I'm trying to make a decision about something. I get a lot of letters from young autists. I am right now pondering the most regrettably named product ever patented. On the wall hangs a faded print of a word I can't say.

In each subsequent act I'm rising and returning to a state of purpose. I'm like an Eastertide statue, concealed, yet present. I divide myself in two, thus do I stave off the opposition—this people, whose head and hand you fear. No halting. It's when you stop your steps that they notice. Just like so. They are not men of their words. They told me I was everything. The trick of that voice. I can see clearly now the rain has gone. We're at twenty thousand leagues. I can see all obstacles in my way. I'll manacle your neck and your feet together. You'll drink sea water! This bird is drunk as a lord, belled and jessed (a short leather strap round the leg of a hawk). Atom in the lung. He has not done it because he has not needed to. Potent counterpotent. Pom! Pom! Pom! They would have killed me! Where my fathers lie. It works. Follow me. The same number of frowns creates a wrinkle, and a wrinkle, you can't get rid of. It's just like that, nothing you can do. I feel conspicuously obscure. I'll volunteer for paralysis. I sense the reader needs a digression or two, a few scattered seeds. It's time to. So much honey, snuck in a bee box and nailed to a wall. Where any of these words perturb, they may simply have been placed in the wrong order. Make a decision. Without the perimeter of the compound a voice sings. These waves are a source of delight and debt, and they also cause enormous destruction. The multiplied insists. In each case very exact. He asked for a list of all male suicides from last year. Doomsters on a dormant peninsula, where diplomats huddle at the shoreline. They look confused. They need a boat, anything to ferry them across an everyday Styx. A raft will do, cracked pallets bound to empty oil barrels. On the far shore is an all-night laundromat. Walking the road anticlockwise, a man hobbles up clutching his meniscus, the only case of self-kneecapping on record. Someone's blinded him. Black resin drips from his forelock. Eclipse plumage.

It will never fall lower. The instinct is No.

Reader, you might study this book with profit and forgive the cheap puns. Towards the campaign, for the counterscarp! Forget and forgive. It was written all at once in a flash, in the flesh. We're talking war. It's a good job I've little use for money. A sad tale is to be compounded by a death at the station. Not one of them was allowed up on the platforms, but the waiting rooms, they were a different matter . . . Put all your cards on the table, goad some gypsies up from the local ravine: fouls of ravyn . . . leave a trail of chopped kidneys, raw. Have them strike up a lost voice: savage violas, bass, guitar, and drum. Rimshot and hard sound, unmistakable murmur and groan. Such interaction. Matter escapes: the nows of snow, the id of tide (and detide) the ands of sand. The reader's making something of this. Gatherround.
Turning slowly over the fire is the shell of a tortoise, craquelure spreading, splitting sound. If there are no objections, I'm leader now. I'll make up rules. And lo, the crew are down in the hold, all human ballast, a heap and a cargo. A ton of slippage. Many are willing to die after a first taste of freedom. Following the surprises of the previous day they won't settle for anything less. Their future's prophesied; they're eternal relics of the past. One reads and understands. We drink. The hull is full of bars, some good, some bad, some average. It's a floating Essex. It's full of segments, a maritime ant hill with fifteen bulkheads. They rupture. Waters gush in, sea things too: squid, the vertices of hydrozoa, the barb of a stingray, an octopus, plus some inflatables and unidentifiables. Even deadly sting. Medusoid phase. Here be monsters. Some mappa mundi: south is up, north is down, and there are other anomalies . . . but I'm distracted. I'll probably drown. He exists only by writing. My eyes are just above the waterline, stung by salt. Distant flash and glitter of a marsh, in tangential correspondence to a rising sun. The same that was here yesterday. The highlights of life flash before me. It doesn't take long (oddly, it's not mine). I'd hoped for fanfares, bouquets. My surviving lung is fit to burst. Despite this, I'm still on his fucking letter:
A forced march across a salt marsh, a certain lightness arising from the circumstance . . . Harbour fees are so dreadfully costly these days . . . As if it had been their own money . . .
Languid he is floating flower. Who's holding the purse strings now? Back on board the crew have mutinied, but we'll endure. I'll stake my shirt on that—no, my life. Better still, someone else's. Somebody speaks to me: I turn on my wet head. As the voice continues to repeat I begin to wake. Raise the stakes. Give me something sensible and slow—a one and a two and a three and a one. What paleographers call a leak in the thatch: a revolte-face, an insurgency, a schism. Some stalk in packs where low corridors of buckled steel crush to an apex. A cathedral hull, moss vault ribbed with flying buttresses. Their laser-blue shirts glow in the darkness. Evanescent, there's something of the signal about them. It's the official oratorical period; I'm not teaching them anything, only asking. We needn't bother ourselves about issues. A mad woman in a tricorn hat passes, arms bound tightly with leather boot laces—she's a one-woman army, a flailing whirlwind chopping at the old confines. She's a new form of calendar, arranged as a checkerboard with thousands of tiny dots and tiny tiny sigils. Success (said Napoleon) is the greatest orator in the world. No trespassing! No trespassing! The subject of a major documentary, she's the bipolar axis of the pursuit—through months of mist, months of rain, months of seed, months of reap—where marches turn to riots, and riots boil to intercommunal warfare. Specials lose control. The descent—as M once put it to me, a destructive retrospect of the history of ontology. The heap of idle devotion. And here and there, scraps of flesh, an assortment of animal parts flung clear of the high table: ear lobes, a diced snout, clumps of fur, split hoofs and trotters, excised anal flaps. Quite a tableaux. A tangle of yeses and noes taught to run along a certain path. A double snap; up and down. The two lands come together. They fit. Perfeck. It's among us again. It's inserted itself as a very long complex chain. Almost all of its links are acceptable. It's swallowed itself. I soon touched the ground. Pulling aside, with fist. Is an ant on its own really an ant at all? We're back to ourselves. And quite fragile, especially where we cluster, where we're many. Our procession clings to the right angle made by the exterior wall and the floor, softly unsung, vulnerably imposing itself. A cordon before the outside. I don't suppose this is what they meant.

