36

An Immense Hunger

Edward Curtin

“Standing there I wondered how much of what we had felt on the bridge was just hunger. I asked my wife and she said, ‘I don’t know, Tatie. There are so many sorts of hunger. In the spring there are more. But that’s gone now. Memory is hunger.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Now that our revels are ended, the holiday celebrations and feasts, if one had them, just a dream melted into thin air, our hungers perhaps richly satiated temporarily or not, our visions project us into a new year in which we hope to realize in a not insubstantial way the images we see before the canvases of our inner eyes.

What can we do, how create the new when we are such stuff as dreams are made on?

To escape the period that ends every sentence, every year, every life, one only needs winged words to take flight, to shimmer in the ascending iridescent light.

My wanderlust has taken me to scores of countries, I imagine, glimmering destinations that have inflamed me with images of satisfaction, but I have never kept an exact count since numbers bore me and my imagination forbids it.

“To a child who is fond of maps and stamps / The universe is the size of his immense hunger,” wrote Charles Baudelaire in Le Voyage in 1859.

When I was young and collected stamps of all the exotic places that I hoped to visit, what did I know of desire?  Then it seemed satiable, as when I finished one book after another, and placed them neatly on a shelf, as if to say, now that is done – for now.

Now the books are different, so too each piece of edible writing that disappears out the backdoor of my days.  Today, those tangible little colored stamps on Air Mail envelopes are rarely seen, and so young potential voyagers usually dream digitally as little is left to their imaginations.  Their dreams are mass-produced, but their hunger is real. My hunger is still immense.

But the desire to travel, like all hunger, is only satisfied for a while.  It is insatiable once it bites you.  Every time you are on your way away, you wonder if this voyage will be the last one where you find what you are looking for, even when you don’t know what that is.  You close your eyes, spin the globe, and place a finger to find where you might vacate the old for the new.  You hope to return with photographs and memories, knowing secretly that they fade with your days.

Perhaps you think you will be like Odysseus, who at the end of his Odyssey has just returned home after twenty years and killed all the suitors who have been hitting on his wife Penelope, but then he shockingly tells her that he must be off again for new wanderings: “Woman, we haven’t reached the end of our trials,” he says, as they then proceed to their great olive tree-trunked bed with its mighty roots.  It is a short hot rest before he is off again.

Why?  What is his destination?  What are ours?  Where are we all going?

“One morning we set out, our brains aflame, / Our hearts full of resentment and bitter desires, / And we go, following the rhythm of the wave, / Lulling our infinite on the finite of the seas:”

In 1946 the French poet, Jacques Prévert, asked an analogous question, one that haunts us still, as we contemplate the corpses piling up in Gaza and around the world, victims of ruthless smiling jackals with polished faces.

His poem “Song in the Blood” asks, “There are great puddles of blood on the world/where’s it all going all this spilled blood/is it the earth that drinks it and gets drunk….No the earth doesn’t get drunk…. it turns and all living things set up a howl….it doesn’t stop turning/ and the blood doesn’t stop running/ where’s it all going all this spilled blood/murder’s blood…war’s blood/misery’s blood….”

When I was young and in the early years of my blooming, my blood running down another road, I would watch a television show called “Adventures in Paradise.”  I would always watch it alone on a small television set that I had in my bedroom, won, as I recall, by some member of my large family on a TV game show.  It starred a handsome actor named Gardner McKay, who would sail the South Pacific on his schooner Tiki, looking for romance and adventures in every port.

My only memory of the shows is of the boat sailing the beautiful and exotic waters, accompanied by stirring music.  These images kindled the romantic in me, some hunger that I could not then name.  It was pure fantasy, of course, but it took me to places I had never been but thought enticingly fulfilling.  Each show was a new stamp in motion, just as were the many movies I would attend by myself during my teen years that took me to Italy, France, Greece, Russia, and so many other places.  But my hunger persisted.

Years later I would read an obituary of Gardner McKay in The New York Times where I learned that after a three-year run of the show, McKay refused to renew his contract with Twentieth Century Fox nor star in a movie with Marilyn Monroe, despite her personal pleas, because he hated the celebrity game where his photo had appeared on the cover of Life magazine as “a new Apollo.”  He left for the Amazon rainforest where for two years he worked as an agronomist’s assistant, before moving to France and then Egypt, eventually settling back in the U.S.A. with his wife, where he became a writer.  He was a Baudelaire who didn’t self-destruct.

“But the true voyagers are only those who leave / Just to be leaving; hearts light, like balloons, / They never turn aside from their fatality / And without knowing why they always say: ‘Let’s go!’”

In a fascinating essay, “On Jean-Luc Godard’s Histoire(s) du cinema,” written in 2012 and included in his new book, Tricks of the Light: Essays on Art and Spectacle, Jonathan Crary notes that Jean-Luc Godard, the French-Swiss filmmaker who died in 2022, maintained that Baudelaire’s poem, Le Voyage, anticipated cinema and its effects.

“Its general evocation of the boredom and bitterness of experience in a flattened, disenchanted world,” writes Crary, “describes the conditions for new kinds of journeys or dislocations that can occur without movement in space, in its figuration of an apparitional screen on which images and memories are projected.”

Connecting the political history of the period from 1859 to today, it is necessary, maintains Crary, to view it as inseparable from “the intertwined history of the camera arts.”  This analysis, which I think is very accurate, is not a call to despair; it is rather the opposite: “…Godard implies that each generation must wage its own battle against historical amnesia from the lived conditions of its unique historical vantage point, and that this struggle necessitates the remaking of the techniques and language available to it.”

Here we are today saturated with images, moving and still, a world where digital media, photographs and film in all their manifestations dominate most people’s consciousnesses.  But the paradoxical mystery of this development, as Crary notes, is revealed in Godard’s film, Histoire(s) du cinema, wherein Baudelaire’s poem Le Voyage is continuously recited.

As the film travels along, the poet’s words about the disillusionment of actual voyages is recited contrapuntally, as if to suggest that the most ancient of human arts – the poetic voice (“Sing in me, O Muse, and through me tell the story…of that man….the wanderer”) – remains fundamental, even as technology develops new methods of image making and people travel through film.

One doesn’t have to share Godard’s view that Baudelaire’s poem was prophetically describing cinema to appreciate the rich possibilities of such a meditation at a time when the world seems entrenched in a media system that manipulates people’s minds in all directions simultaneously, carrying both meaning and its countermeaning, resulting in minds stuck at anchor, caught neurotically in dazed stasis.

“Godard’s larger suggestion here,” writes Crary, “is that the material basis for cinema, including projection, owes as much to the imaginative labor of poets and writers such as Baudelaire, Hugo, Zola, and Charles Cros as it does to any nineteenth-century traditions of applied science or mechanical bricolage.”

To escape the period that ends every sentence, every year, every life, one only needs winged words to take flight, to shimmer in the ascending iridescent light.

“We wish to voyage without steam and without sails! / To brighten the ennui of our prisons, / Make your memories, framed in their horizons, / Pass across our minds stretched like canvasses.”

So I sit here in a quiet room, not moving, yet moving still, traveling in words to an undiscovered country that I can’t see but hope will satisfy my immense hunger.  We all have our ways but have a singular destiny.  “And being nowhere can be anywhere,” as Baudelaire said, just as being somewhere can be everywhere.

“Must one depart? Remain? If you can stay, remain; / Leave, if you must. One runs, another hides / To elude the vigilant, fatal enemy,. / Time! There are, alas! those who rove without respite,”

So let Ernest Hemingway, who had one of his heroes, Jake Barnes, say nearly a hundred years ago, “Cheer up, all the countries look just like the moving pictures,” have the penultimate words, again from A Moveable Feast:

It was a wonderful meal at Michaud’s after we got in; but when we had finished and there was no question of hunger any more the feeling that had been like hunger when we were on the bridge was still there when we caught the bus home. It was there when we came in the room and after we had gone to bed and made love in the dark, it was there. When I woke with the windows open and the moonlight on the roofs of the tall houses, it was there. I put my face away from the moonlight into the shadow but I could not sleep and lay awake thinking about it. We had both wakened twice in the night and my wife slept sweetly now with the moonlight on her face. I had to try to think it out and I was too stupid.

That makes two of us.

Edward Curtin is an independent writer whose work has appeared widely over many years. His website is edwardcurtin.com and his new book is Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies.

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NickM
NickM
Jan 8, 2024 4:32 PM

Indian Village Restores Agricultural Water Table by Manual Labour

https://youtu.be/bRBkw0mem6Q?si=hLELOokXzDPb_yRF

Edwige
Edwige
Jan 8, 2024 4:13 PM

“Immense hunger” is certainly on the cards if the German farmers ae defeated. This needs coverage in the independent media.

The MSM response is the usual:
1) Downplay and ignore.
2) When forced to acknowledge it’s happening, present it as a protest against the abolition of “tax breaks” and “subsidies”. They want to keep their unfair advantages… it’s not a protest against the broader oligarchic agenda….
3) Get your outriders to start with the smears – Politico call the protesters a “mob” and the Fraud is starting the “far-right” linkage.

futurist
futurist
Jan 10, 2024 10:59 PM
Reply to  Edwige

“Immense hunger” is certainly on the cards if the German farmers ae defeated. This needs coverage in the independent media.

