until I no longer need these clothes on my body
Author: P.K.
Published on: 9/21/2015 4:59:15 PM

Sisyphus, face of crimson, soiled with mud and pouring sweat, stepping each step with heaviness with a boulder pressed against his face. Step-by-step. Inching up step-by-step to the sudden stopping point of an endless cycle. There, Sisyphus lets loose and the rock wobbles in the opposite direction. Slowly at first, then gradually faster, gradually faster, round rolling down the mountain slope, every moment faster, it seems nothing is lost of the boulder’s bold leisure.

The rock rolls down a hill
The rock knocks down a wild pear branch
Thin petals drop
Birds sing the passing of life

The eyes don’t hold the stunned roundness (mouth in “oh fuck…”) of the first moments after the opened hand feels an abrupt and terrible lack, Sisyphus stands gazing back at the block of rock rolling away further and further, light like an arrow, without sound. The silence of a rolling rock, the silence of Sisyphus, the silence of motion and stillness.

The silence of whomever else is gazing too, the silence of the whole universe and one wild pear branch. Not a panicked bird’s cry, not a resounding “om”, that sluggish low-note that would spread out in space when the stone returned to its starting place. Within this frame even a very small sound, but one sharp and full of firm resistance, would be enough to break out of the repetition and infinity of ordinary life.

As soon as the yearning for this sound befalls each reader, a smile appears on the face of deep welts and weary lines, with a bit of wit, a bit of envious fret and a bit of something joyful, as if Sisyphus is thinking about a hilarious, utterly ridiculous circumstance, half bursting out in laughter, half stifling it. “Cock” – the convict claps two lumpy hands together to shake the dust of earth, then thrusts them inside his pockets and leisurely steps down.

Humans embrace all
Lying in a woeful sound

Both Homer and Camus, in their work, more or less ignored this woeful sound of humankind. I keep asking myself if it was Sisyphus, or me, or you, who among us uttered that sound, though in truth it is not important who.

translated by Kaitlin Rees

Story by Bút Chì