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“The tale speaks for itself, of our exodus. Origin is late (earlier in compounds) and rumoured uncertain” – Richard Makin, WORK (Chapter XXIX)

As Iain Sinclair has observed, Makin’s “writing is that it is. This is prose you must learn to experience before you begin to interpret […] the pages in their beautiful and delirious abstraction are ordered poetry.”

Richard Makin’s Work continues the “work” of Mourning by taking stock of “the minutiae of the view, the dissenting details,” and dealing with the processes of passing, disappearance, & death. As David Vichnar has observed (see here), Makin’s is writing born out of “the obsession of the I that wants to die without ceasing to be I.” In the excerpt published below, one finds the similar pressing, disconcerting and richly bewildering tone that fills the pages of Mourning, and also something more.

Work is forthcoming with Equus Press in early 2020.

XXIX

The fantasy-prone personality: implications for understanding imagery, hypnosis and parapsychological phenomena

There are no warnings for this document: a sunken image glowing beneath the floodwaters, flesh in hand.
Place: Ekaterininsky Canal (a small ditch with collapsing banks). She says there is no such place.
Origin is a procession or pilgrimage, especially one with no purpose.

Among a series of photographs in the album is a black and white image of a woman in a fine dress for the wedding, turning from camera. In the background, uniformed men on horseback gallop past. The arresting point is the sharpness of the bride’s image, in contrast to the blurred cavalry speeding left to right across our field of vision.

A figure stands before the white house at the crest, bare-chested beside a pyramid with rooks. He traces a word on the ground with his index, blue-black spittle and pigment. I’m founded upon my frailty, whereas he exists at the margin of everything, and no doubt always sits where he belongs (viz. loss of control of movement).
Evergreen herbs with needles and conelike clusters of small leaves — strobili — each with a kidney-shaped spore capsule at its base. A bye is needed, unvoiced prayer. Plastic tubes of ink replace the veinous system; some didn’t talk to each other for years. Origin is used for idolatrous worship, including human sacrifice and burning alive the refused.

Listen, guess the detective theme — you won’t be permitted to see me again for some time. He shuffles to another room of the compound. Their views on the same point diverge: it is graven upon the table of your heart et cetera.

A dram (no).
A big lie (yes).
The big sleep (perhaps).
To render watertight by pressing matter into the gaps (caulkhead).

Assassin and giant water, a shortened form in lieu of a good story (of course, of course). After thirty-three years they’re giving up the ghost. Now reverse the psychology; he has a penchant for rare birds, the sounding out of letters, empty turbines, trunk line incurvation.

‘I remember you said once you say something you can never take it back.’
‘The sentence that snapped inside me was perhaps you’ll learn a lesson.’
Stoically, I maintain that I have. I have my own deportment; I have never been permanently collected. I have no permanent location. I manifested myself in sections, appearing at various locations between the numbers sixty-eight and seventy-one. Both writers acknowledge the same source and predict fallout patterns using idealized elliptical contours (see chapter VI).

She speaks, narrowing her hands together to form a gateway.
‘You have more words, I have more sounds.’

It’s significant that he placed the description of his prelude at the end rather than at the head. Origin is a pane of glass, the pole magnetic with elements.

That old problem again: the conditions of possibility, of any translation and its affects (emotion or desire as influencing behaviour). This is two hours of your life that you can no longer retrieve, so I shall not offer you a worthless guarantee. (Imagine longing for a place you’ve never been, a time you’ve never lived.) I know now how it happened: they arbitrarily looked at the field of battle, then the sheer cliff face, and thought, ‘Right’.

Consider a median line or plane of bilateral symmetry, especially that of the body. The abdomen was opened by midline incision. The next step is a new aspect of mustering the second portion of the date; if anything starts to clash, just let me know.
Dull, distant thuds reverberate throughout the compound. Early use referred to an enclosure for the detention of stray or trespassing cattle. Stumble around the yard until you discover your place, he says.

Victorian opera glasses, ten pounds (there are some mean spirits in this room). The first character is depicted entirely through howling and mirrors and smoke, whirling through the corridors of a sunken luxury liner. Origin was probably invented by Paracelsus.
His watery eyes almost match the colour of the dun-white sockets in which they are set. I
took note of his shrivelled complexion and thin black lips.

