The immense cowardice of advertised litterati
& Elsa Kassandra, "the Baroness"
von Freitag etc. sd/ several true things
in the old days /
Well, of course, there was a certain strain
on the gal in them days in Manhattan
the principle of non-acquiescence
laid a burden.
The Little Review, 13 (1929)
Letter to Margaret Anderson and jean heap, from Berlin, posthumous
My heart is abode of terror and a snake——they stare at each other, always, even when asleep I carry it around, I harbour it like embryo in womb——it grows. Is it the spiritual cancer that I am to die of ? My mother perished from physical disease. She waited too long. Am I to wait too long ? Suicide is more decent ! I am not afraid of death. Ah not ! It is my home——sweet——as I always said——since long——since I have become wise. Yet I am scared——like snake victim. I feel it not belonging to me——not my way——but where is my way ! See, maybe I will get acquainted with it, gradually it will stroke me, as nice and familiar, even petting me and it will be my door to home. I am buried alive——I fear bed for spectre shape enters with me——there it has leisure to torture, tweak, pommel me, weaken my heart, pounding on it, pounding, pounding, pounding, until I sleep in faint. In morning it is stiff, heavy in me——even for suicide one has to arrange, to go up, to lie down forewer (sic.
You will love, even over my possible destruction, as over this letter——which would be sin if it were not written in holy purpose——irrepressible anguishcry——as Christ's in Gethsemane (I understand that now !) But I never, never thought I were Christ. I hate Christ——that is I did hate him——that is I was suspicious, perhaps because he is my fate. I hate myself as Christ ! So did he ! Can one tremble, writhe in Gethsemane ? I am shadow-heavy. Yet I love the earth still. . . . . .Consider me a fish that is left on bonedry beach by crazy time's tide. Put me into the sea again. I will swim again. . .to bring my mother's noble, precious, highly painful bought blood to houour. I can be Raskolnikow from absolute angle, for I am optimist by nature, not melancholic pessamist as he is.
I have just discovered that I am not, and why I am not made for suicide——unless it could be done gaily——victoriously——with flourish, I think that is death in battle, or tournament——self-destruction by God——but to act God is weakness and will be punished and can never be strong——gay. He punishes his weakness in members weak, he is terrible. ——I am dead already. Death cannot commit suicide. I am safe. . .
I need, for a few quiet hours——human sympathy——talk——love——in my terrible plight——because it is terrific. No joy, no light, not the satisfaction of the pride of my faculties——my art that carries me. I am beset by great multitudes of small worries——I almost despise myself for the trouble I make and the trouble that troubles me. But what shall I do ? I am stunned nearly to exhaustion. Forgive me, but I am mourning destruction of high quality——as I know myself to be——to do my art——to live humanly decent——but it is not in your power, I know. I am poor and deserted——if I had not to stand the experience of my person——my country is slowly wearing me to rags——body and spirit. . . .many ants can kill the strongest, proudest life it it is fettered to ant heap——as I am to life in Germany——to life——to terrible poverty and its obligations——one may perish on a formality——winter approaching——rain, hail——cold,——I on the streets——freezing——to boot, in such weather people do not buy. I wish you would give me some time for comfort——once ! Stroke my hands——and give me "cheer up." Talk with me, listen to me. I am human, and I am not newspaper seller ! I have no more time——must go to sell——I should like to laugh with you——to be gay, I can be that ! It is my nature——that sounds ghastly now. . .that is the tragedy——I still feel deep in me glittering wealth. . .