Section 0001

     During the Revolution the forest became the refuge of the pursued and the destitute.
     “It's too much for one man.”
     The man appeared to climb over a wrought iron barrier. It was midnight. All that which was not a part of his love now fell away from him and was swept into the nebulous distance.

     Surely this was not the spy, this lean shadow I had seen for a moment - I grabbed the carnation behind my ear and threw it in a mud puddle and then I stood there looking at it, more or less so I wouldn't have to think of anything else. It’s a dead world.

     The sky was black with white birds flying across it. It was quite a different heart.

     “Oh my Reality!” the calm wind swears into that.
     I have never wanted to kiss you, and my mother didn't have any breasts. (In them we may find reflection of all human emotion, and for the subtly attuned soul, they have emotions of their own.)
     It is the same each day.
     Does there have to be an echo in everything? Yes, and half the fun is in the pretense. It’s like cotton candy.
     Having said this, he again mounted his horse and departed.

Section 0002

     What a relief to stop it right there.

     I work with the dead, and the dead do not complain.

     Perhaps this was an exercise in Feng Shui after all. I clenched my fists under the quilt but in fact nothing out of the ordinary happened.

     It was the only impulsive action of his life, and he never regretted it. Marvelous reaction of a pale and angry young man, they thought.

     The man with the pipe said, “Well, no, that’s the whole story.” The subtlety of it was nothing new.

     And here my mind went haywire, I don’t know why. Not the things you want to hear, I suppose. In seconds people cross distances that have been measured out and reach out for parts where there is no ceiling above them and no ground beneath them.

     There I was conveniently incarcerated in a body which was walking through a strange city for reasons I knew not.

     Berthold: [who had been spying from behind the right exit by looking through the keyhole of the door]: There they are! There they are! They seem to be coming here…

     They could feel the cold as it crept in through the cracks, reaching out for them with its icy, death–dealing fingers; and they would crouch and cower, and try to hide from it, and all in vain. There was a certain pleasure in all this for him. A miraculous silence. Press the small button on the battery.

     This, then, is anger: to possess a voice in a torrent of embraces, to go boating on a long, slow river in an underworld’s lumbering cesspit, to know for certain this world stinks, stinks under a smelly angel, an angel in silk stockings and with a fine writer’s hand who records only clamor, scores of sucklings, librettos of the blissful malicious, and études of octogenarians: the noise of a world groaning under a pile of crossbeams. And beautiful tears have blossomed in my eyes.

Section 0003

     The beginning is lost.
     When the actors have left the stage, a few objects remain, a [ ] [1] which lingers in the memory, suggesting what has happened, but which, being only partial, leaves room for -
     His going and comings are like those of an ant hunting for a soft spot to bite, but he is seeking the genital cleft, and having found it, often after long and anxious explorations, he fulfills his function, falls off and dies.

     For a moment it felt like that but it was just a moment and I don’t remember what it felt like.

     The Squire went on to lament the deplorable decay of the games and amusements which were once prevalent at this season among the lower orders, and countenanced by the higher.

     Here on 20 June the sun grew dark and stars appeared for well-nigh half an hour after nine a.m. [7]

     Our bodies and minds, then, are hardly perfect technologies - And let us be forgiven for it!

     Whence came this noise? What is it about the house that makes it such a charged landscape? I beseech you sir, accept of this.
     Sacrificing care and craft and at the mercy of the clock, we have no time to reflect. There were a few persistent errors.
     I have been trying to remember you as you were before all this happened,” I say. And when I scream I am the sun an integral erection results, because the verb to be is the vehicle of amorous frenzy.

Section 0004

     Extraordinary, when one takes up the pursuit of such chimeras, to discover what amazing trivia, what sheer insanity, infests some of the great masterpieces of art. Unreality becomes actual and solid. Boredom is no longer my beloved. One wishes one could read a little more accurately into the monuments and their ancient functions.

     Everywhere he found grains of tobacco, trodden cigarette ashes, pencil sharpenings, pen points eaten with rust:

     And his desire for survival,
     Faint in the most strenuous moods,
     Became an Olympian apathein
     In the presence of selected perceptions.

     I put two and two together.

     At nine in the morning the stranger called for the sack and took it to the hotel in a cab. Evolution had cheated Terrestrials. At the same time, certain Italian and Russian artists and writers were experimenting along the same lines: there would be the sky and the mountains, the flowers and the girl and the feeling that all this was a nightmare, the faint consoling hope that I might wake up.

