How it is, p.5
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       How It Is, p.5
 

           Samuel Beckett
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  Pim’s though undersized were iso he could have done with a third I fleshed them indistinctly something wrong there but first have done with my travelling days part one before Pim how it was leaving only part two leaving only part three and last

  in the days when I still hugged the walls in the midst of my brotherly likes I hear it and murmur that then above in the light at every bodily pain the moral leaving me as ice I screamed for help with once in a hundred some measure of success

  as when exceptionally the worse for drink at the small hour of the garbage-man in my determination to leave the elevator I caught my foot twixt cage and landing and two hours later to the tick someone came running having summoned it in vain

  old dream I’m not deceived or I am it all depends on what is not said on the day it all depends on the day farewell rats the ship is sunk a little less is all one begs

  a little less of no matter what no matter how no matter when a little less of to be present past future and conditional of to be and not to be come come enough of that on and end part one before Pim

  fire in the rectum how surmounted reflections on the passion of pain irresistible departure with preparatives appertaining uneventful journey sudden arrival lights low lights out bye-bye is it a dream

  a dream what a hope death of sack arse of Pim end of part one leaving only part two leaving only part three and last Thalia for pity’s sake a leaf of thine ivy

  quick the head in the sack where saving your reverence I have all the suffering of all the ages I don’t give a curse for it and howls of laughter in every cell the tins rattle like castanets and under me convulsed the mud goes guggle-guggle I fart and piss in the same breath

  blessed day last of the journey all goes without a hitch the joke dies too old the convulsions die I come back to the open air to serious things had I only the little finger to raise to be wafted straight to Abraham’s bosom I’d tell him to stick it up

  some reflections none the less while waiting for things to improve on the fragility of euphoria among the different orders of the animal kingdom beginning with the sponges when suddenly I can’t stay a second longer this episode is therefore lost

  the dejections no they are me but I love them the old half-emptied tins let limply fall no something else the mud engulfs all me alone it carries my four stone five stone it yields a little under that then no more I don’t flee I am banished

  stay for ever in the same place never had any other ambition with my little dead weight in the warm mire scoop my wallow and stir from it no more that old dream back again I live it now at this creeping hour know what it’s worth was worth

  a great gulp of black air and have done at last with my travelling days before Pim part one how it was before the others the sedentary with Pim after Pim how it was how it is vast tracts of time when I see nothing more hear his voice then this other come from afar on the thirty-two winds from the zenith and depths then in me when the panting stops bits and scraps I murmur them

  done with these fidgets that will not brook one second longer here at my ease too weak to raise the little finger and were it the signal for the mud to open under me and then close again

  question old question if yes or no this upheaval daily if daily ah to have to hear that word to have to murmur it this upheaval yes or no if daily it so heaves me up and out of my swill

  and the day so near its end at last if it is not compact of a thousand days good old question terrible always for the head and universally apropos which is a great beauty

  to have Pim’s timepiece something wrong there and nothing to time I don’t eat any more then no I don’t drink any more and I don’t eat any more don’t move any more and don’t sleep any more don’t see anything any more and don’t do anything any more it will come back perhaps all come back or a part I hear yes then no

  the voice time the voice it is not mine the silence time the silence that might help me I’ll see do something something good God

  curse God no sound make mental note of the hour and wait midday midnight curse God or bless him and wait watch in hand but the dark but the days that word again what about them with no memory tear a shred from the sack make knots or the cord too weak

  but first have done with my travelling days part one before Pim unspeakable flurry in the mud it’s me I say it as I hear it rummaging in the sack taking out the cord tying the neck of the sack tying it to my neck turning over on my face taking leave and away

  ten yards fifteen yards semi-side left right leg right arm push pull flat on face imprecations no sound semi-side right left leg left arm push pull flat on face imprecations no sound not an iota to be changed in this description

  here confused reckonings to the effect I can’t have deviated more than a second or so from the direction imparted to me one day one night at the inconceivable outset by chance by necessity by a little of each it’s one of the three from west strong feeling from west to east

  and so in the mud the dark on the belly in a straight line as near as no matter four hundred miles in other words in eight thousand years if I had not stopped the girdle of the earth meaning the equivalent

  it’s not said where on earth I can have received my education acquired my notions of mathematics astronomy and even physics they have marked me that’s the main thing

  intent on these horizons I do not feel my fatigue it is manifest none the less passage more laborious from one side semi-side to the other prolongation of intermediate procumbency multiplication of mute imprecations

  sudden quasi-certitude that another inch and I fall headlong into a ravine or dash myself against a wall though nothing I know only too well to be hoped for in that quarter this tears me from my reverie I’ve arrived

  the people above whining about not living strange at such a time such a bubble in the head all dead now others for whom it is not a life and what follows very strange namely that I understand them

  always understood everything except for example history and geography understood everything and forgave nothing never could never disapproved anything really not even cruelty to animals never loved anything

