15 December 2014

Its edge, the horizon

We are not sure what they are doing to the block at the end of our street. Or, we are sure of what they are doing to the block at the end of our street but we are pretending not to be, to allow the possibility, which is really a hope, that we could be wrong.

And it is not really our street, we are staying with our friend, whose street it is not really, because this man could never own a street. Also, he is not really my friend, he is his, but he is fast becoming also mine - though it is not ownership in the same way a man can own a street.

They are taking out the old, so when we walk past we can see clear through the windows to the sky on the other side. They are filling it with new, so when, in future, we walk past, we'll see richer people than us living better lives that ours. Their cupboards and showers will be silent and stylish and their floors will be wooden. This is pattern recognition not prophecy.

It is not clear, though we suspect, and suspect we suspect rightly - which is to say we are somewhere beyond inklings and hunches but not quite at knowledge or proof - that the short flat pediments hovering beneath the long narrow windows aligned neatly on each floor, are not as we hope but do not admit we hope, shadings for the spaces below, little hoods for the windows underneath; but rather the bases of balconies which will be built upwards. It is precisely this space above what we hope are the hooded shadings through which a sliver of sea is visible. It is this space which will soon, we suspect, be filled with new balconies, meaning the sliver of sea visible from where I am sitting writing this, will be blocked in and the sea will be blocked out. We will see instead the scissoring of tanned legs and the flares of designer beach towels being snapped over the balconies. Our hearts start to feel metallic in preparation. They think of the word 'wrought'*.

From where I am sitting writing this I can see a temptingly sketchable network of lines. Closest are the feint grey horizontals of my notebook stretching to the edges of the page which rests on a fake bamboo mat comprised of narrow yellow sticks (an approximation of naturalness) bound together by thread. The mat is a little too big to sit within the confines of the black, glass-toped table so writing on it is uncomfortable and almost impossible unless I tuck one of the mat's long sides against the edge of the table and leave the other side sticking out and over, and tuck my notebook on top, using it to hold the mat in place. Removing the mat and simply using the table top to write on is not an option since the table top is filthy and cleaning is not an option today. I tuck my notebook on top and continue.

Lifting my eyes I see the grey wooden slatted horizontals of the base of the chair opposite which has vertical slats of the same kind for its back. It is a new chair and it was a bargain. I am sitting on one just like it. Two for €10. Unheard of. The grey grew on us and now looks bluer on account of the blue sky all around it, and on account of a general bittersweet optimism brought on by peach skin and equivocal yearning. The chair opposite touches the vertical black metal railings** of the balcony.

Behind this begins an exciting web of diagonals that comprise the washing line, echoing exactly the telephone wires slicing neatly through the suburban sky we will admire upon returning home, and that I have admired before in a room full of people refreshed by psilocybin. Our clothes hang with vertical surity from the equally vertical clothes pegs. Every time we hang our clothes we clutch them with extra consciousness and vigour, not looking down, not imagining their spectacular and irritating flight to the ground floor should we drop them, should they slip from our hands, greasy from good snacks, drunken and distracted by the fact of the little sliver of sea we do not want to take our eyes off.

The neighbouring balcony has a sheet metal roof supported by black metal L shapes whose verticals and horizontals are interrupted by a wild spray of flowering and not flowering plants, nobly reaching beyond their confines and out into the world. A little spark of envy ignites in me, they are capable of some motion I cannot access. One plant is heavy with drooping pale green phallic heads, another is replete with flowers of bright red, their papery petals swaying but unbending in the occasional breeze. What did the neighbour think when she was purchasing these plants? Was she drawn to them because of their sexual parts? Or did she plant them from seeds only to find them pornographic on her balcony years later? It is nothing new to think of sex when you look at flowers of a certain type.*** You can make a whole career of it.

On the other side of the street a regular facade of balconies and windows, flowered, not flowered, peopled, unpeopled, with or without laundry, plants, surfboards, tourists, chairs. It is between this building and ours that the sliver of glittering blue sea is visible. Everything depends upon this sliver of glittering blue sea. Its edge, the horizon, comes up just above the top of potential balconies. If they build balconies here, which we suspect they will, or are, the sliver, or the visibility of the sliver, will be compromised. The palm frond before it takes up quite a lot of space. Perhaps, we fantasise, we could talk to the city about cutting it back? We could say, don't you see, everything depends upon the thin sliver of glittering blue sea. Probably they would laugh at us, and we would laugh at us, and our dictionaries would fail us, or us them. We would also laugh at ourselves for our depending so upon this sliver of glittering blue sea.

The balconies won't be up before I go. But they will be by the time I return.

It is not of note that there will be another place where the sea is not visible from.



* produced or shaped by beating with a hammer. The origin of the word is Middle English, 1200-50, wroght, a metathetic variant of worht, the past participle of worchen: to work.

** At a party, J, lucid with amphetamines, told us how, upon the loss of her husband, Queen Victoria ordered all the railings in London to be painted black as an expression of her grand and expensive mourning. Whether this is rumour or fact, the image is powerful enough to imbue the city in a centuries long state of shared nebulous sorrow, unnecessary seriousness and continued resentment of the monarchy.

*** The first time my first boyfriend visited my mother's house he brought with him a pretty little pot plant, flowering in a brain-like network of velvety dark pink wriggles, folds and enclosures.

24 October 2014

Today I will quit

Today I will quit. My job and my bad habits. Once I have quit my job, my bad habits will practically quit themselves, since it is only my job which gives them to me.

For example, if it is true that it is my job which gives me cause to, say, smoke cigarettes, then it is also true that it is my job which gives me what is needed, besides cause, to continue smoking, that is - money. Therefore, if I quit my job, I will have neither cause nor money to smoke.

