Remote silver mines. A hut, a dwelling, a public house, a logger, makeshift and ramshackle; a song with a chorus, heaving at the capstan, or the like. A pot, a quart of drink. Why then I'll fit you, Hieronymo's mad again—it's a drain on profit. He's an enigma, a fault. Signal to signal and back again, acronym to acronym, palindrome to palindrome. An A to a Z then back again. And, as in all acts of translation, an erosion takes place.
He justifies himself by saying that errors are always possible.
How would I have felt if it had happened to me.
He dashes through the streets.
You who turn the wheel and look to windward. All other sensations are shocked out of existence.
I set out at a loss. It was a Thursday. I was limited to things. The crux here is in a steadfast refusal to take place, a futile attempt to recreate a static moment—interesting futile.
In a shop window have been placed a rather cheap looking musical instrument, a bag of oats, a stack of cards, a volcano-shaped lump of molten plastic (orange), string and wire, along with fuses and electric triggers of unspecified use. I'm not making any decisions today, I'm under catechresis—antipsychotic medication—function indeterminate, a tool or agent blindly devoted to someone else's will. Literally, a soul of mud, with atrophy of the muscles, a linguist in the larval state, gill flaps twitching. Skin feels amphibian. Lung-breathing, skin-breathing. To the abdomen. Same impression. Why do you fear to lose me here? Green's not a good idea today. Stale bread, smooth stones and a circuit board have been crammed into my pockets (the bread is for the ducks at the municipal abyss).
My circus training has been rigorous: I touch, I connect, and the voltmeter twitches. I recall a disbodied spider's leg afloat in the communal shower this morning. Who placed it there? We'll never know. Somewhere out in the world an arachnid crawls with seven limbs (our lucky number). Funny how they can cope with that kind of loss. I feel more vulnerable—for months now I've been trading the circuit. Mouths on stalks dowse and bob. Taste of Bosch in the air, sky equal as smoke, water falling in droplets and creeping snails crush at my feet. The rain washes away—apologies are forthcoming.
Lip split. Itchy phantom limb. Must've been reading again last night. I seem to wind people up; it's my writing teeth—good sharp white writing teeth. In my spare time I'm busy digging a cellar under the dwelling, much needed storage for accumulated salt grains and mustard gas. I'm about in the middle of a life sentence.
He then announced in a whisper the exact moment when the meeting would take place. In the midst of the clanging disharmony of the concert of opinion, to hear this simple language was a blessing.
Forbidden to talk for a few minutes, now, for the first time, I can actually see what I'm doing. The priest and cabal I've not yet mentioned have developed an extraordinary crust. They were all just using me for my room. I got beaten up every other evening; what makes money makes money. I'd inherited the magnetized corpse of an old, old country—old as old. What provokes this torsion? Many lights bleeping and drifting in the air tonight. St Ignatius says they cannot be real. He just appeared.
Are you too without understanding . . .
His life is accurately written by several hands. The next run was of a different stamp; it's as if I had never left the army. For abode they have none, but they must be drawn together. This work of building. That they may be known. They must, as it were, be collected together from their dispersion. Must go to confess myself.
Writing equals defamiliar chaff etcetera . . .
Animal familiars swoop and snaffle at my shins, where metalrimmed hoofsteps clatter and spark at the wet cobble, making fire. An invisible approach: Witchfinder General and his posse of players. And how much less is my faith than thine? Nothing is compulsory here. Refraction in the various superstructures, at this cusp of men and things. A break opens in the day, a kindly ruin without past or future, but with a lot more spirit and reflection. Night and day we edited, night and day—I wake, and there's another letter on the welcome mat. Must write back. The first stone dropped into my neck, trapped between head and abdomen. Slice this envelope:
I don't think the court case has helped one little bit.
He returns to the same subject again and again. I wish he'd correspond with someone else, I want to be left alone, on this the twenty-third day of April, the year of our lord. Someone should reset his colon, he's flashing in abnormal mode. I'll explain: we, the crew, are dishulled, pocked and white as museum marble. I need permission to leave the country so I can keep my job, keep my face, literally. All present wear flammable glycerine masks (no, on leaping into water the sea catches fire too). I begin to reconsider the argument of his missive, its inherent contrasts, something about an old magus, just a sac of cells, then ten days later trepan of the skull takes place. Truncation and trepanation: naevus marsh and nerve swamp. His letter begins with a pun worthy of an assassin; because our comrades are half dead, they can't think we're anything but dead ourselves.
His letter: a rusted scar with neatfolding wings, flapping angelus, muscle at the index. Begin again with a story of one's own. His memory played him into the last trick; he was elated and forgot that this was his own funeral. Moist sinew turning cardinal north. There's no influx. Thy books . . . He tells me he's learnt that Oscars were designed in the nineteen thirties.
I'm trying to write mean but it just won't come . . . Tithe, a tenth part, an indefinitely small part . . . the 1930s . . . I don't want that hair all over me . . .
And the heavens stretch lemon yellow. He does not produce a world of expression. To seek fantastic prey, that's where they're all going. I rather hope those mills will go bankrupt. I can hear something breathing, the rise and fall, the cadence of breath. It's me. Retiming the atonal self within random coordinates: a cage of rotting cob, one goat, a book bound with moth wings, spent shells, dead smoke plumes rising from red-tiled roofs, tank tracks—all hard indices of this economy. Against nature, against technic; his own age's intellectual poverty: bitter spectacle and base aspirations further intensified.