  such a bubble at such a time it bursts the day can’t do much more to me

  you mustn’t too weak agreed if you want weaker no you must as weak as possible then weaker still I say it as I hear it every word always

  my day my day my life so they come back the old words always no not much more only reacclimatize myself then last till sleep not fall asleep mad no sense in that

  mad or worse transformed à la Haeckel born in Potsdam where Klopstock too among others lived a space and laboured though buried in Altona the shadow he casts

  at evening with his face to the huge sun or his back I forget it’s not said the great shadow he casts towards his native east the humanities I had my God and with that flashes of geography

  not much more but in the tail the venom I’ve lost my latin one must be vigilant so a good moment in a daze on my belly then begin I can’t believe it to listen

  to listen as though having set out the previous evening from Nova Zembla I had just come back to my senses in a subtropical subprefecture that’s how I was had become or always was it’s one or the other the geography I had

  question if always good old question if always like that since the world world for me from the murmurs of my mother shat into the incredible tohu-bohu

  like that unable to take a step particularly at night without stopping dead on one leg eyes closed breath caught ears cocked for pursuers and rescuers

  I close my eyes the same old two and see me head up rick in the neck hands tense in the mud something wrong there breath caught it lasts I last like that a moment until the quiver of the lower face signifying I am saying have succeeded in saying something to myself

  what can one say to oneself possibly say at such a time a little pearl of forlorn solace so much the better so much the worse that style only not so cold cheers alas that style only not so warm joy and sorrow those two their su
m divided by two and luke like in outer hell

  it’s soon said once found soon said the lips stiffen and all the adjacent flesh the hands open the head drops I sink a little further then no further it’s the same kingdom as before a moment before the same it always was I have never left it it is boundless

  I’m often happy God knows but never more than at this instant never so oh I know happiness unhappiness I know I know but there’s no harm mentioning it

  above if I were above the stars already and from the belfreys the brief hour there’s not much more left to endure I’d gladly stay as I am for ever but that won’t do

  uncord sack and neck I do it I must do it it’s the way one is regulated my fingers do it I feel them

  in the mud the dark the face in the mud the hands anyhow something wrong there the cord in my hand the whole body anyhow and soon it is as if there at that place and no other I had lived yes lived always

  God sometimes somewhere at this moment but I have chanced on a good day I would gladly eat something but I won’t eat anything the mouth opens the tongue doesn’t come out the mouth soon closes again

  it’s on the left the sack attends me I turn on my right side and take it so light in my arms the knees draw up the back bends the head comes to rest on the sack we must have had these movements before would they were the last

  now yes or no a fold of the sack between the lips that can happen not in the mouth between the lips in the vestibule

  in spite of the life I’ve been given I’ve kept my plump lips two big scarlet blubbers to the feel made for kisses I imagine they pout out a little more part and fasten on a ruck of the sack very horsy

  yes or no it’s not said I can’t see other possibilities pray my prayer to sleep again wait for it to descend open under me calm water at last and in peril more than ever since all parries spent that hangs together still

  find more words and they all spent more brief movements of the lower face he would need good eyes the witness if there were a witness good eyes a good lamp he would have them the witness the good eyes the good lamp

  to the scribe sitting aloof he’d announce midnight no two in the morning three in the morning Ballast Office brief movements of the lower face no sound it’s my words cause them it’s they cause my words it’s one or the other I’ll fall asleep within humanity again just barely

  the dust there was then the mingled lime and granite stones piled up to make a wall further on the thorn in flower green and white quickset mingled privet and thorn

  the depth of dust there was then the little feet big for their age bare in the dust

  the satchel under the arse the back against the wall raise the eyes to the blue wake up in a sweat the white there was then the little clouds you could see the blue through the hot stones through the jersey striped horizontally blue and white

  raise the eyes look for faces in the sky animals in the sky fall asleep and there a beautiful youth meet a beautiful youth with golden goatee clad in an alb wake up in a sweat and have met Jesus in a dream

  that kind an image not for the eyes made of words not for the ears the day is ended I’m safe till tomorrow the mud opens I depart till tomorrow the head in the sack the arms round it the rest anyhow

  brief black long black no knowing and there I am again on my way again something missing here only two or three yards more and then the precipice only two or three last scraps and then the end end of part one leaving only part two leaving only part three and last something missing here things one knows already or will never know it’s one or the other

