8. “It Hurts to be Murdered”
You know how sometimes the dream cycle comes to resemble the inner workings of a solar cop. That lucky old sun etc. Like for instance its night-time, no-one around, and you’re kicking in a door. No particular reason, just kicking. Then light. Everywhere. All of a sudden like completely out of nowhere you’re surrounded by cops and they’re smashing your head into it, over and over, the light, the door, dragging you off, smashing to pieces. And there you are are kind of screaming, yeh. Yeh I admit it you scream. I was probably doing whatever it was you said I was thinking. And as you scream that they just hit you harder, these, the cops of the living, banging your face into the astral sky and celestial dirt, until you’ve no longer got a face just a heliograph of recent incidents, a howl of anciency, a system of exchange. One segment broken glass equal to seven burnt souls. One mathematically transmitted disease. Its a city plan, this is. Its an angle of light its a map of the stars, the pigs of hell and the pigs of the ocean floor. You wake up in some kind of cellar. You wake up and you think its the shithole of the universe you’re in. You wake up surrounded by dead cops. They want nothing. They want you to talk and your skin is on backwards you put your hand wherever your mouth was and. All I’ve got is I know I’m a bone. All I’ve got is I know who you are, bastards, kids of bone. Nothing. One black hole equal to one crowbar. A million incidents. All of them. The screaming laughter of the dead. The border controls of the dead. You never sleep. You don’t complain. Most mornings you’ll settle for nothing less than the obliteration of the sun.
after Roger Gilbert-Lecomte’s “Le fils de l’os parle”.
title from Diane di Prima’s “Thirteen Nightmares”.
9. Approximations of the Solar Enemy
Things are stirring dangerously around us, we who want to explode our darkness - Ernst Bloch
I don’t look in the mirror very often. Can you blame me? Black rings under my eyes almost as ominous as what Shelley called the “gigantic shadows that futurity casts on the present”. Yeh, I was reading him this morning, Shelley, 5 o’clock or something. “Poets”, he writes, are the “mirrors” that reflect those “gigantic shadows”. Quite a job description. But kind of outdated. I mean, its been cancelled hasn’t it, “futurity”. You’d have to be some kind of imbecile not to have noticed. And if that’s true, then the same will soon be so of the “present”, of Shelley’s “mirrors”, of their “gigantic shadows” and, come to that, the rings under my eyes. Whatever. I manage to laugh about it most of the time. I joke to friends about how much I’m looking forward to sitting on my balcony and watching the mushroom clouds. We all have a laugh. After they leave I close the curtains and sit there on the floor with my head in my hands. I have no idea what I look like when I do this - I possess one mirror, and I spent most of last night crouched on the bathroom floor, scratching intricate little diagrams into it as a means of warding off something or other. Some aspect of my reflection, probably. Perhaps the bit that laughs at the prospect of mushroom clouds. Because whatever it is I see when I look in the mirror, it is not something I wish to accept. I don’t recognise it - its a crude calendar of incidents both real and imagined, both forgotten and remembered. And they make sounds, those incidents, and they sound like the endless grinding of teeth, the fingernails of ghosts, decommissioned utopias, locks of hair, receipts, letters, documents. If I wasn’t so superstitious I’d smash it all up and leave the pieces at random spots across the city. The reflections would be preposterous. Abandoned factory architecture and the bathroom floor all split and entangled into a sheer beam of spectral anti-light splitting Europe to a set of embittered funeral knives. Deep silence etc. For like seven years or something. And in the meantime I would have no face. How I long for that, for a mirror that reflects nothing. A piece of carnal glass, cutting our shadows from whatever remains of the prisons of the sky.
10. A Reference to the Voices
I have been living for several months in a supernatural state of mind - Charles Baudelaire
It is not a question of a belief in ghosts when you’ve been walking around with one strapped to your back for as long as you can remember. When you remember nothing but whatever the ghost thinks to whisper into your ear, softly, on eternal repeat. When you’re lost in one of the more troubling sectors of a city you lived in two decades ago, confused by subtle shifts in the angles of the buildings, the wraith-like irritability of its invisible crowds. When the exit routes have been replaced by the endless grinding of teeth and solar waste, when the voice in your ear, like the infernal tour guide that it is, mumbles on about street committees, about phone-trees and safe-houses, bailiffs and picket-lines. When you almost remember what those words mean. When you can almost smell the glue and the petrol. And the voice in your ear is a system of lines and threads, a storm of dates and songs, and you can almost make out the language, as it tells you the catastrophe is a depth-charge concealed in the spaces between the buildings, and that those spaces are as endless and as bleak as the sound of a stopped clock. And you remember walking up these same streets two decades ago, dressed in a green trench-coat, clutching a broken wing mirror, demanding that strangers read their faces and their systems in its cracks, and you recognise that memory as armageddon itself, as the moment when all stopped clocks start up again, an impossible syncopation, a new kind of darkness, a new kind of flame flickering just outside your sight.