Thursday, 7 September 2017

...of Love

the day (or night)

is green
she plays upon a blue guitar

she does not play things as they are
hearing in the air messages un
emitted unadmitted mean

inventing your desire with La belle si tu voulais (bis)
Nous dormirions ensemble o-la (bis)

and answering it unspoken with

No vale la pena el llanto or l’amor è un
atalena or love is just a four-letter word and
more: love is a bore, a soap op
era a telephone that doesn’t ring

in many languages from Lucan to Lacan
she fills the air as well with
syntagmatic silence - from Phaedrus to Freud
Homer to Husserl and Locke to the Li Ki
effortlessly displacing notions with a diachronic chord.

[Thru, Brooke-Rose, C.]

...of a narrator

The axis of desire uniting them authorises a semidyliic interpretation of the two actants as a virtuoso performer subject and an object instituted by itself as valuelessness of the subject performer. Thus the narrative utterance:

NU = F : transfer (E -> o -> R)

The transfer can then be interpreted at the same time as a privation or as a distinction (depending on the level) or as an attribution or as a conjunction (depending on the level) thus representing the circulation of value-objects topologically as an identification of the deictic transfers with the terms of a taxinomic model, each isotopic place (where the performances occur) consisting of two deixes that are conjunctive but equivalent, at the fundamental level, to the contradictory terms out of Oriental and Celtic mists that nobody utters these days, or, if somebody does, can only be met by syntagmatic silence although words are urgently demanded and the demand can only degenerate into useless chatter. She who explains herself is lost.

[Thru, Brooke-Rose, C.]

...of the absent author

There has occurred however the telescoping of the flute-player into a stereotyped foreshortened faun piping right to left on the rectangle of days with weeks and even years in an implicit depth, days that do not see themselves or the four lies reflected in the retrovisor, looking at nothing on or in the brow that Scheherezade thinks too low beneath the mat  of khaki crinkly hair perhaps Etruscan or hiding behind a discourse from which the subjects vanish piecemeal, the one giving no references and other too many thus having a mouth removed and other organs when all that is signifiable in her is struck with latency as soon as raised to the function of signifier which initiates this raising by its original disappearance, the show within the show.
For the idyll reopens out into the other idyll of Armel who is not like that at all and Veronica true icon iconoclasted before the introduction of the pistol, raising antinomies by reaction that overtakes the subjective idea, rendering it objective, here on the ocean edge, and irresistible, Aphrodite emerging from memory and beckoning, naked, sprayed with flowery foam.
For you are not qualcosa as narrated by either yourself or some other who talks like a book and wants to be read like an algebraic grammar of narrative, the punishment in final position never falling on the euphoric term, only on the dyseptic, the moving finger piercing through the the pregnant plenitude from idyll to castratrophy thus bringing about the end of discourse. Nor have you acted out the dialogue spun by the silent narrator who is yourself perhaps making yourself articulate and wise, quick on the uptake gentle cruelonlytobekind with brief mean brushstrokes for objectivity and her semelic wild moon detached and gazing at the earth, tide-driven and helpless so that you can save her and if that is what you want that is how it will be for you always get your way in the end by transforming the passive silence of undecidability into the undecidable. Whoever invented it is the absent narrator or you in love with the unrelaible narrator who is in love with the implied author who is in love with himself and therefore absent in the nature of things through doors opening on doors, mirrors on mirrors in an eternal game of vinciperdi with the presence and absence of signifiers that characterises the practice of language. A head in a pool on a platter in a textured cloth, the head detached to re-present the word, a disembodied voice.

[Thru, Brooke-Rose, C.]

