'paradise was when / Dante / regathered from height and depth / came out onto
the soft, green, level earth'
- A.R. Ammons, 'Bridge'
It was also hell, you would argue - that that's the point too. Accordion as a global instrument.
must be withdrawn to live. Object loss. Fundamentally gone. Lack of
moisture. Truth content (i.e.
happiness?). Supplemental ethics. Mittens are funnier than gloves (always?).
An enthusiastic reaction
to 'gimmick' bomb. More dreams of the end of the world. 'The bounding
outline,' as Blake said. 'A
neighing quadruped,' as Dr. Johnson said; a gruff horse neighs. Wheezy groans
of computer coming
alive. Slick (snow) of petals. Glad you actually possess a heart, even if it is weak and beating too
fast. Alert. 'Night, the astonishing . . .': in the dream, you desperately
needed to know whether the line
in Sebald's book came from Hlderlin. . . . Check pulse. Car-corpse - in
Yorkshire landscape - begs
burial. Plant proffers hand. A performance of grief (playing almost). Weapons
of terror from ancient
times. In the dream, the innards of the pyramid resembled an office. Or a
lab. 'We have them.' The
past is safer than Nevada. Schiele's childhood interest in drawing trains. A
bomb is a bomb is a bomb.
Begins with (on?) a prayer. Your crazed fear you will accidentally witness
a gangland shooting and
be 'bumped off' because you have 'seen too much'. Flair and speed. Repetition
is rapture and/or crop
rotation: getting around. Twilight: graduation from (smog-induced?)
near-yellow all the way up
to royal blue. Dark grey clouds (particularly wispy bunch near the ground
like risen smoke) are
static. Yellow-orange florescent street-light seen from underneath (a
chorus of similar lights glows
from further on down the hill). Post-deconstructed? 'We pray we may use it in
His way.' 'Father I
am burning.' Atomic bomb as
ethical kick-off point. The peace pilgrim: how to make them better
soldiers. One of the most beautiful sights ever seen by man. Or animal. 'I
belong to this pen and to this
notebook.' This is not haphazardous. A surge of grey matter aptly called
an 'exuberance'. Blood
from your elbow. Good War. Total ware. 'If Coke were a person, what would he
be like?' He? 'I
win.' Dim-set, wet-look, big, far-sighted clowns. Business (as
usual/ever). Your memory works in
space. Dreams of apocalypse (as ever/usual), ships burning on the horizon,
the Louvre in flames, your
family about. By the bomb's early light. A distant harmonium. Male
academics are all nerds, more or
less, socially-adjusted. 'If they are pagan, beware.' Her essence is
insubstantial. Stay in touch. 'Explore
my c**t' is an interesting get-to-know-you gambit. Opinions vary (by
definition?). If male polygamy is a 'natural' instinct (sow thy wild oats), is a desire for a 'special' 'one' a masochistic
would have laughed. 45th generation Roman. She can't turn resistance into traction. Atonement
with the father. Mushroom cloud as 'icon', rather than as real, discernable
thing. 'Some cried, some
laughed, others were silent; I thought.' What have we wrought? Incurious,
the chorus cannot see
beyond the corner. New-lit temple to Mammon. Power X: 'The Veritable Dynamic
Power of the
Universe.' Prepare to meet thy God. As in Byron's critique of 'system'.
Intelligence at bay. Baying hounds. Obeying hounds. In office. (Offensive.) 'System' as critique: blast, heat, radiation. Fitness.
Buzzer. War-wound. Word-gash. 'Worry about yourself.' Rock'n'roll fables.
'Only a strong
America can prevent ATOMIC WAR!' Frankenstein, the Golem, Kennedy. Between
& the Bomb. Nothing to fear. Wouldn't taste of book publication again.
The wailing of the pipes,
sustained - then flute-like mutterings wisping away. Quotation. Indent.
Sitting on egg: poem as child-
substitute. The most powerful force in the world. Sea-shells. Pot shot,
lucky dip, the 'I' in the middle
of being. 'Or, in a pun I'm glad he never actually used, 'camp' in every
sense.' Aeneas carrying his
father. Repetition is the
point. Or was. Would-be
conquerors. 'Tate Modern's 'surreal' room is
one of its few outright successes, suggesting (as it does) a 'surrealism' for
everyone: lobster-phones for
some, sunflower-monsters for others.' Strike the set. A later, hopefully
more peaceful generation. Old
Man of the Mountains. 21 brainwashed. Get out of bed the wrong morning.
