Repetition is horrible. Poor Lazarus cannot have known
he was an
but who can doubt he realized, soon after being ripped out of his
warm little bed in the ground,
his own epoch of repetition just beginning.
Lazarus Take 2!
As a bit of salt falls back down the funnel. Or maybe my pity
is misplaced. Some people think Lazarus lucky,
like Samuel Beckett who calls him ‘Happy Larry’ or Rilke
who speaks of
that moment in a game
when ‘the pure too-little flips over into the empty too-much.’— Anne Carson, from “TV Men: Lazarus”
I take back what you have stolen,
and in your languages I announce
I am now nameless.
My true name is a growl.— Margaret Atwood, from “The Animals Reject Their Names and Things Return to Their Origins”
I hate how this unsummoned sigh-sound, sob-sound,
not sound really, feeling, sigh-feeling, sob-feeling,
keeps rising in me, rasping in me, not in its old disguise
as nostalgia, sweet crazed call of the blackbird;
not as remembrance, grief for so many gone,
nor either that other tangle of recall, regret
for unredeemed wrongs, errors, omissions,
petrified roots too deep to ever excise;
a mingling rather, a melding, inextricable mesh
of delight in astonishing being, of being in being,
with a fear of and fear for I can barely think what,
not non-existence, of self, loved ones, love;
not even war, fuck war, sighing for war,
sobbing for war, for no war, peace, surcease;
more than all that, some ground-sound, ground-note,
sown in us now, that swells in us, all of us,
echo of love we had, have, for world, for our world,
on which we seem finally mere swarm, mere deluge,
mere matter self-altered to tumult, to noise,
cacophonous blitz of destruction, despoilment,
din from which every emotion henceforth emerges,
and into which falters, slides, sinks, and subsides:
sigh-sound of lament, of remorse; sob-sound of rue,
of, still, always, ever sadder and sadder sad joy.— C.K. Williams, “I Hate”
I, lying on grass, lie
in the thunderclapping moment,
in the green limit.
Stone in the fruitwomb,
world under grass,
alone under alone.
Suggested lines my body
consume, in the day’s graph.
Note the brown ant
in his blade jungle.
I am my pupil’s blank, rule
out of magnitude the ant,
decrease the seed’s activity
this blunt minute.
Below the transparent fly
insect equation quite strides
the slim glass of word,
instructs the void.
Exterior tricks: the click
of bush; the oblong trade
of noise; the posture of these
high boughs.— Harold Pinter, “Hampstead Heath”
And is it not strange most strange that one says of a thing that it is full, when it is not full at all, but not of a thing that it is empty, if it is not empty? And perhaps the reason for that is this, that when one fills, one seldom fills quite full, for that would not be convenient, whereas when one empties one empties completely, holding the vessel upside down, and rinsing it out with boiling water if necessary, with a kind of fury.— Samuel Beckett, Watt
The chemist turned back page after page. Sandy shrivelled smell he seems to have. Shrunken skull. And old. Quest for the philosopher’s stone. The alchemists. Drugs age you after mental excitement. Lethargy then. Why? Reaction. A lifetime in a night. Gradually changes your character. Living all the day among herbs, ointments, disinfectants.— James Joyce, Ulysses
Gloomy grammarians in golden gowns,
Meekly you keep the mortal rendezvous,
Eliciting the still sustaining pomps
Of speech which are like music so profound
They seem an exaltation without sound.
Funest philosophers and ponderers,
Their evocations are the speech of clouds.
So speech of your processionals returns
In the casual evocations of your tread
Across the stale, mysterious seasons. These
Are the music of meet resignation; these
The responsive, still sustaining pomps for you
To magnify, if in that drifting waste
You are to be accompanied by more
Than mute bare splendors of the sun and moon.— Wallace Stevens, “On the Manner of Addressing Clouds”
The riders rode on. They crossed a vast dry lake with rows of dead volcanoes ranged beyond it like the works of enormous insects. To the south lay broken shapes of scoria in a lava bed as far as the eye could see. Under the hooves of the horses the alabaster sand shaped itself in whorls strangely symmetric like iron filings in a field and these shapes flared and drew back again, resonating upon that harmonic ground and then turning the swirl away over the playa. As if the very sediment of things contained yet some residue of sentience. As if in the transit of those riders were a thing so profoundly terrible as to register even to the uttermost granulation of reality.— Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian