aphorisms | poetics

by Artjom Sobolew (adfinitum.org)


a shower of black corpses rains

on terrified and anguished brains

with painful delusion

in bloody affusion

hopes' nails bang rougher

into the coffin where we suffer

thunderstorms are coming nearer

digging lightnings in the land

sea tides rise, they're watching cheerer

earthly wounds bleed into sand

abyss consumes abyss in dread

the lava flow of lifeless names

and last mans' wicked seed falls dead

from hellmouth into flames

the poisonous air with breath of doom

smolders fiercly in the night

salvation dies of cancer in its' womb

we're finished now and out of sight

Artjom Sobolew, adfinitum.org


The real Garden Eden - that is the wasteland.  The goal of history - that's the weathering field of ruins.  The sense - that is the trickling sand blown through the eye sockets up to the skullcap. 

Ulrich Horstmann, the beast 1983


Everything is ridiculous if one thinks of death.

Thomas Bernhard

The world is eaten up by boredom.... You can't see it all at once. It is like dust. You go about and never notice, you breathe it in, you eat and drink it. It is sifted so fine, it doesn't even grit on your teeth. But stand still for an instant and there it is, coating your face and hands. To shake off this drizzle of ashes you must be for ever on the go. And so people are always "on the go."

Georges Bernanos, The Diary of a Country Priest 

The feelings that hurt most, the emotions that sting most, are those that are absurd - The longing for impossible things, precisely because they are impossible; nostalgia for what never was; the desire for what could have been; regret over not being someone else; dissatisfaction with the world’s existence. All these half-tones of the soul’s consciousness create in us a painful landscape, an eternal sunset of what we are.

Fernando Pessoa

I know that our efforts all come to nothing. I know the end of us all is nothing, I know that at the end of Time, the reward of our toil will be nothing— and again nothing. I know that all our handiwork will be destroyed. I know that not even ash will be left from the fires that consume us. I know that our ideals, even those we achieve, will vanish in the eternal darkness of oblivion and final non-being. There is no hope, none, in my heart. No promise, none, can I make to myself and to others. No recompense can I expect for my labors. No fruit will be born of my thoughts. The Future—eternal seducer of all men, eternal cause of all effects—offers me nothing but the blank prospect of annihilation.

Giovanni Papini, Un uomo finito


Real misanthropes are not found in solitude, but in the world; since it is experience of life, and not philosophy, which produces real hatred of mankind.

Giacomo Leopardi


Language is not made to be believed but to be obeyed, and to compel obedience newspapers, news, proceed by redundancy, in that they tell us what we ‘must’ think, retain, expect, etc. language is neither informational nor communicational. It is not the communication of information but something quite different: the transmission of order-words, either from one statement to another or within each statement, insofar as each statement accomplishes an act and the act is accomplished in the statement.

Gilles Deleuze, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (1980)


Because we demand a future, we live each moment in expectation and unfulfillment. We live each moment in passing. In just this way the real nunc stans, the timeless present, is reduced to the nunc fluens, the fleeting present, the passing present of a mere one or two seconds. We expect each moment to pass on to a future moment, for in this fashion we pretend to avoid death by always rushing toward an imagined future. We want to meet ourselves in the future. We don’t want just now—we want another now, and another, and another, tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow. And thus, paradoxically, our impoverished present is fleeting precisely because we demand that it end! We want it to end so that it can thereby pass on to yet another moment, a future moment, which will in turn live only to pass.

Ken Wilber, No Boundary: Eastern and Western Approaches to Personal Growth


The old adage from Santayana, that those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it, is a lie. There is no history. Everything we are is eternally with us.

Kathleen Conklin in "The Addiction", Abel Ferrara 1995


Irony won't save you from anything; humour doesn't do anything at all. You can look at life ironically for years, maybe decades; there are people who seem to go through most of their lives seeing the funny side, but in the end, life always breaks your heart. Doesn't matter how brave you are, or how reserved, or how much you've developed a sense of humour, you still end up with your heart broken. That's when you stop laughing.

Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles


Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness.

Samuel Beckett


Grodek  (1913)

At evening the autumnal forests resound

With deadly weapons, the golden plains

And blue lakes, above them the sun

Rolls more darkly by; night enfolds

The dying warriors, the wild lament

Of their broken mouths.

But in the grassy vale the spilled blood,

Red clouds in which an angry god lives,

Gathers softly, lunar coldness;

All roads lead to black decay.

Beneath the golden boughs of night and stars

The sister’s shadow reels through the silent grove

To greet the ghosts of heroes, their bleeding heads;

And the dark flutes of autumn sound softly in the reeds.

O prouder sorrow! you brazen altars

Today an immense anguish feeds the mind’s hot flame,

The unborn descendants.