But that my bad habits give me more bad habits is a problem that may or may not be resolved by quitting my job.

For example, smoking cigarettes makes me worry about money. So to quit smoking I must quit my job in order not to have the money to smoke. Yet, if I quit my job and therefore quit smoking, the degree to which I worry about money will, even though I will have quit smoking, continue to increase because I will have no money, which will only make more money to worry about.

So today I will quit money!

But it will not quit me.

So: today I will quit fantasising about quitting my job and quitting my bad habits. I will work hard like a simple machine and smoke like a simpler one still. Since it is true that quitting my job would make me worry more about money, then it is true that not quitting my job would set my money at ease. I will transform habits deemed 'bad' into habits deemed 'neutral' and commit to them for better or worse. This commitment will sap from me the exact amount of energy required for me to sleep at night without worrying. So, if I do not quit my job, or therefore smoking, I will have neither cause nor energy to worry. This will be called balance which will also be called adulthood.

Today I will begin going with the flow. Like money or rivers. I will shrug my shoulders at droughts and floods. I will be a quiet leaf floating on a running stream weaving through a verdant forest. I will be a popular lifestyle blog and I will move, despite themselves, even the most cynical of hearts. I will encourage them to flow with me. They will begin all their new sentences with, 'I know it's cheesy but...'. This will become nature, second nature and natural. It will be called language and we will be encouraged to use it to express ourselves. 

Today I will find great reverberations of wisdom and freedom in the small arc described between hand and mouth. Every morsel will be so ripe with calculation that I will taste each penny I have earned turning into each penny I have spent and this will be flavour. I will close my eyes with nourishment and wait for excretion. I will be in relation to all things from seed to sewer.

Today I will be as wide eyed and high as the emoji of the smiling turd. I will know and like my place. My smile will be the smile of the glorious detached. I will coil around myself needing only my own coiling body to support my own coiling body, needing only my own coiling body to support my smile, my eyes, my vision. This will feel yogic. Like the bliss of a body laid flat on a mat like a children's rhyme, like naptime, like storytime, like 'me time'. My own hand will stroke my own brow. I will call myself mother and that will be enough.

Today I will find the precise number of goji berries required to ensure a constantly cleansed and purified body. On that day, which is today, I will not concern myself with the cost of a 100g bag of goji berries because I am my own mother and that is enough. Whether or not I like the taste of goji berries will be so far from the reason I will eat them that they may as well taste like my own turdish body which they are rapidly becoming.

Today, and because I can, because I did not quit my job, I will pay £80 for 50 minutes of psychotherapy and with each pound spent the therapist will bring me close but never quite close enough to locating the root of the anxious feeling in the pit of my goji berry lined stomach. This will feel like what is called love because it will be two people alone in a room torturing each other because they think there is a secret. I know already but do not have the time to realise that my being able to be here at all is the same reason I am here at all and it is not the pit of my stomach but the pit of the world's stomach that is squirming in anxiety.

Today I will quit writing. It is interfering with the neutral commitments of my job and my smoking. I am tired of all my books getting filled with tiny, desperate, repeating, failed budgets in preparation for when I will quit my job which I will not quit. Soon I will feel only one clear quick emotion at a time and it will look like an emoji. It will not linger, it will have no effect and it will not need to be written or spoken about. Therefore I will become punctual or better, stable. There will be no waves, no clouds, no storms, no volcanic ashes, no rivers of lava, no heat, no ice, no wetness, no dryness, no lust, no blood, no moods, no straddling. I will seal into a simple logo: no more tears. I will be a quiet leaf floating on a running stream weaving through a verdant forest.

Today I will quit writing.

20 October 2014

Dead Doll Humility // Kathy Acker // 1990

  
     IN ANY SOCIETY BASED ON CLASS, HUMILIATION IS A
 
     POLITICAL REALITY.  HUMILIATION IS ONE METHOD BY WHICH
 
     POLITICAL POWER IS TRANSFORMED INTO SOCIAL OR PERSONAL
 
     RELATIONSHIPS.  THE PERSONAL INTERIORIZATION OF THE
 
     PRACTICE OF HUMILIATION IS CALLED _HUMILITY_.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL IS AN ARTIST WHO MAKES DOLLS.  MAKES, DAMAGES,
 
     TRANSFORMS, SMASHES.  ONE OF HER DOLLS IS A WRITER
 
     DOLL.  THE WRITER DOLL ISN'T VERY LARGE AND IS ALL
 
     HAIR, HORSE MANE HAIR, RAT FUR, DIRTY HUMAN HAIR,
 
     PUSSY.
 
          ONE NIGHT CAPITOL GAVE THE FOLLOWING SCENARIO TO
 
     HER WRITER DOLL:
 
 
 
     As a child in sixth grade in a North American school,
 
     won first prize in a poetry contest.
 
          In late teens and early twenties, entered New York
 
     City poetry world.  Prominent Black Mountain poets,
 
     mainly male, taught or attempted to teach her that a
 
     writer becomes a writer when and only when he finds his
 
     own voice.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL DIDN'T MAKE ANY AVANT-GARDE POET DOLLS.
 
 
 
     Since wanted to be a writer, tried hard to find her own
 
     voice.  Couldn't.  But still loved to write.  Loved to
 
     play with language.  Language was material like clay or
 
     paint.  Loved to play with verbal material, build up
 
     slums and mansions, demolish banks and half-rotten
 
     buildings, even buildings which she herself had
 
     constructed, into never-before-seen, even unseeable
 
     jewels.
 
          To her, every word wasn't only material in itself,
 
     but also sent out like beacons, other words.  _Blue_
 
     sent out _heaven_ and _The Virgin_.  Material is rich.
 