     My desert is just beginning. Only the endlessly repeated flood of morning light.

     The word “love” here stands for an identity of feeling. To be courted and won and courted anew, again and again. All the sons and daughters of Eve are condemned to dress themselves in metaphors to name their relations to one another.

     The women who lived in the building were dressed in bright flower-print housedresses. There was a full moon that night. As you approach the building from the east, you see a sculpted figure retrieved from some demolition keeping company with a pop dispenser; if that seems undignified, consider that the figure’s sisters guard a garage over by the Sheraton.
     Here I had an inspiration. All was now ready for the continuance of the journey.

     Sabina felt as though Franz had pried open the door of their privacy. Luckily, I don’t think he even noticed how rude she was. Every eye sees differently.

Section 0005

     “Maybe I ought to just say goodbye right here,” I say.
     Before that I had made my living by cadging odd jobs from newspapers, by reporting a donkey show here or a wedding there; I had earned a few pounds by addressing envelopes, reading to old ladies, making artificial flowers, teaching the alphabet to small children in kindergarten.
     “I did not know of these powers.”
     Love was a curse that had somehow skipped me, which was no doubt why I was so good at multiple-choice tests and memorizing poetry. No one cared what my ass looked like.

     Empty enigmas, arrested time, signs which refuse to signify, giant enlargement of the tiny detail, narratives which come full circle: We are in a flat and discontinuous universe where each thing refers only to itself.
     “Oh God.”
     “Silence, all of you,” the count exclaimed.
     “Hey,” I ask. Let us make the test.
     So we took a taxi; we hit on a rickety car, driven by an old man. In the morning when the light in the fissure dimly marked him out this drowsing captive looked so inculpate in the fastness of his hollow stone you might have said he was half right who thought himself so grievous a case against the gods. The unseen broom stopped to listen. What’s more, inasmuch as this singular event is composed within the language of the poem, it happens more than once.

     A world totally new, a world awesome and forbidding, is at our door. It looked at me.

Section 0006

     I say it for the last time: Maggots are gods. Butterflies are flowers in perpetual motion. Decayed teeth easily broken. I belong to the days of the silent movie.

     Fucking is a literary act. I talked to the storm and was myself the storm, and coming from above me in the remote distance I thought I heard something.

     In this mode heroic ideals, and particularly the dignity of artistic creation, are subverted by the primary voice in the work - that is, the voice of the commentator or narrator.     

     The gift lay buried. It was a year of quarreling, of intellectual stimulation, of spiritual unrest.
     She leaned against the bookcase, reaching up with one hand to grasp the folds of the green curtain above her. I was so lonely, so sad, so tired, so quivering, so broken, so beat, that I got up my courage, the courage necessary to approach a strange girl, and acted.

     Please forgive me.

     “So you’re not going to hang yourself?”
     “I’ll thank you to never meddle in my affairs,” she said haughtily.
     “Anyone know how to say ‘I love you’ in Japanese?”
     The earth was charged with seeds. And we sail away on a film of sun.

Section 0007

     It is good to have among us such men, such balancing monsters of love.
     The road was straight and empty and our tires swished loud, running alongside a junkyard that went on forever behind a fence made of spot–welded tire rims, some of them painted to spell out Andersons Andersons you need it we have it andersons andersons andersons.

     This is our last Christmas together. Then all melted away dewily in the grey air: all was silent.

     Silence reveals speech - unless it is speech that reveals silence.

     He began to guide his brooks more affectionately down into the valley, he rolled his avalanches with greater caution, he offered his flowery meadows more solicitously to the sun.

     We were trimmed for action and could not have reversed the process if we had wanted to.
     “Bug that,” he said aloud, laughing, and told himself, “Don’t give a inch!”
     As I say, the day began gloriously. The implications of this little fact are easily missed. It reminded him of the dream of the automobile and of the punch in the stomach he had given his enemy.

     But let us leave the forest and return to Paris.
     As I looked up at the clouds gathering around the mountains of the Hokuriku road, the thought of the great distance awaiting me almost overwhelmed my heart.

Section 0008

     Yes, that part is very nice…very nice, don’t you think?

     The fact that I loved him in a sick, hurt, desperate way, like a child or a dog, did not matter.
     Then she sank her teeth into his hand.
     What was that damned year to me?
     As I was saying this and weeping in the bitter agony of my heart, suddenly I heard a voice from the nearby house chanting as if it might be a boy or a girl (I do not know which), saying and repeating over and over again, “Pick up and read, pick up and read.”