Georg Trakl

( translation by Margitt Lehbert )

Whatever exists is inevitably flawed. Buddha, in his detachment from the world, finds all its hustle and bustle ridiculous because he has nothing to do with it. A cynic finds the feelings of his fellow human beings ridiculous because he has no feelings himself. Someone who does not play soccer thinks it ridiculous to chase around after a little leather ball for hours at a time. He doesn't bother to ask whether this game might be a lot of fun. All he sees is the ridiculousness of grown men playing like little boys. People who do anything will no doubt appear ridiculous to people who do nothing. A person who acts can always make a fool of himself. A person who doesn't never runs that risk. We might even say that life is always ridiculous but death is never ridiculous.

Fritz Zorn (Fritz Angst), Mars


Worshiping the Devil is no more insane than worshiping God...It is precisely at the moment when positivism is at its high-water mark that mysticism stirs into life and the follies of occultism begin.

Joris-Karl Huysmans


my fifth attempt 

(to translate a poem by a former friend)


We set out, the thorny demands,

the litany of dreariness keeps still, ravaged.

We are the murk, so untended.

A bell punch tugs us into the abyss.

The wordless, bottomless, a sentence is enough;

perchance a look, perchance a speechless waiting.

Emptiness plays its dreary game in tender

devastations, doom-rapt.

We set out, but motionless veiled;

petrified brain, the view into a never-before.

Absence that celebrates catastrophes.

A silence and a nothingness: epiphany.


But at the bottom, the immanent philosopher sees in the entire universe only the deepest longing for absolute annihilation, and it is as if he clearly hears the call that permeates all spheres of heaven: Redemption! Redemption! Death to our life! and the comforting answer: you will all find annihilation and be redeemed!

Philipp Mainländer, Die Philosophie der Erlösung


I believe that truth has only one face: that of a violent contradiction.

Georges Bataille


my third attempt 

(to translate a poem by a former friend)


That’s how it was once: The winters burst softer

into human misery and became word.

Deceased surrounded by sadness.

Appeal of the night

in the playing of lunatic strings.

Madness lay on the cities gingerly,

Behemoth death appeared against the light.

Threatened by blackness in the dead of the night;

a cold existence in churned beds.

Now emptiness dwells in the barren brains.

In the jungle of the trivial the void hunts

for artifacts of creative light.

Apathy drips from the obscene foreheads. 


Melancholy and sadness are the start of doubt... doubt is the beginning of despair; despair is the cruel beginning of the differing degrees of wickedness.

Comte de Lautreamont


A man's delight in looking forward to and hoping for some particular satisfaction is a part of the pleasure flowing out of it, enjoyed in advance. But this is afterward deducted, for the more we look forward to anything the less we enjoy it when it comes.

Arthur Schopenhauer


Another poem by my former friend 

(that i translated into english)


Dying thrusts the sky.

Insanity hides the blind glow of the blood.

A lantern of the Dead flickers over cities.

An empty grave calls home.

Memory of God's parting word.

Exanimates babbles through time lurching

and cataclysms play doom in brains.

A supper of pain and fear.


Consciousness is much more than the thorn, it is the dagger in the flesh.

Emil Cioran


Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard


Believe little. question everything. think for yourself.

Albrecht Müller


Virtue knows that it is impossible to get on without compromise, and tunes herself, as it were, a trifle sharp to allow for an inevitable fall in playing.

Samuel Butler


i just tried to translate a poem by a former friend from german to english. The many wonderful neologisms that he used and for which there is often no equivalent in english make the whole thing unfortunately very difficult...apart from that, what do you think of it?


A despicable that shudders towards the inside.

a clenching face whose paleness screams

and searches retchingly.

the attempt of healing

echoes gnawingly.

The who flows

in vain around the nevermore.

In staring gaze,

totally in pain;

and heartache blazes

softly around the abyss. 


Work without hope draws nectar in a sieve, and hope without an object cannot live. 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge 


There exists only the present instant... a Now which always and without end is itself new. There is no yesterday nor any tomorrow, but only Now, as it was a thousand years ago and as it will be a thousand years hence. 

Meister Eckhart


The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.

Ludwig Wittgenstein


Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it.

Audre Lorde

Audrey Geraldine Lorde; February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992) was an American writer, feminist, womanist, librarian, and civil rights activist. She was a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” who dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and homophobia. As a poet, she is best known for technical mastery and emotional expression, as well as her poems that express anger and outrage at civil and social injustices she observed throughout her life. Her poems and prose largely deal with issues related to civil rights, feminism, lesbianism, illness and disability, and the exploration of black female identity.

Religion is a sort of spiritual booze, in which the slaves of capital drown their human image, their demand for a life more or less worthy of man. 

Wladimir Iljitsch Uljanow in ‘Socialism and Religion’ from 1905