If you fooled for the convery in Canada and then the bbb party BoerBurgerBeweging Netherlands sponsored by Monsanto promoted the CC alt media net.
and then the German farmers party is the same template as the other nonsense.

How quickly they forget.

In the U.k they Put Freemason Nigel in the jungle eating bugs acting humane and make him come a 3rd and all is forgotten about covid.

RE:  independent media. where,,.>>?

Jos
Jos
Jan 8, 2024 9:48 AM

During the height of the jabathon, my niece told me she had had the vax to be able to travel. She made the choice without a struggle: a risk assessment of an unknown future harm against the joy of evading a draconian measure. At the time it shocked me but then I had already lived a life in which I’d had the chance to travel and see as much of the world as I felt I needed to. She argued the risk was worth taking and for her it clearly was. If we are living on a prison planet, all efforts to escape may seem valid. And, on that note, a moon-landing is set to be attempted today and this is what the Vulcan is carrying:
‘The lander also contains more colourful cargo, including a shoebox-sized rover built by Carnegie Mellon University, a physical Bitcoin, and, somewhat controversially, cremated remains and DNA, including those of Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, legendary sci-fi author and scientist Arthur C. Clarke, and a dog’.
A dog? Why? Which dog? They’re just winding us up at this point. A dumping of garbage on the moon surface that no one has ever landed on because they can’t? 😂 Good luck with that.

Jos
Jos
Jan 8, 2024 12:39 PM
Reply to  Jos

And just to add – if it took the Apollo 11 mission 4 days, 6 hours and 45 minutes back in 1969, why is Vulcan not going to reach the moon till February 23rd (46 days)?

Paul
Paul
Jan 8, 2024 8:38 PM
Reply to  Jos

The official story is that they lost all of the technology that made Apollo 11. You know, all that uber high tech of the 60s  😂 

Speedwellian
Speedwellian
Jan 8, 2024 2:54 AM

With every step I have arrived.

niko
niko
Jan 7, 2024 10:09 PM

Hard for me to wax literary on hungers of the human spirit after a lifetime of struggle for food in a world that’s starved billions for bizzness as usual. Suppose I’ve been traveling different directions from many in more leisurely classes. My dreams remain mundane, like no one going hungry, literally, anymore.

NickM
NickM
Jan 9, 2024 3:54 PM
Reply to  niko

Right on. Food is the first and greatest of the great hungers. Then comes procreation and fellowship. Then shelter and defense. Last of all came this hairless ape with a head as big as a melon.

reante
reante
Jan 9, 2024 6:32 PM
Reply to  NickM

If we go all the way back in biological evolution then shelter actually came first because seaborne precellular RNA first had to hunger for permanent shelter inside preservative fat globules before they could have the sense of stability to evolve the metabolic processes necessary for hungering food. 🙂

KiwiJoker
KiwiJoker
Jan 12, 2024 6:30 PM
Reply to  reante

Water is God.

sandy
sandy
Jan 7, 2024 9:22 PM

We are the eyes and lives of Universe seeking self consciousness. Voyages that begin in life and end in death, are the method of Universe to preclude Gods from crippling existence. Let’s not allow our sorrow of voyage’s end, allow tyrants to prosecute godhood, and spoil the voyages that our descendants must fulfill. We are the ancestors that lighten paths forward for future generations. The mystery of it all is what keeps the trip eternally engaging.

Vagabard
Vagabard
Jan 7, 2024 7:57 PM

As Louis de Bernières once said:

“They told me to grow roots, instead, I grew wings”

Jenner
Jenner
Jan 8, 2024 12:39 AM
Reply to  Vagabard

“Roots” are family, extended kin and ethnic nation, traditionally.

The Scamdemic split and destroyed vaxxer/non-vaxxer families from the outside, as it were. But they were and are under attack inside from genderism, a certain tyoe of feminism, albophobia and heterophobia.

So there are your “wings”: fractured isolation online to your CBDC wallet.

I see that de Bernieres has said precisely zilch since 2020 on the topic of the democide, while previously having been a Brexiteer.

Another useful idiot (Lenin) literary intellectual?

Vagabard
Vagabard
Jan 8, 2024 8:00 PM
Reply to  Jenner

Dunno. Roots = lockdown, Wings = Freedom. Does that work better?

Jenner
Jenner
Jan 8, 2024 10:30 PM
Reply to  Vagabard

No.

Lockdowns get imposed and lifted, so are reversible. But families and kin and nation are what you get born into, hence the statement: I didn’t choose my parents.

Jimmie Joe
Jimmie Joe
Jan 7, 2024 7:56 PM

OT: Last interview with pathologist Prof. Burkhardt bevore his death.

https://odysee.com/@TLAVagabond:5/Arne-Burkhardt-Interview-12-23-23:1

les online
les online
Jan 7, 2024 6:56 PM

When Reality gets tough
We all take Flights of Fantasy…

santadoesnot
santadoesnot
Jan 7, 2024 5:55 PM

Beautiful writing by Edward.