...of that underneath

On hot July days, the wall opposite cast a brilliant, harsh light into the damp little courtyard.
Underneath this heat there was a great void, silence, everything seemed in suspense: the only thing to be heard, aggressive, strident, was the creaking of a chair being dragged across the tiles, the slamming of a door. In this heat, in this silence, it was a sudden coldness, a rending.
And she remained motionless on the edge of her bed, occupying the least possible space, tense, as though waiting for something to burst, to crash down upon her in the threatening silence.
At times the shrill notes of locusts in a meadow petrified by the sun and as though dead, induce this sensation of cold, of solitude, of abandonment in a hostile universe in which something anguishing is impending.
In the silence, penetrating the length of the old blue-striped wallpaper in the hall, the length of the dingy paint, she heard the little click of the key in the front door. She heard the study door close.
She remained there hunched up, waiting, doing nothing.
The slightest act, such as going to the bathroom to wash her hands, letting the water run from the tap, seemed like a provocation, a sudden leap into the void, an extremely daring action. In the suspended silence, the sudden sound of water would be like a signal, like an appeal directed towards them; it would be like some horrible contact, like touching a jellyfish with the end of a stick and then waiting with loathing for it suddenly to shudder, rise up and fall back down again.

[Tropisms, Sarraute, N.]

...of latent rage

In the morning she leapt from her bed early, dashed about the apartment, tart, tense, bursting with shouts and gestures, with gasps of anger, with “scenes.” She went from room to room, nosed about in the kitchen, banged furiously on the door of the bathroom which someone was occupying, and she wanted to break in, to manage, to give them a shaking, to ask them if they were going to stay in there for an hour, or remind them that it was late, that they were going to miss the car or the train, it was too late, that they had already missed something because of their carelessness, their negligence, or that they their breakfast was ready, that it was cold, that it had been waiting for two hours, that it was stone-cold… And it seemed that from her viewpoint there was nothing uglier, more contemptible, more stupid, more hateful, that there was no more obvious sign of inferiority, of weakness, than to let one’s breakfast grow cold, than to come late for breakfast.
Those who were in the secret, the children, came running. The others, who were careless and negligent towards things, being unaware of their power in this house, answered politely in a perfectly natural, gentle manner: “Thank you very much, don’t bother, I rather like coffee that’s a little cold.” To these persons, these outsiders, she did not dare say anything, and because of this one statement, because of this little polite sentence with which they rebuffed her gently, negligently, with a flick of the hand, without even taking her into consideration, without pausing to give her a moment’s thought, for this alone she began to hate them.

[Tropisms, Sarraute, N.]

...of planets

‘Come with me, let’s go have a look at the Southern Cross,’ he says.
He walks out in front of us all the way to the end of the alley, over by the chalta tree. In order to be able to see the Southern Cross you need to be far from the lights of the house. We look up at the sky, almost without breathing. I immediately pinpoint ‘The Followers’ high up in the sky at the tail end of Centaurus. To the right, the Cross hovers palely, slightly tilted, like the sail of a pirogue. Laure and I spot it at the same time, but we don’t need to say anything. We gaze up at the Cross without speaking. Mam comes out to join us and she doesn’t say a word to our father. We just stand there and it seems as if we’re listening to the sound of the planets in the night. It’s so beautiful, there’s no need to say anything. But I can feel that pain in my chest and throat growing tighter, because something has changed on this night, something says that it must all come to an end. Maybe it’s written in the stars - that’s what I think - maybe what needs to be done to keep things from changing and save us is also written in the stars.

[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]

...of friendship

It’s a dizziness that stems from the sea, like a kind of spell cast by the sun and the reflections that is befuddling me and draining my energy. In spite of the torrid heat I feel cold. Denis’s sister and her fiancé help me stretch out in the bottom of the pirogue, in the shade of the sail that is flapping in the breeze. Denis cups seawater in his hands and wets my face and body. Then, punting with his pole, he steers the pirogue over to the shore. A little later we run up on the white beach, near the point of the Morne. There, a few small trees grow - velvet leaf soldierbushes. With Denis’s aid I walk to the shade of one of them. Denis’s sister encourages me to drink a sour substance from a gourd; it burns my tongue and throat and wakes me up. I already want to stand, walk back to the pirogue, but Denis’s sister tells me I must stay in the shade util the sun has begun to go down towards the horizon. The old man has remained in the pirogue, leaning on the pole. Now they’re moving away on the shimmering water to fish some more.
Denis has remained sitting next to me. He doesn’t say anything. He’s just here with me in the shade of the small tree, legs covered with patches of white sand. He’s not like those other children who live in grand estates. He doesn’t need to talk. He’s my friend and his silence here beside me is a way of saying so.

