13 August 2013


Orange, but dark, almost turning, almost turned, soft, perfectly so, and cold, fitting like a human heart in my hands. I scoop out cones with a teaspoon, place them among the apples, trying my patience, greed, spinning tops. Other oranges come visible through association – tangerines in a bowl (like at J’s), turmeric stained mortar (pestle?), carrot soup circles on the stove. All are circles, the tangerines, the mortar (pestle?), the soup drops, the cones. I remember the rods and cones of eyes from biology, how they tessellate behind our eyeballs chugging to make colour and depth of field.

At the end of Rumblefish when the world goes grey for Rusty James, when he goes deaf for a moment, and blind, the horror of new boundaries, new enclosures, the horror of the in/sensible...and turning back there is nothing.

In Scented Gardens for the Blind, each room a threatening mass of objects.

Is it a sin to see the world through books? Dis/association or connection-empathy?

But this cone of melting colour, the strings in my teeth, my hangnails dyed orange. Yesterday a seven year old spelled 'luscious' and told me what it meant in terms of colour, he moved his hands as he was explaining and I chided myself for being impressed that a child could act like a grown man, I saw my secret pity and was disgusted. Anyway 'sc' is the sound for that colour.

9 August 2013

“Next time I will be born not on a planet, but on a comet!” - Marina Tsvetaeva

'Exiled in Paris in 1923 the Russian poet Marina Tsvetaeva projects herself headlong into submissive space. "I was born to be carried away," she wrote, and then she was. Running between countries, using strange punctuation, dashes, exclamation marks, ellipses to write poems like telegrams, the most advanced technology of her time, she was a ball of longing projected onto the European landscape.'

-- Chris Kraus, 'Emotional Technologies', Video Green  

Bound for Hell

[Translated from the Russian by Stephen Edgar]

Hell, my ardent sisters, be assured,
Is where we’re bound; we’ll drink the pitch of hell—
We, who have sung the praises of the lord
With every fiber in us, every cell.

We, who did not manage to devote
Our nights to spinning, did not bend and sway
Above a cradle—in a flimsy boat,
Wrapped in a mantle, we’re now borne away.

Every morning, every day, we’d rise
And have the finest Chinese silks to wear;
And we’d strike up the songs of paradise
Around the campfire of a robbers’ lair,

We, careless seamstresses (our seams all ran,
Whether we sewed or not)—yet we have been
Such dancers, we have played the pipes of Pan:
The world was ours, each one of us a queen.

First, scarcely draped in tatters, and disheveled,
Then plaited with a starry diadem;
We’ve been in jails, at banquets we have reveled:
But the rewards of heaven, we’re lost to them,

Lost in nights of starlight, in the garden
Where apple trees from paradise are found.
No, be assured, my gentle girls, my ardent
And lovely sisters, hell is where we’re bound.

from “Poems to Czechoslovakia”

Black mountain

black mountain
blocks the earth’s light.
to give back to God his ticket.

I refuse to—be. In
the madhouse of the inhumans
I refuse to—live. To swim

on the current of human spines.
I don’t need holes in my ears,
no need for seeing eyes.
I refuse to swim on the current of human spines.

To your mad world—one answer: I refuse.


They took—suddenly—and took—openly—
took mountains—and took their entrails,
they took coal, and steel they took,
they took lead, and crystal.

And sugar they took, and took the clover,
they took the West, and they took the North,
they took the beehive, and took the haystack,
they took the South from us, and the East.

Vari—they took, and the Tatras—they took,
they took our fingers—took our friends—

But we stand up—
as long as there’s spit in our mouths!

May 9, 1939

8 August 2013


As I was dreaming of you, a fly – I know the one, it had been, despite the open window, or because of it perhaps, in my room all day – kept landing on me. My t-shirt, falling against my body, left exposed a sweet patch of flesh just at the top of where my arm met my armpit. This is where the fly kept alighting and waking me up. How silly that a thing as small and nothing as a fly could wake me up – not once or twice, but perhaps five times during the forty minute nap I had allowed myself, the nap I would in my dreams refer to as a siesta, because you had used that word the other day and reminded me of it and how much sweeter siestas are than naps and about Spain, where, incidentally, you now most probably were. I wonder if a cold beer is pressed to your lips yet... I grow hot at the thought of it. And so the fly, alighting there, (was it the sweat?) woke me over and again, and each time I swatted it away with the hand that was not curled beneath my head and fell back to sleep to try to dream of you again, again to try to dream of you. And each time it woke me, I woke with a deeper sadness at your not being beside me in any realm – real or dreamt – and though I felt your name on my lips I knew that that alone could not bring you to me. Instead I was left half asleep, half awake, the breeze running so along my bare legs, cooling them, and you not here but not there either, so sweet and so sad.