*

True, the passport had been replaced in the bag beside the sheet of grey foolscap, here enclosed. Someone should come for me. . . . This stuttering pace — she wants something more loquacious, less broke. The medial part of the spinal cord controls the medial parts of body.

Night refracted in a window pane. (Note to self: attempt to make story seem real.) After years of studio practice, it still feels liberating to be able to work just about anywhere. An abandoned canal in the republic connects the basin with a tributary.

Calyx, a cup like cavity or organ. A young worker in blue overalls spins round and round until he collapses on the floor; there’s a bruise either side of his ankle plumage. She, as if in competition, reveals the scars of self-harm on her thigh and forearm. It’s quite a contest. Spurts of growth in early adolescence have left weals across his back, as if he had once been flogged. His number is the number twelve, signifying the void outside of existence.
Displacement is everything — music for humans, ancestors and gods, Rimbaud the child. Noun is a line with a plumb attached. I am about to refer to a circular window, the central boss of a volute, an opening at the apex of a dome et cetera.

In composition, yellow — found in muscle tissue, the liver and other organs, even the victim’s urine. The poison leaves a lemony residue when evaporated, which summons my liking for the scent of my own perspiration.
I set about washing the face of the deceased; I cannot punctuate myself adequately today.

He climbs on board and quietly dies down, against the vanguard of those difficult years. Sallowness of the skin indicates the first step and a wrong turn: the jealous one, your innocent ear and so on.

I am assailed over and over again by the same thoughts. All the other pigments have disappeared (think goldfish). Our resolutions are more theatrical than personal. He’ll be left alone in the open to freeze if he misses the spot — out of grace and out of years — crouched beneath the embers of a stairwell, with chalk astronauts.

Various of the archives exclude participation: the codex of references, significance somehow tied up with being, a drug which fosters sleep. The tyrant is convinced because he alone knows that he made love to his wife’s corpse. He could move through solid material as if it were water and could sink into the earth (103).

Giant insects the size of zeppelins worrying at the air. Maybe you just struck out for the territory and don’t remember. And in there, at rest, lie the letters of your name.

More from numbers, the suspended track where we’re left behind with ourselves. He bound the twenty-two letters to his tongue. He harnessed them to the seven planets. The trouble begins once the ancient walls are pulled down; the ruins had the twisted posture of a wrought iron bridge. He speaks of the gland and suchlike.
He disembodies. A smell of molten plastic follows him around. His work chiefly depicts human figures in grotesquely distorted postures, set in confined interior spaces.

I hear footsteps. The inquisitor enters the room. I hide under the table; when he sees, I am not. He starts calling out. I receive a summons to leave at ten: heave down curses on my head et cetera.
The telegraph penetrates to the pelvic bone. The animal’s horn penetrated the abdomen to exit at the base of his spine.
‘Yes. Let me see if there is anything new.’
‘Anywhere.’
Where are you by the way. On one foot sits a stocking and on the other a shoe; in their own way they are quite unremarkable. There’s been another upset — doubtless the culprit is ‘She Who Afflicts’.

Dull wastage. Famous marshland. Fibrous cells containing ester burst through the skin. Figures are scratched into the walls of the cell and normal colouring is replaced. Do something.

*

Before he dies I make my peace with him, gazing into those glaucous eyes (eighteen years later this will have tragic consequences). Some words require explanation. I’m unable to muster an exchange with the adversary, so shall cease forthwith. It’s almost as if we were being pushed further and further way from a circle of knowledge.

‘The extremities of what?’
I think you’re right: there’s a good deal of stock hereabouts (e.g. the unexpected discovery that Hyde and Jekyll are the same person). Three men dead, and the woman went riding off in the rain without a mark on her.
Your were just meant to analyse the statements, not take any action; vagueness of language is a slippery thing. Make a list of all the scenes you can remember in the order they appeared. Go away and make yourself a map of the structure of the book.

*

Transverse City (how apt). He is bibliographer, an adept. Just realized how much I’m going to miss you — the neutral you. The consecrated host is displayed for veneration in an open or transparent receptacle. Be indulgent, in light of this, to those who can’t refuse.