     In this book the history of art has been organized in the usual way, region by region and, for the most part, also in chronological sequence, which may wrongly imply a distancing not only in time and space but in sympathy.

     We need to talk about escape and deceit. On them, I’m with you always in my mind. The sound is serious, calm, simple, utterly beautiful.

     That would be a good, even promising note on which to end.

     I’ll go mad as a bush. It’s the loss of context we’ll all come to sooner or later. Exactly what meaning can be attached to the other histories, in which we do not exist, is not clear.
     “Yes,” she whispered.

Section 0009

     Nature, with its tinkerish knack for economy, did not select independent mechanisms for expressing primary and secondary emotions. Yet a supreme change of outlook or viewpoint has been accomplished. In the sense of deferral and designation of place in a textual logic.

     I never knew before, what such a love as you have made me feel, was; I did not believe in it; my Fancy was afraid of it, lest it should burn me up.

     For a long time he stood on the gravel in the tavern garden, gazing down the empty street.
     This time, believe me, I cried more than all the children in the world.

     The bats have settled in the trees now, and quarrel over their fruit like fishwives, screaming and chattering. At this moment of reality, he thinks. Little by little my eyes got used to the light and I saw the clock…a great big one…really magnificent…the dial was all copper and a tiny little frigate was dancing out the seconds…tic…toc…tic…toc…
     This supreme substance of the philosophers is always referred to in a most paradoxical, enigmatic and riddling way. The least it is likely to do is spoil the work.

     If you’re wondering why it’s necessary to learn so much geography, it’s because location counts for a lot in Burgundy. When I told you that, your face darkened.

     There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. I know that we were conjugating the verb love like two maniacs trying to fuck through an iron grate.

     The operation, he said, was a sort of advance towards the unknown: “The whole problem for me is how to experience this feeling, and I am particularly aware of it at the moment.”
     I will protect this period, not from shame, not from fear, but from love and from a fierce sense of obligation.

Section 0010

     I rambled on ecstatically, and in the midst of it I suddenly broke off to ask myself why I was so happy.
     Wandering along the rosy paths of the fig garden, sitting in contemplation in the bluish shade of the grove, washing his limbs in the daily bath of atonement, offering sacrifices in the depths of the shady mango wood with complete grace of manner, beloved by all, a joy to all, there was yet no joy in his own heart. Then, one day, there was a birthday party for a mutual friend. But they made a major tactical error. That was the mystery.
     As a marionette whose thread the operator has let go for a moment wakes to new life after a brief paralysis of death and coma and once more plays its lively part, so did I at this jerk of the magic thread throw myself with the elasticity and eagerness of youth into the tumult from which I had just retreated in the listlessness and weariness of elderly years.
     And so nothing changed.
     Next point: you always have more trouble when you are in Boston. It seemed, just for a moment, that a new point had now been reached. He sighed deeply, for what he was about to do would cost money to repair.

     The present has many perils.

     Every night was different, each one had a name as long as it lasted. Some mornings the fog’s so thick that I exist only in a tight globe of clearing, beyond which is all foghorn and unknown.
     God said, “Will you accept it, now?”
     In conclusion, you got to feel Him inside you as if He had set up a tiny radio in the middle of your forehead.
     A feeling of deep sadness is always a warning to be heeded.

Section 0011

     Somewhere between steel reefs, a wire wrapped in gutta-percha vibrates: I herebyzzZZZZ…the critical situation . . . a crushing blow. There was immediate silence as though cold water had been poured on a roaring flame.
     Tonight, we are made of sex and remain more ghost than ever was read.
     He should have known that from the darkness on the street, but he hadn’t paid any attention.
     “Crazy man,” he said.
     That did not prevent his ritual identification, his effort at identification, with god. It would have been a fine life except that he was in love. A social disaster so far-reaching, an organic disorder so mysterious - this overflow of vices, this total exorcism which presses and impels the soul to its utmost - all indicate the presence of a state which is nevertheless characterized by extreme strength and in which all the powers of nature are freshly discovered at the moment when something essential is going to be accomplished.

     Some days even a cup of coffee is violence. So now I know.

     And then the storm burst.
     Maybe that’s what we look for all our lives, the worst possible grief, to make us truly ourselves before we die.
     “I’m like the others, but I tell you it’s not done that way.”
     Whenever I have a day with my love I rise in the morning with the day inside me. This dilemma, however, is by no means universally recognized. On the contrary.

