we were old we were older old older and old and very old older. we were older than earlier old we were we are we older. some of us are over 90 over 80 over 70. of the over 90 over 80 over 70 we are the youngest we are the young ones we are older old older but but the young ones amongst us us the over 90 over 80 over 70 year old old older. we were old we were older old and were in the third final phase of life we we looked back over the first two thirds of our lives we looked look back see ourselves as children adolescents adults adults in the so-called prime of life getting older than being we. we older than earlier we. we getting being old we getting being older being old were being getting we were old we were older. getting up we were old and after exercising moving loosening shaking our bones sinews muscles no longer old but older than earlier in the so-called prime of life now not earlier now we were older old.
we were older old and had nothing left to lose old we were and impolite for reasons of shrinking time for reasons terse in our approach to the everyday terse + precise for reasons of shrinking time for its shrinkage thinking + acting tersely we. we had that freedom of impolite terse shrinking time acting + thinking of work of working efficient time running short actions + deeds we were older + better at acting we. we were old + much better at doing we. we worked considerably better we worked summarizing in an abbreviated way due to shortage of time but but without shortages time luck because in short supply in the final third of our lives still with luck perh. without luck, then end. we end. we were old + closer to the possibility of ending we the old in the final third possibly no more time with luck more as we all know. today can be tomorrow nothing more we old ones know we. we were older and old we. we knew working acting time limited short or no more at all we were. we knew that. we were older in acting + doing + thinking + working but but we had been forever since forever for our entire lifetime had been the same we were the same children adolescents adults in the so-called prime of life older + old we were ever the same the very same the same at feeling. we were the same thing the same people feeling the same thing we. we were older and feeling ever the same. we feeling were older we were old and the same we. inside ever ever eternally the same ever we ever older the same ever. older we i. i was old. old we.
we are old we look at the young ones younger ones young ones we see the young ones who look at see observe us. we old ones see ourselves as younger young ones looking at observing the older ones. at the time earlier we old ones saw ourselves as younger young ones observing looking at the old ones. we old ones saw ourselves as younger young ones at this time earlier observing considering looking at the older old ones us we they us. we were older old they the younger ones younger young looking at us we they the young ones younger young looking at us we looking at them the young ones here young considering us we them the young ones younger ones looking at older old.
we were old. our bodies decayed our bodies functioned worked or didn’t our bodies physical primarily physical we were old older our bodies primarily we we considered our bodies our decaying bodies we looked at we closely scrutinized them our bodies were old older old our bodies in the final third of their existence we we were older old.
we scrutinized ourselves we old ones older looked at scrutinized saw scrutinized. we saw ourselves and the others we saw our bodies we scrutinized paid heed to the others
observing our bodies we the old ones older ones paid heed to ourselves we observed paid heed to ourselves and our bodies. physical we were we were old more delicate delicate fragile even we were old the fragile looked to us the not yet frail but already decaying older not yet old we were older and not yet frail feeble. we were only older but but observed by the elderly over 80 we were young and full of power powerful. observed by the young 20 30 years old we were very old, observed, closely observed by those in the prime of life very close just older. we though were old this was the last third of our life we were old.
we were old and older and old and old two thirds of our existence was drawn marked in our body we reminded two thirds of our body physically emotionally, spiritually layers geological archaeological layers memory layers markedly marked embossed engraved hewn in our bodies and mind marked.
old older meant marked. old older = MARKED old older meant markedly marked and if we were in landscape we always also thought of the other landscapes we knew. we were old and saw in the engadine valley the altiplano in lake sils lake titicaca in the bregaglia valley the andes in the alps the alaskan ranges. it was the same not the same but a topping up of the landscapes we knew in layers so seeing was double triple multiple-layer seeing, history, marked, marked. marked by our existence marked by our age we were old we older ones incessantly diligently uninterruptedly layered as we saw felt thought what we had experienced seen influenced us on top of, over, in among itself we were old. we had wanted were meant to we were old we had to act quickly act quickly in the last third of our existence panic almost already panic quickly when observing our decay still act quickly quickly and economically. economical in the movements to act even more quickly economic not experienced quickly considered superior economical. we wanted to show record open dig show draw as much as possible we were old little time greater panic about being forgotten panic about quickly about wanting to being able to having to being meant to. so we had acquired an economical technique of cutting off, of cutting off anything superfluous. cutting away cutting off anything superfluous economical. no superfluous movements no superfluous friendships no superfluous objects no no loss of time nothing could shock us more angry than loss of time nothing was worse.
we were old we older ones saw the engadine lakes and the altiplano and lake titicaca simultaneously we saw we saw everything together and ourselves young standing on the banks of lake titicaca today older standing on the banks of lake sils older us no time to lose.