He is asleep on his pallet. The unused pronouns float about the room, colliding with one another. (Oil doesn’t seep out for several days.) The coloured lights from the fairground opposite scutter across the ceiling; he runs his tongue over the firm, fleshy tissue that surrounds the base of his teeth. There is song in his head from his youth. An alkahest is the hypothetical universal solvent we seek. Origin is a dull grey-green covered with a powdery bloom like that of grapes.

Next, the somnolence, the role of improvisation. There will always be more. He pictures a stairwell of used books: esprit de l’escalier, latterwit. Back then folk lived under the yoke of an indifferent advent.

The scrap of cord beneath the tongue is snapped in a fall. Everything else slots into place. Something is released, the recognition of an error, the shift to a vanquished frame. Massacres of wretched people increased, souls were imperilled by the sins of envy and anger and swept away to hell in their thousands.

She says she is outward bound, due south to pilgrim on eighty a week. The tale speaks for itself, of our exodus. Origin is late (earlier in compounds) and rumoured uncertain. I remained in a state of profound distress for several decades.
Growing pains. Father’s hat of ash cast into the sea et cetera.

*

They are armed with scythes, pitchforks and fowling-pieces, and march beneath a white standard spangled with lilies and the device. She doesn’t suspect that she is overseen, floating within the shroud of a fourposter, the lambent body. A ball of lead is attached to the end of a line to find the depth of the water.
‘Thus, and dream not speaking far then at inmost. . . .’
The lateral part of the spinal cord controls the lateral parts of the body. Another name still in use translates as aftergoer, or the one who walks.

A rather nasty paper cut to the tongue — scar on last digit, upper knuckle. That will all disappear in time; they will all disappear. Other minor injuries he sustains — despite being alone for a some days — include a shattered tibia, an ingrowing hair, a lip, bitten into, and a fractured astragalus (a sloping mass of fragments at the foot of a cliff).

He made a covenant with himself and his seed forever. This was reckless. I can’t believe that someone dragged his corpse into the kitchen and just carried on as if nothing had happened.

He drew the letters in water. Their substance is almost pure but contains some slag in the form of filaments. Is there something wrong with him, so dictated as he is, so void of grace, so full of years? Origin is a hawking term, probably of unknown ultimate; the analogous recollection assumes a very similar shape.

*

‘And everything, proudly beginning, collapsed at the sight of its future.’
Tranquillizers such as chloral hydrate or a barbiturate sedative were administered. She dreams as follows: I am crawling about alone in the garden under moonlight, there comes a shadow with a gash where the heart should beat. There is a crossover from the opposite postilion.

Her work is found in several international publics. It’s been a while since anyone has wrongly assumed she is a professional.

Rolling back and memory accelerates: a stairwell of books, shoulder high — defiant, blind — a glory hole. That being which, for the sake of itself, is that it is.

‘Yes, exactly.’
Weightless in space to here. He is no more than an instrument containing a current and a shunt coil. When his howl died away, yours faded too. Well, this is it: tomorrow is the first. Anything is possible.

To return to the incident of the father and the son, their combined torque deflects the spine; they are a direct measure of the circuit (James). I want to copy my own music, declare everything declared, tidy myself off into a clearing house. He takes the earthenware jar and the bottle and the key and puts them back where he found them.
‘Hear I what of thee, remaining?’

Horizon: a smear of turquoise rimmed with gold. It changes over time, but my first impression is sound: tiny supernatural figures pounding corn — between the sticks, a promised hand, the wreckage. They wear scapular feathers about their necks, together with the insignia. The passing column carries freight at the rear window. They ate the horse. I signal: eddies of ash in the air, those twisted porcelain folk. (What metre?) I shall report back to earth when I am good and ready.

*

Every now and then I peer down to see if I might find. (I don’t particularly relish sticking my hand in there.) The customers are the reputed customers; they resemble leather from a distance. I took myself off to a more mythological investigation of the affair.
She resembles a diptych. Suddenly it clicks: she swings with wax innards on two hinged wooden leaves, which may be closed like a book and sealed. A glaucous gull is a type of seabird. Our hearsay is Yes. Origin is a demonstration or proof, the large perhaps drawn attention to earlier.

