“wanting to be human sounds too pretty to me”

September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Yes, not for us the love in the diurnal desert: we are the ones that swim, the night air is soggy and sweetened, and we are salty since sweating is our exhalation. Long ago I was drawn with you in a cave, and with you I swam from its dark depths up to today, I swam with my countless cilia — I was the oil that did not gush until today, when a black African woman drew me in my house, making me sprout upon a wall. Sleepwalking like the oil that gushes at last.

* * *

It is with pain that I bid farewell even to the beauty of a child — I want the adult who is  more primitive and ugly and drier and more difficult, and who became a child-seed that cannot be broken between the teeth.

Ah, and I also want to see if I can relinquish the horse drinking water, which is so pretty. Neither do I want my feeling because it prettifies; and could I relinquish the sky moving in clouds? and the flower? I don’t want pretty love. I don’t want dusk, I don’t want the well-made face. I don’t want the expressive. I want the inexpressive. I want the inhuman inside the person; no, it isn’t dangerous, since people are human anyway, you don’t have to fight for that: wanting to be human sounds too pretty to me.

I want the material of things. Humanity is drenched with humanization, as if that were necessary; and that false humanization trips up man and trips up his humanity. A thing exists that is fuller, deafer, deeper, less good, less good, less bad. Yet that thing too runs the risk, in our coarse hands, of becoming transformed into ‘purity,’ our hands that are coarse and full of words.

— Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.

For those provoked in whatever way by these quotes, you can find more still (& quite a bit of commentary) in my essay published today over at The New Inquiry.

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