Inexorable arrival of train's
trolley service, forcing movement. Atomic manoeuvres: troop test smoky.
'Symbolic' rage? Makes a
note of airspace. Any man with a microphone can tell you what he loves the
most. 'Don't look at me
like that, with your teeth.' Business-woman communicates with baby.
Military chaplains in conflict. I
wins. Man is not ready. Author protecting an autobiographical text from the
reader: go away. 'You
have no idea how hungry I am.' Microphones breed killers. Bleat-seeking
phrase-maker. 'Sex isn't
rocket science.' (But it is.)
'Hell, even rocket science isn't rocket science these days.' Such a
destructive power. Remember not to change. Ability to repeat implies a
explosions: 'we' are safe. Containment, at best. Marlon-Brando-in-The-Godfather
look-a-like on the
Northern Line. Cupid's phallic arrows: heart-as-hymen. Mystery, not
utility. Huge cranes shift round
over the Meanwood Ridge, defying gravity. Out for a wander in the weather. A
moralistic tone is not
useful. Found its own level. Light-fuelled ruddy darkness of closed
eyelids, hung closer. Was no
scholar. Just war theory: how to kill. Barbaric yawn. Dawn. Lawn. Didn't know
that about 'paean' (a
'praise-hymn' to Apollo, apparently). Hard-edged teeth in smile. Odd
choice of God. Extra-
territorial. 6,000 men (and women) poised to kill. The poem exists at an
angle to 'reality', but
relationship is there (and vital). Pressing need to buy a newspaper. Pi.
Backlog. Chunky, cheerful, re-
liable. Bleak humour of an angry man: tilled over, fed up (poetry: alone).
Works with something
torrential about them. 3-Mile
Island. 5-mile painting. The apparent solidity of tulips. The disaster
in general. Any such utterance as gate. 'Do Not Alight Here' (as if one
could). The possibility
(certainty) of violence. That whole Trojan thing. Unholy war. All such
imperialistic forays into
the past. Wound down. Cheese-wire cot. Lamb and ewe in fixed convoy, the
(extremely) fleecy ewe
undulating at every step. 2 reminders re: David: petrol money & arty
email list for Julia. Pick a ring
out. Convention. Discovered writing his will. Discovering the sash window
could be opened, a mere
four months after moving in: a miracle. Reference to Greek names: Plato
& Aristotle as stoics. Of it
we hear no more. Actually a Hurricane (at Eden Camp). With tanks. And other
WWII displays. (Isn't
the poem from the p.o.v. of the mother?) A useful map, very clear, the
roads and tube stations
marked carefully, but never used. (Also perhaps origin of myth in everyday
things?) Melodic hum of
Windows kicking in. The second escapes you. Facing in. A look that perished,
rightly. 'If you could
paint a picture, what would you paint?' Is that an adequate assessment? I
wins. Valleys mean rivers (or
glaciers). Dark film on liquid grey. The path of yeast resistance.
Horrible temptation to throw texts
over the balcony. Wound down. Pencils/brushes/pencils. A wind-up doll. 'Don't
look at me like that,
with your teeth stuck out.' Cards of condolence in ranks. The origin
marked by distance. Suffering
everything lightly: virtue? 'What shall we do now for timber?' Plenty of
rice. Green arrow: yarrow: e-
rrancy: recondite. Pink and cream blooms. Our ma. Deciphering the code.
long poem?' Here, kitty. Summoning the energy to drop. Coming away from
itself, peeling . . . stupid
moral economy. Negative cutting. Multiples of 3 (always, forever). Original plan was on the con-
servative side, time-wise. Skeleton for selection. Really? You feel your
'system' has failed. Now
mow. Constable-clouds. The glue wore out, so staples got involved. Evade allusions.
