Tuesday, February 20, 1996

February 20

Further and further down the rails, into the smoke of a street where no one passes anymore, rushing, powerless to attenuate the feudal integration of the body into interminable digressions, anecdotes which are of course interchangeable and despise the maker. Opened by a dismal conflagration, an end to power, peasants pierced by the sword. Monuments erected to perpetuate no uncertain opinions through tenacious, scrupulous, verification as an observer, seeing it in history, not burdened by too much learning. Those people, those houses, those dismal things, local geography and folklore registered and gradually sold, including the ships anchored in the most glorious of futures, for sale just like any other wares. Work is involved, but rather little of this survives, deaf to all ordinary sounds. Instead, villainy and tricks, symbols and idols submitted to a corporate body with slow thoroughness, with forgetfulness and silence all around. Their own wholly-divorced finished product continually produced in a vacuum. Such foul fabrications debasing the glorious profession not so much in theory as in practice. Plundered and burnt mouths making noises within a cultural setting. The whole ludicrous and pathetic story before a sympathetic public. A sonnet, a picture, a police state, an integral part of the wage system. The apparatus in plain sight but far away, the laboratory pleaded in word and picture. Circulated against the current centuries later. To order, to file, to check, from landing to landing. The last flood towards function. Architects, blacksmiths and shoemakers obsessed by evangelical utopias, assembling anonymous decorations under the windows. A monument to the defeated has abandoned the sweeping portrait. Victory would deprive us forever. Hollow hollow hollow hollow hollow hollow as the train rounds the hollow hollow bend.

Rise, drift, stagger and fall. The doorstep like a snowfall.

Forget Paris without any breakage, with chimneys softly outlined. Little pieces of tallow in the corner to protect me to the bitter end. Superimposed strata bearing witness to this transience. Lunatics in the midst.

In the doorway, dressed again in shadow. One of these almost-disembodied rebukes without comment. Forget for a little while all the passions that go beating about. More interested in the contents, in a dense layer of symbols, in that other world of addiction to perfect forms. In these things imagining blame for the lamentable consequences, the triumph of the victorious in theory and on the map: expressions, dress, gestures, together with a full description of the morals of a commercial clientele strangely silent, accustomed to the worst by habit. Central Europe full of good hearts, only driven into groups by the bitter cold. The exhausted, diminished blood then taking a steep plunge across the fields in darkness, with mimicry and assorted cries typical of the avid egotism in their imperial correspondence. Something out of the carnival capable of rising to such a magnificent idea to die with, pleasure recorded, and the simultaneous allegory. Letters of such authority, seeking a cogent periodization. Unceasing, ambitious, magnificent marble tomb. All the sentiment of fidelity and respectability driven to the bottom of our new bodies. A long inscription in crimson. Scarcely inhabitable. All the books and papers and clothes burning in a corner of the room. And the whole city and the sky and the heavens emptied, utterly cast down like crates from a truck, like prisoners strung out along the road. From the chronic to the acute. Turned a final corner.

Work emerges from the darkness, black and dead, now suddenly chosen, too young, the consequences only the means. Completely exhausted and convinced half-heartedly to achieve the desired result, to accomodate a more voluptuous mode of phrasing and trajectory. Printed matter and cigarette butts stopped in mid-air. The icy wind just once more to the end of the table, losing ourselves in words.

The little sounds that mouths make inside these boxes. Vox humana and the angel voices broken. No great work to disturb the fabric of our infinite precautions and cloud the fine simplicity arranged, the simple ceremony, that momentary appearance of solidity. The transmission and diffusion without change and without comment, into the interior of a picture, merely another form eclipsing the solitary and thereby made subject.

Which is broken at last by the voice. And the corpses of children dug up twenty years after a century almost absolute.

We really couldn’t expect any more than shells, bones and silence among the booted in a strange country. Hanging as we were on imperfect phrases littered with death at the hands of maniacs. Ultimate and irremediable detumescence in the circumstances of practical life. Vapors swirling among grey spires.

The door opens, terror rushes in, burning as lamps burn, a violation of its abrupt and perfectly encircling walls. Shops and houses, some buried pieces of capitals, columns or cornices shaded with grey. Night seems to linger in the darkness in silence for a little while longer. In the middle of the field, the birds gather, are in the act of landing.

White nightgowns, no lights, all of them busy with shovels. Measuring, digging, collecting. Diminishing nothing and exceeding everything, every contrivance and invention, the grinding and the steam. Introspective nature and anguished mind merge into an overwhelming image of political greatness by an act of sympathetic magic, a deeply-disturbed hypochondria more convincing than this equivocal material and artificial truth. What remains, revealed and once more hidden, or never even discovered, is the abject subject of an intimate journal expressive of bitterness and disappointment.

For a moment we see ourselves in the act of landing, like a creature dazed.