seems good quality. The Maison de la Recherche where I live provides kitchen utensils and cutlery but they are grey in colour, and of the cheapest kind, as if I lived in less than a decent Dutch prison.
They make me think about a single fork my grandfather brought with him from Germany; he always refused to eat with any other. It did last half a century; when I saw it for the last time, its handle was eaten and destroyed as if it had lasted far more than this. Perhaps it was not new when my grandfather took possession of it. Did he really bring it with him from Germany, where he was slave worker, in a Bauer's farm, during the ww2? As a thing worth having? These were the relics of my childhood, pieces of different worlds that ended up in our flat: that German fork and two odd porcelain cups Fryderyka, inherited from I don't know whom. I bough a similar fork for my home in Kraków, it was a classical German design, still available. And a knife; a pair of them in fact, for myself and my man. But they lacked the aura of history, they were simply a fork and a knife, not relics of a different world or survivors of empires. This time I only bought one fork and one knife, as if I didn't think about my lover, as if I planned no more men in my life. I think about correcting this mistake as soon as I go to Auchan again. I will bring a second fork and a second knife, even just to serve as a symbol. Of eating together naked, in the shameless maturity of our bodies.
Europe and its forks. Europe and porcelain plates. Europe and books. Europe and Persian carpets. Europe and living another half a century. Europe and not giving up.
Meanwhile, the vaccination entered some sort of European crisis. I sit, or rather lay, the lockdown up in my bed. Personally, I decided not to accept AstraZeneca vaccine if it is offered to me. My immune system is very strong, strong enough to cause serious problems. I can't afford to lose my half a century because of a blood clod. Especially in my brain.
I've got attached to this idea of time in front of me. A capital of some 18 000 days to spend. It has been a sort of discovery, an illumination. Even if I still work hard on how to spend it, how to organise it, rather than simply let myself drag into it. I invited my Moroccan lover to spend his old age with me in my house in Leiden. When his parents are dead and his kids grown up and married. To eat on porcelain plates and drink wine in crystal cups, to compensate him for his lifetime of sacrifice and being responsible, bringing up kids and making sure the French have warm water running as soon as they open their taps.
Porcelain plates, crystal cups, Moroccan lovers, white lilies opening wide in heavy jars. Forks, books, crocodile meat, Persian carpets, extravagant clothes, exclusive universities, fountain pens, wove paper, concerts of classical music. Another half a century, 18 000 days to spend on pleasure, on Europe, on being civilised, on travels, on languages, on world literature, on theory making, on extracultural becoming, on circling between Leiden, Oxford and Heidelberg.
Thanks God I won my independence. The greatest success of my life is this, the space to dream, unbound. To shape my life as I want it, unrestrained. Also unrestrained by money. I managed to set myself free from hereditary poverty, and more than poverty, the attachment to things not worth having, things that block the space. Relationships not worth having, with things and people, and countries. And forms of madness not worth nurturing.
As I sit up yet another lockdown on my bed, many memories come to me, like a passing flow. Among them, the memories of that time in Lublin, when my fellow students were getting married, one by one, in white dresses decorated with artificial flowers. Their taste seemed doubtful to me, even if they saw me as the most miserable of them. Some invited me to flats bought for them by their parents, to let me admire a double bed in crude pine wood, that was a luxury of the time. What happened to them, and to their beds? Nothing at all, as I presume. I know of those who remained at the university. They are still there. The beds might eventually be replaced with more expensive one, of similarly doubtful taste. Currently, there is no bed at all in my Cracovian apartment. It annoyed me, and I threw it. It was a good, stylish, mahogany bed, it deserved to be kept, perhaps. But I only cared about leaving the country. The few nights that remain, I can sleep them up on the matrass laid on the floor.
Since those remote times in Lublin, I have always been anticipating the next chapter, moving on and on and on, just as now I anticipate my old age, my final half a century, my late style. My house in Leiden, where I will eat from porcelain plates and keep lilies in heavy jars. I have it planned. The bookshelves for a new library. Oh, only recently, I was still caring about my old books, those who accompanied me all those years. My old Poetic Edda, in a critical edition by Ossolineum, well, in what was considered a critical edition in Poland at the time. And my Bhagavad-Gita, equally yellowed and brittle with age. I could have kept them as relics. But if I get rid of them, Poetic Edda and Bhagavad-Gita will gain a chance to exist in my life deeper, in a more pervading way than they would if I kept those clumsy books of my childhood. I want to finish them up, I want them to die in my own hands, as I read them for the last time. I want to carry them, ceremonially, to the recycling container among trees and high grasses. But not to take them into my new life, my next chapter. I've always worked hard on closures.
