False alarms

leaving america for gouna
Where I’m headed

At the stroke of midnight, there will be 27 days left before I leave America.

I will end up in Gouna, in a bubble, far far away.

The endless noise about the orange khanzeer will abate, but there will be other sounds to avoid.

Here is a poem called Finalities, by Constantine Cavafy. It is from the start of his mature period, 1911. The poem warns me as to what to expect when I arrive in Egypt.

Plunged in fear and suspicions

with agitated mind and frightened eyes,

we melt, and plan how to act

in order to avoid the certain

danger so frightfully menacing us.

And yet we err, it is not in our paths;

the messages were false alarms,

(or else we did not hear, or fully understand them).

Another catastrophe, that we never imagined,

suddenly, torrentially, falls upon us,

and unprepared — there is no more time — carries us off.

If there is too much noise in Gouna, as there is here, I shall go to the desert.

If it is quiet, but all I hear are inanities, I shall read my books and seek the company of no one.

If a scorpion crosses my path, I shall avoid him. If he asks, do you object to my being a scorpion? I shan’t answer, but I will cede no ground.

If he thinks I cannot tell that he is a scorpion, he shall be mistaken.

How does an old man go to a place that is surrounded by beaches and young men flying in the wind?

I cannot fly like them, for I am not as strong as I once was.

leaving america

A version of me might have flown higher than any of them, but I am now grounded by time and Ikarian misfortune.

But there is one thing that has not changed — in fact, it has improved with Time; should that ever decay, I shall not see any point remaining at all.


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