Book of the World Courant XXVII-XXVIII

Cour Marly 6-7-13.BWC



Sous le pont de Bercy

Un philosophe assis

Deux musiciens quelques badauds

Puis les gens par milliers

Sous le ciel de Paris

Jusqu’au soir vont chanter

Hum Hum

L’hymne d’un peuple pris

De sa vieille cité…

Chantait La Môme, et autres.

Il était une fois.


Enewetak, mon amour.

And Ivy Mike and Ike.


Is this, uh, love, or just contusion?


I would have gone further, but there wasn’t any need.


Suicide: a concept which becomes the act.


No one knew the circumstance but they say that it happened pretty quick…


For several centuries the West, joined eventually by that strange non-West, the Russians, proceed with the operative, but rarely spoken assumption that if you scare the world shitless, it will become a more tractable landscape upon which to exercise your preeminence.

Ahem. Is that a throat caught in your bone?


“Passion is not friendly. It is arrogant, superbly contemptuous of all that is not itself, and, as the very definition implies the impulse to freedom, it has a mighty, intimidating power. It contains a challenge. It contains an unspeakable hope. It contains a comment on all human beings, and the comment is not flattering.”

Thinks Baldwin’s narrator in Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone.


A land without people for a people without land. So went the old pro-Israel slogan. But here, too it resounds, generations after our biological and politico-military massacres, across our great plains and in its hundred-million-dollar Manhattan condopotheosis. How to fill up a place to its eyeballs, yet render it void?

A: Create yourself as non-people and enforce it on others.


We the what?


In his fourth novel, Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone (1968), Baldwin writes a scene in which a group of black and white friends, a mix of theater folk and laborers, enter Lucy’s Place, a bar and dance club in the “colored side” of a town in upstate New York. The narrator, who is black, and holding hands with a white woman, describes the reactions in the room: some of the women looking at him with “terrible contempt” and some of the men with “cool, speculative, lewd contempt,” as though he were a “lucky fool.”

“I was hurt for Madeleine, and bewildered…but I was hurt for them too. It seemed to me that their swift estimate of Madeleine revealed their estimate of themselves, and this revealed estimate frightened me as being, perhaps, after all, at bottom, my own. But – they saw what they saw. They saw themselves as others had seen them. They had been formed by the images made of them by those who had had the deepest necessity to despise them. The bitterly contemptuous uses to which they had been put by others was the beginning of their history, the key to their lives, and the very cornerstone of their identities: exactly like those who had first maligned them, they saw what their history had taught them to see. I did not know then, and do not know now if one ever sees more than that. If one ever does, it can only be because one has learned to read one’s history and resolved to step out of the book.”

Step out of the book, Jimmy, at the same time as you keep writing it?


Manichean pedicure.


A young fellow rolls onto the subway car disguised as a double bass.


The image finally coalesces: those countless people gazing at their smart phones recall no one so much as Narcissus. And when they stir the “water” with their fingers, it is though they yearn in an obscure way for the reflection, when it smoothes again, to show them something – anything – besides themselves.


What is the nature of imprisonment?


Attack of the fifty-foot self.


The “true mercury” extracted from cinnabar is the true yin-qi associated with Fire and the heart and liver. It is the true yin-essence of the heart. It is also the conscious, discerning mind. The “true lead” extracted from the unprocessed lead ore is associated with Water, the lungs and the kidneys. It is the true yang-qi of the kidneys. It is also true, intuitive knowledge or wisdom. When mercury and lead come together [in the “copulation” or “marriage” of the dragon and tiger], when the true essence and qi unite (the unconscious mind and the intuitive wisdom unite) through the refining process of meditation, then the body is regenerated, the Three Treasures [Jing, Qi-breath and Shen] unite and comingle and consciousness is unified.

Writes Tom Bisio in Decoding the Dao.


My contempt is a shield I use against an alienation so profound it could, in an instant, utterly engulf me.


Ah, here comes Pokey astride Gumby: the world turned upside-down!


Turn, turn again, Finnigan!


Is this ♥, or just Confucian?


People: real enough. We’re dangerous in a concrete way.

The People. Whoa. Now you’re going into the minefield.


Around the seventh century B.C., the conduct of war in Greece underwent profound changes: gone were the days of skirmishes and ambushes, the one-on-one confrontations between enraged heroes of the sort Homer sang about. A new structure was put into place – the phalanx – according to which two bodies of heavily armed and cuirassed hoplites, arranged in lines one behind the other and marching in step to the rhythm of the fife, advanced in tight formation, with no possibility of fleeing. This face-to-face could lead only to a massive and destructive clash, for the sole effort of these men on each side was the “thrust” (ōthismos); the first ranks, which directly sustained the enemy’s charge, were supported by the accumulated pressure of the ranks behind them. Indeed, the deeper the column and the tighter its ranks, the better it weighed on the enemy and the more striking its power and momentum…

”The Greeks thought,” Polybius explains, “that it was only hand-to-hand battle at close quarters which was truly decisive [and thereby reduced the ravages of a protracted war in an all-or-nothing pitched battle so as to obtain the quickest and least equivocal decision possible]…

Taken to such an extreme, Greek military strategy offers a sharp contrast with Chinese military strategy: the Greeks would have resolutely ignored the infinite expedients of oblique confrontation [and distained the dilatory operations in which dodging and harassing were alternately used to tire the enemy out], relying instead on the violent clash of a victorious or fatal encounter. On the one side we have mass weight, on the other the strategy of detour: physical pressure is opposed to the art of thwarting. The Greek model of war [Victor Davis] Hanson [Le modèle occidental de la guerre, trans. Alain Billaut (Paris: Belles Lettres, 1990)] explains, did not die with the Greeks. The Americans, who in Vietnam, were put in the impossible position of engaging in a confrontation of this type, “were the most recent prisoners of this ancient heritage.”

