Mar. 7th, 2017

"Nutshell"

Mar. 7th, 2017 04:39 pm
An aficionado of podcasts is a baby after my own heart. His yen for vin? Amusing but less endearing.
  • beautiful beyond realism’s reach / What’s said hangs in the air, like a Beijing smog.
  • “Ice cream being out of the question.” Plain sense. Worth saying. Who would or could make ice cream out of antifreeze?
  • To be bound in a nutshell, see the world in two inches of ivory, in a grain of sand. Why not, when all of literature, all of art, of human endeavour, is just a speck in the universe of possible things. And even this universe may be a speck in a multitude of actual and possible universes. So why not be an owl poet?
  • No child, still less a foetus, has ever mastered the art of small talk, or would ever want to. It’s an adult device, a covenant with boredom and deceit.
  • When love dies and a marriage lies in ruins, the first casualty is honest memory, decent, impartial recall of the past.
  • Our love was so fine and grand, it seemed to us a universal principle. It was a system of ethics, a means of relating to
  • Boredom, said this Monsieur Barthes, is not far from bliss; one regards boredom from the shores of pleasure... This was my patrimony, until my mother wished my father dead. Now I live inside a story and fret about its outcome. Where’s boredom or bliss in that?
  • To them the untied plastic bags rise like shining residential towers with rooftop gardens. The flies go there to graze and vomit at their ease. Their general bloated laziness invokes a society of mellow recreation, communal purpose, mutual tolerance. This somnolent, non-chordate crew is at one with the world, it loves rich life in all its putrefaction.
  • Sex, I begin to understand, is its own mountain kingdom, secret and intact. In the valley below we know only rumours.
  • But lately, don’t ask why, I’ve no taste for comedy, no inclination to exercise, even if I had the space, no delight in fire or earth, in words that once revealed a golden world of majestical stars, the beauty of poetic apprehension, the infinite joy of reason.
  • Hours of scheming have accidentally delivered the conspirators into the art of deliberative lovemaking.
  • slumbering Claude, a hump, a bell-curve of sound baffled by bedclothes. On the exhalation, a long, constipated groan, its approaching terminus frilled with electric sibilants. Then an extended pause which, if you loved him, might alarm you. Has he breathed his last? If you don’t, there’s hope he has. But finally, a shorter, greedy intake, scarred with the rattle of wind-dried mucus and, at the breezy summit, the soft palate’s triumphant purr.
  • Blood-borne well-being sweeps through me and I’m instantly high, thrown forwards by a surfer’s perfect breaking wave of forgiveness and love. A tall, sloping, smoothly tubular wave that could carry me to where I might start to think fondly of Claude. But I resist it. How diminishing, to accept at second hand my mother’s every rush of feeling and be bound tighter to her crime.
  • The crime, once a sequence of plans and their enactment, now in memory resembles an object, unmoveable, accusing, a cold stone statue in a clearing in a wood. A midwinter’s bitter midnight, a waning moon, and Trudy is hurrying away down a frosty woodland path. She turns to look back at the distant figure, partly obscured by bare boughs and skeins of mist, and she sees that the crime, the object of her thoughts, is not a crime at all. It’s a mistake. It always was.
  • the exercise yard of dumb existence
  • But the raised hand, the actual violent enactment, is cursed. The maths says so. There’ll be no reversion to the status quo ante, no balm, no sweet relief, or none that lasts. Only a second crime. Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves, Confucius said. Revenge unstitches a civilisation.
  • How wearying, on top of all else (a hangover, a murder, enervating sex, advanced pregnancy), for my mother to be obliged to exert her will and extend fulsome hatred to a guest.
  • It’s an accusation, a rejection, a cold withdrawal bundled into a hospitable gesture.
  • I note at this point that my father has receded. Like a particle in physics, he escapes definition in his flight from us: the assertive, successful poet-teacher-publisher, calmly intent on repossessing his house, his father’s house; or the hapless, put-upon cuckold, the unworldly fool cramped by debt and misery and lack of talent. The more we hear of one, the less we believe of the other.
  • I’ll feel, therefore I’ll be. Let poverty go begging and climate change braise in hell. Social justice can drown in ink. I’ll be an activist of the emotions, a loud, campaigning spirit fighting with tears and sighs to shape institutions around my vulnerable self.
  • Her status as a murderer is a fact, an item in the world outside herself. But that’s old thinking. She affirms, she identifies as innocent.
  • Auden’s ‘Autumn Song.’ ‘Now the leaves are falling fast, / Nurse’s flowers will not last.’ Why is the missing syllable at the end of the line so
  • Long ago, someone pronounced groundless certainty a virtue. Now, the politest people say it is.
  • It’s already clear to me how much of life is forgotten even as it happens. Most of it. The unregarded present spooling away from us, the soft tumble of unremarkable thoughts, the long-neglected miracle of existence.
  • The effective lie, like the masterly golf swing, is free of self-awareness. I’ve listened to the sports commentaries.
  • the chief inspector. I wonder if she has a gun. Too grand. Like the queen not carrying money. Shooting people is for sergeants and below.
  • I wonder what disorder tells suspicious eyes. It can’t be morally neutral. A contempt for things, for order, cleanliness, must lie on a spectrum with scorn for laws, values, for life itself.
  • I’m not troubled. What was in his day a vagina is now proudly a birth canal, my Panama, and I’m greater than he was, a stately ship of genes, dignified by unhurried progress, freighted with my cargo of ancient information.

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