I’m sitting in the armchair, looking at the computer screen and wondering if it would be too cocky of me to write another one of those clichézen chronicles about having no subject. Of course I would find a way to disguise it and such. But anyway. Behold, I am about to commit this folly, for when I receive the news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II. “It looks like my grandmother died,” I say. But there’s no one around to listen.
“I get the news” is a way of saying it. It looks like I’m important and I have a direct line to Buckingham Palace. My feelings, Charles. Or rather, Charlie. But I don’t want to sound disrespectful here. This is my way of dealing with death. I usually say that myself, when I hang up my pen and blotter, I will find such a heavenly way to mock this anguish that unites us: that one day we will all die.
Back to the subject having no subject on the day that Queen Elizabeth II dies, the legitimate or affective monarch of half the world, it is distressing to have no subject, even more so when surrounded by a Subject and several subjects that will be lost. Yeah, I know what you’re asking and the answer is yes, the previous sentence probably broke the record for “subjects” in a single sentence to talk about the anguish of not having a topic. It’s a gift.
Although I was reflecting here and maybe it’s not good manners to say that Elizabeth II was the affective monarch of half the world – me there in that environment. Because there’s always going to be some bastard to talk about British imperialism and other things that aren’t talked about at a time like this. Just now I saw one of these cursing the queen of something that I will not reproduce here. How can you, right?
At these times I can only think that a human being has died. In this case, a person dear to millions. A voternal-looking lady (seems like the correct serial word “avoengal”, but it doesn’t work, right?). A personality for which many (again me among them) had an affection that had nothing to do with politics. I do not know. It was just nice to know that Queen Elizabeth II was in the world.
So, patience. She will instead be the affective monarch of countless pseudo-subjects (blame the spelling reform for this ugliness) who saw the Queen of England as more than a pleasant figurehead. As the series “The Crown” shows (and I have no reason not to believe that everything there is the purest truth), Elizabeth II understood the existential burden of wearing that crown. In the century that she saw the consecration of narcissism as a lifestyle, knowing oneself to be less of an individual than a queen, and acting accordingly, is a feat worthy of the most sincere admiration. Both by the individual and the queen – albeit fictitious.
But, as I was saying before being interrupted by a matter of paramount importance, it is sometimes agonizing to be without a subject. But do you know that sometimes it’s also good? These days, my thoughts roam the most remote labyrinths of my brain, looking for any little thing that might serve as a subject. In this process, I often come across memories that I thought had long been lost. But what does that have to do with the queen’s death?
All I know is that today, the day I was without subject, Queen Elizabeth II died. A more detailed chronicler would say that it is hot and sunny in the Curitiba winter. Someone closer to the prosaic side of life would talk about beans being too salty. One more inclined to the humor of questionable taste would say that now the one who takes over is Ray Charles. And one more given to poetry would teleport himself to London right now, in order to recite Auden’s beautiful verses (those same ones from “Four Weddings and a Funeral”) and, thus, close in high style this text in honor of Elizabeth II, to Betinha:
Stop the clocks, shut the phone,
play yourself to the dog a bone and that it barks no more,
that the piano mute and that the drum sanctions
the coming of the coffin with its procession behind*.
Funeral Blues, translated by Nelson Ascher