     I didn't create language, writer thought.  Later she
 
     would think about ownership and copyright.  I'm
 
     constantly being given language.  Since this language-
 
     world is rich and always changing, flowing, when I
 
     write, I enter a world which has complex relations and
 
     is, perhaps, illimitable.  This world both represents
 
     and is human history, public memories and private
 
     memories turned public, the records and actualizations
 
     of human intentions.  This world is more than life and
 
     death, for here life and death conjoin.  I can't make
 
     language, but in this world, I can play and be played.
 
          So where is 'my voice'?
 
          Wanted to be a writer.
 
          Since couldn't find 'her voice', decided she'd
 
     first have to learn what a Black Mountain poet meant by
 
     'his voice'.  What did he do when he wrote?
 
          A writer who had found his own voice presented a
 
     viewpoint.  Created meaning.  The writer took a certain
 
     amount of language, verbal material, forced that
 
     language to stop radiating in multiple, even
 
     unnumerable directions, to radiate in only one
 
     direction so there could be his meaning.
 
          The writer's voice wasn't exactly this meaning.
 
     The writer's voice was a process, how he had forced the
 
     language to obey him, his will.  The writer's voice is
 
     the voice of the writer-as-God.
 
          Writer thought, Don't want to be God; have never
 
     wanted to be God.  All these male poets want to be the
 
     top poet, as if, since they can't be a dictator in the
 
     political realm, can be dictator of this world.
 
          Want to play.  Be left alone to play.  Want to be
 
     a sailor who journeys at every edge and even into the
 
     unknown.  See strange sights, see.  If I can't keep on
 
     seeing wonders, I'm in prison.  Claustrophobia's sister
 
     to my worst nightmare: lobotomy, the total loss of
 
     perceptual power, of seeing new.  If had to force
 
     language to be uni-directional, I'd be helping my own
 
     prison to be constructed.
 
          There are enough prisons outside, outside
 
     language.
 
          Decided, no.  Decided that to find her own voice
 
     would be negotiating against her joy.  That's what the
 
     culture seemed to be trying to tell her to do.
 
          Wanted only to write.  Was writing.  Would keep on
 
     writing without finding 'her own voice'.  To hell with
 
     the Black Mountain poets even though they had taught
 
     her a lot.
 
          Decided that since what she wanted to do was just
 
     to write, not to find her own voice, could and would
 
     write by using anyone's voice, anyone's text, whatever
 
     materials she wanted to use.
 
          Had a dream while waking that was running with
 
     animals.  Wild horses, leopards, red fox, kangaroos,
 
     mountain lions, wild dogs.  Running over rolling hills.
 
     Was able to keep up with the animals and they accepted
 
     her.
 
          Wildness was writing and writing was wildness.
 
          Decision not to find this own voice but to use and
 
     be other, multiple, even innumerable, voices led to two
 
     other decisions.
 
          There were two kinds of writing in her culture:
 
     good literature and schlock.  Novels which won literary
 
     prizes were good literature; science fiction and horror
 
     novels, pornography were schlock.  Good literature
 
     concerned important issues, had a high moral content,
 
     and, most important, was written according to well-
 
     established rules of taste, elegance, and conservatism.
 
     Schlock's content was sex horror violence and other
 
     aspects of human existence abhorrent to all but the
 
     lowest of the low, the socially and morally
 
     unacceptable.  This trash was made as quickly as
 
     possible, either with no regard for the regulations of
 
     politeness or else with regard to the crudest, most
 
     vulgar techniques possible.  Well-educated,
 
     intelligent, and concerned people read good literature.
 
     Perhaps because the masses were gaining political
 
     therefore economic and social control, not only of
 
     literary production, good literature was read by an
 
     elite diminishing in size and cultural strength.
 
          Decided to use or to write both good literature
 
     and schlock.  To mix them up in terms of content and
 
     formally, offended everyone.
 
          Writing in which all kinds of writing mingled
 
     seemed, not immoral, but amoral, even to the masses.
 
     Played in every playground she found; no one can do
 
     that in a class or hierarchichal society.
 
          (In literature classes in university, had learned
 
     that anyone can say or write anything about anything if
 
     he or she does so cleverly enough.  That cleverness,
 
     one of the formal rules of good literature, can be a
 
     method of social and political manipulation.  Decided
 
     to use language stupidly.)  In order to use and be
 
     other voices as stupidly as possible, decided to copy
 
     down simply other texts.
 
          Copy them down while, maybe, mashing them up
 
     because wasn't going to stop playing in any playground.
 
     Because loved wildness.
 
          Having fun with texts is having fun with
 
     everything and everyone.  Since didn't have one point
 
     of view or centralized perspective, was free to find
 
     out how texts she used and was worked.  In their
 
     contexts which were (parts of) culture.
 
          Liked best of all mushing up texts.
 
          Began constructing her first story by placing
 
     mashed-up texts by and about Henry Kissinger next to
 
     'True Romance' texts.  What was the true romance of
 
     America?  Changed these 'True Romance' texts only by
 
     heightening the sexual crudity of their style.  Into
 
     this mush, placed four pages out of Harold Robbins',
 
     one of her heroes', newest hottest bestsellers.  Had
 
     first made Jacqueline Onassis the star of Robbins'
 
     text.
 
          Twenty years later, a feminist publishing house
 
     republished the last third of the novel in which this
 
     mash occurred.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL MADE A FEMINIST PUBLISHER DOLL EVEN THOUGH,
 
     BECAUSE SHE WASN'T STUPID, SHE KNEW THAT THE FEMINIST
 
     PUBLISHING HOUSE WAS ACTUALLY A LOT OF DOLLS.  THE
 
     FEMINIST PUBLISHER DOLL WAS A BEAUTIFUL WOMAN IN A ST.
 