  I arrive and fall as the slug falls take the sack in my arms it weighs nothing any more nothing any more to pillow my head I press a rag I shall not say to my heart

  no emotion all is lost the bottom burst the wet the dragging the rubbing the hugging the ages old coal-sack five stone six stone that hangs together all gone the tins the opener an opener and no tins I’m spared that this time tins and no opener I won’t have had that in my life this time

  so many other things too so often imagined never named never could useful necessary beautiful to the feel all I was given present formulation such ancient things all gone but the cord a burst sack a cord I say it as I hear it murmur it to the mud old sack old cord you remain

  a little more to last a little more untwine the rope make two ropes tie the bottom of the sack fill it with mud tie the top it will make a good pillow it will be soft in my arms brief movements of the lower face would they were the last

  when the last meal the last journey what have I done where been that kind mute screams abandon hope gleam of hope frantic departure the cord round my neck the sack in my mouth a dog

  abandoned here effect of hope that hangs together still the eternal straight line effect of the pious wish not to die before my time in the dark the mud not to mention other causes

  only one thing to do go back or at least only other thrash round where I lie and I go on zigzag give me my due conformably to my complexion present formulation seeking that which I have lost there where I have never been

  dear figures when all fails a few figures to wind up with part one before Pim the golden age the good moments the losses of species I was young I clung on on to the species we’re talking of the species the human saying to myself brief movements no sound two and two twice two and so on

  sudden swerve therefore left it’s preferable forty-five degrees and two yards straight line such is the force of habit then right right angle and straight ahead four yards dear figures then left right angle and beeline four yards then right right angle so on till Pim

  thus north and south of the abandoned arrow effect of hope series of sawteeth or chevrons sides two yards base three a little less this the base we’re talking of the base in the old line of march which I thus revisit an instant between two vertices one yard and a half a little less dear figures golden age so it ends part one before Pim my travelling days vast stretch of time I was young all that all those words chevrons golden vertices every word always as I hear it in me that was without quaqua on all sides and murmur to the mud when the panting stops barely audible bits and scraps

  semi-side left right leg right arm push pull flat on face curse God bless him beseech him no sound with feet and hands scrabble in the mud what do I hope a tin lost where I have never been a tin half-emptied thrown away ahead that’s all I hope

  where I have never been but others perhaps long before not long before it’s one or the other or it’s both a procession what comfort in adversity others what comfort

  those dragging on in front those dragging on behind whose lot has been whose lot will be what your lot is endless cortège of sacks burst in the interests of all

  or a celestial tin miraculous sardines sent down by God at the news of my mishap wherewith to spew him out another week

  semi-side right left leg left arm push pull flat on the face mute imprecations scrabble in the mud every half-yard eight times per chevron or three yards of headway clear a little less the hand dips clawing for the take instead of the familiar slime an arse two cries one mute end of part one before Pim that’s how it was before Pim

  PART 2

  here then at last part two where I have still to say how it was as I hear it in me that was without quaqua on all sides bits and scraps how it was with Pim vast stretch of time murmur it in the mud to the mud when the panting stops how it was my life we’re talking of my life in the dark the mud with Pim part two leaving only part three and last that’s where I have my life where I had it where I’ll have it vast tracts of time part three and last in the dark the mud my life murmur it bits and scraps

  happy time in its way part two we’re talking of part two with Pim how it was good moments good for me we’re talking of me for him too we’re talking of him too happy too in his way I’ll know it later his way of happiness I’ll have it later I have not yet had all

  faint shrill cry then foretaste of this semi-castrate mutter I must bear how long no more figures there
’s another little difference compared to what precedes not the slightest figure henceforth all measures vague yes vague impressions of length length of space length of time vague impressions of brevity between the two and hence no more reckoning save possibly algebraical yes I hear yes then no

  smartly as from a block of ice or white-hot my hand recoils hangs a moment it’s vague in mid air then slowly sinks again and settles firm and even with a touch of ownership already on the miraculous flesh perpendicular to the crack the stump of the thumb and thenar and hypo balls on the left cheek the four fingers on the other the right hand therefore we are not yet head to foot

  flat assuredly but slightly arched none the less modesty perhaps the innate kind it can’t have been acquired and so a little hog-backed straddling the slit whence contact with the right cheek less pads than nails second cry of fright assuredly but in which I seemed to catch orchestra-drowned a faint flageolet of pleasure already fatuity on my part it’s possible

  there’s a past perhaps this part will work in the past part two with Pim how it was another little difference perhaps compared to what precedes but quick my nails a word on them they will have their part to play

  to be feared well well that in this part I may be not extinguished no that is not said that is not yet in my composition no dimmed what is said is dimmed before I flare up Pim gone even more lively if that is possible than before we met more what is the word more lively there’s nothing better the man who has only to appear and no ears no eyes for anyone else too strong as always yes to be feared my part now the utilityman’s

  my part who but for me he would never Pim we’re talking of Pim never be but for me anything but a dumb limp lump flat for ever in the mud but I’ll quicken him you wait and see and how I can efface myself behind my creature when the fit takes me now my nails

  quick a supposition if this so-called mud were nothing more than all our shit yes all if there are not billions of us at the moment and why not the moment there are two there were yes billions of us crawling and shitting in their shit hugging like a treasure in their arms the wherewithal to crawl and shit a little more now my nails

 
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