Saturday, October 22, 2005


Out of Campi Phlegrae, by William Hamilton
Sontag notes (The Volcano Lover) “. . . the hyperactivity of the heroic depressive. He ferried himself past one vortex of melancholy after another by means of an astonishing spread of enthusiasms.”

“. . . the collector is a dissembler, someone whose joys are never unalloyed with anxiety. Because there is always more.”

“A . . . collection is a material concentrate that continually stimulates, that overexcites. Not only because it can always be added to, but because it is already too much. The collector’s need is precisely for excess, for surfeit, for profusion.”

“. . . monkeys, even more than people, are social animals. One monkey can’t express a monkey’s nature. A single monkey is an exile—and fits of depression sharpen his innate cleverness. A single monkey is good at parodying the human.”

Out of Campi Phlegrae, by William Hamilton
“. . . the volcano, Vesuvius was once a young man, who saw a nymph lovely as a diamond. She scratched his heart and his soul, he could think of nothing else. Breathing more and more heatedly, he lunged at her. The nymph, scorched by his attentions, jumped into the sea and became the island today called Capri. Seeing this, Vesuvius went mad. He loomed, his sighs of fire spread, little by little he became a mountain. And now, as immobilized as his beloved, forever beyond his reach, he continues to throw fire . . . Capri lies in the water, in full view of Vesuvius, and the mountain burns and burns and burns . . .”

“As sound decays into inaudibility, euphoria decays into indifference, and that is always unexpected, the way exalted feelings are weakened, undone by time.”

“. . . spoke, jubilantly, gratingly, of a future . . .”

“. . . little protuberances of old angers and longings . . . You think of what you have done, done with brio—great slabs of actions . . .
        “Surfeited, his appetite for surfeit . . .”

Bernadette Mayer (Scarlet Tanager):
what it means to be human
i can walk around with a hole in my brain
(avec cavum dans ma cervello)
on simplicity
scarification seems more like
crenellation than heron
is like guest
And isn’t there one here that calls a poem an amuse-bouche? Not in the one with the line “i kept thinking teletubbies was a demanding french form”? No.

My sister J. repeat’d how—during a southerly haul through Morocco, driving some unnamed “blacktop diminishing” in an attempt to find the beginnings of the Sahara—how kids, apparently desert-dwellers, though there’d be no sign of habitation, would come trickling up to the car whenever they stopped, asking invariably for stylo, bonbons, argent (pen, candy, money), always in that order.