     LAURENT DRESS.  CAPITOL, PERHAPS OUT OF PERVERSITY,
 
     REFRAINED FROM USING HER USUAL CHEWED UP CHEWING GUM,
 
     HALF-DRIED FLECKS OF NAIL POLISH, AND BITS OF HER OWN
 
     BODY THAT HAD SOMEHOW FALLEN AWAY.
 
 
 
     Republished the text containing the Harold Robbins'
 
     mush next to a text she had written only seventeen
 
     years ago.  In this second text, the only one had ever
 
     written without glopping up hacking into and rewriting
 
     other texts (appropriating), had tried to destroy
 
     literature or what she as a writer was supposed to
 
     write by making characters and a story that were so
 
     stupid as to be almost non-existent.  Ostensibly, the
 
     second text was a porn book.  The pornography was
 
     almost as stupid as the story.  The female character
 
     had her own name.
 
          Thought just after had finished writing this, here
 
     is a conventional novel.  Perhaps, here is 'my voice'.
 
     Now I'll never again have to make up a bourgeois novel.
 
          Didn't.
 
          The feminist publisher informed her that this
 
     second text was her most important because here she had
 
     written a treatise on female sexuality.
 
          Since didn't believe in arguing with people, wrote
 
     an introduction to both books in which stated that her
 
     only interest in writing was in copying down other
 
     people's texts.  Didn't say liked messing them up
 
     because was trying to be polite.  Like the English.
 
     Did say had no interest in sexuality or in any other
 
     content.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL MADE A DOLL WHO WAS A JOURNALIST.  CAPITOL
 
     LOVED MAKING DOLLS WHO WERE JOURNALISTS.  SOMETIMES SHE
 
     MADE THEM OUT OF THE NEWSPAPERS FOUND IN TRASHCANS ON
 
     THE STREETS.  SHE KNEW THAT LOTS OF CATS INHABITED
 
     TRASH CANS.  THE PAPERS SAID RATS CARRY DISEASES.  SHE
 
     MADE THIS JOURNALIST OUT OF THE FINGERNAILS SHE
 
     OBTAINED BY HANGING AROUND THE TRASHCANS IN THE BACK
 
     LOTS OF LONDON HOSPITALS.  HAD PENETRATED THESE BACK
 
     LOTS WITH THE HOPE OF MEETING MEAN OLDER MEN BIKERS.
 
     FOUND LOTS OF OTHER THINGS THERE.  SINCE, TO MAKE THE
 
     JOURNALIST, SHE MOLDED THE FINGERNAILS TOGETHER WITH
 
     SUPER GLUE AND, BEING A SLOB, LOTS OF OTHER THINGS
 
     STUCK TO THIS SUPER GLUE, THE JOURNALIST DIDN'T LOOK
 
     ANYTHING LIKE A HUMAN BEING.
 
 
 
     A journalist who worked on a trade publishing magazine,
 
     so the story went, no one could remember whose story,
 
     was informed by another woman in her office that there
 
     was a resemblance between a section of the writer's
 
     book and Harold Robbins' work.  Most of the literati of
 
     the country in which the writer was currently living
 
     were upper-middle class and detested the writer and her
 
     writing.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL THOUGHT ABOUT MAKING A DOLL OF THIS COUNTRY,
 
     BUT DECIDED NOT TO.
 
 
 
     Journalist decided she had found a scoop.  Phoned up
 
     the feminist publisher to enquire about plagiarism;
 
     perhaps feminist publisher said something wrong because
 
     then phoned up Harold Robbins' publisher.
 
          "Surely all art is the result of one's having been
 
     in danger, of having gone through an experience all the
 
     way to the end, where no one can go any further.  The
 
     further one goes, the more private, the more personal,
 
     the more singular an experience becomes, and the thing
 
     one is making is finally, the necessary, irrepressible,
 
     and, as nearly as possible, definitive utterance of
 
     this singularity . . . Therein lies the enormous aid
 
     the work of art brings to the life of the one who must
 
     make it . . .
 
          "So we are most definitely called upon to test and
 
     try ourselves against the utmost, but probably we are
 
     also bound to keep silence regarding this utmost, to
 
     beware of sharing it, of parting with it in
 
     communication so long as we have not entered the work
 
     of art: for the utmost represents nothing other than
 
     that singularity in us which no one would or even
 
     should understand, and which must enter into the work
 
     as such . . . "  Rilke to Cezanne.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL MADE A PUBLISHER LOOK LIKE SAM PECKINPAH.
 
     THOUGH SHE HAD NO IDEA WHAT SAM PECKINPAH LOOKED LIKE.
 
     HAD LOOKED LIKE?  SHE TOOK A HOWDY DOODY DOLL AND AN
 
     ALFRED E. NEUMAN DOLL AND MASHED THEM TOGETHER, THEN
 
     MADE THIS CONGLOMERATE INTO AN AMERICAN OFFICER IN THE
 
     MEXICAN-AMERICAN WAR.  ACTUALLY SEWED, SHE HATED
 
     SEWING, OR WHEN SHE BECAME TIRED OF SEWING, GLUED
 
     TOGETHER WITH HER OWN TWO HANDS, JUST AS THE EARLY
 
     AMERICAN PATRIOT WIVES USED TO DO FOR THEIR PATRIOT
 
     HUSBANDS, A FROGGED AND BRAIDED CAVALRY JACKET, STAINED
 
     WITH THE BLOOD FROM SOME FORMER OWNERS.  THEN FASHIONED
 
     A STOVEPIPE HAT OUT OF ONE SHE HAD STOLEN FROM A BUM IN
 
     AN ECSTASY OF ART.  THE HAT WAS A BIT BIG.  FOR THE
 
     PUBLISHER.  INSIDE A GOLD HEART, THERE SHOULD BE A
 
     PICTURE OF A WOMAN.  SINCE CAPITOL DIDN'T HAVE A
 
     PICTURE OF A WOMAN, SHE PUT IN ONE OF HER MOTHER.
 