[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]

...of a traumatic event

The mass of labourers moves forwards, then back again in a strange sort of dance while the shouting rises and falls in strident modulation. Men brandish cane knives, scythes, and the women hoes and billhooks. Panic-stricken, I stand frozen to the spot, while the crowd jostles around me, encircles me. I’m suffocating, I’m blinded by the dust. With great difficulty I make my way over the wall of the sugar mill. Just then, without my understanding what is happening, I see the three horsemen start to gallop towards the throng that closes in around them. The withers of the horses are pushing the men and women back and the riders are striking out with their rifle butts. Two horses escape in the direction of the cane fields, pursued by the angry cries of the crowd. They pass so close to me I throw myself to the ground in the dust for fear of being trampled. Then I glimpse a third rider. He’s fallen from his horse and the men and women have grabbed him by the arms, are shoving him around. I recognize his face, despite it being twisted with fear. He’s a relative of Ferdinand’s - a man named Dupont, the husband of one of his cousins - who is a field manager on Uncle Ludovic’s plantations. My father says he’s worse than a sirdar, that he beats the workers with sticks and if they complain about him he steals their pay. Now it’s the field labourers who are mauling him, hitting him, insulting him, making him fall to the ground. For a moment, in the midst of the crowd that is shoving him around, he’s so close to me that I can see the wild look in his eyes, can hear the hoarse sound of his breathing. I’m afraid, because I realize he’s going to die. Nausea rises in my throat, strangles me. My eyes fill with tears, I strike out with my fists at the angry crowd that doesn’t even see me. The men and women in gunny cloth pursue their strange dance, their shouts. When I’m able to get out of the crowd I turn around and see the white man. His clothing is torn to pieces and he is being carried, half-naked, at arm’s length above the crowd over to the bagasse furnace. The man isn’t screaming, isn’t moving. His face is a white blotch of fear as the black people lift him up by the arms and legs and begin to swing him in front of the red door of the furnace. I stand there, petrified, alone in the middle of the dirt road, listening to the voices shouting louder and louder, and now it is like a slow and painful chant punctuating the swinging of the body over the flames. Then there is one movement of the crowd and a great wild cry when the man disappears into the furnace. Then the clamour suddenly ceases and I can once again hear the dull roaring of the flames, the gurgling of cane juice in the large shiny kettles. I can’t tear my eyes away from the flaming mouth of the bagasse furnace into which the black men are now shoveling dried cane as if nothing has happened. Then, slowly, the crowd breaks up. The women in gunny cloth walk through the dust, veiling their faces with their head rags. The men wander off towards the paths in the cane fields, knives in hand. There are no more clamours or noises, only the silence of the wind in the cane leaves as I walk towards the river. The silence is within me, is brimming up inside of me making my head spin, and I know I will never be able to talk to anyone about what I’ve seen today.

[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]

...of an approaching storm

I’m up on the Etoile when the rain first comes in.
It had been a nice day, the sun was burning my skin through the clothing, the chimneys were smoking far away in the cane fields. I sat gazing at the expanse of dark-blue sea, choppy out beyond the reefs.
The rain comes sweeping over the sea, coming from Port Louis, a great grey curtain in a semicircle that is coming straight towards me at top speed. It’s so sudden I don’t think of looking for shelter. I just stand there on the rocky outcrop - heart racing. I love seeing the rain driving in.
At first there is no wind. All sounds are suspended, as if the mountains are holding back the breath of air. That’s what’s making my heart pound too, the silence that drains the sky, that makes everything stand still.

[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]

...of the threat of death

We remain huddled together on the veranda, clinging to one another, warily observing the far end of the garden and the sky where once more large black clouds are gathering. There is that strange silence again, weighing down upon the valley around us as if we were all alone in the world. Cook’s hut is empty. He left for Black River this morning with his wife. In the fields, not a cry, no sound of a carriage to be heard.
It’s that silence penetrating deep down inside us, that ominous silence, bearing the threat of death that I’ll never be able to forget. There’s not a bird in the trees, not an insect, not even the sound of the wind in the she-oaks. The silence is more powerful than the sounds, it swallows them up, and everything around us drains away and is annihilated. We stand still on the veranda. I’m shivering in my damp clothes. When we speak our voices ring out strangely in the distance and our words are immediately eclipsed.

