Lonely tonight, unearthing Breton's Jeunes Cerisiers Garantis Contre Les Lièvres.
I can't speak or understand spoken French worth a fig anymore, but there's just enough for reading Breton with the right hand held lightly over the English translation on the facing page, pale fingers taking on a flushed pink in the lamplight, over pale blue paper - light cerulean, I whisper, probably because of the "cer" in "cerisiers". Dried cherry petals, creasing in the joints, moving away when a word escapes me - a neat inversion, relinquishing the grasp in order to capture the meaning.
I like the necessity of unearthing the phrase in this case. Can't swiftly sweep the eye like a mariner searching the water - I have to reach my hand down into the tidepool of each word, feel its root, conjugate its skeleton.
Anthropologist of the mummified ibis.
Momie d'ibis qui appelle la fusion incessante des créatures imparfaits.
It gives the surrealist language - which, when read in one's native tongue can sometimes feel like torn paper folded paper sharp edge and a closed eye - a certain fumbling tenderness. Like reaching out for your lover in the dark, unsure for a moment if you've encountered ilium or elbow, pale fingers mapping the bone beneath the skin. It permits a fumbling and tender memory precisely because it requires such attention, because that attention removes the precious cloy from the act of remembering (sitting alone in bed - MON DIEU! pathetic, dude).
Lorsqu'il m'est donné du t'approcher à nes plus te voir
Immobiles sous son paupières pour toujours.
One does not consider oneself vain, until one begins to grow ugly.
Absentmindedly clicking about on the tutoring pages of Craig's List, I find the following service offered by a biology tutor:
One on one individualized lesions ensure comprehension.
If I can provide tailored gaping knife wounds to guarantee performance I will be a step up on this sap.
Mar. 19th, 2009 @ 11:28 pm
The Morning News is currently breaking down the book-world, bracket-style, in the annual Tournament of Books, and I am starting to wonder - am I the only person who actually enjoyed reading Bolaño's 2666? The second round, it's blasting through the competition, behemoth-like, but all of the reviews cite the weight, the starpower, the masterpiece-ism, and demur "despite the tedium." Cruising for a bruising, aiming for a maiming: setting it up for that late-round TAKEDOWN by some slighter manuscript. That critical waltz, "it's the point, it's the point", three/four time, Swanlake arms brushing aside "I actually thought it was Boring As Fuck" with grand flourishes of "I appreciate the Intention". Perhaps it's naive of me, but despite the fact that I recognized each great tombstone of intent, I also LIKED it. I attribute it to:
1) I am the person who enjoys the mornings when the alarm clock blares o! hideous rooster and interrupts a dream, and you blindly mash the snooze with sleepnumbed paw and fall back into a dream that isn't anything to do with the first but the subconscious threads it in, and repeat. again. again. (thank god I am not living with someone because honestly, intolerable for the observer.)
2) I read so quickly when the prose draws me into its currents perhaps my very speed turns tedium-induced-trance into pure trance, blurred landscape from a New England Acela. The Latin-American authors do this very well, I've noticed, those loonnng sentences, whitecapped river with bits of flotsam you can cling to, memorizing the slippery knots in the wood the grain, before slipping under again.
3) Different landscape. Duders you don't KNOW from tedium until you have read seven Cell papers in a single day.
"Since science is strange, a strange beast, which seeks its lair in the most absurd places, and works according to meticulous plans that from the outside can only appear inscrutable and sometimes even comic, so much like aimless wanderings do they seem and instead they are geometrical hunting trails, traps laid with cunning art, and strategic battles before which one may stand astonished... spoken with a cold certitude but also, one might have said, with a hint of tenderness, a complete absurdity, for a man of science, but not completely incomprehensible if only one could see inside his head."
from Alessandro Baricco Ocean Sea
|» Simply Charming|
I find the grocery store to be harrowing. Yes, yes, the glut of choices and branding and mad consumerism has been discussed ad nauseum but my GOD how many toilet papers there are. The single rolls, wrapped in cricklepaper, bodega staple, mass up like Helm's Deep slashed purple and teal; you have double-roll, double-ply, double-roll-double-ply (getting EXPONENTIAL here), quilted quadruple quilted (do you remember those old commercials where tiny cartoon grandmothers actually hand-stitched each square with tinier needles, arthritic fingers plied towards the comfort of your double-cheek? Agh.) |
American modernity reverses the adage: invention is the mother of necessity. I want I want I need. (When I was in a fourth grade play, I performed Shel Silverstein's 'I must have that pony' poem to such pitch-perfect acquisitive brattiness that other parents shot mine sympathetic glances for months.)