     SINCE SAM PECKINPAH OR HER PUBLISHER HAD SEEN TRAGEDY,
 
     AN ARROW HANGING OUT OF THE WHITE BREAST OF A SOLDIER
 
     NO OLDER THAN A CHILD, HORSES GONE MAD WALLEYED MOUTHS
 
     FROTHING AMID DUST THICKER THAN THE SMOKE OF GUNS.  SHE
 
     MADE HIS FACE FULL OF FOLDS, AN EYEPATCH OVER ONE EYE.
 
 
 
     Harold Robbins' publisher phoned up the man who ran the
 
     company who owned the feminist publishing company.
 
     From now on, known as 'The Boss'.  The Boss told Harold
 
     Robbins' publisher that they have a plagiarist in their
 
     midst.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL NO LONGER WANTED TO MAKE DOLLS.  IN THE UNITED
 
     STATES, UPON SEEING THE WORK OF THE PHOTOGRAPHER ROBERT
 
     MAPPLETHORPE, SENATOR JESSE HELMS PROPOSED AN AMENDMENT
 
     TO THE FISCAL YEAR 1990 INTERIOR AND RELATED AGENCIES
 
     BILL FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROHIBITING "THE USE OF
 
     APPROPRIATED FUNDS FOR THE DISSEMINATION, PROMOTION, OR
 
     PRODUCTION OF OBSCENE OR INDECENT MATERIALS OR
 
     MATERIALS DENIGRATING A PARTICULAR RELIGION."  THREE
 
     SPECIFIC CATEGORIES OF UNACCEPTABLE MATERIAL FOLLOWED:
 
     "(1) OBSCENE OR INDECENT MATERIALS, INCLUDING BUT NOT
 
     LIMITED TO DEPICTIONS OF SADOMASOCHISM [ALWAYS GET THAT
 
     ONE IN FIRST], HOMO-EROTICISM, THE EXPLOITATION OF
 
     CHILDREN, OR INDIVIDUALS ENGAGED IN SEX ACTS; OR (2)
 
     MATERIAL WHICH DENIGRATES THE OBJECTS OR BELIEFS OF THE
 
     ADHERENTS OF A PARTICULAR RELIGION OR NON-RELIGION; OR
 
     (3) MATERIAL WHICH DENIGRATES, DEBASES, OR REVILES A
 
     PERSON, GROUP, OR CLASS OF CITIZENS ON THE BASIS OF
 
     RACE, CREED, SEX, HANDICAP, AGE, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN."
 
     IN HONOR OF JESSE HELMS, CAPITOL MADE, AS PILLOWS, A
 
     CROSS AND A VAGINA.  SO THE POOR COULD HAVE SOMEWHERE
 
     TO SLEEP.  SINCE SHE NO LONGER HAD TO MAKE DOLLS OR
 
     ART, BECAUSE ART IS DEAD IN THIS CULTURE, SHE SLOPPED
 
     THE PILLOWS TOGETHER WITH DEAD FLIES, WHITE FLOUR
 
     MOISTENED BY THE BLOOD SHE DREW OUT OF HER SMALLEST
 
     FINGER WITH A PIN, AND OTHER TYPES OF GARBAGE.
 
     Disintegration.
 
          Feminist publisher then informed writer that the
 
     Boss and Harold Robbins' publisher had decided, due to
 
     her plagiarism, to withdraw the book from publication
 
     and to have her sign an apology to Harold Robbins which
 
     they had written.  This apology would then be published
 
     in two major publishing magazines.
 
          Ordinarily impolite, told feminist publisher they
 
     could do what they wanted with their edition of her
 
     books but she wasn't going to apologize to anyone for
 
     anything, much less for twenty years of work.
 
          Didn't have to think to herself because every
 
     square inch of her knew.  For freedom.  Writing must be
 
     for and must be freedom.
 
          Feminist publisher replied that she knew writer
 
     was actually a nice sweet girl.
 
          Asked if should tell her agent or try talking
 
     directly to Harold Robbins.
 
          Feminist publisher replied she'd take care of
 
     everything.  Writer shouldn't contact Harold Robbins
 
     because that would make everything worse.
 
          Would, the feminist publisher asked, the writer
 
     please compose a statement for the Boss why the writer
 
     used other texts when she wrote so that the Boss
 
     wouldn't believe that she was a plagiarist.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL MADE A DOLL WHO LOOKED EXACTLY LIKE HERSELF.
 
     IF YOU PRESSED A BUTTON ON ONE OF THE DOLL'S CUNT LIPS
 
     THE DOLL SAID, "I AM A GOOD GIRL AND DO EXACTLY AS I AM
 
     TOLD TO DO."
 
 
 
     Wrote:
 
          Nobody save buzzards.  Lots of buzzards here.  In
 
          the distance, lay flies and piles of shit.  Herds
 
          of animals move against the skyline like black
 
          caravans in an unknown east.  Sheeps and goats.
 
          Another place, a horse is lapping the water of a
 
          pool.  Lavendar and grey trees behind this black
 
          water are leafless and spineless.  As the day
 
          ends, the sun in the east flushes out pale
 
          lavendars and pinks, then turns blood red as it
 
          turns on itself, becoming a more definitive shape,
 
          the more definitive, the bloodier.  Until it sits,
 
          totally unaware of the rest of the universe,
 
          waiting at the edge of a sky that doesn't yet know
 
          what colors it wants to be, a hawk waiting for the
 
          inevitable onset of human slaughter.  The light is
 
          fleeing.
 
