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The Neighing of the White Horse

The room of the worn-out man is devoid of light – silent, black, a small box of humid stone. I return to it without a bit of nostalgia after wandering for hours through streets drenched in light cast from storefronts on both sides, and from coloured neon hoardings. At that time, the night is a ragged, warm, long song. In the darkness of its caves, it tenderly embraces the sweetness of spring and the ferocity of a hungry tiger. I was an old blind bat with broken wings, not finding my bread or my happiness. I am unaware of my bread and my happiness. The cacophony strikes me wherever I go. It terrifies me so much the noise of creatures creeping around me on the sidewalk. It pulls me away from myself, from a black spot perched inside me – cold, sad, like a dead star. I am nothing but a lost creature in the crush of a big ancient city. I am no Don Juan. I don’t have a car, or an imposing building on a street beyond the reach of the poor. My forehead has never touched the carpet of a mosque. I am not a prize boxer or wrestler. The readers of magazines and newspapers are not familiar with my face. I work eight hours a day. I get tired. I wolf down my food much too fast. I throw myself into futile arguments. My bets are always pitifully tiny. I laugh like an idiot. I flirt with women. I curse God. I go with prostitutes. I tell the tale of my unhappy love sadly. I listen to the symphonies of Sibelius. I read books. I loiter on the winding streets. I gulp down cheap alcohol: without it, the night becomes a crushing melancholy.

I felt a yearning for the dark forest of numbness and dizziness and staggering . . . my feet led me to a bar that serves bad whiskey at cheap prices. The owner knows me. I am his languid, silent drunk. I drink. Everything is meaningless and stupid. With a despairing movement of my hand I emptied the glass of whiskey down my mouth in a single gulp, then wiped my mouth with the back of my

BANIPAL 53 – SUMMER 2015 61

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