Section 0012

     Check, his mother said to herself.
     “We've had a flood, part of the ceiling's fallen down, but the walls are still filled with photos of great artists that are no longer with us, who are here in spirit.”

     I’ve made my fire and everything was white.   

     I wanted a life, a poem
     Of many places, words
     At a time,
     & I have one.

Father of the clouds
you are beautiful
at sunrise.

     With great sadness, we announce the death of Derek who passed away peacefully in Trinity Hospice on Thursday, July 9, 2009, aged 69 years. This is a model of our liquid resting world / dissolving bone and melting marrow / opening pores as wide as windows. The nightmare should have served as a warning to me that our dream could unravel. Vain and self-destructive, brilliant, well-behaved / when she isn’t being hysterical, // terrible lines are forming a conspiracy in her face / as in that ’60s song about a broken-hearted teenager, / called “The Tracks of My Tears.”

     Who among us arrives aware. Respectfulness and subordination are enacted through the ritual of summoning (knocking) and awaiting permission to enter, whereas entering without prior permission is a way of enacting equality or superiority.

     “Order me a brandy,” she replied.
     Now ask the question that is on your mind.
     “Uh…how are you?”

Section 0013

     Hope deferred maketh the something sick, who said that? A police report, if obtainable.
     I just gaped at him. The ends of overheard conversations are the best.

     I was there for the termination.
     “Magnificent!” said the little doctor with enthusiasm. He nodded and we both sipped for a while in silence.

     Many a motion that is called a reflex is a sturdy trowel for the person building up his world.

     “And I presume we may now consider the incident closed?”
     No one knows what happens at the end of the journey. The heart couldn’t be the seat of the soul, for when Whytt cut the heart out of an eel, the remainder of the creature was able for some time to move about “with great force.” In a minute or two they were out in the sunshine examining the clergyman’s find.
     A phrase of Cornelius Agrippa flew through his mind and then there flew hither and thither shapeless thoughts from Swedenborg on the correspondence of birds to things of the intellect and of how the creatures of the air have their knowledge and know their times and seasons because they, unlike man, are in the order of their life and have not perverted that order by reason.
     At that point, I yawned, and the old man said he’d be going. We told each other to take it easy. He was the coordinate of her position. By the fountain.
     Nevertheless, I should have dealt with her pain earlier, in time, and not when it was all over. I felt as if the wind was being blown into me by way of a strange kiss, as if the city was breathing directly into me.

Section 0014

     “It seems to me we have much the same problem here.” It would begin with Mr. defending the little girl, and then as the neighbors listened old wounds opened like complicated flowers in the night.
     “Yes” I replied while continuing to slay this three-headed dog that kept pestering me.

     (In my eyes I saw the beast’s eyes
     filled with death, like fluorescent lights).

     It is a voice to be reckoned with - so close to dream (and nightmare), so near to the music we hear when a secret slips into the air, so scalding, yet tender.

     This is my last happy memory of my fiancée.

     So love was mistaken identity. I rediscovered the empathetic role of silence: it allowed her to be in a frenzy, did not respond to her magical conviction that she could kill me, stifled my tendency to interpret in order to “clair-ify” Claire, and kept me quiet even more than usual.

     Jacob imagines he can hear a harpsichord. I step down into the garage and she spits.

     These words anticipate in an uncanny way the turn writing would take in the twenty-first century, now that the Internet has made copyists, recyclers, transcribers, collators, and reframers of us all.

     There is a sort of not-yetness between us, I tell myself.
     She did not, could not, answer. The little shift fell open all the way down, revealing an exquisitely full young body. The moonlight fell gently on her face, molding it, and she had a wistfulness about her. So cold, so far away.

Section 0015

     We can’t see all the words.

     There was silence for a moment, then they both heard the swing-shift horn - blaring all the way from Boeing Field. By then, it was that part of the day that is officially morning but which any dunce can see is purest night.
     It seems to him enough to simply be awake like that bird soaring in the darkness that sleepers have abandoned, to be walking away from the lighted corner, down the empty, silent streets they’ve left to him, whistling as he passes dark windows, not sure where he’s going, and in no hurry to find out.

     The human heart, transformed by the alienness and uniqueness of this northern world, emerges radically transformed by the passage through this place, and finds itself having to readjust to the non-Arctic world upon departure.