fold security. Become involved. Convolved. One thing on top of another. One
thing after another. Her
being such a genial genius and all. Seemingly fond. A blade so sharp it
cannot help but cut. Writes
one poem after another, over and over (lucky it's a damn good one). Witty is
as witty does. Or is. Dour
lids. Repression is the key to happiness (or comatose). Overcast day after
days of sun. Florence in
Florence (how apt). Inept, the hair trigger. Mental image of a useful thought
as a boat tied to a dock
equals self-urge to remember. Sheep seem subdued. The Big One. Always on
the horizon. Well,
you're done this and now you've done that - you're back. A hard rain. Best
news you've received in
quite some time. Turning down majority vote. No, they're spiteful, and
they're hateful. Acres of in-
tolerance. It never rains but. Thunder. Lightning. Argument conducted to the
sound of gunfire, bombs
dropping. You live in a noisier world than he. The best apple juice you've
ever tasted. Fit to be tied
up. Explorer UK. 'Belching, farting, pissing, shitting, sweating, reeking,
f**king, coming - the whole
general messiness of the human body: I love it.' Whole lot of hail.
Ex-acrobat. 'We love one another
like poppy and memory.' A register of enthusiasms? 'Cosmic' rays as flak.
Certain information must
be given. Dark sky. The ending: when? 'Between' clich, fading. Metaphor:
a man with a bullet
in his brain. A slightly seedy quality. Skilled in fire. 'The visual part of
the emblem was also known as
its cor, the verbal part as
its anima.' Knowing when to
leave the paper blank. Evil umpire. F**king in
mind. Look to technology. Gut the town. Mushroom cloud 'ascending' up to
heaven. Morning is new
life, always. We live in an explosion, thrown out. Circa whenever. The Big
Rip: newest end. All is for
the best. Undeniably. You wouldn't bet against it. Yep: all is for the best
(indubitably) in this best of all
possible worlds. See? I wins. Always. In darkness, rain - surprisingly -
the movie ends. And the day.
Sup terrain. The upper echelons. The whale ascends, its nose (?) piercing the
dark clouds above. Sub-
lime. Silly, but terrifying. The drive down. The Great Society. Diderot:
the encyclopaedia as an 'o-
pen' form, cross-references as stimuli. The Big Tent. 'I'm' is preferable to
'I am': it blends happily
subject and verb, being and doing: no separate self (compare 'I am
running' to 'I'm running'). Sun/ son. To describe something is to simplify
it. To simplify something is to have power over it. To have
power over something is to inflate the ego. To inflate the ego is to
simplify it. The New Class. The
New Leviathan. 3 copies of one letter. 3 black-clad Austrian road-movie
experts. Freud: 'the poets
were there before us'. Book of Americans. Levinas: 'the face is
signification without context.' Self
to world. A forthright offer of sex. Toy soldier collection. Her mortal
enemy. Direct descendent of the
flapper. Wild Perms. Benjamin (on time) and Levinas (on ethics). The
Cases. 'We' becoming 'I' and
'you'. Reviser. Prussian, tidied-up. Family-as-index. Military/History.
Multiple mutual flowering of
interest. The water has turned blood red (red bottles).The Southernization
of American Politics. Con- sumers of history. The Silent Majority.
Influenced by (hearing) everyone. Marina Tsvetaeva. He
revised all of his life. Bulk, pattern, meaning, closure. Utterly formed.
Lack. Cal. Shakes. Caligula.
Loopy. Caliban. Meaning 'relatively' relatively. So to speak, by his own
firepower. 'If I am alone
with the other, I owe him everything.' Bumbling, but meaning well. Making
marriage work. For
decades to come. No 'group' consciousness. 'Cut me some slack.' 'There is not
much to it, but the
point.' Professional aspiration. Modest salary. Looking forward
(uselessly) to Djuna Barnes. You will
never stagger far under the weight of me. Both the market and the woman. 'A woman with a working
brain, and no work.' No outlet for accumulated energy. In love. Deserts
money. Self-dispossessed. So
smart as to be crazy. A particularly grave sin. Thoughts of a 'housewife'.
Utah. 'Life did not survive
her love.' Shared culpability. Reconciliation, not closure. Liminal and/or
landlocked. Fiery, not
watery, end. All the traditions ('all' as verb). Japan. 'They.' 'Us.'
