“A Sharpshooter's Last Sleep,” photograph’d by Alexander Gardner, at Gettysburg, Pa. in the “Devil’s Den,” July 1863~
SMUTCH CITY BREAKDOWN
Some kind of unclad skank
fortifying going down in th’air
today, whiffs of the brutal
cafeteria, John Marzetti leftovers, that
and exhaust squirt, and blood
cakes. “The only thing we
knew for sure about Henry
Porter is that ’s name
wasn't Henry Porter.” Oh, don’t
start that again, lost somewhere
in the Commandrine lunch bucket,
Podunk sharpshooter in one hand.
There I could never be
a boy cut of whole cloth
mental voltage, “logical, for use,”
I have wasted my life.
The book to the floor, that was the first heave.
Wyndham Lewis, “Ezra Pound” (1939), Tate Gallery, LondonFossicking the Pound’s Guide to Kulchur (E.P. in groan and sepulchre didst give me that word “fossick,” I like to think it means digging oneself into a big hole):
Certain colours exist in nature though great painters have striven vainly, and though the colour film is not yet perfected. Truth is not untrue’d by reason of our failing to fix it on paper. Certain objects are communicable to a man or woman only “with proper lighting”, they are perceptible in our own minds only with proper “lighting”, fitfully and by instants.Next which somebody’s writ near imperceptibly, in pencil—“Asshole time.” Though under the smutch of my gaze I see it more properly says—“Absolute truth.”
Indefatigable Paul Valéry says: “I do not know whence I derive this very lively sense of the arbitrary. Have I always had it, or have I acquired it?” Or in the year of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus he addresses th’Académic Française (on th’occasion of ’s “ascension”), only to compare “those writers who relieve us of the burden of thought and who dextrously weave a luminous veil over the complexity of things . . .” against those “others, whose existence must be deplored, who have elected to strike out in the opposite direction. They have placed toil of the mind in the way of its pleasures. They offer us riddles. Such creatures are inhuman.”
The head against the wall, that was the second heave.