The guilt-ridden voyeur is traditionally a political conservative, and thinks like the rain . . .
A human buffer zone. An overflow, human storm drains leaching an extraordinary dystopia. Now for the usual question - Which punishment would be better? Under the gallows he can begin a new story of his own. A large percentage of the city's structures had to be flattened, at the storm's end over one hundred thousand were left without shelter. What a strange genealogy. But he had made a contract. If he should fail to repay he would substitute something else that he possessed, something he had control over; for example, his body, or even his life.
I'll volunteer. Take me up to Mars, I've had enough. Up there mass average, it seems, is a constant. It's not enough to take samples: hold a symposium, invite people to speak, invite utterance. I never arrived. The average mean is really mean. That I have two hands is an irreversible belief; double bill, brief encounters in running time. Sun weak and oblique. Multiple attains on the linen, the sheets and pillowcases, proof of uninterrupted menses and liverish copulation. Looks like withdrawal. Resident saints cluster and bilocate; they were some years without opening their eyes. The north initiates hostilities. Chance dictates. A big crowd of people is chased by a cloud. At some point you'll have to start taking things seriously, learn to be alone. I think he's going to exit through the window, and this time he's never coming back. But certainly he won't be aware of it, the act. He says it's like the whole universe just bifurcated. More visitors. It was so obvious to me now, so simple to see. I know that that's a tree. Centred. I'm not listening. You'll see.
I'm burdened with residual knowledge of many things. How I was; how I am. Written out. Why did I come? You didn't ask for me. It feels like an invasion of something. Take a seat. Invisible droplets in the air mingle with blood aerosol. Dust moved by soul; the mote in the eye, the scent in the air, the shriek in the playground. But weariness is a kind of madness, and there are times when the only feeling I have is one of mad revolt, with feet of clay: I am moving toward love.
This is what I though on that particular day.
We could use some of your vitriol around here, that petrol emotion: marches turning to riots, riots boiling to intercommunal warfare. Specials lose control. The descent. Say it—all writ out. Let's start for sure, none of your falsity: it's 20_, a transit camp, a cameo for west Europeans. It's incorrect to say that a will to falsehood is central to him: he acts as a social catalyst. A rust chute empties to the sea. Rust funnel and vertigo, with orderly signs etched into a hard nothing. Below, the uncounted steps. Nothing illustrates this more clearly.
The unnameable white
pebble place on a boulder.
The rust chute. The sea.
A crack in a large glass, darkly
(of a savant?)
Nothing of nothing:
1 swirling water, waves, rocks
3 olive trees
4 platform niche (no 563)
I added a white pebble to the scree at his tomb and dislodged half the pile. I left it where it scattered. I thought of picking them all up, but I'd had my fill of hommaging. Where's the beach? I'd had enough—it was cold and I was hungry. Everything was shut. I was trapped in another country. The museum was closed; it was the wrong day. It was always the wrong day. Two further goals stand out in retrospect. Why are we ugly. How are we ugly. Sacrifices were helped by the wilderness and the weather.
Now he shrugs his shoulders.
It all seems pretty hopeless to me. I don't see how it can have any basis in law. Amid such opulence I had to make further exchanges (diplomats could study this book with profit). Never assume you'll remember where anything is. That man who sends the missives is a genius, albeit cracked as the looking-glass of a servant. His report runs.
As a symbol of value, precious metal assumes the shape of bullion . . .
After he demanded whether I had a private chamber, whose prospect was away from the public street, I conducted him in to such a room, backwards.
A plainly furnished room the background. Prospect: away from the public street. He enters without wiping his shoes (full of snow and dirt) according to the custom. Soft until you look, am I late. A room and an alcove. The light is bright. The window is large, twice as large as any ordinary window. He asks for a little piece of gold. He pulls off his cloak, under which he wears five pieces of gold hanging on silk ribbons, each as large as the inward round of a small trencher. And this gold so far excels mine. Never bet with scared money, through a toric lens, through a dark, glassly.
He granted me to write this out.
Eciton rapax (he writes) one who forages after himself. Neuropter. I'm in a state of rest now. Above me, a moss vault arches.
You can't be so sure.
I think that you are well advised to be represented by someone who isn't you.
Italic dream. They did not know that the roof was about to fall in on them. Which attack. More funnel across the horizon. Fluorescence behind the eyes. Her hand raised she looks forward, talking into a commando head. That extra body in the box. I am entrenched. We talk of raiding, deciphering, but I've nothing definitive to offer. Superfluous men appear and gather themselves up, as if rising from the mouth of one diseased. It's particularly fatal for such people to look back or down. Circles of green rust rim the eye sockets. That floater, it did seem unnatural the way he'd shaped his body. And the dream's name is Cathedral: from a central hexagonal turret two tunnels lead in or out, depending on your orientation. A bestiary frames the door space. Leave this locale immediately! This might just prove a turning point in your life; the whatness of a thing. Don't hesitate. Pull him from out the firing squad. I recognize him. His friends confirm the frightful details. The damned are approaching with free newspapers and instant coffee. Seems I'm a suspect too now.