I want to bury my books, I will take with me only few of them, the useful, the actualised ones. Not the one I used for my classes in Warsaw. I do believe it is my hard work on closures that actually permits me to navigate across social strata and elitist contexts, not to get stuck. I climb on my own bare feet all the way up the ranking, from that lowly university in Lublin, where I failed to get married.
I had a strange dream two days ago, of that Renaissance scholar from Hungary, György. And as I woke up, I thought about those few colleagues I respect, Stefan, Michaela. Very few names after a quarter of a century of academic adventures. Perhaps I'm not so very prone to appreciate people. I prefer forks.
By the way, for my another half a century, I would like to have a knife of Damascene steel in my kitchen. I saw them for sale, in the Internet. That's interesting. Are there Damascene forks as well, so sharp and precise that they permit to grasp the tiniest, the most elusive piece of crocodile meat? Or would they scratch the porcelain too much, making it look old before the half a century elapses?
I need a reconstruction of a tooth deep behind. I was planning to remove it, but my French dentist advised me against it. It will cost me 675 euro, if I want the work well done. Might be cheaper, eventually, in Poland. But I prepare myself to spend this money. I have another half a century in front of me. A tooth deep behind will serve me.
In 50 years from now, I will be 98. Still feasible to stay alive that long. Working little, taking good rest, and lately, consulting my Guinean medicine man, I can easily reach this age. With a good planning.
I wonder what I will do all this time. Leaving Poland, I felt that my academic career came to a rather inglorious end. The thought that the money on my account, spent more or less carefully, might last for 10 and even 20 years is vaguely tempting. There are still two ways in front of me: the one leading up and the one leading down. These 20 years, I could spend them in Kraków (or somewhere in Romania or Bulgaria) on the margin of everything. On the other hand, in those 20 years, I could also make a good European career, somewhere in Germany or Netherlands. I could truly live, rather than remain undead.
To be or not to be, an everyday choice, a question that I see in front of myself every morning, when I slowly open my eyes, feeling a tremendous void inside my skull. Give up, or stand up and fight. I was educated to give up. But Poland is no more, and with it, the culture of giving up. At least as I see it, as I anticipate it, it has been sucked by a great vortex, the widening gyre of that new revelation to come. Of that new Russia to come, that eternal Russia the parasite inside our skulls. Oh, that eternal idea that, if we could talk the things through (dogadać się) with Russia, civilise it, together we would rule the world. It returns right on the front page of today's Gazeta Wyborcza, on the occasion of Andrzej Chwalba's new book, Polska-Rosja, Historia obsesji, obsesja historii. We might have civilised Ivan the Terrible. We ought to have done it.
Russia, the eternal temptation of the Poles. Certainly, it is not better than Europe. Yet just like the Dark Side in Star Wars, it is easier, quicker, offering endless opportunities of rogue advancement; more terrible Ivan, roguer the advancement. I wonder whether I wouldn't chose it myself, if I had no talent, no love of hard work. I would certainly do.
It is just a chance that I am one of the tiny percentage of those who had not been infected, or managed to overcome the infection. I am just lucky to have this strong constitution, this blood redder than most. This is why I am here, on this side of the Oder, in Europe, in a place that Russia would never conquer, even if she managed to talk the things through with Poland. Making a list of items to acquire for another half a century.
The elegant red notebook in which I try to collect any happy thoughts that remain is with me for some 20 years now. I still have some clothes I bought in Portugal as a student. When I settle down after Heidelberg, the things I buy with my German salary will überleben me (I could say they will outlive me, yet certain things are beyond English). How long does a handmade Afghani carpet live? I have been told it lives shorter than a silk Tabriz. Yet probably more than those 50 years, I wouldn't walk on it that much. Or should I opt for a densely woven Bijar? A silk Kashmiri that -quite incredibly- represents less than a half of my French salary? A Meissen porcelain set, paintings, polyglot book collection will live those 50 years with me and then face an uncertain destiny. Or I will live those 50 years for them, to accompany them, to dust them. To put hot tea in the porcelain cups, to read the books. Undead, I want to burry myself in a living museum, among fragile things that nonetheless überleben empires.
