A Memory of Fish
Ever since I was a child, it has been my tendency to create around me a fictitious world, to create and surround myself with friends & acquaintances that never existed. My pockets were always filled with odds and ends, gathering everything I could find when I went out for a walk: rusty nails, old rags, a toothbrush without bristles, cigar butts, a spoke of a bicycle wheel, a broken umbrella. In short, anything that had been discarded as useless. And I think I was thoroughly conscious of this at the time and of a desire to effect a purgation in myself. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. When I became a man, I put away childish things. As I aged increasingly, I also grew more charitable with regard to my thoughts and ideas, thinking them at least as good as the next man’s. To reach the impossibility of sufficient memory, to transfer from one like object to another the memory imprint—same possibility with sounds; with brain facts. Establish a society in which the individual has to pay for the air he breathes (air meters, imprisonment and rarefied air, in case of non-payment, simple asphyxiation if necessary, cut off the air). The question is not: Shall we try to keep up the arts?—but: How can we maintain the arts most efficiently? Let us acknowledge that our art, like the art of dancing in armour, is out of date and out of fashion. What I liked were: gangster movies, dorm posters, VH1 specials, action figures, billboards, Day-Glo prints, John Middleton Murray & Herbert Read & George Saintsbury, The Sayings of the Desert Fathers, gay erotica full of comma-splices, the kind of novels our teenage selves read, Disney classics, pop-up animal books, the operas of Offenbach, Katy Perry songs, the naïve rhythms of Cracker Barrel Old Country Store and Restaurant. Art must turn against itself, in opposition to its own concept, and thus become uncertain of itself right into its innermost fiber. Art can be understood only by its laws of movement, not according to any set of invariants. Art acquires its specificity by separating from itself from what it developed out of; its law of movement is its law of form. Dinner music is not inescapable. The element of self-alienness that occurs under the constraint of the material is indeed the seal of what was meant by “genius.” Those who produce important artworks are not demigods but fallible, often neurotic and damaged, individuals. It is plain that the healing of illness, the lease renewed, the memoirs, the costs are the items of modern life, and this reference is secured not merely by the naming of objects, but by their conjunction, the work of the poet’s language. But much more is involved (cf. the boiling tears among the hothouse plants, the rigid promise fractured in the garden, and the long aunts). Ever since I was a child, it has been my tendency to create around me a fictitious world, to create and surround myself with friends & acquaintances that never existed. My pockets were always filled with odds and ends, gathering everything I could find when I went out for a walk: rusty nails, old rags, a toothbrush without bristles, cigar butts, a spoke of a bicycle wheel, a broken… etc.