          Instead, sent a letter to feminist publisher in
 
     which said that she composed her texts out of 'real'
 
     conversations, anything written down, other texts,
 
     somewhat in the ways the Cubists had worked.  (Not
 
     quite true.  But thought this statement
 
     understandable.)  Cited, as example, her use of 'True
 
     Confessions' stories.  Such stories whose content seemed
 
     purely and narrowly sexual, composed simply for
 
     purposes of sexual titillation and economic profit, if
 
     deconstructed, viewed in terms of context and genre,
 
     became signs of political and social realities.  So if
 
     the writer or critic (deconstructionist) didn't work
 
     with the actual language of these texts, the writer or
 
     critic wouldn't be able to uncover the political and
 
     social realities involved.  For instance, both genre
 
     and the habitual nature of perception hide the violence
 
     of the content of many newspaper stories.
 
          To uncover this violence is to run the risk of
 
     being accused of loving violence or all kinds of
 
     pornography.  (As if the writer gives a damn about what
 
     anyone considers risks.)
 
          Wrote, living art rather than dead art has some
 
     connection with passion.  Deconstructions of newspaper
 
     stories become the living art in a culture that demands
 
     that any artistic representation of life be non-violent
 
     and non-sexual, misrepresent.
 
          To copy down, to appropriate, to deconstruct other
 
     texts is to break down those perceptual habits the
 
     culture doesn't want to be broken.
 
          Deconstruction demands not so much plagiarism as
 
     breaking into the copyright law.
 
          In the Harold Robbins' text which had used, a rich
 
     white woman walks into a disco, picks up a black boy,
 
     has sex with him.  In the Robbins' text, this scene is
 
     soft-core porn, has as its purpose mild sexual
 
     titillation and pleasure.
 
          [When Robbins' book had been published years ago,
 
     the writer's mother had said that Robbins had used
 
     Jacqueline Onassis as the model for the rich white
 
     woman.]  Wrote, had made apparent that bit of politics
 
     while amplifying the pulp quality of the style in order
 
     to see what would happen when the underlying
 
     presuppositions or meanings of Robbins' writing became
 
     clear.  Robbins as emblematic of a certain part of
 
     American culture.  What happened was that the sterility
 
     of that part of American culture revealed itself.  The
 
     real pornography.  Cliches, especially sexual cliches,
 
     are always signs of power or political relationships.
 
 
 
     BECAUSE SHE HAD JUST GOTTEN HER PERIOD, CAPITOL MADE A
 
     HUGE RED SATIN PILLOW CROSS THEN SMEARED HER BLOOD ALL
 
     OVER IT.
 
 
 
     Her editor at the feminist publisher said that the Boss
 
     had found her explanation "literary."  Later would be
 
     informed that this was a legal, not a literary, matter.
 
 
 
     "HERE IT ALL STINKS," CAPITOL THOUGHT.  "ART IS MAKING
 
     ACCORDING TO THE IMAGINATION.  BUT HERE, BUYING AND
 
     SELLING ARE THE RULES; THE RULES OF COMMODITY HAVE
 
     DESTROYED THE IMAGINATION.  HERE, THE ONLY ART ALLOWED
 
     IS MADE BY POST-CAPITALIST RULES; ART ISN'T MADE
 
     ACCORDING TO RULES."  ANGER MAKES YOU WANT TO SUICIDE.
 
 
 
     Journalist who broke the 'Harold Robbins story' had
 
     been phoning and leaving messages on writer's answering
 
     machine for days.  Had stopped answering her phone.  By
 
     chance picked it up; journalist asked her if anything
 
     to say.
 
          "You mean about Harold Robbins?"
 
          Silence.
 
          "I've just given my publisher a statement.
 
     Perhaps you could read that."
 
          "Do you have anything to add to it?"  As if she
 
     was a criminal.
 
          A few days later writer's agent over the phone
 
     informed writer what was happening was simply horrible.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL DIDN'T WANT TO MAKE ANY DOLLS.
 
 
 
     How could the writer be plagiarizing Harold Robbins?
 
          Writer didn't know.
 
          Agent told writer if writer had phoned her
 
     immediately, agent could have straightened out
 
     everything because she was good friends with Harold
 
     Robbins' publisher.  But now it was too late.
 
          Writer asked agent if she could do anything.
 
          Agent answered that she'd phone Harold Robbins'
 
     publisher and that the worst that could happen is that
 
     she'd have to pay a nominal quotation rights fee.
 
          So a few days later was surprised when feminist
 
     publisher informed her that if she didn't sign the
 
     apology to Harold Robbins which they had written for
 
     her, feminist publishing company would go down a drain
 
     because Harold Robins or harold Robbins' publisher
 
     would slap a half-a-million [dollar? pound?] lawsuit on
 
     the feminist publishing house.
 
          Decided she had to take notice of this stupid
 
     affair, though her whole life wanted to notice only
 
     writing and sex.
 
 
 
     "WHAT IS IT" CAPITOL WROTE, "TO BE AN ARTIST?  WHERE IS
 
     THE VALUE THAT WILL KEEP THIS LIFE IN HELL GOING?"
 
 
 
     For one of the first times in her life, was deeply
 
     scared.  Was usually as wild as they come.  Doing
 
     anything if it felt good.  So when succumbed to fear,
 
     succumbed to reasonless, almost bottomless fear.
 