It is almost a half of my stay here. Finally, I'm reading Houellebecq's Soumission, although I had promised myself to read it first thing after my arrival here. Unsurprisingly, I identify with several ideas, such as that of triplication of the professors' salaries and La Sorbonne sponsored by the Saudis (meanwhile, Saudi Arabia, as a source of unconditional founding, has almost disappeared under the horizon; Houellebecq couldn't have predicted that). And of course the idea of Mediterranean Europe, not necessarily as a restitutio imperii, but at least as a restitutio oecumenae. I am very much in favour of this. Instead of aimless sponsoring of those territories eastwards where the only dream, deep down, is the restitutio of Moscow as the Third Rome.
I can't avoid subscribing to the pervasive sadness of this novel. I am a decadent myself, and I used to love Huysmans just as the novel's hero did, although I only wrote a single conference paper about À rebours, and the text was lost due to a computer failure. I see his point, a very pertinent point indeed, the death of Christianity. The inefficiency of Madonna de Rocamadour and of those abbeys in the vicinity of Poitiers. I am sensitive to the charm of Christian tradition, how could be otherwise, but also to the stale smell of all those Benedictine abbeys, the rampant depressiveness of Hildegard von Bingen. And curiously, my Christianity has nothing Polish in it. It is a Romance Christianity, entirely western. As a part of my Polish destiny, I rejected it long ago, in my early teens. So it survived exclusively as a westernised, museal Christianity of a late, very late European erudite. A Petronius of Christian Europe.
There are resemblances, and there are contrasts of course. Houellebecq's hero was removed from Sorbonne about the same age as I, when the vogue of Christian -rather than Islamic- fundamentalism washed me out of the University of Warsaw. Yet I live -and live intensely- the remaining twenty years of intellectual career that I have in front of me.
Last but not least, I am sensitive to the poignant eroticism of this novel, to the fate of being abandoned that European modernity has brought to our erotic destinies. Arabian love never ends; this is why it ends up in death, precisely because it does not have any natural ending, it doesn't burn out. European love does end; according to the author's diagnosis, it lasts one academic year. And the way is down down down, with the natural decadence of human body, female and male as well. Lover of his students, the hero ends up paying for sex, finally overcome by his own anhedonia.
Yet there is an even more pungent moment in Soumission, the death of the hero's mother, that putain névrosée, an abandoned woman who ends up buried in a communal grave because no one reacted even to the news of her death. The quintessential portrait of the female old age in Europe. Certainly not as sympa as that of her ex-husband. He could at least buy, she could not.
And in the background, Islamic call for prayer -never directly mentioned, as I think, in the text- rising over Paris. It would have awaken me from the deepest depression, tenfold more efficient that Faust's bells of Easter. In fact it did awake me on several dire occasions. Strangely, it is so easy for me to imagine Paris as Istanbul or Cairo or Casablanca, at sunset, when suddenly the call for prayer starts in a mosque, and immediately a hundred voices take it up across the city.
It is a funny feeling that since I said good bye to my ex-homeland, I've got a strange, pervert interest in Russian language and culture. I have been seeing several war movies in which they shouted: Strelat', strelat', tanki idut, dawaj zdies granat, etc. I have enjoyed it greatly till 3 am this morning. Barbarian avengers that one day will come for you.
On the other hand, another pervert pleasure is to observe the Worldometers' covid page, not just to see the pandemic retroceding, but also to check the last column, the population of Poland. It diminishes daily by about a hundred. I memorised the last three digits, they were 543 on Sunday, then 430 yesterday, and they are 317 today. It is mesmerizing to see a nation die out just like this, from one erroneous decision to another, like grains of sand falling down and down and down in a monstrous clepsydra.
Meanwhile, I have also read an article in Le Figaro concerning class division and income in France. They admit that the bottom 30% of the population is the lower class, the large 50% the middle class, and the 20% that remains is the upper class. It is a democratic, merciful sociology. I know the classical works that acknowledge only 1,8 to 2,5% of people as the proper upper class. Be that as it may, according to the scale indicated in the article, myself with my 4 465 euro to spend per month, I would be quite well into the upper class. It surprises me greatly. I have been so thoroughly educated to be poor that it hardly enters my mind that I might ever be considered rich, especially here in the West. I would rather imagine pretty well everyone around has much more money than me. More money, more competence, more education than me. A disastrous illusion, like all illusions.
