The peculiar tale of the discovery and ordering of this manuscript will be told at a more convenient time. The peculiarities of its form of recording deserve their own discussion – suffice it to say that the text is a gloss of a Hittite or eastern ancient Mediterranean language unknown until the ‘Vrontin’ carving was found in the cave in mountainous central Anatolia. It is perhaps the stub of an alternative development of a primitive religion, although the inclusion of unparsable terms makes its translation very difficult. To aid in comprehension, we have entered the most likely English counterparts, although it should be remembered that, for example, the goose noted in 15  is probably not any species of goose that the reader will be familiar with, although similar behaviours have been found to exist in aggregate over many populations of goose across the world. The most difficult term to translate was found in carving 3.1, where a term for emotional brain capacity was found wanting. We have used the vastly unsatisfactory ‘limbic system’ as a stand in, waiting for a time when a translator with the right powers of sight can offer up a more fitting word.
Finished Westworld series one today. It had an interesting ending, but was ultimately unsatisfying in the way some TV shows are these days – the puzzle solution is basic and doesn’t make sense, whilst the puzzle itself is engaging. It’s like the producers just wanted it to grip and confuse, and drive compulsive viewing, without worrying about the solution, the denouement. In fact, fully satisfying someone is the last thing a modern American Commercial TV producer would want their show to do.
I clean the loo, then walk. I translate some more of Bonjour Tristesse, then a package arrives. I carefully cut it open, dropping the packaging straight in the bin, and then clean it with washing up liquid and tissue paper – a copy of the 2013 penguin translation to check mine against when I get really confused.Continue reading
There is a beautiful pathos of history in the fact that the totalising force and the absolutist will always be dogged by those with a blog. The might of the word, of knowledge, is similar to the might of the ocean. You may divert its force for a time, but it will flatten all land eventually. You may think you can divert it. But once something is realised, it stays realised.
When I hear someone exasperate about the internet, I always think – which comment annoyed you today? Which site fractured your sense of comfort in knowledge? Because of course, there is no such thing as the internet. There are only individual users, and groups… But then, that’s not quite right. The word – internet – like the word – society – has an image or sectional meaning whenever used in this way. It comes accompanied with – a comment section filled with drivel – the endless mass of opinions – lists of reviews, one to five stars, each with their set of entries… And I can’t help but think of this, whenever someone says ‘what’s wrong is the internet’ or jokes that… If it weren’t for the internet, we’d all be happy. The internet, they say, like a compulsion, their fingers itching to pick up a dustpan and brush, or an EMP device. I wonder if they know how they seem to us? We who have lived in the internet. They merely adopted the internet. We were born in it, moulded by it…
One was not born, but rather became, man. Or, the same, we can say that a newborn has a biological history, but not as yet, a cultural history. But why the past tense? ‘Man’ is dead – now, there is man. Because Man in our cultures was rarely defined against something, it was so throughout, so hegemonic, that it became such that it was never thrown into question. What an incredible amount of violence and ignorance must have been undertaken to reach that point, where everything other was buried beyond sight. But now those who work to define themselves as men, do it against the woman, the other, the beyond. That they do this is a symptom that they have already become different.
Or is this too simple – for who wrote the books, the newspapers, owned the presses? Rich Men knew their rich world, keeping the right company, having all the weapons. And so there must be a history of people outside, in the countryside, in the underground, out of ear-shot, who did not pay heed to the shouting and babbling of homoerotic joy at ‘Man’ (though of course that has its place.) These are the people who have so quickly in our time wrested their voice and as a byproduct of that process, ‘Man’ was destroyed. Their existence was only expected in a crude, partial way, in small encounters soon pushed from the mind. Or their behaviour was put into categories beyond thought. Or, they were simply ignored, kept from the true accounts, as the image was forging. It is an image with a great inner weakness that is destroyed simply by the existence of difference.
Since the old world is dead on its feet, we need only to keep living how we want, in order to push it softly into its grave. Culture is dead, long live culture.
How your voice comes to me through doors
that shut too soon and leave me spent
ammunition on the pavement.
I hear each consonant as fire
crackles on a summer beach
beyond the waves a jellyfish
moans and those are vowels of your throat
singing, of your hair which hangs like
for like, eye for an eye, my eye
which is hooked like the subtle fish
wife in barbaric times. I want
to talk to you about Rosa
Luxembourg, about just how right
we are about the large, inapt
empty spaces between the clouds
where no thought interrupts the flat
tones and gradients of the air
in its wider form. Free of life.
Barbarism it seems is willed
by the people, and so we cut
onions to pretend we aren’t despair’s
pawns and playthings in an open
gambit. I want to hear your crisp cough
as we laugh too much while drinking
Can you put the lines in order?
Can you love, and save someone with that love?
Can you watch TV with a wry smile and think of witchcraft?
Can you fit paper into a typewriter and roll it slowly through
By pressing on the keys?
By stepping on the ledge?
Can you ring a twelve bell peal with your tongue?
Can you swing in the sea til your arms tire
And you grow as old as you ever will be?
Can you infatuate yourself with every mark you make?
And roll your rs slightly in the reading?
Can you hail onto a feeling
and fail to inscribe it by the slightest mistake. Fail.
Can you fail?
Can you be idolised faintly, saint, by a dying culture
And rest all too happy in a leery obsolescence, a personal implosion?
Can you die? When it is time?
And think on death and dying?
Can you ignore those who think that they know what you are doing?
Can you tear paper, really tear it?
Are you afraid of yourself sometimes, really afraid?
Can you burn, can you burn?
Can you burn?
Can you become righteous?
Then, poet, you can be.
Can you stand on the sea?
Mystic, can you stand on the sea?
Can you stand on the sea?
Can you see?