I knotted my own cord to one of the undamaged bars. It was a perfect fit. Interspersed among the flags were white and pale blue oriflammes with gold fleurs-de-lis.


A stupid rhythm turns in my head. I recall new years. All personnel from sections six, seven and eight have been removed to section nine, the collision bulkhead. Smells like a theory of forgetting is in the offing, the treasures of sleep, of unsituated memory; an effort to find a life, any life, other than the one granted. I made him pay a month in advance and asked for a list of all male suicides from the previous year. The mother of all supplements, he's a voluptuous, has syntagmata at the tip of every limb, at the palm of every hand, at the arch of every foot. A perpetual state of unrest was trying to establish itself inside of him. He's all written out. Signs and elements. A treatise, a body of persons, is inside him. A phalanx. A certain spectacular impression is prevalent, one that's very dilute, rarefied. I would not be obliged to watch over him that night. He does not participate. Rare earth. I shouldn't be able to function under these conditions. Give me that hand, salver. Amputate, quick (I'd found a job as a DJ). We're out of anaesthetic. Down with beauty. Give me that hand. Give me that radio hand.


Radio Nerveband. He always called it the wireless. He was more animal than human, like a magnet, his luxuriant bill studded with minute sensors, robbed of which he'd never dine. Precociously retarded, his soft organs were arranged in a delicate fan array, he supine at the centre; quite decorous, quite delicious, a perfect skeletal summary. I appear to be in a position where I've no option but to agree with him, yet we all know that some events must remain unforeseen. He's one who mutters, an actor in a dumb show, a performance of murmury scried by nightshade. The upshot: no duties of universal realty. Genera are marshalled: land, with houses, trees, minerals, pronouns, anatomy, bodily fluids and functions, colours, numerals, elements and metals, celestial bodies, weather, birds, a variety of waters, fish, the stuff of earth (rock, sand, sod) and vegetation. They disappear and reappear in the mulch of their own letters. Lights open in the darkness. My speech performance equals a tree of vessels, pores and lenses for the graphic trace, the graphic trance. One must walk, expend effort, a novel engagement involving the step and scale of the body. Black lead. Lungfood. The happenstance of mystics. I struggle to recall. Consider a famous passage in the original: Light and Gravity. It's all gravy. I'm in woodland - fields and fenland, bang in the middle of a life sentence . . . the sheer length of the building! Something's coming towards me holding its head, furious with hunger, charged with craving. A film of silence.