     The folks in the hinterlands were just getting even.

     She drove through Canada, into the state of the lion.

     Normally, we would pronounce “hermitage” with only the first syllable stressed. On the valley floor you walk over unearthly piles of rocks, and interspersed in the manzanita and wildflowers are such signs of the past as rusted old pieces broken off the great iron flumes, piled together like forgotten rubbish, yet of a piece with the landscape.

     Everything around me grew blurred and opaline.
     A tight-laced chest and a good disposition cannot go together.
     Now it was all over.

Section 0016

     With respect to good faith, it appears that Macpherson did collect bits and pieces from oral tradition, but he assumed they were the remnants of an ancient epic tradition and accordingly did his best to put them into a unified, orderly arrangement.

     It’s too early to gauge the effects of all these measures.     

     If my father didn’t fit my ideal of what he should be in his occupation, he certainly didn’t fit my mother’s either.

     “This is Greenwich Village?”
     “I respect - ” Harry began, but Bill shook his head. That is all.

Chapter Two
In Memoriam

     There’s never a real carnival except for the shopkeepers, and then it’s deep down and secret.  Here we have ‘reverted’ to type. Video gold.
     “This is the heart of it, right?” Remove Africa and fill in the blank with any culture or community you choose.

     There is a profound asymmetry there.

     I have heard of voodoo economics; is this an example of voodoo arithmetic?

Section 0017

     Nun trat sie weiter vor, und sah die schroffe Felsenwand hinab. The change in pitch of the voice. Rap pan on table for same purpose.
     But New Jersey was actually a very cold place.

     All this is however merely a description of the phenomenon.

     emma: Somebody’s got to do something.     

     On a stone by the pool, she lays out the little bags and pipes, the red and blue and buff of heart and stomach and spleen. Bloodshed over the border is not the only measure of the damage this poisoned relationship does.

     Well, that’s what art is all about, isn’t it?
     Owners sold off their remaining assets, the majority of buildings were dismantled and reused elsewhere, and the boomtown became a ghost town. The dead eye brightened. Absolutely.
     And she wanted to hold him close because she felt she might alleviate the feeling of deep-seated loss that had woken her up. Only one thing spoils it - the odd, tinkling fade-out.
     “Happiness!” he exclaimed, with new and overpowering disgust. Lennon, for one, couldn’t have agreed more.
     A moment later, the dream scene had completely vanished and I was laying in the darkness of my room. Quel est la date aujourd’hui?

Section 0018

     The slow days
     Echoes heard
     In a corner of Kyoto

     I who have never known any sorrow, I touch something to increase my joy in living. 

     People remember and share these stories because they discuss timeless and placeless human situations in exciting and interesting ways.

     A frenzy, a fraud, a fiction. Many beautiful girls died in this way _____________ a woman named Scheherazade at last offered to be the Sultan’s bride.
     Here I wish to relate a terrible and grotesque anecdote, a scene from a family tragedy. While I was a small school boy if I was asked if I remembered her I could say “Yes; I remember playing on the grass and looking up at her while she sat sewing under a tree.” Then I found I needed another girl in the story, a live one to balance the ghost girl.[2] 

     Pressing her on what kind of advances were made, she told me, “Well, when an owner of a nightclub tells you he wants you to sit with the captain of police and you say you don’t want to sit with the captain of police and he more or less tells you that he can hire four or five Puerto Rican girls for the salary he’s paying you and you tell him, ‘Well, go ahead and do it,’ and you walk out.”
     First impressions are very hard to change - and this is Monica’s first impression of how you live your life.
     At least it’s in bad taste without being pretentious.

     Having children was the major job of all classes of women in the Middle Ages, and the margins of this book are full of references to fecundity and birth.
     The Echo and her “sisters” had just time enough to unload freight and passengers and load again and depart for Pittsburgh when the Allegheny River froze up with an extremely cold March snap. The wretch’s search for justice went as well as Kobe Bryant can shoot free throws.

Section 0019

     What is hyperspace? Do you understand any of it, this topology stuff?     

     “I should have killed my antagonist,” he declared, “but for the miserable character of your American steel.” He had simply deleted Shuichi.