NickM
NickM
Jan 7, 2024 4:50 PM

Local Farmers Market on 1 Hectare of Mexican Desert

https://youtu.be/cc3-3s115mM?si=OzbpM9kC0FnsGl60

This video from Mexico illustrates a lot of what Colin Todhunter says about small farmers in India being more productive, less damaging to the environment and requiring fewer subsidies.

Of course this Gringo is no ordinary small farmer; he learnt his science from the same English mentor as Colin did. Re-introduces an interesting new / ancient tool: a knife-tined garden fork that is designed to preserve soil structure.

“The answer is in the soil”.

ps 1 Hectare = 2 1/2 Acres. Supports 6 people by selling fresh vegetables at local market.

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 8, 2024 1:58 AM
Reply to  NickM

Very interesting. Thanks Nick.

AntiSoof
AntiSoof
Jan 7, 2024 4:28 PM

I don’t like fancy writing. It’s like just eating food decorated with beautiful phrases and words. The food doesn’t get better if it’s wrapped in empty words. Nowadays it is full of crappy eateries that sell junk for a lot of money.

But true knowledge, that’s what it’s all about. Especially self-knowledge, I think. I find novels that are about that valuable. For the rest, it is the embellishment of the illusion called life, not to mention the writers who, by manipulating with words, trap people into ignorance. Silliness hidden in beautiful sentences remains silliness.

Will
Will
Jan 8, 2024 9:14 AM
Reply to  AntiSoof

Mate, you very definitely lack the eyes to see.

niko
niko
Jan 8, 2024 11:21 AM
Reply to  AntiSoof

Like eating the menu for the meal, or…
philosophy

Paul Prichard
Paul Prichard
Jan 7, 2024 2:28 PM

Your alternative update on #COVID19 for 2024-01-06. Pfizer Dis-Honor Roll: 52% paid GOP & 48% dems. Uni-party politicians are best investment money can buy (blog, gab, tweet, pic1, pic2, pic3, pic4).

NickM
NickM
Jan 7, 2024 4:54 PM
Reply to  Paul Prichard

From your Link (search Dis-Honor Roll):

“Pfizer Dis-Honor Roll: Politicians They Bought (“Invest”) $1, get back $10,000. Politicians are the best “investment” money can buy. Ever wonder why Republicans aren’t pushing back against the medical martial law and bioweapon jab? Pfizer gave 52% of its contributions to GOP & 48% to Dems. Here’s who got the payola. Silence is golden.” (gab)

0use4msm
0use4msm
Jan 7, 2024 2:24 PM

What’s the point of traveling when you always take yourself with you?

Willem
Willem
Jan 7, 2024 4:52 PM
Reply to  0use4msm

Comparison

Mark Culmer
Mark Culmer
Jan 7, 2024 7:58 PM
Reply to  Willem

Comparison of what? who?

Compare the similarities. 
Contrast the differences.

If you are taking ‘yourself’, how objectively can you compare / contrast.

Leave your self at home and only take with you that self that does not assume, judge, grasp or cling, no expectation or attachment –

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” attributed to President Theodore Roosevelt

reante
reante
Jan 8, 2024 2:16 PM
Reply to  Mark Culmer

The conscious, subconscious, and unconscious patterning of Cause and Effect is the only activity that humans ever ultimately participate in. All of biology ultimately only ever patterns for a living, in order to triangulate what to do. Patterning is the continuum of phenomenal comparison we call living. If living be existential joy then comparison be its method.

Vagabard
Vagabard
Jan 7, 2024 7:59 PM
Reply to  0use4msm

The ‘you’ at the beginning of a journey isn’t the same ‘you’ at the end

Erik Nielsen
Erik Nielsen
Jan 8, 2024 2:27 AM
Reply to  0use4msm

Getting away from the jerks.

Veri Tas
Veri Tas
Jan 8, 2024 9:27 PM
Reply to  0use4msm

Perhaps we can attempt to lose a part of ourselves everytime we explore somewhere else, another culture, the other people’s ways?

underground poet
underground poet
Jan 7, 2024 11:52 AM

@Why? What is his destination? What are ours? Where are we all going?

Everlasting comfort and no (sexual) frustrations is her (and the universes) end goal.

And just as he said, it has not been able to be completed, by any country, at any time.

But that does not stop the gods from trying.

Johnny
Johnny
Jan 7, 2024 11:52 AM

No maps, brochures or jets required:

‘We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.‘

TS Eliot, of course.

santadoesnot
santadoesnot
Jan 10, 2024 10:41 PM
Reply to  Johnny

Ts Eliot an insider trying to get the message out..?