The attendant anxiety is a documented phenomenon in psychology and marketing: trade-off aversion: standing in the greenlit aisles at eight at night doubled over with the agony of elaborately evaluating angel softness vs. smug environmentalism but a chapped asshole vs. enough toilet paper to reach to the moon and back if only it could withstand the shrapneled satellites and space vacuum (could it? they only ever show that sterile blue water). We flick to half-remembered commercials - those grandmothers, or the awful Charmin' bears. My GOD, who thought THAT was a good idea? laying a sheen of pastel children's book illustration over pure scatology in terrifying double-ply? Shall I be jealous of those bears, in their mint green spring green meadow, who want only one type of TP, unquestioned? It's soothing when expelling the rough(age) buttplug post-hibernation. It makes me ill, standing in that aisle. Bugbear, indeed.
The normal intellectuo-aesthetic criteria - the ones we are good at implementing - don't apply. Like John Barth? It introduces no necessity for arch, postmodern toilet paper. "Is this sufficient for wiping your ass? What does it reflect?*
*When I was a boy I took a shit beneath the boardwalk in Ocean City, mirrored the teeming crowd, girls vomiting on the Cyclotron." The nihilists? "Peristalsis begins and ends with death; each contraction of the bowel eases one closer to one's own end. Tearing a square, withering a tree." Paradox? "You do not want this toilet tissue." Does. Not. Compute.
When my brother was little, he would run down the shelves, behind the toilet paper, knocking a few violently into the aisles, the visual six-gun salute of branding transformed into a literal volley. I'd welcome such a poltergeist at this point - here, I'll buy the ones that kneecapped me.
Toss one in, the one on sale, certain it doesn't matter but still anxious. We must buy toothpaste next. Is this whitening mouthwash wonderful? Is it significant? Is it what we need?
|» Wikipedia Names Your Band|
This particular meme provides undue amounts of entertainment. Couldn't stop at one - the number of times synchrony prevails is very pleasing. |
The way it works is a random Wiki article provides the name, the end of a random quotation provides the album titles, and a random Flickr photo the artwork.
( Read more...Collapse )
There has been a dead moth on the back of the piano for months. For some reason, I always expect moths to smell of mothballs (they don't). I don't want to throw it out, for some reason, wings coiled around the abdomen like a cigar and its black black eyes. It reminds me of the summer afternoon when strange people sat down at our table to drink their gold summer beers, everybody wanted to sit outside, it was hot gold light, we were so effortlessly in love and a dead moth fell down from the roof onto the table, into a skim of condensation. The dust from its wings floated off, slightly, and they joked about waiter-there's-a-moth-in-my-beer (no extra charge, we're out of flies) and in a vast tenderness I wanted to pick it up and tuck it away in my bag, take it home. If you spread the wings of a dun moth there is a pale tender gold hindwing. The moth fell off tonight, into the space between the back of the piano and the chair rail, while I was playing Mozart. There are, I suppose, much worse fates for a dead moth.|
|» (No Subject)|
Titian-haired wet-dog roaming the streets (wag). In the rain the damp grey stones steal the sky, steelsky, everywhere stones. Walk faster, coat against the cold, pulling black fur tighter over eyes (melancholy, black dog). Walk faster|
(who is the third that walks beside us? when I count
but look up ahead.) There are many answers, each inhabiting the grey-cloaked body in turn. Shifting bodies & stony sky.
I walk, 1, 2, and there is never enough time and there is always too much. Two calendars war beneath the neat grid, plumed heads chewing a grey cloak. Lash the slowwalking beast who plods along tramples the stones with 1 2 feet, lashing the beat. Metronome with the leadgrey head tick talk, speak, creature. Tell me, why is there always too much time and never enough? Whipsaw, Wednesday (Ash Wednesday, ashgrey Wednesday) and nothing has been done and you are so far away. Tell me.
Time is only time, and no time to sit still. The metronome dogs us.
Time is a three-headed dog whose faces bite each other. One rapid, one slow, one a greg(orian)arious spokesman.
Call me Lupa and I will hold you tenderly to my breast, my gemini.
Are you calling me, like, a total. prostitute? Mixing a lot of etymologies, here, aren't you. I am callipygian, if I might toot my own tuchus.