Crossroads. Finiteness. Nodal
freedom. 'Bad chain.' The alphabet as arbitrary, not didactic. Molecules as 'letters'. Valuable aspects
of reality. The eyes of the soul - Plato. Four-fold pathway to dialectics.
Browsers, not readers. Almost
done with history. Experts, not authors.
A lethal movie. Cyclical course of education. Supreme
moral understanding. Nature vs. Bible. A hero who 'becomes' is tantamount to
a villain. Abjected
typology: shadows, refuse. A specimen of many good things. Preterite
right. Evil Biblical desert. Jeremiad. Human emptiness. 'External' motivating
spirit. 'The God of Heaven so filled his mind.' A
ghostly presence of an imagined rural past. A visual symbol of negation.
babble. Talmud - Arcades
project - Bottom. Please avoid running when you have windows open.
Thankyou. Yes (wearily). Proximity is adultery. O'Hara's 'plaintively disjunctive sense of everyday'.
Pastoralism of the open form. Harwood's transatlantic relationship: invasion
and possession. Dis-
membered body. Dismember body. Earth-dwelling. Language available to
existing or possible
thought. You wish he'd quote
from the poetry. 'A healthy distaste for the English.' Dogmatics heed
dogmatics. The eye and the image vs. the ear and the music. The rhythm:
all that needed to be said. Abstraction is the enemy of poetry (At All
Times). No things but in (other) things. No counterpart in
myself, my necessities. Being, passed away. Language full of proclivities.
Follow out the process of waiting. And listening. Aspiration toward science.
You mean silence. October 1962. Melodramatic
'keening'. I'll move onto the camp stuff now. The polis, in some way. 'O'
occurs 69 times in Plath's
work. A quest for narrative. Dark camp: power display. Sand: glass.
poem. Hermeticism. Paul Celan was not German. The Danish Notebook. Slick
pen. DOVES. 'Robert Duncan plus Michael Palmer equals Robert Palmer!'
Citation as 'sampling', 'derivative', sceptical,
'modern' take on tradition. Hellenistic. H.D.istic. 'Spectral analysis of
things.' Wandering, errancy,
error. Reading-as-writing. Counter-hermetics, 'seance'. Concealment vs.
withholding. Dissent &
difference & distance. We brooded. Take it. Stay-at-home army.
Locations are a result of socio-economics. Basis of sense of place equals
inherent conservatism. The local has been lost. Making one's
mark in fluid: Keats. Human agency not 'knowledge' equals real 'sense' of 'space'. Pulse
for the army. Conceptual geography. 'Stage' in 'stagecoach'. Florence,
Montana. 'I' is dead. Sounds like an
adverb disguised as a noun. Goods arrived with no notion of their origin.
Road-as-setting. Time span
equals track covered. Chronotope. Flesh, artistically visible. Road movie.
The jets of the Western
age. That dumb instrument, a car. Movement away. Oedipus, at the
crossroads. Land's end: ocean, swamp, Grand Canyon. Homosocial bonding,
shared perception. Arrested development, 'small town'.
Troublesome relationships. Freak chance. Vicious cycle. 'Relationship with
the femme fatale is, by definition, fatal.' City collapsed in space. Lateral
views, out of loneliness. (Dead End City: Las Vegas:
unreal: unfair?) Repulsive human-sized reptiles and other perils. Contours
of global order. Fluid in
American thought. The post-real. The real post. 3rd Gulf War (Iran vs. Iraq = 1st). Bush II
weapons of mass construction. Unknown unknowns. Bush (I): 'no large
country can afford to be
sundered by memory.' Kicking the Vietnam syndrome. Extensionist drive. Road
movie. Far and wide.
Media output more predictable (boys with one hand tied behind their
backs). 'No more Munichs, no
more Cubas, no more Vietnams.' Criteria: a clear military mission; strong
chance of success; exit
formula; domestic support; plus 'international' 'interest' to intervene. A
treat to our way of life. Strict and wide. Strike (back) hard and wide. U.S.
credibility plus identity at risk: resolve. Reluctant warrior
pays attention. War with American ideals. Evil. 'At an hour of our
choosing.' 09/12/01: planned war
on Iraq. A series of conflations: terrorists and tyrants. Eisenhower: 'if a
problem cannot be solved,
enlarge it.' Casualty-phobia (some body-bags come home). A token act. Bush
(II): 'you will be asked
for your patience'. Short, hard wars. 'Victory changes everything.' Sustain
their presence. Draw the
appropriate lessons. Future blowback. 'Is this the endgame?' 'The aftermath that's more secure.'
you want an exit formula?'
Something like a cold war was quite desirable. 'War' requires a mutual
declaration. 'The magic of the old folly days.' Huh? 'These folks.'
American low-life. Post-national
world. Allegories - the world as a map of America. 'A range of
Nation celebrated despite its flaws and inconsistencies. Renewal from
within. 'The personal is the
personal is the personal.' Demolition and re-construction. Let's not roll.
Commercial suicide. 'John
Walker's Blues' - regular American tropes re-wired. Millennial dreams
(still now). The hardest
questions in the darkest hours. The truly patriotic (idiotic?) stance: denounce the nation
transcendentalism. A late crisis. New nationalism. Embedded. Faux-coalition. Reasonable incoherence. 'A club of the
like-minded.' The building clicks (like rain-drops hitting roof). Overlap or
undermine. Retain control.
Perfect execution. Mistakes we knew we were making. 'Couldn't
spend much time in the main text? Come on!' Chronicler of his family's trauma. Memoir:
owned. Sincerity plus
self-sacrifice. Prime appendix. With or without mittens? Stark impossibility
text. A grasp of the general, metaphysical truth. 'What really happened?' This is not a dog. Artificial
animal. Going to Jerusalem, end of story. That's for him to say. The
tearing language of others, all. Assimilation into a 'host' culture.
Assimilation and pestilence/persistence. What is not foreign? 'Non-
British immigrant equals foreigner.' Revenge is sweat, best served
cold. May you live in interesting
times. Pump/kin/head. Wealth of factual detail to draw on, simple points.
Persistence and assimilation.
'Brilliant ethnic ventriloquism.' Frames for oral tradition. Make money,
myths. (Home-making myths.) Make up yourself. Clich. Showing a student. 'You
are at home.' Never has a name,
origin. Go quickly, quietly. Died in a riot. Johnny Newcomer. An
experienced immigrant. Forced to play music. Play it again. Thou art lost
and gone forever, O. This winter
past. A frequent death. Earthy
protagonists. Lore of a lost one. Children are abandoned. Ever lost?
Faithful steady whirr. Every loss
equal. Machine. Say, can you see?
Death, a person. Passing on. Greatly exaggerated. Denial, anger. A
useful narrative device: change. Wife feels widowed, children feel
orphaned. A nose for nos; nose for wars. He relaxed his claim, completed act
of mourning. Just hanging in there. Inflectious. Mourning
still. Clock-wise (wizened, wend). Listening to some words, writing
others. These excesses. Psycho- kinetic stammering, stutters (Freud: 'small,
faulty actions always have meaning'). Subconscious
elements. Quarantined. Cleavage of self. His head, floating away. All
things begin with death. Kill
the merely humorous, too. Pretending not to notice. Cry for primal unity
(arguably). 3 blue bottles of
water, a pleasant shade. Party-conscious. Partly conscious. Ladder as
metaphor: going up. Before the
law. Klein. Kline. De. Act of dependence. Big web. Doing the wrong thing,
rightly. 'Who gets to be
Apollo?' Book of Americans. One book that is never read. (Erasing
autonomy. Down the road. Here.)
READING PROUST IN THE LAUNDERETTE
Everybody here is washing his or her second skin.
Everybody acts accordingly.
The washers' doors and the dryers' doors are a little like windows - windows
souls of spinning clothes (hitherto-unsuspected souls, provoked,
perhaps, to these constant
rehearsals of disturbed, circulating consciousness - this
clothing-consciousness - by us, as
audience, sitting in a row, observing them).
Marcel is taking Albertine to dinner.
Stitched, irregularly, into the world, you ponder plot.
You ponder theme, you ponder character (expressed through clothes; expressed
through manners, looks).
Might read the book forever, having time.
© Rob Stanton 2005