Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Some brusque random fidelios out of Viktor Shklovsky’s Zoo, haphazard, retrograde, and toxic:
I might swim up to one of those suckers and say: “Dear comrade, please suck out of me the 20,000 devils of love which are ensconced in my soul.”

Frank Chance, Cubs baseball player, standing with a person dressed in a devil's costume on the field of the West Side baseball grounds (ca. 1907)
I’m very sentimental . . . That’s because I take life seriously. Maybe the whole world is sentimental—that world whose address I know. It doesn’t dance the foxtrot.

Pie eating contest during a field day held by the 87th Regiment of the Tenth Mountain Division, on July 4, 1945, near Caporreto, Italy.
Words, and the relationships between words, thought and the irony of thought, their divergence—these are the content of art. Art, if it can be compared to a window at all, is only a sketched window.


My hands are freezing.
And some bodice-ripping out of Alexander Kluge’s The Devil’s Blind Spot:

In the wastes of the cosmos the little dog Laika, a stray Moscow mongrel bitch of great robustness, circled the globe for a time.


It was one of Walter Benjamin’s characteristics . . . that he would abandon himself totally to a source, an idea, and always with complete partiality. He had the disposition of a bat. It doesn’t hear the sounds it itself is emitting, but the echo of these sounds, which the wall throws back.

She-devils of the Kabbalists: “Lilith is said to have at her command more than 480 troops of evil spirits, Mashkith more than 478. Less frequently mentioned is Iggareth.” Nobody knows the name and character of the fourth, the hidden one.

The Dance on Dun-Can, out of a print by Thomas Rowlandson, 1786.
Boswell: “Though we had passed over not less than four & twenty Miles of very rugged Ground & had a Highland Dance on the top of DUN-CAN, the Highest Mountain in the Island, we returned in the Evening not at all fatigued.”
In Henry Hitchings’s Dr. Johnson’s Dictionary is noted that Johnson, a diffident etymologist, “states that ‘curmudgeon’ is a corruption of the French coeur méchant, on the strength of a letter from ‘an unknown correspondent’—a statement which caused a later lexicographer, John Ash, to claim the word came from coeur (‘unknown’) and méchant (‘correspondent’).

And: Johnson’s somewhat addle’d etymology of ‘spider’: ‘May not spider be spy dor, the insect that watches the dor?’


Johnson’s maladies: trouble with eyes, trouble with lungs, insomnia, asthma, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, dropsy, emphysema, one fainting fit, malignant tumour (left testicle), profound melancholy periodically surging toward madness, flatulence.

Johnson’s remedies: opium, oil of terebinth, valerian, ipecacuanha, dried orange peel in hot red port, salts of hartshorn, musk, dried squills, Spanish fly, frequent ‘bleeding,’ work.



In hummock, penetrable, anomie
The dart angles its
Shiv. It may be
Fate or noun, or
Rhythm pleural on loquat.

Grey-wolf, Indian policeman, Crow Indian Reservation, near Pryor, Montana
                                    . . . their story written left,
They die; but in their room, as they forewarn,
Wolves shall succeed for teachers grievous Wolves,
Who all the sacred mysteries of Heav’n
To their own vile advantages shall turn
Of lucre and ambition, and the truth
With superstitions and traditions taint,
Left only in those written Records pure . . .