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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Three Years Around

Busted flat in Baton Rouge and the why keeps slipping through my mind like mercury.

Je ne sais plus parler.

I used to be so ambitious—ambitious to achieve something beyond the normal.
I was living in the mirror as in a sea, secret and senseless and selfish like the shellfish. I hid under the bed when it thundered and fled in terror from the sight of Etna's flames. I shut myself in with my soul and the shapes came eddying forth.

One day the forest blossoming in front of my door became charged with aggressiveness and tried to annihilate me by throwing unusually large numbers of jaguars on my trail.

Je ne sais plus parler.

I saw everything at once and wondered

What is the point of learning that another realm exists beyond ocean?

The Child-King became an anarchist. I was against everything, systematically and on principle. (Once I took a whale and weighed it, and then sent my friends what I reckoned to be its weight in fish.) I became a wild and savage creature who lived among the tombs and wandered naked through the countryside,

sallied forth into the public streets and rushed through all the arcades like a maniac. My wife said, “You must try to be more human with everyone and not fly into a rage so quickly, nor speak so loudly that even the neighbors can hear.”

Je ne sais plus parler.
Ah, the power to speak well is taken as the surest index of a sound understanding,
but for me it is as complicated as trying to drink water with a fork instead of a cup.

Intellectual giants—the ladies of Rutgers and San Francisco—kept saying Speak, then. Speak! But I froze.

I began to breakfast in the library, to which the dingy volumes on the open shelves always gave rather a gloomy air.

(Who can help wondering, concerning the modern multitude of books, where all these companions of his reading hours will be buried when they died?)

Before long, I felt as though my mind, saturated with literature and art, was refusing to absorb anything further from them. The soil on my skin turned into sprinkles of gold dust. The people proclaimed me some kind of god. I saw everything at once, and wondered

Why I should linger long to live in this disease of fantasy?

Poison I had my thoughts much upon, but knew not where to get any.

(Much the most pathetic thought about books is that excellence will not save them.)

I spent the following three days in the basest debauchery.

Je ne sais plus parler.

And now I return home not as a conqueror, but as a discredited prophet, content to lead the life of a marginal man.

Last year is buried in a casket and the casket doesn’t need to be opened up for any DNA tests.

Recently, I hooked up with a mail-order company in an attempt to become a millionaire hair tonic salesman. I thought of traveling the country to deliver motivational speeches, a theater of make-believe.
To some perhaps my name is odious.

I am not what I wanted to be but I guess I am OK. I’m not so bad.

Je ne sais plus parler.



1. Kris Kristofferson, “Me and Bobby McGee.”
Andrew Thomson, Emergency Sex, Miramax Books, New York, 2004
2. Arthur Rimbaud, Morning p. 53, Bertrand Mathieu tr.

1. Friend of Lee Harvey Oswald, quoted on Peter Jennings Reporting: The Kennedy Assassination—Beyond Conspiracy.
2. Breyten Breytenbach, from On the Noble Art of Walking in No Man's Land, 3. Will Durant, Caesar and Christ
4. ?
5. Section 26 - Raag Tukhaari - Part 002
Pierre Clastres, Chronicle of the Guyaki Indians, Zone Books, New York, 2000, Paul Auster, tr.6. Rimbaud, ibid

Marcus Manilius, qu. by Jean Heidmann, Cosmic Odyssey, Cambridge U. Press, Cambridge, 1986, Simon Mitten, tr.
2. Salvador Dali, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, p. 116
3. . Aelius Lampridius, Augustan History, The Dedalus Book of Roman Decadence: Emperors of Debauchery, Dedalus, 1994, pgs. 201, Brian and Adrian Murdoch trs.
4. Rimbaud, ibid

1. Isocrates, Nicocles or the Cyprians
2 and 3. Original
4. Alexander Dyce, The Reminiscences of Alexander Dyce, Ohio State University Press, 1972, p. 46.
5. Woodrow Wilson, “How Books Become Immortal,” The Atlantic Monthly, September 1891.
6. Joris-Karl Huysmans, Against Nature, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998, p. 62
7 and 8. Function Options,”
9. Original
Hyder Edward Rollins ed., The Paradise of Dainty Devices, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1927, p. 46.
10. Woodrow Wilson, “How Books Become Immortal,” The Atlantic Monthly, September 1891.
11. Daniel Defoe, Captain Singleton, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pg 9.12. Octave Mirbeau, The Torture Garden, Re/Search Publications, San Francisco, 1989, Alvah Bessie tr., p 29.13. Rimbaud, ibid

1. Enid Starkie, Arthur Rimbaud, New Directions, 1961
Howard Gardner, Creating Minds, Basic Books, 1993, p. 2342. Brian Dawkins, qu. by Michael Silver, Sports Illustrated, 9/4/06, p. 162.
3. Barry Williams, Growing Up Brady, Harper, New York, 1991.p. 270

4. Blumenthal, Will the Real Colin Powell Please Stand Up?
5. Marlowe—The Jew of Malta

6. Sammy Sosa
7. Rimbaud, ibid


Erin said...

"I was living in the mirror as in a sea, secret and senseless and selfish like the shellfish."

You could sell this line to a hip hop artist.

camram1 said...

I wish I could take credit for this, but it's actually Breyton Breytenbach.