          Panicked only because she might be forced to
 
     apologize, not to Harold Robbins, that didn't matter,
 
     but to anyone for her writing, for what seemed to be
 
     her life.  Book had already been withdrawn from print.
 
     Wasn't that enough?  Panicked, phoned her agent without
 
     waiting for her agent to phone her.
 
          Agent asked writer if she knew how she stood
 
     legally.
 
          Writer replied that as far as knew Harold Robbins
 
     had made no written charge.  Feminist publisher
 
     sometime in beginning had told her they had spoken to a
 
     solicitor who had said neither she nor they "had a leg
 
     to stand on."  Since didn't know with what she was
 
     being charged, she didn't know what that meant.
 
          Agent replied, "Perhaps we should talk to a
 
     solicitor. Do you know a solicitor?"
 
          Knew the name of a tax solicitor.
 
          Since had no money, asked her American publisher
 
     what to do, if he knew a lawyer.
 
 
 
     WOULD MAKE NO MORE DOLLS.
 
 
 
     American publisher informed her couldn't ask anyone's
 
     advice until she knew the charges against her, saw them
 
     in writing.
 
          Asked the feminist publisher to send the charges
 
     against her and whatever else was in writing to her.
 
          Received two copies of the 'Harold Robbins' text
 
     she had written twenty years ago, one copy of the
 
     apology she was supposed to sign, and a letter from
 
     Harold Robbins' publisher to the head of the feminist
 
     publishing company.  Letter said they were not seeking
 
     damages beyond withdrawal of the book from publication
 
     [which had already taken place] and the apology.
 
          Didn't know of what she was guilty.
 
          Later would receive a copy of the letter sent to
 
     her feminist publisher from the solicitor whom the
 
     feminist publisher and then her agent had consulted.
 
     Letter stated: According to the various documents and
 
     texts which the feminist publisher had supplied, the
 
     writer should apologize to Mr. Harold Robbins.  First,
 
     because in her text she has used a substantial number
 
     of Mr. Robbins' words.  Second, because she did not use
 
     any texts other than Mr. Robbins' so there could be no
 
     literary theory or praxis responsible for her
 
     plagiarism.  Third, because the contract between the
 
     writer and the feminist publisher states that the
 
     writer had not infringed upon any existing copyright.
 
          When the writer wrote, not wrote back, to the
 
     solicitor that most of the novel in question had been
 
     appropriated from other texts, that most of these texts
 
     had been in the public domain, that the writers of
 
     texts not in the public domain were either writers of
 
     'True Confessions' stories (anonymous) or writers who
 
     knew she had reworked their texts and felt honored,
 
     except for Mr. Robbins, that she had never
 
     misrepresented nor hidden her usages of other texts,
 
     her methods of composition, that there was already a
 
     body of literary criticism on her and others' methods
 
     of appropriation, and furthermore [this was to become
 
     the major point of contention], that she would not
 
     sign the apology because she could not since there was
 
     no assurance that all possible litigation and
 
     harassment would end with the signature of guilt,
 
     guilt which anyway she didn't feel: the solicitor did
 
     not reply.
 
          Not knowing of what she was guilty, feeling
 
     isolated, and pressured to finish her new novel, writer
 
     became paranoid.  Would do anything to stop the
 
     pressure from the feminist publisher and simultaneously
 
     would never apologize for her work.
 
          Considered her American publisher her father.
 
     Told her that the 'Harold Robbins affair' was a joke,
 
     she should take the phone off the hook, go to Paris for
 
     a few days.
 
          Finish your book.  That's what's important.
 
 
 
     WOULD MAKE NO MORE DOLLS.
 
 
 
     Paris is a beautiful city.
 
          In Paris decided that it's stupid to live in fear.
 
     Didn't yet know what to do about isolation.  All that
 
     matters is work and work must be created in and can't
 
     be created in isolation.  (Remembered a conversation
 
     she had had with her feminist publisher.  Still trying
 
     to explain, writer said, in order to deconstruct, the
 
     deconstructionist needs to use the actual other texts.
 
     Editor had said she understood.  For instance, she was
 
     sure, Peter Carey in _Oscar and Lucinda_ had used other
 
     people's writings in his dialogue, but he would never
 
     admit it.  This writer did what every other writer did,
 
     but she is the only one who admits it.  "It's not a
 
     matter of not being able to write," the writer replied.
 
     It's a matter of a certain theory which is also a
 
     literary theory.  Theory and belief."  Then shut up
 
     because knew that when you have to explain and explain,
 
     nothing is understood.  Language is dead.)
 
 
 
     SINCE THERE WERE NO MORE DOLLS, CAPITOL STARTED WRITING
 
     LANGUAGE.
 
 
 
     Decided that it's stupid living in fear of being forced
 
     to be guilty without knowing why you're guilty and,
 
     more important, it's stupid caring about what has
 
     nothing to do with art.  It doesn't really matter
 
     whether or not you sign the fucking apology.
 
          Over the phone asked the American publisher
 
     whether or not it mattered to her past work whether or
 
     not signed the apology.
 
          Answered that the sole matter was her work.
 
          Thought alike.
 
          Wanted to ensure that there was no more sloppiness
 
     in her work or life, that from now on all her actions
 
     served only her writing.  Upon returning to England,
 
     consulted a friend who consulted a solicitor who was
 
     his friend about her case.  This solicitor advised that
 
     since she wasn't guilty of plagiarism and since the law
 
     was unclear, grey, about whether or not she had
 
     breached Harold Robbins' copyright, it could be a legal
 
     precedent, he couldn't advise whether or not she should
 
     sign the apology.  But must not sign unless, upon
 
     signing, received full and final settlement.
 
          Informed her agent that would sign if and only if
 
     received full and final settlement upon signing.
 
