Africa only vaguely sensical on the screen. I yearn for something as refreshingly strange. A time away from everything. To sit on an unknown street drinking an unfamiliar beer.
Weakness is relative to habituation. The weak drug for one can kill another without the resistance built up by use. So it is for anything desireable. Fame or wealth or beauty or power, sometimes enough is too much is not enough.
Une belle laide. Triste femme avec un secret. Impossible truncheon of war blasting lives far beyond its end. Toujours enfin. Waiting for the past to yield its treasures now that all the pain has been weathered.
There’s always a struggle but I’m weary. Witness the righteous laying paradise to waste. We’re here and then we’re gone, and everything matters, every step, every word, every thought, every gesture a pulsion from moment to moment.
Blue the colour of old ice, of oceans and eyes. Bodies recalling themselves as they sleep, as they move. Wanting something. Some change, some repose. Not sure, but always wanting. Holding the wanting like a future, a fetish.
Apartments, arenas, galleries, smoke. A calculated gesture of indifference returns in a blaze Drowns in a shower. Blue fire courses through the veins of the tiny woman, Consuming her from within. She gestures like a tortured prophet in the wilderness of a city. What has drawn her face and made her lean, A diet of locusts and honeycomb? Something awry betwixt mind and body? What strange shapes her soul takes – A pirate banner, a brush with celebrity, A story bursting to escape her skin.
Pour water, pour water, the desert is thirsty. The skeleton key twirls on the sinister index As flash floods scrub the Sahara. Braids, barbaric under Italian awnings. Hysterical laughter in the charred offices of art. Singer sings a love song to hash As it all goes up in smoke. Tip of fire cupped in tobacco, I won’t cast you carelessly away tonight.
Rain on the veranda railing glistens in the sodium light. Sodium glisten – Lacking the clarity, brilliance, detail of other reflected light. City soaked in orange murk.
I throw some centimes of feeling upon the weather tonight – To be so young. It helps to think of Dakar, and it doesn’t help to think of Dakar. A palm tree, sand dunes, Night sky reflected in the clarity of mica particles.
No, it doesn’t help . . . like thinking of the unborn . . . To know I’m one speck of mica reflecting a spectral universe, Some obscure package of cigarette tubes.
Some nights are like the corpse of Madame Bovary Puking blue bile, Sharing in her bitterness at a world suited to automatons, armoured ants. I don’t feel much so there’s no point.
Rain on the veranda, my dear friends. Like old, lost guitar chords. Like broken chariots.
The bus crush, A record comes out and has to sell in six seconds flat.
A flat belly and a rhinestone nose stud, No. Yesterday’s clothes on tomorrow’s face, No. Hyper-everything video arcade butt grind, No. Tragic tragic tragic tragic ragamuffin art star, No. Happy puppy teeth snapping wiggle joy, No. No plan no thoughts no music no words, No. The wild wild foreverafter, No.
Dreaming through, Thread of thought pushing through the fabric of words Needle through the eye of a rich man’s gate You wonder where it comes from and I wonder with you Chasing the tatters of tea leaves The tarot tattoos Ching sticks Coin flips Watch them chasing their own dreams down the street.
A fevered sleep . . . war looms, Paris 1939. Dark streets and blue lights. A manuscript awaits the mail while the news talks strikes. Bodies exhumed from a swamp 53 years and laid to rest. Remains. The smiling Luftwaffe man mourns. The memories, the memories. My gaze drags across a memory and leaves traces of intense feeling Like falling stars. Feather pillow project and a dull grey sky meets us one day. All literature hangs like tapestries, dull grey skies and the bomber, Burning as it falls. The old eyes of the Luftwaffe. A fevered sleep.
There’s no here or there. I’m in a capsule full of tiny time pills, falling in endless commercial clips like an avalanche of exhortations over time. Much memory a storehouse of so much television gibberish – superstition panaceas. Not much on the mind, not much really of concern to me.
Jazz sounds like noise from the ether, the chatter of insects on the shortwave band at 3 am – alien stuff just blasting past, a rattle, a drone, a melody, a beat. Unhinged when everything else was unhinged, when painters fell into their canvases, when poets goggled over words and letters like toddlers with blocks on a carpet.
She likes blues, then she likes jazz, alien landscapes she escapes over like the final rays of sunset. Leaving everything twilit, radical, and malleable as features in the moonlight. Jazz. Shit. Jazz. Baby, what’s it to you? Wallpaper? The scene’s a scream. Word maniacs blather a mile a minute. Still, when we put it on we pull off magic moments.
The waters are an extraordinary blue, Showing surprising depth But it’s just a tourist trap. Simple white sand and expensive drinks Black servants And white retirees with plenty Plenty of meat on their bones. Shells pink as an ear, Pink as sunset on long beaches. Sunsets on Lucaya natives, Sunsets on old men with quintuple bypasses.
Fake Spanish colonial buildings Fake Vegas casinos Fake waterfront shantytown We should be Elsewhere – Wild ruins Broken by jungle growth. What is it when elsewhere’s not elsewhere And here is where we find The strangeness we need?
A sort of senseless, stupid rumination goes on, cutting across the simple absorption of a film … it’s called ‘thinking’ – or in this specific case, ‘pre-thinking phenomena’ – watching Satyricon, Nostalghia, furious in a way because there is no memory. The faces, flashes of scenes but nothing else, no recollection of what might happen next. No sense at all of what they might mean. In other words, the initial viewings (for Satyricon, two viewings) were no more than sensual experiences.
Some women were like that for me, I never got past the initial ‘wow’ to experience a person. For better or worse. Like Tarkovsky’s poet says, there are too many shoes in Italy, why ? These ones (the poet’s) are ten years old – it doesn’t matter. In this way he seems to affirm the traditional (marriage, fidelity) over sensual amorality (Italian shoes).
All those films I was so curious about back in the 80s. Nostalghia – I loved the poster for that, it was at Wormwoods Dog and Monkey Cinema – the first one on Barrington – the only one – where there were actually windows in the theatre space – daylight ! – and those posters on the wall. Aguirre was another one. Yet all those films seem to posit a spiritual – question, at least – especially the Eastern Bloc directors. As if that was the best they could throw at dialectical materialism. I hope their religion’s keeping them nice and warm in the great post-Soviet black hole that’s opened up since then … it isn’t doing anything for me, beyond the pretty pictures.
Why is it we want something secret, and strange?
A book of people not like ourselves?
Strange with time, or distance,
Culture, or class?
I think about this as I sit
This very appetite appeased by my own strange life.
I am strange, I find myself strange
The excitement of this other I,
Veiled and silent beyond words.
Thoughts inhabit this silence
Distant yet intimate
Like memories half-remembered
Yet not memories at all …
Faint applause of last year’s audience
Eyes and ears imprinted with my strange self.
Why should anything be less than anything else?
The mystery of the present tense
The mystery of being in time
Swimming in the stream of time like a fish
What matters most is where matter is most
The strange, the secret
Hide themselves in the stream
Only thoughts and dreams travel past and future.