     What is this world made of?
     Bronze wine vessels of the Shang dynasty. [U]ne pomme.
     When I was younger, I wanted my bedroom painted in bright reds and yellows. What I sought, when I struggled out of my hole, then aloft through the stinging air towards an inaccessible boon, was the rapture of vertigo, the letting go, the fall, the gulf, the relapse to darkness, to nothingness, to earnestness, to home, to him waiting for me always, who needed me and whom I needed, who took me in his arms and told me to stay with him always, who gave me his place and watched over me, who suffered every time I left him, whom I have made suffer and seldom contented, whom I have never seen.

     This is why it’s so hard to sit down and stay long enough to write.

     History with her painful and unexpected changes cannot be made to pity or remember; that is our function. And this is where poets can help to fix the economy.

     He made no answer.

     It is winter again, those cold / globes of breath that shape / themselves into bodies. He is still now. In the normal course of subjective time, they would both be dead in a few years. That’s how that was settled. I stand idly, magnanimous and sinister; / fingering the inventory, the adorable ghosts / of little shelf lives that are gone or half- / used up, while the poison pools in my blood / and the mercury lurks in the thermometer: / aspirin, daughter of the willow sap, fidelity / in a pellet; dentifrice, son of the gleaming Swede / who fell in battle and has lain there whitening / ever since; and a grape elixir saved only by codeine, / warlord of the drowsy.

     These sticks are combined with a carrot.

Section 0020

     A woman leans in a tenement window, we see the first glimpse of a long dead friend. And as it now is, with no tenants that one can speak of, / it’s more private than almost any place one might imagine. There are plenty of parking lots, but between their fees, the traffic, the “Thru Streets,” the “Split-Signal Phasing,” the tons of taxis, the million delivery trucks, the ubiquitous cell-phone-carrying pedestrians, and the bike messengers, it’s never worth it.

     A fine net of clustered organ notes sounded, mournful and slow. The time for spring plowing was over. At the same time, lesser emotional relationships play themselves out in the shadow of this central drama of the heart.
     Here nobody cares about me. And by hanging around your dormitory I’ve come to realize that I’m the topic of more than a little conversation, however full of ridicule it may be.

     This resulted in an increased awareness and a sensitivity to unpleasant impressions which, at times, caused him to feel disgust where others with coarser senses would have experienced pleasure.

     I’m not trying to delude you or myself, and even if you laugh again it doesn’t matter. Maybe I really shouldn’t get mad when the kids pat me on the head...after all, they mean well...     

     May I come inside? I can’t go to lunch now.

     The very question, it may be added, made him feel lonely and cold.

     I found two possums in a tree next to my apartment and took them down against their will.

     The fiction rises to the surface and quickly dissipates, following the variable motion of the writing, around the fragmentary interruptions of a central phrase, a phrase introduced from the title and continuing onward.

     A welding shop, or a plumber who has welding equipment, and the necessary plumbing experience, should be called to perform this work.

Section 0021

     He has never found out how strong he is - never had an adversary that could measure his strength.  
     You listened to the story. There’s street life going on down there. Everybody knows me. The mind’s a killjoy, if / I may say so myself, and the sun’s a star, / the red dwarf of which will finally consume us.
     “Now my day is all written down.”

     The person to whom she is speaking is myself.

     But these complexities all come from the multiple remediations of the supposedly original moment, recorded on a film that does not exist in a house that cannot be because it violates the fundamental laws of physics.
     “Yes” I said “but verse is verse and prose is prose.”

     This could also lead to a debate.

     “We need concrete plans to move this forward,” he said.
     “Cornelia Street Café?”
     “I sit there as a Bird on a Bow; I look about, and do not know where to go; let me therefore come down upon the Ground, and make that my own by a good Deed, and I shall then have a Home for ever.”

Section 0022

     The gods are gone.

     “I have a surprise for you,” she said. His mother’s face, young and dying and afflicted, shone sharply before him and he squeezed his dry eyes shut for a moment.     
     The house does not forgive you. Hatch pulls, flap gates, rivets that The New York Times compared to decorative molding, and large-letter stenciling are still visible beyond the green and yellow colors used to paint them. [A]nd by the way steepness.
     Three-card Monte, chuck-a-luck boards and other gambling devices were operated on the street corners, and liquor was sold openly in violation of the law. Every second, ten stars set behind the black water in the west.
     I was like a soldier, who is not allowed, by the constant presence of an enemy, to throw off his armor, and lay down his weapons for a single moment.

     This is how all our trips began, the words that followed me every time I left the house. What are the promises being whispered to us here?

     Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. Again, certain sounds may be associated in my experience with certain colours and with a certain shape.