Whiff of paraffin in the gun carriage. The lower children, I see now, were saints, holed beneath the waterline.

Linger. Loiter. Dawdle. Procrastinate. . . . I told myself, I told myself. . . . I withheld myself. Under yellow fog the boxcar shunted onto a siding at the marshalling yard. There will be no promise, I told you earlier. Wagons clashed together, shuddering on impact. Back in those days we could only deliver the naked facts. There’s a lot of people getting into the right mode; I’ll have to start all over.

As a child I played with those wheel-shaped firelights. He is snared in a storm of excitements and dust. A corona of pelvic bones hung from the ceiling, ablaze with candle flame. He is slipping into the pit; our combined torque produces a deflection of the spine. He’s a direct measure of the circuit power, parted for love — and your loves are not. He has about him a sense of duty, the only practical unit of energy, writing being a rather portable art.

Go ahead, make that brilliant revision to the last word, before you forget. I would like to add that pulled pigs were savoured. My word order feels editorial.

*

Ascension pavement, a halo — her solarized head. The group amalgamates to one rigid stare. When I come home I expect a surprise and there is no surprise, so of course I’m surprised. The sharpened femur penetrates right up to the spleen. She has a genuine uniform, doctored with crosses of lilies, a tattered ribbon of medals. It’s hard to let her go; her system lacks reading. We are going to need.

What do I get. I want to work in absolute silence. Playing on through the barrier, a whole series is made manifest. The function of the coil is not apparent, nor its method of attachment to the internal suction of the implant; I always trust my mistakes, my needle.

I meet him in the street by chance and he says the work has no significance, which is the source of its beauty. There were only two bridges over the river in those days. One had subsidence; it is an easy language.

He neglects and is usurped, is a walking retreat. When he felt himself open to sleep, he slept. No times were fixed. He made a covenant between the ten fingers of his hands, and this is the tongue. He ignited the letters with fire.
Basically, I heal, then I get ill again. (Poison?) One winter afternoon, with snow falling and the roads covered with slush, we went into a bar near the crossroads. Taking a stool at the zinc counter, I gazed out of the window at the passing traffic and pedestrians. On the corner two cloaked figures were standing motionless, the shorter man hooded. Above all, it’s hard to locate a genuine fracture.
No, I don’t carry a picture of the scene in my head — all that happens, there are reasons, but I always remember a phrase (meagre musical resources, twenty-four fugitive oboes et cetera). Her body lay outside in the courtyard, where four plane trees demark a square, one at each corner. Once in a while the odd thing happens.
You evangelists, I say, this is a secular and impoverished substitute for memory.

The room he was given is completely white (matching the painted highlight in his iris). When it proves impractical, the invasion is abandoned. This is what’s called fighting for time, being genetically dispossessed.

Quiet breathing, breathing without voicing, uses the diaphragm and is controlled by the vagus nerve. I don’t believe anything that happens; the first postilion never returned to his post.

My own awaiting hangs fire for me. (You said that.) The council won’t help you. I don’t understand where all the glitter has descended from, the tickertape. Those birds are martlets, I think you’ll find, martlets arranged in tight blue triangles.
Is he drawing on the train home, summoning forth his letters, a whole alphabet of his own making? And now the basic form resembles a galaxy, a nebula.

At heartland: elements of mutual avoidance, judicious violence: swathe her in winter raiment etcetera. The principle is stoic-domestic; you gain an hour, you lose an hour. Today’s subject is the legal personality of the unborn, the one who bends inside the remaining head.
Where he writes about silence, I have the uncanny satisfaction of imagining I am reading your book. I bent back on the breeze, dying in her arms.

The sick child was delivered from inside her. The place was a ghost town I thought, where hell is everywhere one looks. I would rather have spent five days at the house of a revenant, tunnelled my way into a burial mound.

We all started seeing things differently: prayer weals, a footless bird borne as a charge, archaic and swift. One sheet of writing does not do plenty.

