short fiction from lydia davis by way of homage to beckett

A place. Where none. A time when try see. Try say. How small. How vast. How if not boundless bounded. Whence the dim. Not now. Know better now. Unknow better now. Know only no out of. No knowing how know only no out of. Into only. Hence another. Another place where none. Whither once whence no return. No. No place but the one. None but the one where none. Whence never once in. Somehow in. Beyondless. Thenceless there. Thitherless there. Thenceless thitherless there.

—from Samuel Beckett’s Worstward Ho

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southward Bound, Reads Worstward Ho

Sun in eyes, faces east, waits for van bound for south meeting plane from west. Carries book, Worstward Ho.

In van, heading south, sits on right or west side, sun in through windows from east. Highway crosses and recrosses meandering stream passing now northeast and now northwest under. Reads Worstward Ho: On. Say on. Be said on. Somehow on. Till nohow on. Said nohow on.

Road turning and van turning east and then north of east, sun in eyes, stops reading Worstward Ho.

Road turning and van turning east again and south, shadow on page, reads: As now by way of somehow on where in the nowhere all together?

Road and van turning briefly north, sun at right shoulder, light not in eyes but flickering on page of Worstward Ho, reads: What when words gone? None for what then.

Van turning off highway, sun behind, sun around and in window and onto page, does not read.

Van pointing east motionless in station, in shadow of tree, reads: But say by way of somehow on somehow with sight to do.

Van pointing south and moving, reads: So leastness on.

Van turning off highway, sun behind, sun around and in window and onto page, does not read.

Van pointing east then north of east motionless, in treeless station not in shadow, sun in face, does not read.

Van turning, sun ahead, sun around and in opposite window, shadow on page, van pointing south and moving, reads: Longing the so-said mind long lost to longing. Dint of long longing lost to longing. Said is missaid. Whenever said said said missaid.

Van turning off highway, sun behind, sun around and in window and onto page, does not read.

Van turning last time back onto highway, sun ahead, sun around and in opposite window, shadow on page, reads: No once. No once in pastless now.

Van turning last time off highway, sun ahead, sun around and in window, does not read.

Van farthest south motionless in shadow, pointing north, reads last words: Said nohow on.

 

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