     You recognize me by my familiar voice and this hand is mine, you can do nothing about it, you laugh, old toucher of worlds; but I have seized the pearl and there you are, down below, dethroned. If the world had existed from eternity, it would follow that it is possible to add to the infinite.

     Clumps of dirt still dangled from the roots. The little lip lifts again with that miniature fierceness, as if this tells the whole delightful story.

     It was a rustling sound that woke me up. It seems to me that I did not see his face until dawn; I seem to recall the momentary glow of the cigarette.

Section 0023

     This is how it goes for Zoe.

     Meanwhile, deprived of tranquility, trying to make do with Prozac and cheap California red, I have sat down to the task I’ve postponed as long as I could. Where will it all end?
     I exited the tower and followed a path through a thick grown garden.
     And then, you pace up and down a corridor and suddenly enter a room full of light. I’d done it again. See, I have this romantic way of dressing.
     Dancers around me began splitting their heads with big earthen pots which they broke on their skulls with a sound like coconuts cracking.
     I mention these insignificant adventures in order to show how tired and empty our Sunday outings left us, and how surprised I was to hear my comrades describe the details all week long. On the other hand, one cannot suppose that a stone which is thrown upwards continues to move in virtue of some power or quality imparted to it. The resulting conflation of similarity (iteration) and difference (singularity) gives the event a temporal significance that can be realized only in narration, not in story. And certain knowledge of God’s existence depends on knowledge of my existence as a thinking subject.     

     Every one suspects himself of at least one of the cardinal virtues, and this is mine: I am one of the few honest people that I have ever known. Through excess or defect of what?


     And from this imminent Middle Age, I want to be the first to have a total comprehension of the laws of life, of death, and of the resurrection of the aesthetic, in order to be able to pronounce the word: Renaissance. I am officially quitting the monk business and am upgrading myself to the rank of mystic.

     “Just try it some time, you don’t seem to understand much about this kind of work!” Well, God give them wisdom that have it; and those that are fools, let them use their talents.

Section 0024

     We tried all our best to stop ourselves but all were in vain.

     Everyday life goes on while you go down the rabbit hole.[3]

     It was so beautiful that we wanted to make them start the scene all over again.
     Then go, she said. But the writing was already being scrawled on the wall. In tackling the shit problem, economics could well be a clincher.

     He arose and laughed. If someone’s chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don’t turn around and shout, “Give it up!  I was a track star for Mineola Prep.” Because the Arab word, al Kohl, means “fine powder.”

     Even the coffee table books were chosen for their blue jackets.     

     I could tell you the story of blossoms in the dust with greer garson & walter pidgeon, I could tell you the story of giant with elizabeth taylor & james dean & rock hudson, I could tell you the story of the world the flesh & the devil with harry belafonte & inger stevens & mel ferrer, I could tell you the story of night must fall with rosalind russel & robert montgomery, but at this late date. You turn another page and find the next two are printed properly. You must be outside, and feel the touch of the first shadows.

     Throughout the whole process I looked on in wronged silence, like a wife. Can it be anything but brutality?

     “Ah, I’m disgusted and miserable!” he cried in a sudden burst of fury. And it is true. Right now, a lot can be gained by a little conversation.

     Then she put pen to paper, already planning the immediate departure of another shipment of her glorious champagne. The man’s spine straightened at the sound.

Section 0025

     That things simply happen - let us reckon with that always.

     The tutor just stood still. He was charmed with the panorama, not knowing - or at any rate not at all showing that he knew - what far other images peopled her mind than the women in the navy caps and the shopboys in the blazers.
     “Yes, I’m poeticizing.” I was assuming he must have had a visitor I didn’t know about. 
     That’s why the night won’t pass. And while White and his colleagues danced, what was going on inside the brain of that monkey?

     It is clear that we must put our own moral code to one side if we are to understand her. The whole course of history, political and social, is strewn with evidence of this fact.

     “I thought you said you knew how to turn on the lights,” I went on, accusingly. For the representatives of evil are interchangeable.

     “That’s right,” she said, still nodding hard. Then we started looking for the plastic bag and the can of gas, and now all we had to find was the place. The ocean was twenty minutes away, but there was no sign of it here.

     Pino suddenly smiled warmly.

     As we stand there observing the figures, we may see the social interactions between them but at the same time, we also observe the layers of history and social forces around these characters as evidenced in their buildings, their inventions, their appliances, their transportation, their agriculture, their efforts to tame and control nature.

