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The lost page from THE BOOK OF DISQUIET [Stolen from the Zine King of Portugal!]

May 4, 2011


You all know the book.

Or I’m pretty sure you do.

Well, everyone in Portugal knows the book, and the author, Fernando Pessoa. A poet, a writer, and a very anxious man. Or a shy man…not sure if the shyness stemmed from anxiety or something else…

But doesn’t all shyness stem from some kind of anxiety? Can you be comfortably shy?

Never mind. Did you know they’ve turned his house in Lisbon into a museum? You can go inside and see where he slept, where he wrote, where he said all the horrible shit he couldn’t say outside [probably].

I was in Lisbon last year and a guy running a bar told me about the zine king of Portugal. I forget his name now, but the guy wrote down his e-mail for me and I got in touch. Nice guy, the zine king, and still happy to be a commercial nobody.

Anyway, he told me he had something big.

‘What’s that?’

‘The lost page!’

I didn’t know what he was talking about, but he explained it to me, slowly, at the same time as showing me all the zines he’d ever done [I liked the one with the demon tramp on the cover. Should be a comic strip].

Turns out Pessoa had written an extra page for The Book of Disquiet that no one knew about. And when the zine king wasn’t looking, I took it.

He’ll get over it.

Here it is, the missing page from The Book of Disquiet, completely unedited, untouched etc.:

‘I sat on the same bench today. The one I’ve sat on for the last fifteen years, and the one I will continue to sit on until the day I die. Oh bench, you are my manacle! But today was peculiar. As I sat on the bench it occurred to me that neither myself nor the bench were real, not in any experiential sense. I am the only carrier of my own experience, a thing which means nothing to me. It is merely recordings of a mind, and the mind is a thing I dare not trust because I cannot visualise its core. And the bench…well, it is a bench is it not? What difference can there be whether it burdens my ass or a pigeon’s? There is no mind, no point of view. So where lies the unreality? Well, it is everywhere. The bench is not real because it can never be aware of its own benchness. What does it record? Nothing. Whereas I, from the crow’s nest of my mind, record everything, yet accept nothing. Ask me where is my core, what is the controlling centre that interprets, and I cannot respond. There is no essence within me. I think therefore I am nothing. Or is it different from that? I think therefore I become nothing. Whatever the truth, I have decided to continue sitting on the bench, every day for the rest of my life if I must. There is no regret from the bench, there is no regret from others who pass me in the street. Only I am aware of the continuity, and tomorrow I know it will be unimportant because I will no longer be the same me.


Today I went to the cinema and watched an American film. Birth of a Nation. I enjoyed the bit with the horse.


There is a new guy at the office who seems to take pleasure from humiliating me. This morning he tried to staple my tie to the desk. This evening, as I sit in my apartment, I think of ways to punish him. It seems torture, release, and then more torture is the favoured way. These thoughts, these scenes of an enhanced, foreign ‘me’ give me momentary pleasure, yet I know that tomorrow I will think of it no more. Another ‘me’ has been born and will soon die.


That American film, it won’t leave my mind. I’m not sure for what reason this occurs, but I do know that I’m beginning to hate white people. Was there a subtext I missed?


Today was a strange day. Another poet, who I know only through other poets, approached me in the cafe and asked me to look at his poem. I didn’t want to read the thing, but he already had the paper practically in my face, so there was nothing to be done but read. A nuisance, these extravagant ones. Why do they think all poetry must be bellowed in the streets? I would be much happier if no one ever read my own work, as there is no true satisfaction to be gained. How can there be? The written word can never out-perform the idea, and nothing I have ever written has repudiated this thought. Anyway, this poet…as I was reading his work, he talked to me. He asked me if I was enjoying it or not, and before I could answer, he demanded to know why my face wasn’t reacting. I shrugged and told him it was merely my way of doing things. He wasn’t pleased. He grabbed the paper out of my hand and told me if I was incapable of performing while reading then I was incapable of understanding the work. I didn’t respond to this, and he walked out. I went back to my coffee. Did I consider what he’d said? Not at all. To me, this written work of his…it is no different than my favourite bench.


It rained all afternoon and I watched it from my window. It gave me pleasure to see no one enjoying themselves outside.


The office was quiet again today, and the man who wishes to humiliate me was absent. As there was no real work to do, I tried once more to visualise my core. It didn’t work. How does that make me feel? I feel nothing, because there is neither an ‘I’ nor a ‘me’. I have no core, or none that I can turn to stone and evaluate, so how can I feel? I cannot. It is impossible, a game for fools.


I am utterly bored of life.


I went to the beach today. Next to me was a woman with the most amazing tits. I considered the idea of conversing with her and telling her of my struggles to visualise my own core, but felt that ultimately it was the wrong move to make. Am I a coward? No, it cannot be. By the same philosophy I live by, I cannot criticise myself for an element I will no longer possess tomorrow. There are no cowards, only episodes of cowardice.


I cannot stop thinking of the woman on the beach. It has been days since I saw her, and even though Lisbon is a compact city, it is clear to me that I will never encounter her again. So why the continuation of things past? Perhaps it is her character that confuses, yet all I can do is create it myself with the tools available to me. Does she share the same thoughts? Impossible to determine, and why do I persist with the present tense? She is dead, gone, lost the moment I fled the beach. But still…could a woman raised with such tits contemplate the same things as I?


I have reached an impasse. The core I have been searching for, and am cynical of, has warped itself in such a way that I no longer know what the word ‘core’ means. Help.


It’s okay. I reached a state of being where I can once again understand the meaning of the word ‘core.’


The office was busy today, yet the man who wishes to humiliate me found time to call me a coward. I thought about telling him the difference between being a coward and episodes of cowardice, but he was already gone. I really hate that motherfucker.


So there it is…

The lost page of Pessoa. Not sure it would all fit on one page…unless the type was point 8 or smaller?

Anyway, good to see he went to the beach now and then. It’s good to get out. Sad to see he didn’t understand the concept of meeting the same person twice though.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Deadwood permalink
    May 4, 2011 5:39 pm

    Quite funny.

    Did you know Pessoa was practically asexual? He only ever dated one woman, and that didn’t go very well.

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