[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]

...of a secret location

Now I’m walking through the valley of Roseaux River, not knowing which way to go. From here, the valley seems wide, bordered in the distance by the black hills and the high mountains. The north wind is coming in from the mouth of the river, bearing with it rumours of the sea, giving rise to little whirlwinds of sand, like ashes, that for a moment make me think there are people arriving on horseback. But there’s a strange silence out here, due to all of this light.
On the other side of the hills of Venus Point there is the bustling life of Port Mathurin, the marketplace, the coming and going of pirogues in Lascars Bay, And here everything is silent like a desert island. What will I find here? Who is waiting for me?
I walk around haphazardly on the valley bottom until the end of the day. I want to understand where I am. I want to understand why I came all the way out here, what had spurred me, alerted me. In the dry sand of the river beach I trace a map of the valley using a twig: the entrance to the bay with large basalt boulders on the east and west. The bed of the Roseaux River leading up in almost a straight line to the south and then making a bend before entering the gorges, between the mountains. I don’t need to compare it with the Corsair’s map as it appears in my father’s documents: I’m obviously in the very spot where the treasure is.
Once again I feel light-headed, dizzy. There’s so much silence here, so much solitude! Only the wind blowing through the boulders and the underbrush, bearing along the distant rumbling of the sea on the reefs, but it’s the sound of a world without humans. Clouds scurry across the dazzling sky, puff, disappear behind the hills. I can’t keep the secret to myself any longer! I feel like screaming, as loud as I can, so that I’ll be heard out beyond the hills, even farther out than this island, out on the other side of the sea, all the way out in Forest Side, and my scream will penetrate the walls and deep into Laure’s heart.

[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]

...of names

How many have been killed? How many are still able to fight? After what we’ve seen - that deadly cloud wafting slowly towards us, yellow and golden brown like a sunset - we remain hunkered down in our holes, tirelessly scrutinizing the sky, day and night. We count our ranks, maybe in the hopes of making those who are absent, whose names no longer belong to anyone, reappear: ’Simon, Lenfant, Garadec, Schaffer… and Adrien, and the little redhead - Gordon, that was his name, Gordon … and Pommier, Antoine who was from Joliette, but whose family name I’ve forgotten, and Léon Berre and Raymond, Dubois, Santeuil, Reinert… ‘ Are they really names? Did they really exist? We thought of death differently when we first arrived from so far away: glorious death out in broad daylight, a star of blood on one’s chest. But death is deceitful and insidious, it sneaks up, whisks men away in the night while they’re sleeping, unbeknownst to others. It drowns men in the bogs, in the muddy pools at the bottom of ravines, it smothers them in the earth, it spreads its icy fingers into the bodies of those who are lying in lazarettos, under torn tents, those with livid faces and emaciated chests, wasted from dysentery, from pneumonia, from typhus. Those who die vanish and one day we notice their absence. Where are they? Maybe they’ve been lucky enough to be sent to the rear, maybe they’ve lost an eye, a leg, maybe they’ll never go back to war. But something tells us, something about their absence, about the silence that surrounds their names: they’re dead.

[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]

... of resisting oblivion

How long has it been since Mam died? Was it yesterday or the day before? I’m not sure any more. During the days and nights that we have stayed by her side, taking turns, me during the day, Laure at night, so that she would constantly have a hand to hold in her thin fingers. Every day I told her the same story, the story of Boucan, where everything is always young and beautiful, where the sky-coloured roof shines. It’s a make-believe land, it only exists for us three. And I think that, from having talked about it so much, a bit of that immortality is within us, unites us against death, which is so near.
As for Laure, she doesn’t talk. On the contrary, she’s silent, obstinate, but that’s her way of struggling against oblivion. I brought back a small branch of the chalta tree for her and when I gave it to her I saw she hadn’t forgotten. Her eyes shone with pleasure when she took the branch, which she laid on the nightstand or rather tossed there, as if inadvertently, because that’s the way she acts with objects she loves.

[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]