          Over the phone, feminist publisher asked her who
 
     had told her about full and final settlement.
 
               A literary solicitor.
 
          Could they, the feminist publishing house, have
 
     his name and his statement in writing?
 
          "This is my decision," writer said.  "That's all
 
     you need to know."
 
 
 
     WROTE DOWN "PRAY FOR US THE DEAD," THE FIRST LINE IN
 
     THE FIRST POEM BY CHARLES OLSON SHE HAD EVER READ WHEN
 
     SHE WAS A TEENAGER.  ALL THE DOLLS WERE DEAD.  DEAD
 
     HAIR.  WHEN SHE LOOKED UP THIS POEM, ITS FIRST LINE
 
     WAS, "WHAT DOES NOT CHANGE/ IS THE WILL TO CHANGE."
 
          WENT TO A NEARBY CEMETERY AND WITH STICK DOWN IN
 
     SAND WROTE THE WORDS "PRAY FOR US THE DEAD."  THOUGHT,
 
     WHO IS DEAD?  THE DEAD TREES?  WHO IS DEAD?  WE LIVE IN
 
     SERVICE OF THE SPIRIT.  MADE MASS WITH TREES DEAD AND
 
     DIRT AND UNDERNEATH HUMANS AS DEAD OR LIVING AS ANY
 
     STONE OR WOOD.
 
     I WON'T BURY MY DEAD DOLLS, THOUGHT.  I'LL STEP ON THEM
 
     AND MASH THEM UP.
 
 
 
     For two weeks didn't hear from either her agent or
 
     feminist publisher.  Could return to finishing her
 
     novel.
 
          Thought that threats had died.
 
          In two weeks received a letter from her agent
 
     which read something like:
 
          On your express instructions that your publisher
 
     communicate to you through me, your publisher has
 
     informed me that they have communicated to Harold
 
     Robbins your decision that you will sign the apology
 
     which his publisher drew up only if you have his
 
     assurance that there will be no further harassment or
 
     litigation.  Because you have requested such assurance,
 
     predictably, Harold Robbins is now requiring damages to
 
     be paid.
 
          Your publisher now intends to sign and publish the
 
     apology to Harold Robbins as soon as possible whether
 
     or not you sign it.
 
          In view of what I have discovered about the nature
 
     of your various telephone communications to me, please
 
     contact me only in writing from now on.
 
          Signature.
 
          Understood that she had lost.  Lost more than a
 
     struggle about the appropriation of four pages, about
 
     the definition of _appropriation_.  Lost her belief
 
     that there can be art in this culture.  Lost spirit.
 
     All humans have to die, but they don't have to fail.
 
     Fail in all that matters.
 
          It turned out that the whole affair was nothing.
 
 
 
     CAPITOL REALIZED THAT SHE HAD FORGOTTEN TO BURY THE
 
     WRITER DOLL.  SINCE THE SMELL OF DEATH STUNK, RETURNED
 
     TO THE CEMETERY TO BURY HER.  SHE KICKED OVER A ROCK
 
     AND THREW THE DOLL INTO THE HOLE WHICH THE ROCK HAD
 
     MADE.  CHANTED, "YOU'RE NOT SELLING ENOUGH BOOKS IN
 
     CALIFORNIA.  YOU'D BETTER GO THERE IMMEDIATELY.  TRY TO
 
     GET INTO READING IN ANY BENEFIT YOU CAN SO FIVE MORE
 
     BOOKS WILL BE SOLD.  YOU HAVE BAGS UNDER YOUR EYES."
 
          CAPITOL THOUGHT, DEAD DOLL.
 
          SINCE CAPITOL WAS A ROMANTIC, SHE BELIEVED DEATH
 
     IS PREFERABLE TO A DEAD LIFE, A LIFE NOT LIVED
 
     ACCORDING TO THE DICTATES OF THE SPIRIT.
 
          SINCE SHE WAS THE ONE WHO HAD POWER IN THE DOLL-
 
     HUMAN RELATIONSHIP, HER DOLLS WERE ROMANTICS TOO.
 
 
 
     Toward the end of paranoia, had told her story to a
 
     friend who was secretary to a famous writer.
 
          Informed her that famous writer's first lawyer
 
     used to work with Harold Robbins' present lawyer.
 
     First lawyer was friends with her American publisher.
 
          Her American publisher asked the lawyer who was
 
     his friend to speak privately to Harold Robbins'
 
     lawyer.
 
          Later the lawyer told the American publisher that
 
     Harold Robbins' lawyer advised to let the matter die
 
     quietly.  This lawyer himself advised that under no
 
     circumstances should the writer sign anything.
 
          It turned out that the whole affair was nothing.
 
          Despite these lawyer's advice, Harold Robbins'
 
     publisher and the feminist publisher kept pressing the
 
     writer to sign the apology and eventually, as
 
     everything becomes nothing, she had to.
 
          Knew that none of the above has anything to do
 
     with what matters, writing.  Except for the failure of
 
     the spirit.
 
 
 
     THEY'RE ALL DEAD, CAPITOL THOUGHT.  THEIR DOLLS' FLESH
 
     IS NOW BECOMING PART OF THE DIRT.
 
          CAPITOL THOUGHT, IS MATTER MOVING THROUGH FORMS
 
     DEAD OR ALIVE?
 
          CAPITOL THOUGHT, THEY CAN'T KILL THE SPIRIT.

3 October 2014

New work in gorse 2

Extracts from my piece, Conditions, which relates to the below drawing, plus full contents.




29 September 2014

Anguish Language

If anything it is the tics and tremors of literary, poetic, (anti)political and vernacular responses to the crises of capitalism...

Come tremor with us.