Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The Feck of My Days



Trompe l’oeil of
                        a low proscenium
arch, its pterodactyloid
squat and hunch,

banal artifice of
                        a mark’d threshold
into artifice. A
journalist says some

unintelligible words, how
                        art’s meaning’s now
encumber’d by its
own post-participatory

forms of looking
                        at itself being
look’d at. Ordures
of looking. In

one city I
                        witness’d a man,
aerosol bomb egregious,
strafing the greenery

with 2,4-D. The
                        next morning I
found a long-
tail’d ichneumon fly

contracting wildly, peristaltic
                        in its throes,
deposed and undeposit’d.
Negativity unassuaged, I

intend’d to punch
                        the fuck bloody
for stupidity, for
the sheer bombast

of that tiny
                        tort and perish.
Tel quel vulgarity
of “the natural.”

Of course I
                        relent’d, bent down
to gingerly pitch
the fly up

into a tangle
                        of lilacs. Unspeakable
numbskull. The human
plinth is cruel.

Yah. Sort of mi ritrovai per una selva oscura, / ché la diritta via era smarrita there, no? I like how Beckett begins the lecture “Le Concentrisme”:
Vous êtes le premier à vous intéresser à cet imbécile. Voici tout ce que j’en sais: j’ai fait sa connaissance ou, plus exactement, il m’a imposé cette incommodité, la veille de sa mort, à Marseille. Il s’est cramponné à moi dans un sombre bistrot où, à cette époque, j’avais l’excellente habitude d’aller me soûler deux fois par semaine. « Vous avez l’air » me dit-il « suffisamment idiot pour m’inspirer une confiance extrême. Enfin » poursuivit-il—(je ne change rien à ses logogriphes)—« enfin et pour la première fois je tombe sur un animal qui, si j’ose en croire mes yeux, est totalement et idéalement dépourvu d’intelligence, plongé dans une divine et parfaite nullité. »
You’re the first to notice the imbecile. Here’s all that I know about him: I got to know him, or more precisely, he imposed that inconvenience on me, the day before his death, in Marseille. He clamp’d himself to me in a dark bar where, at the time, I’d the excellent habit of going twice a week to get drunk. “You’ve got a look,” he told me. “sufficiently idiotic to inspire extreme confidence. At last,” he continued—(I’m not changing one word of the way he riddled)—“At last and for the first time I come across an animal who, if I dare believe my eyes, is completely and perfectly devoid of intelligence, plunged into a divine and perfect nullity.”
“Le Concentrisme” is Beckett’s prank, c. 1929 or 1930, inventing the French poet Jean de Chas, “né . . . un peu avant midi le 13 avril 1906” (Beckett’s own birthdate).
On 13 April 1927, he writes in a notebook: “Here I am come of age, and in spite of myself and in spite of everything,” and later: “These unmotivated miracles aren’t at all to my liking.” The notes of the day end up with a sentence crossed out so violently that the paper’s torn. I succeeded in reconstructing its second half. Here it is: “and one’s mother ought to be beaten while she is young.” The diary abounds in these strange interjections. He stops in the middle of trivial and private details to write, within parentheses and in all caps: “the elephants are contagious.” Another time it’s: “I came, I sat down, I left” or “the priests are always afraid” or “to employ one’s rope by hanging oneself” or “to throw to the demons only the angels.”
Bah. Enough idiotic niggling. Jean de Chas’s premier slogan of disgust, angst, ras-le-bolism: va t’embêter ailleurs. (I’d like to find a way of making “beastly” part of any translation of that.) (In Beckett’s version: “Feck off.”)

“Crap’d Out”