Thursday, October 26, 2006


A Signal

My critical lingo’s abaft (with the life-preservers) and there’s a whiteout upstairs. How many nights I spend pawing books, my slender fingers, my solicitors. Edward Dahlberg says: “One day I assisted the frail Lawrence across                               the street

to the hotel where he was staying, and I thought there was nobody inside his clothes.” David Herbert Lawrence. Henry David Thoreau. (Of the latter, Dahlberg claims he “did not even like the sex habits of cabbages.”) Consider                                       Rexroth,

who says he hitchhiked to Taos, New Mexico (financing the jaunt by pitching—medicine show shill style—copies of “a Little Blue Book on diet” he’d snapped up in Chicago for two cents a copy to hawk elsewhere for a quarter). Taos he                               found “under

the bitter cloud of the presence of D. H. Lawrence.” At the high-dudgeon high-priestess Mabel Luhan Dodge’s: “I went to a couple of parties at Mabel’s where everybody shuffled around full of sugar moon while tame Indians hammered on                               tom-toms—

a weary orgy of skinny or overweight millionairesses, hitchhiking hobohemians, disordered anthropologists, lady imagists from the Middle West, and a select number of very mercenary Indians. During these brawls the Master                               periodically stormed out

of the room in white-faced, red-whiskered rage whenever anybody used a dirty word.” (Of what little Lawrence I forced myself to read: works shallow and clumsy, one suffers the feeling of being drubbed by words used as the blunt                               instruments of

another’s desires. I can think of no one I’d rather avoid reading except, perchance, Theodore Dreiser.) (My critical lingo’s abaft, I repeat “sternly.”) Interrupt’d by the pleasures of driving a wide car into a cold sun, its daily freight. A                               spasm of

Hejinian: “Sentence by sentence, all these exertions (looping, jutting, and providing pleasure from numerous sources), these judgments and extensions, whose curves often repeat themselves, form a whole which, despite momentary                               pauses,

is unbroken by the angles, shadows, and impeding particles included.” A whole,
yes, a grammatical
                                            whole (not a “whole”).

D. H. Lawrence and Lyn Hejinian