     “She didn’t like it,” he said immediately. A shape invites you to fill it. It has built a cult-like following by playing on people’s frustrations. The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Section 0026

     That still makes me laugh.

     “Go ahead,” Harvey says.
     “I’ll wait.”
     We sat there talking about the wonderful winters in Montreal. Frau Adele had turned pale. Law, order, morality, justice, wisdom, any abstraction seems like a cruel joke perpetrated on a helpless world of idiots.

     Adjust the seasoning and set aside.

     “My asshole is occluding.”

     The course through the apparatus takes 12 hours. The landscape is not uniformly bleak. The sound of a breaking wave began at one end of the beach and traveled its length, and before the sound reached the other end another wave began to break. But Achoura’s happiness was short-lived. It was already dusk, the first stars coming out in the sky; and on the table was set a hurricane lamp, whose low dull flame looked a doleful bird caught in a glass cage. She takes a few steps into the room, goes over to the heavy chest and opens its top drawer. Immediately, there was the sound of flesh slapping against flesh, grunts of exertion, the noise from hundreds of pounds of wet humanity colliding. He was falling backwards and she was falling against him, and he could feel the carpet beneath them and the hem of a night shirt brush his face. Nevertheless, Hervey discovers a residue of conventional emotion within himself. It was like being awake while you talk in your sleep.
     Darkness came, incomprehensible.  We’re all smart and bored and unable to connect.

     “What does this signify?”

     A crack. And now another six months went by. The mind is an amazing thing, and during the weeks I was unconscious, I had a prolonged dream, more vivid than any I’ve ever had, about a beautiful place in Italy.

Section 0027

     And now her footsteps were coming down the hallway. On some little errand the dame passed into an adjoining chamber, leaving the door partly open.
     At that point, the only thing that could have thrown Walter back into the bad ways he’d felt in college, when he’d been tormented by his sense of losing to the person he loved too much not to care about beating, would have been some bizarre pathological sequence of events. But it was different now. There was sorbet.

     The inwardness and mystery of this attachment drives men of every class to the use of emblems. Of course it is beautiful but first all beauty in it is denied and then all the beauty of it is accepted.     

     “Is it a good thing to be logical?”

     In general, generalization is to lie, to tell lies. The hardest work is behind us. That’s why I gave her to you.

     This is what leads me to cross the boundaries of friendship and makes me wary of casual contacts in which I risk catching the malady of love.

     What was it she said when she was kissing his hand?
     “My greatest joys I owe to you,” she would tell me also; and she would add in an undertone: “and also my greatest sorrows: the best and the most bitter.”

     I felt sadness.

     “That was the turning point,” Severyn said.

Section 0028

     Nothing was sacred to her. The next morning, we went down to breakfast not feeling so hot.
     “Alas!” one cries, “and yet alas again!”
     I cannot tell you yet how beautiful it is, what it means. But when I was young, where I lived was mostly farmland, rolling fields, rushing creeks when it rained, thick woods, and hundred-year-old stone barns. Fires are now a rare occurrence…[23] They no doubt are part of the rite.

     Early that afternoon we came across one of the strangest things I had ever seen: a hundred yards or so up from the shoreline was an abandoned caboose on a small stretch of railroad tracks that disappeared into the sand in both directions. Then again, maybe the concoction is so strange it's actually brilliant. The mist quickly turns to a drizzle and I hope that it won't rain any harder. I am not sure whether to regard this as a slight, a mercy, or merely a pragmatic consideration of what we all think we might be able to handle together. 

     The gun rides beside the heap.     

     We stepped up into the main hall of the temple and inspected the painting of hell. How can people believe that for years I've fought against motes of dust or dirt-attracting floors or bleached white sheets to perfection when a few hours later the motes, the dirt, the stains return to remind me of the uselessness of it all?

     The chasm widened dizzyingly. The setting of these dreams and stories became critical. That sound was what pulled me away from the radio. Briggs, who had been listening, looked up thoughtfully.

     Given sight and the power to move and handle things, sounds greatly enrich the human feeling for space.

     Had she not been forewarned, Elisabeth would doubtless have become provocative. With bells on her ankles and rings on her toes, the dancing girl does not need cast and accompaniments to her dreary measures. We remain still and wait her out. She can see his teeth at the other end of the hall, and he walks toward her like a man who has been taken apart and reassembled, his arm and leg movements full of distress and waste motion. When he thought of her he grew angry and swore.