He had stabbed himself to death with a cheap ballpoint. They was best. The nib of a fountain pen would have buckled and split, ink everywhere, the job undone. Back me or I quit. Quit while you're a head. Lend me yours, now. Make it quick. Back in the fathomless swamp: full five. This is the mouth of the cell. He's inside, seated, head bowed. It's dimlit. It's divine. About the walls he's fashioned a syllabary, a reliquary of letters—the yield. No noise. Enter. There's a grille through the ceiling. In the sky is a pink mortality curve, an ancient plane track that never fades. Quite metamental, this must be the Staunton lick I keeping hearing so much about. The players are due to be shot—since then I've been waiting. I'm recognized by a scribe and released from the line up.


The only way down's the way you came up. I am mainly interested in the elusive material, my own reliquary of errors. Open the door a couple of inches, the iron plate. I say this from experience, though I've never wandered about the world myself, beyond the gates of the compound. Not to mind. Resound. I don't quite know how to work out the table; like some cubist novella, its hymen is always folded. It's ambiguous, and admits too much importance to a single solution: satire. I would often take myself off into that desert to sleep under the stars. The iron rivets burst. The shaft shivered. The bin shot down.

Ortolani's Sign

The mill continued to turn. It ground out rock and sand, creating a vast whirlpool. But Yes or No, I will not be a party to retreat. Save yourselves! The phonetic relation's not clear. A name is given. Lace of various patterns in gold and silver. Figures and scenes woven in colours. Over-simility. Over-simple. A diagnostic click. How come it wasn't just written down and left for us to find? Save yourself some grief, a tyranny of signs to refract a dream.
An army of swarm-raiding ants hits town; it's got something to do with the ionosphere. Isn't it terrorsome. That blonde woman truly is. On board a tram, Zurich (Switzerland) head in a box of bones at her feet, between her splayed legs. I forgot to look for his grave, for the whole man. It was freezing, besides, the catacombs spread out beneath the region, an unmapped chain of cells and marrow filaments, ossuary corridors. Street theatre for the dead. Last page. Dream text of an unprojected man-the judgment, the image, the lines, every contour and crack of him. My comrades are envious, but they can't harm me now; I've displaced force by the nightly lax and relax, systole and diastole—chamfer of the heart. A grudging complement.

I did not say any of this.

Memory disassociate. They're cranking up the dredge, above. They won't be back down for another hour. He's got her where he wants her, he's got the knave of diamonds and the jacques of spades. I knew the happiness of the equivocal, the insidious confusion. No. Like I said, it's a life sentence. Atone for this relation. Knock, knock, knock at the wall to check if the sound is full and genuine. He's busted—no straight, no flush. Three shots ring out. It's as if you are actually there in the room with them. You're going to shoot yourself. Yours will be the only prints on the gun. Such piquante society! Comparison: no comparison. They can't decide, but still it's driving me. She has an ear for quiddity, for the whatness of things. Compassion ratio nil. Compression ratio null. Null by mouth and nil of point, the perfect form. They're sectarian to a man—I was lost. I drew a transparent horizon about myself, like some theatrical ghost, teeth poised in neat rows. I plus now, an erotic investment, yet subjective experience dissolves in the objective fact of the enunciated word, in a movement of self-doubt that the reader has come to expect.


In the above-quoted passage he continues to question his own sincerity. His opinions are revulsionary, but that doesn't mean he's a revulsionary himself, bound up in his worries and his habits, easy at a loss for words. My adversary: the concrete understanding of the voice. Somehow he immobilised his victims without bruises.