I announced an academic embargo against Poland, and started executing it. People who asked me peer-reviews and similar are advised that those things shall not be delivered. You always believed I will work for you, just for my sense of duty, an eternal servant to your cause, just as you kicked my buttock like a bitch, isn't it?
There remains a couple of things, mainly articles in journals, already set up for print. I let them go, they are not important. And so, soon it will be over. Unless anyone touches me with as little as his or her little finger.
I am a winner, of course. The service to a country where I was always postponed, ignored, treated as some sort of minor academic bystander (paprotka, potted fern, as it is called in Polish) is not essential for my career as a scholar. The least I have to do with Poland, the better it is for me. What do I leave behind? That's hilarious. If I stayed at the University of Warsaw, I would be a vaguely unqualified "pani od piesków i kotków" in the anthropozoology curriculum invented by the dean, the man I used endearingly call Petty Warlord. Alternatively - dziękuję Ci, Renatko - I would be a Lusitanist in the middle of a nest of wasps, all this still for a 1000-euro salary.
I still need a psychotherapy, it's clear. The anger in my belly is like a young wine, full of yeast. But I know that at a given moment the yeast will be drown in its own shit, i.e. alcohol, and it will be all over. I will no longer demand news from the country, just as I no longer demand the news of my family. It's the same process all over again. People who crossed the limits of the human, because they believed I am bounded to them forever. That the moral right of limitless torture is theirs, forever.
It is not. The time of Medea has come. POLEND is a new catch word I saw on a photo from the manifestations. Not a POLEXIT, that is a gone-by fashion, a bogey that ceased to be scary. That's a POLEND now. As I follow the covid statistics every night, I start to keep in mind and compare how much was the population of Poland only yesterday. And how much it is today. And how much it will be tomorrow.
Refugees unwelcome, huh?... So be it. Die out.
Bo to naród drani w swojej naturze. PiS jedynie pozwolił Polakom być sobą.
(a comment found on "Gazeta Wyborcza" site)
I didn't live a long time as a flounder, on the bottom, just a couple of days. I've been so ill that I asked to be tested for COVID, and it came out negative, just to give me the insight on how quiet and efficient the things are here in the West, at the height of an apocalypse. It was the very same day that the vaccine was announced, and it was as if I suddenly realised that Christmas is coming.
Maintenant c'est moi qui descends Rue Descartes, quand la Ville se comporte toujours fidèle à sa nature, Gardłowym śmiechem odzywając się w ciemności, / Wypiekając długie chleby i w gliniane dzbanki nalewając wino, / Ryby, cytryny i czosnek kupując na targach, / Obojętne na honor i hańbę i wielkość i chwałę,
J'ai acheté des crevettes et du vin blanc, et je n'ai pas voulu des patates douces, je les deteste (mais ils sont en promotion, Madame, seulement pour ce weekend). J'ai l'envie de la viande de crocodile pour le Noël, accompagnée des feuilles vertes de manioc. Je fais l'amour pendant qu'ils font la guerre. En Pologne - c'est à dire nulle part - wiadomo: na świętego Marcina zadyma się zaczyna.
Ce que ce pays donne au monde, c'est moi. Juste comme Roumanie a donné au monde Cioran, qui ne voulait parler roumain à personne. Ils m'appelleraient traîtresse de la race, s'ils savaient combien je désire les mains poilues d'un de ces frères à moi. Et pourtant, to wszystko już było i zmieniło się / W pomniki przedstawiające nie wiadomo kogo. Et la civilisation, c'est moi, pour eux à jamais perdue, moi et cette sacoche et les livres qui sont dedans.
Opieram łokcie o szorstki granit nabrzeża quand je suis de retour du pays souterrain et je vois en lumière. J'écoute une cantate de Bach pour me sentir européenne, car c'est ça, l'Europe, une cantate de Bach ouie entre le souvenir des feuilles de manioc et des huitres passées par le feu et du rougir des lions et les mains poilues de ce frère à qui j'ai promis tous les plaisirs de ce monde et de l'autre. Et je ne veux surtout pas qu'on me parle roumain au lit.