*

People of a romantic disposition come here to read. My dental condition is run amok — I am not there when they wait for me. I’m busy scraping house droppings and folding up the dust; all very sad, clusters of ill-starred cells. I’m growing absent, growing minded — you are inside with your eyes almost closed, because the electric.

He answers then himself. I’m a state of matter. I don’t wish to stop here; people are too excited at my diffidence. I’ve seen the pictures: total marginalia. The charred blackened trunks of trees line the pilgrim route. It’s not as though we had not been warned.

An horse crosses the bridge. Defunct meanings propel her rider; money is no object. Dwelling too long on the peculiars, I am left here and I must. . . . (I’m surprised they have not been speaking up around the fireplace.) She has protective discolouration and carries an ikon, some takeaway god. She readily drifts into the visionary — in one corner of the room is a tiny household temple. The men are guarding it.
You don’t want to charge yourself up, what with the market burning, do you? This message will have to be conveyed by word of mouth, from beacon to beacon across the night.
As the vessel spins to earth it loops wildly. (I am very, very tired.) She goes forth to meet them. The vision is set: pier with waves and ocean, Saturn before a gully of used stars. The steep hull of our boat may check them, but not for long.
Glimmer of a wreck beneath the surface, more spare parts for her spontaneous combustion. A device had to be invented for divining the depth of water, another to determine the vertical incline of a cliff face.

The following is an account of what took place on an important date in the history of that period.
‘I am bubbly. I am the promised bone of sponge.’
They’ve got this disease. He says I am. She says you can still work by not earning: look at all that steam rising up from the oilcloth on the table. Others, such as those sponsors of the rapid onset of my illness, are not so sure.

He derives from her something that transcends them both (they do specialize in the unexplored). Thereafter we went on copying the hourly bulletins mechanically, trying to convey some notion of our ordeal to the outside world. The solitaries disperse, happy for end, happy for close.
A dozen engines were belching smoke, whistling and panting. Upturned plastic juts from the black liner. (I know, nothing spectacular.) This is not unlike a memory. What I did cherish was the evacuee sitting there, that porcelain evacuee.

*

He appoints himself patron saint of the hermit and the lunatic; for two years he stood immobile at the top of a column. He has a number of books dealing with the contemplative stashed away in his locker. His legs seized up first. We began again from scratch, using offcuts from the century chamber.

I became a minute quantity, a scrap. Every time it rains we have to kill the power. I never heard the like. At his death he left two hundred and fifty-two shirts of sackcloth and nine glass eyes framed in gold. Handsome brass coronae swung from the ceiling.
Come let’s to bed,
says Sleep’s Head —
tarry a while,
says Slow Heart.
That’s insane. I don’t have my ice cream hair anymore. No, I have galaxy hair and I suit it not one jot. I am the rarefied gaseous envelope of the sun and the multitudinous stars.

There is a trumpet-shaped outgrowth at the centre of every daffodil or narcissus. I sometimes go by the name of called Talus. He agitated the letters with his breath.

People can grow addicted to risk. Is there anything else you would like to say, to add to your statement? (She was being honest.) It was just you and me, waking up at a different time in a different rhythm, at a different place where all the rooftops had been levelled. Dark bituminous pitch was roped into a binding pattern.

Mine eye is leaking; I’ve walked the canals. He asks me the distance between the sun and the moon and then between the earth and the other side. I refuse. (Too many fucking questions for one afternoon.) I shall give notice.

It says here that we lived at first together in an early skete. I have no recollection of this (gin). The name comes from a word meaning to weigh the heart. Despite the low elevation and water resources the valley was a dangerous place; early writers went astray and died trying to cross it. As you can see, I’ve kept some of the old motifs.

About Equus Press

EQUUS was established in 2011 with the objective of publishing innovative & translocal writing.

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“I think we ought to read only the kind of books that wound and stab us. If the book we are reading doesn’t wake us up with a blow on the head, what are we reading it for?…we need the books that affect us like a disaster, that grieve us deeply, like the death of someone we loved more than ourselves, like being banished into forests far from everyone, like a suicide. A book must be the axe for the frozen sea inside us” // Franz Kafka, letter to Oskar Pollack, 27 January 1904
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