Monthly Archives: November 2008


My room is scattered with empty cans. Fragments of conduit. Each one is a segment of a pipeline that I am building, to tap and channel the subterranean currents beneath the pavements. I take my part from the current; part is expelled as breath, thought, writing, sex — clouds of alcohol breath and smoke — the remainder pours back into the subterranean rivers, through porcelain, then earthenware, finally into brick-lined catacombs. The city is an economy of liquids. Talk drips, describes liquidation of capital, flows of traffic and people, of capital crystallised into buildings tapping other credit streams. The cornucopia is filled, not with fruit, but the decayed ferment of it.

Liquid reflects; this is how we recognise ourselves in it, gazing back at us. The recognition acknowledges that we can see ourselves where we are not, but this is not what is recognised. It shows us that there is a place within us, too, where we are not.


Common speech

— such as you’ve heard before, spoken before, dreamt of: a [ ] of voices, the rush of tone, things fall by the wayside, an afterthought precedes, a form of dyslexia, it happens more often at the extremes of the day, upon waking, or now, later, it’s too late, perhaps, to form a coherent line, tangles, then, one of many, like the waves, the hesitation, there, drawing back before the pulse, then, the tug of it, flow, the way things even out. Similar books are added to the pile of those unread, unbearable silence, silences, borne in common, contradictions, joyous, terrible, the thread spools, ravels a line, one ravels lines together or ravels them apart; if not splitting, then, certainly slipping, a loose thread pools into the curve of one’s hand, & the texture of it & the color of it, reminding you of something else again, entirely, and you drift off on a digression, for a moment, because you are happy, then reeling off like an idiot or a fool, whatever the right word is: earnest and without apology, I would like to take a stand.

Red Thread(s)

Seeing the god

There was a people who had a good understanding of the divine; this people believed that to see the god is death. —Who grasps the contradiction of this sorrow: not to disclose itself is the death of love; to disclose itself is the death of the beloved.

— Kierkegaard

Nothing can begin unless you experience your idiocy

Above all, W. says, I should work earnestly on another book. It’s the only way I experience my own inadequacy, he says. He knows me: without some project, I’ll become far too content. My idiocy will become an alibi, an excuse — which is precisely a way to avoid it altogether. You have to run up against your idiocy, to plunge into it, W. says. Nothing can begin unless you experience your idiocy.



It’s your own and some other’s, you and not you, babbling on day and night in a lunatic monologue. A man muttering in a room, a man and his skull, a man in his skull, a man carrying around his skull, babbling on. Repeat, cease, start, forget, remember, circle, abandon, stop, continue. Prodded into speech, prodded and prodder. Sometimes it seems it could go on without you, a babble with a voice of its own, warring with its own words.

Small objects of pain

God knows where words go.
Dust to dust.
The poet loves and distrusts them.
Someone must.

Trust no one, least of all yourself. Least of all your own best beloved blather, those sentiments and instincts that seem to elevate you into one of life’s nobler specimens, that render you a Mensch, a judge of character, a person who, according to your secret internal PR, is someone to be trusted. If you must trust in something, trust in distrust, or at least listen to it sometimes. As they say: Just listen to yourself! At least have the decency to be just a little disgusted with yourself.

Can you hear the shakiness of those words, those little drops of sound as they fall, those traces of black and white certainty as they imprint themselves across the page? Something — a shadow, as Eliot would have it — intervenes between, what shall we call it? Idea and reality? Motion and act? Conception and creation? What do you read, my lord? Words, words, words.

They really are terrible things: small objects of pain, strange myopic blurs that suddenly rush together to form an avalanche tumbling from one or other Mount Sinai. Tablets of cant. Here, take one. If it doesn’t cure you at least you can flatten yourself with it. See how treacherous they are, these mixed metaphors, these puns?

George Szirtes

Start again

There was no such thing as consistency, life would always end up holding your ideas up to ridicule. That’s what life did, ridiculed your ideas and forced you to look at yourself until nothing remained. Eventually he had nothing left to hunt, nothing to grasp for or look down on. It was beautiful, it couldn’t get any worse! A voice told him to own up and start again in an empty place, then start over again.