A HYBRID NOTEBOOK OF POETICS AND PORNOGRAPHIES

Pornography Disclaimer

This is a an imaginary diary of facts, confessions, or messages. This is a notebook of working but broken ideas, lines, images, notes on books I'm reading, writers I admire, and brief fantasies of language. Here unfiltered  all mannerings pseudo-private, publicized, ur-. Here I am art and unrevealed: poetic, political and pop. These are my moonlit rough beginnings and should not be taken literally, directly, truthfully, reliably, and none of it is legally binding. These lies are all choreographed, but only haphazardly. Beware.

2.7.13

A SHORT STACK: THE GREATEST OF SARCASMS

Here's a list of novels I think belong together:

And they're all related somehow to Kafka's The Trial, or better yet, The Castle:

And from there, to Jean Cocteau's Les Enfants Terrible, or The White Book:

The Color of Summer, by Reinaldo Arenas
The Invention of Morel, by Adolfo Bioy Casares
Pubis Angelical, by Manuel Puig
Our Lady of Flowers, by Jean Genet
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the Edge of the World, by Haruki Murakami

I'm always wondering where are the women on this short list? I'd include of course something by the great Kathy Acker, My Mother: Demonology, or Pussy King of the Pirates.

Perhaps something by Jeannette Winterson, HD's novels, or Cixous'. . .

In any case, my little stack is for the beautiful nightmare, phantasmagoria and peregrination. The tragicomic novel in which characters parade grotesquely in the face of absurdity.

My most recent addition to the list is Edith Grossman's latest translation (Yale U Press):

The Ingenious Gentleman and Poet Federico García Lorca Ascends to Hell, by Carlos Rojas. In it, the famous poet, assassinated by Franco, shot in the back with two bullfighters and a school teacher and buried in an unmarked grave, details his confinement in Hell, a rising spiral of theater rooms, each dead man to his own, alone, to view onstage the scenes of his own life:

"Eternity was the greatest of sarcasms, an illogicality more absurd than perishable life. In this untransferable theater before his trial, he was nothing but a spectator of his past in an endless succession of shades condemned to the same wakefulness."

Death is an eternal wakefulness, and Lorca meets the living version of himself, an old man who refuses the Nobel Prize, and teaches on faculty in Ohio, if only he had fled Granada and not returned. His last day alive plays on the theater, and we witness his telling interpretation of events. "I wanted to write a dream" Rojas writes, and he has. This short, 200 page novel is a dream like a sonata is a dream. In my dream the other night, it was sunlight, and his hand was combing my hair, and he called it The Treehouse Sonata, his favorite. I was mesmerized, and woke up as if it were a memory and not a dream. I hope it's waiting for me in some theater where I can go back again. I hope the feeling of being asleep feels like the marigold.

Lorca was murdered when he was 38. Mendelssohn died at 38. The same age I am now. The number is a strange condemnation, and a consolation, a capacity: "The real injustice is the destiny of men like me, born to be someone and doomed to be no one." Oh Rojas, oh Lorca, oh Alchemy.

Steal it if you can!

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I've got one foot in the grave and the other's in my mouth.

Poetry Disclaimer

My work has been awarded the Katherine C. Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, a Swarthout Award, and has twice been nominated and shortlisted for the Pushcart Prize. My first book, A Book Called Rats, was selected for the Blue Lynx Prize for Poetry (Eastern Washington University Press 2007). I'm curating editor for the online journal of poetry: PISTOLA and my poems and reviews most recently appear in Massachusetts Review, Beloit, Ploughshares and RAIN TAXI. I currently teach writing and literature at Santa Monica College in southern California.