So much of what we experience assumes foreknowledge. Spoilers, previews, bookjackets, overheard conversations, reviews, past experiences, advice, pilots, Wikipedia entries, guides, précis, omens, recommendations, security breaches, trial balloons, ballooming in the steelgrey sky. This predication is dangerous: false: it implies we will always be warned. Not for the true things, the secret things, matters that keep us up nights, cut to the bone, reach to the cellcenter. We don't know. I don't know.
Ex: What does this molecule do beneath our skin?
What color is it? (Nanotechnology suggests: grey)
Who is the third that walks beside you?
Quickcut between bodies. You are multiformed, I am too, so must be this third. Jump, skip to my you, my darling. I'm breathless in 1960, Jean-Pierre Léaud with his Sinatra sneer (jump back), hair gamine though now it likes to tangle (all Pre-raphaelite: jump back!). Hipster Botticelli, they say, as I shake out my bangs. Hipster Anna Karenina, black fur pulled tighter over my eyes. The train schedules restructure themselves on the board, making quick clicking sounds. I'm jumping down to the city. Pacing through commercials and music videos and film (jump forward) it's a fragmented world. Things fall apart, the center et cetera (cut/splice).
Our molecules do it, too, those ones that I can't foresee, or the ones we know. We're cognizant of it, the cut and splice of RNA (AHR, EN, AAAAY, vowels too long to capture the quick snake snacking itself). Cut to the consonants, and understand the best you can.
O keep the Dog far hence... or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
Be careful, for digging can cut.
Dirty fingernails. Be humble. I have inherited the earth but o how many fossils. I do not wish to dig too deep, what long white bones are so easily uncovered. Long pale bodies lain on the dark red earth. My fingernails are broken and short beneath my white gloves. How can I dig so deep, so tenderly, at this small world - jumping between pathways, Frost-bit, two roads, diverge, discover - and shy back here, where we live?
In every unwilling ignorance there is a core of willful ignorance. Expect nothing (la la). Enucleate. Erase.
I AM LAZARUS COME FROM THE DEAD COME BACK TO TELL YOU ALL I SHALL TELL YOU ALL.
Shh, creature. There are corpses better left buried, though I am named for Bloom.
Melancholy is a grey dog, but it can still bite, but rejects these sinews, but the bones are white.
|» A Primer for Listening to Messiaen|
(Informal poll: do you pronounce it "prih-mer" or "pry-mer"?)|
Remember what it's like to touch a lover, a boy(girl)friend, a spouse, after an absence? Knees jut, chins bounce like falling gently onto a carpet from hands and knees. There is a slight adjustment, a refamiliarizing with the already-familiar. The bones are a different ivory.
This is what it's like to open Messaien on the music stand after a time away. It wasn't a question of practice, or the winterwarm brandy; I'd just played a Chopin with the same surety and brio (despite frozen-fingered flub and liquid slur contrary to marking). Fingers reached the wrong interval like thighs open to the wrong degree, just missing contact with the skin, or just impending it.
(It's funny, in a way, that I think of him like this, marmoreal man with his themes of religion, war, redemption, purity of colour.)
Messiaen spans that difficult wavelength, more classical than Cage, more modern than Mendelssohn. And for so many people I've known, the piano music is most difficult despite (because of?) the comparative simplicity. Multivoiced, but uni-instrumented. But you can start to find the themes: just listen.
2. Chant dextase dans un paysage triste - Pierre-Laurent Aimard [Piano]
(I am unsure of the interpretation of this one but it's the only one I can find.)
By spanning the twentieth century he creates a dissonance but also the key. Classical, jazz, the atonal modern: in some passages you hear it: thesis, antithesis, synthesis. Listen.
Synthesis, and synaesthesia: like many of us, here, he had an easy slip-n-slide between stimuli: (from the notes from Quartet for the End of Time: "In my dreams, I hear and see ordered chords and melodies, known colors and shapes...; a roundabout compenetration of superhuman sounds and colors. These swords of fire, this blue-orange lava, these sudden stars: there is the tangle, there are the rainbows!")
Birdsong. When dignam and I were at the Turangalîla Symphonie at Carnegie Hall, I waited for it, and it appeared, feathering down from the gilt ceiling, up from the flutes, and I wanted to say HA. "The birds are the opposite to Time," he says, and they appear, rubato, joyful, accelerated.
And let yourself touch it. Messiaen bristles, sharp-flat-natural, religion-war-nature, but there is always a tender place, beneath the chin. If you listen, you can find it, the place on the neck of the beloved that opens beneath your lips, the ear. Fingers unlock. Doors open.