13 August 2008

The (Light-)Heart of Darkness?

"We were yelling and jumping and whirling through terrified lanes, feet pounding, drums and skulls keeping pace. And meanwhile the sky was filling with hot, gray, long shadows, rain clouds, but to my eyes of an abnormal form, pressed together like organ pipes or like the ocean ammonites of Paleozoic times. With swollen throats the amazons cried and howled, and I, lumbering with them, tried to remember who I was. Me. With the slime-plastered leaves drying on my skin. The king of the rain. It came to me that still and all there must be some distinction in this, but of what kind I couldn't say.

Under the thickened rain clouds, a heated, darkened breeze sprang up. It had a smoky odor. This was something oppressive, insinuating, choky, sultry, icky. Desirous, the air was, and it felt tumescent, heavy. It was very heavy. It yearned for discharge, like a living thing. Covered with sweat, the generaless with her arm urged me, rolling great eyes and panting. The mud dried stiffly and made a kind of earth costume for me. Inside it I felt like Vesuvius, all the upper part flame and the blood banging upward like the pitch or magma. The whips were hissing and gave a dry, mean sound, and I wondered what in hell are they doing. After the gust of breeze came deeper darkness, like the pungent heat of the trains when they pass into Grand Central tunnel on a devastated day of August, which is like darkness eternal. At that moment I have always closed my eyes.

But I couldn't close them now." Saul Bellow, Henderson The Rain King, pp. 199-200.

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