This piece is about 4 printed pages long.
It is copyright © Louis Armand and Jacket magazine 2007.
down the slimy rope into the impossible (j.s. harry)
1. INTROIT AND KYRIE
Whatever the hour was has been erased
but the glue-faces and diesel-eyes remain and divination would be
possible, but none is indicated. A thin
thread of light, hardened and cracked,
immersed in the scenario itself:
items and gestures crowd around in
dull, under-contrasted colours
each steadily evaporating
autumn, doused with petrol in a rooming house
in nowheresville. Mounds of yellow and red leaves
composting and surreally combusting. Try to
imagine a region that, always remote, has become
inaccessible, far off in a child’s nightmare
of repetition and entrapment. A figure in a box
in a white mask asking what you want to know,
why you want to listen, fixed in the centre of a
paralytic doubtfulness. the inner film had stuck:
finely sifted static falling on devotional
painted plaster objects — the frame assumes
a deliberate position, squared-off against
its own reflection. “Shadows of a denied inner self
burning up the outer life,” where each image
betrays and seeks redemption. Voices from late-
night TV news still find ways of haunting you —
replaying the denial moratorium (a note on the
classification of public documents, place-names:
taranaki, tadje, marcoo) ... Strange horrific shapes
eyeless, encircled by hostility, dig under the current
to an inner island — night burials of thirty or
forty thousand years ago. With inhuman patience
they are shovelling the remains into plastic bags.
as to the purpose what can be said? plugged into a
soundtrack that only hurts. dreamed of far-off future life
among the glaciers of mars colony, spaceships junked
on welfare stamps and dirty money. fleshless video drones
burn-out the pickup connections in supernatural faze,
while glowboys in pornographic radiation stunts, fire-off
mushroom-headed dildos on the big cinesound screen.
the patriotic theme song goes out from station to station
hunting the geiger counter where history ends
4. AGNUS DEI
the details have been
or were filtered and buried. burning the mind’s internal
passport — siberia was never
as far as it seemed
in 1950s cold war jazz, lulled
by sales pitch of jell-o box treason trial
and latter-day pacific ocean quietism ... in this place, no one
ever leaves. knowing it
we had always failed in our politics.
5. LIBERA ME
the long childhood is ended. a ‘68 kingswood
cruising the 9th ward: wallpaper with
flightless birds in a recession of identikit jungle gyms,
pinups of jane fonda in Hanoi, thorazine and
deadeyed photostats of whoever we had been.
Spending the last nights of czechoslovakia in a
distance under rain: it was year zero of the universal
machine, ground to a halt on the wrong side of the tracks.
we learnt to replant the killing fields —
tending roots under newsprint.
care was: finding the difference between two
equivalent things and the one unthinkable fact
6. IN PARADISUM
psychic energies wear out the physical disguise ...
Santa Restituta! To be consumed and survive,
to become the one true monomyth, immaculate
as primetime realism. or the world was never
more than it appeared to be — a hand in the dark
switching the lines:
The razzle-dazzle cortège groping its way
through midnight burial sites, floodlights and
paradiso chorus line ... a routine
settling of accounts
so practiced that you
may not notice how the dead return,
blackening the stage scenery.
Louis Armand lives and works in Prague where he directs the Intercultural Studies programme in the Philosophy Faculty of Charles University. His recent books include Malice in Underland (2003), Strange Attractors (2003) and Menudo (2006). www.louis-armand.com , http://litteraria.ff.cuni.cz/books/armand.html
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