Writes Jullien in Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece.


Refuge and prospect.

Prospect and refuge:

The cat on the catamount.

The child on the mother’s hip.


The cat on the mother’s hip.

The child on the catamount.


A bibliography:

            Tell Me How Long the Train’s Been Gone by James Baldwin. New York: Vintage, 1968.

            Detour and Access: Strategies of Meaning in China and Greece by François Jullien, translated by Sophie Hawkes. New York: Zone Books, 2000.


Song of yourself: the remix.


Mel Brooks Gibson.


Texting Matilda, texting Matilda…


For this G*d gave us opposable thumbs?









…Understand the images and forget the words – the idea is clear of itself.

The whole world delusively clings to the images…

            Said Zhang Bo Duan a cool thousand years ago in Wuzhen Pi, Awakening to Reality.


That which is not exhausted is always potentiating.


If you open your pores, you’ll feel spring, already on the way.


Your bicycle wants to ride – all by itself. The trick is jumping on.


1968: the whole world watching. Hardly a soul listening.


New York can crush the spirit, but it is not about crushing the spirit.


Covering, uncovering, closing and opening: this is the nature of gates.


Is this love, or just Fallujah?


Sky 1-13-14.BWC




Time… and what happens.


Riding the inner centaur.


James Joyce, Shmames Joyce!


State of the conversation: half of which concerns the rare sensitivity of our emotions and deep compassion for others. The other half rationalizes why we have to raise someone’s rent to maintain our profit margin.


Paleo, Shmaleo.


Deciding what we “like” and “don’t like” is not a discourse.


When, if ever, does I’m your nigger mean: I am your brother, lover, friend?

When does it mean: “I’ve got your back”?


Like a plate over troubled boilers,

I will lay me down…


These days when folks ask me what they do, I tell them: I’m a plagiarist.


Have you noticed, of late, that people don’t converse so much as chatter hysterically at one another?


And where do you teach?

At the Nude School for So-called Research.

Ah, come again? Indeed.


The Yin Bank for Savings.

The Yang Fund for Flying-High Futures, LLC


Yang/Yank: what a difference an “h,” “i,” and “j” make.


France: back door to the Orient.


Meaning tends toward non-meaning. Non-meaning toward meaning. Systems of meaning are conditional. States of non-meaning are transitional. Purity of either, absolutes of either, are, if not impossible, at least unexperiencable. Thusfar. As has been reported.


I wish I was in Carrickfergus, only for nights in Ballygrand.

I would swim over the deepest ocean, the deepest ocean for my love to find,

But the sea is wide and I cannot swim over and neither have I wings to fly.

If I could find me a handsome boatman to ferry me over to my love and die.


My childhood days bring back sad reflections of happy times I spent so long ago.

My boyhood friends and my own relations have all passed on now like melting snow,

But I’ll spend my days in endless roaming; soft is the grass, my bed is free.

Ah, to be back in Carrickfergus on that long road down to the salty sea!


And in Kilkenny it is reported there are marble stones as black as ink.

With gold and silver I would support her, but I’ll sing no more now till I get a drink.

I’m drunk today and I’m seldom sober, a handsome rover from town to town.

Ah, but I’m sick now, my days are numbered, so come all ye young men and lay me down.


Though named for a town in County Antrim, in present-day Northern Ireland, and likely of eighteenth century origin (presumably written by the poet Cathal Buí Mac Giolla Ghunna of County Clare) the song “Carrickfergus” first appears in printed (and macaronic) form on a ballad sheet published in Cork City in the mid-nineteenth century.

But I’ll say no more, till I get a drink…


“Like the farmer said to the sweet potato, ‘I’ll plant you now and dig you later.’”

Says Caleb in Tell Me…


The summer had inhaled

And held its breath too long.

The winter looked the same,

As if it had never gone,

And through an open window,

Where no curtain hung,

I saw you, I saw you,

Coming back to me.

Sang Marty Balin once in the day.


It’s [just] fear.


You are overtaken by, and brought low, by a bout of RLS: Rich Life Syndrome.


What is the relationship between meaning and material?


The slow, almost glacial retreat of meaning itself culminating in a kind of tundra.


Consummate, or merely consumed?


Can one overemphasize the production of meaning to the point where material structures dissolve?

Are we soup yet?


Meaning is not a derivative.


The river beneath the river.


Commodities don’t come pre-fetishized.


The past is prolapse.


Is there a cowboy poet lariat?


Walking as an extension of breathing.


The laconic macaronic.


“There’s opportunity,” the young telecom woman at the table to your right advises her slightly younger breakfast companion, “to replicate yourself.”

The companion’s response along with the rest of the conversation goes unheard.


Who holds a monopoly on good or bad ideas?

And how to tell them apart in the cradle?


And in Kilkenny, it is reported…


She stoops to concur.


Imperial West to all the rest: Forgive us our trance actions.

Will there ever be a settling of accounts, or just all those homing chickens?


So we served the bones to Henry Jones, ‘cause he don’t eat no meat.


A bisexual built for two.


Is tool really the word you were looking for?


Same but different day. Same but different shit.


What makes Gerry maunder?

Holocene denial.


Gwen Kehrig-Darton. Passage 1. (2013). Oil on wood. 8.25” x 11.75”.
Gwen Kehrig-Darton. Passage 1. (2013). Oil on wood. 8.25” x 11.75”.