we were old our energy power was to bundle economically to deliberately even more power we old ones bundled concentration write mark marked bundled economical. expanding inwards. young as young 30 years expanding form the inside, older old expanding inwards. power economical as the engine room of action and doing.
we were old we no longer had to go to the val di cam the thought was enough of the val di cam was enough for us to imagine us to wander through the val di cam imagine while we went walked along the base of brigaglia valley from vico to stampa walking in the base of the valley we saw the mountain chain and behind it never seen before the associated val di cam and saw ourselves walking from vico to stampa walking in the val die cam, high alpine. we were able to imagine the val di cam on the basis of hiking maps beautiful military maps obsessed with detail on the basis of these images we were able to imagine the val di cam, detailed as we were able to imagine to see us walking around the foot of the badile this climbing wall which we saw from the base of the valley seen from the base of the valley the idea of walking along at the foot of the badile was enough we were old.
we had these huge immense possibilities of imagination our mind our body was a giant immense gigantic store of what we had already done seen a giant stored world of images not only of the landscapes we had seen and walked through but also of the possibilities of possibly compiled images of landscapes and movements of our older bodies possibilities of ideas of possibilities of possible activities such as climbing running walking which we did do not have were able to were meant to wanted to we were old. imaging was doing acting doing imagining noting drawing painting carving sawing doing. imagining image and movement. imagining.
we were older, we still functioned, functioned our bodies could still be trained for everyday functions. we were older we could still travel we wanted to travel did not want to retire to a definitive final house really old animal retreat to a final cave not yet we were not yet really old but older still wanted the world were able to see do everything take action we could still function even if traveling if we traveled to a specific place did not travel anywhere but to a specific place + if possible we traveled in comfort were older + privileged could travel in comfort better more expensively privileged we were old + privileged in a privileged rich country privileged this way we could wanted to had to observe the world unconditionally. our privilege was that we could travel observe comment on the world had to it was our duty our privilege to observe to attentively observe describe record comment on our surroundings further away closer without interruption our privilege our work our obligating rich privilege. we were old and wanted had were meant were able did not want to retire to our last house to our last house of our own always live there with animals in the last building with cats for example we were older and ourselves still wanted to be a cat we wanted to be a cat not keep cats but be a cat cat-like live now here now there on the move be at home in caves houses but but not definitively be at home as a cat in only 1 house but here there and elsewhere we wanted to be a cat.
but but but we were old our body was not a cat no longer a cat our body was a human being human being older human being man woman older human being old. we could wanted to be a cat but could no longer be a cat wanted to be a cat-like cat physically catty slinky fast silent be a cat now here now there never really gone away and be here and there be a cat artist be a cat but but.
we were old older physically older almost old older older than previously we were afterwards. and previously + previously and afterwards simultaneously cat human being older simultaneously older old physical human being simultaneously cat what to do.
we were old older what to do.
we were old our body older body no longer could wanted to be a cat our spirit but but cat spirit strayed for this reason stray often strayed strayed spiritually straying mentally between animal human being cat woman artist straying to and fro misunderstanding strayed to and fro mistakes straying the cat human being here and there and nowhere having to, being able to wanting to be artist’s image cat’s image artist cat but but but.
we were impatient we were older + old + impatient we. we did not want could not lose any more time intolerant i not we sitting lose time in cinemas + theaters + concert halls watching middling theater bad films mediocre no time for mediocrity which from us we not i as definitive as the thing that has to be looked at that one has to should attend we in the process look at experience everyone, see absolutely must ought be one of them among them we. not i. everyone looking at something in agreement in a room on a on something on a mediocre on a cultural event that has become mediocre looking looking forward in agreement. a several bored moderately interested polite corresponding being looking forward. we you not i.
we were older and impatient so impatiently intolerant with out with our our equals intolerant of our fellow men surrounding us. we i not we. i stood up and went intolerably impatient when all my equals when we all i stood up and went ran fled from cinemas theaters concerts openings fled i not we mediocrity when. you all we old ones we were older old sat there. not fleeing you. we there sitting standing in these cultural rooms not fleeing not fleeing leaving mediocrity we not i we you we just have to be still there should narrate. the narration of the event the communal the lubricant the being involved just about decisive we older old ones still being involved despite loss of time culture consumerism time poisoning brain wearout you we not i sitting there standing there – i, fleeing, running away, even after minutes of this easy devotion i, i gone, the poisoning of my aging brain, having to, being meant to, wanting to escape the annihilation through time-poisoned the destruction through mediocrity, i, fleeing, wild.
we settled down into accommodation.
i we returned to our houses.
we lay in our beds lay lie and rest and we lay lying rest quietly, reclining.
in our on our chairs we sit.
at our tables in our rooms our caves accommodation houses we dwell.
miriam cahn 2009
(translated by Geremy Gaines)