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.
The suspect manufactures pulp from vegetable and fruit papyrus, gnawed horse blankets, quicklime, sawdust and ball bearings. Much of her work involves responding to existing books, reworking them into grotesque baroque shapes. For example:
‘You haven’t got any little treats for the dog, have you?’
A blackrock sequence resembling titanic vertebrae is visible at low tide. Sir is a publisher of selves, an experimental maker and workshop disrupter dedicated to radical forms of illiteracy. An archaic noun signifies conflict between the soul and the body, or a literary representation of such a difference of opinion. Laughter is our surviving artistic expression.
Who publishes books made of reconstructed images, collages of butter and a snapped tibia? Included in the collection are sepia photographs, documenting the fourth segment of the leg of an insect, between the femur and the tarsus. I myself am a dealer in concrete and ephemera, small compressed archives. We must always be ready for the night, till then, I beseech you not to move — when darkness falls there’s no light at all, no moon or stars to speak of.
These notes consist of a series of collections for a book of travel, such a volume as was once a common product. The silt that stretches as far as the eye is flat and shallow to the depth of a shin-bone.
I’m struggling to finish this. Thirteen years have passed. He is still preoccupied, observing the supple flexion of his own body; he’s now bending himself into one of those rumoured ‘causal folds’. (The organist is working his way through the alphabet.) By my order, he forfeits title of the kingdom and is commanded to quit all our assemblies and dominions forthwith.
He didn’t hear me; we’re in a sort of phenomenological malaise. . . . We are both gods, I said.
Voice in the night, hacking into the chalkface — the cradling blade, self-answering yet brittle: the Maximum Possible Loss (MPL) that could possibly impact your own corporation. Will you find out for me, please; I hate tables and diagrams, he said, because of course I am fucking blind. (He did stress the last.) In this way he opens himself, reveals himself to me; we are abundant and thoroughly documented: after home time, the goldrush.
What else is there to say: there are boulders, great big ones with lichen on them scattered about in a meadow. You forgot telepathy, the transference of thought — we’ll act first, then take it from there, see where we find ourselves when we wake up tomorrow.
Plato contrasts episteme (knowledge) with doxa (fuckwitted opinion). I need to find myself in what’s called a place before a single step can be taken: the miraculous persists, the advance is on, into the valley of dry bone. . . . Origin is the 1970s, from mistakes that can be imitated, on the pattern of genetic babel. Looking through the gun-sights at this range makes men look twice the size of men. (There’s six more up there.) Small trenches to set an ambush were built in case the army advanced.
‘May I accompany you on your ambulatory temporal sculpt?’
As soon as you reach this point in the discipline, you will begin to hear other voices, such as the above. The graft has taken — his gaze drops to plump feet crammed into patent black. One extremity bears a scar, another a blue-green tattoo: flesh semiotics, fear of flight (wax) — the action of stitching together the edges of a wound or incision.
I planned to live in a seedy hotel for the rest of my life. (The two other men in the room are pretending not to listen.) I was going to live in a cave at the foot of a cliff. I planned to leave without telling anyone; in the end I stayed home.
Come low ebb, an ancient petrified wood emerges from the waves. See, this is already a schizophrenic compromise, what with that lackadaisical rhythm section (see ‘tram’). It’s almost like a different dog all of a sudden; he’s after the lung bone. Maybe I never could.
Cracked vinyl: trumpet, cello, Glagolitic mass. Musically this term is applied to (1) operas where the plot or characters are said to be verismo, as distinct from remote (even though I don’t like fish, no). He loves to scavenge, my monstrous creation: behemoth is a sea thing — a gigantic, the whale or serpent that lies deep below, underpinning the support structure that holds up the earth. It was evening when I arrived, and I retired to a hiding-place among the fields that surround us, to meditate. All the villagers look old of a sudden.
This sensation was vouched for by people whose sanity brooks no question; we travel from today into tomorrow along a distance which appears not to exist. That detail is the one point I always remember.
Company of glass. You have to concentrate. Now I’m watching world war two in colour, east-end gangsters. He’s got these powers. (Who’s got the daggers.) Four years later, we’re still sacking shelves and waggling our tongues about the state. The becoming scene, the Songs, speaks for itself: the sin of J is written with a pen of iron and the point of a diamond, ghost of chance. Any advantage is immediately rendered obsolete.
A well of living waters
and flowing streams
with studs of silver
draw me into their scope —
we will run after thee, o yes.
Don’t worry about all this scurrying around. Somehow I’ve heard this story before. I never got scared; I was denied by the elongated arm. Maybe this airstrike is the last.
Stay where you are, stay in your beds: it was a disastrous instruction. We dug in, cut off and held in a sort of vestibule for eternity, diligently unravelling the fabric of our race. I feel he’s someone I will one day need to confront, someone with whom I must do business: an emanation or phase of the supreme deity. Then the music stopped.
The music stops, its various formats and folds; let’s entertain some archaism: ‘lattermath horsemen’ and suchlike. Toponymic surnames suddenly appeared. Origin is a wagon, probably meaning partition (e.g. ‘akathist of unthank’). At least I’m no longer under house arrest.
They sleep their sleep. Now perform your masquerade of somebody else, one not thee, one who has the writing teeth. Our men never saw the map but heard the number of the hill and climbed the scarp to find their death along its slope. I will glimpse with joy the soul of my own soul et cetera.
Fear of ants.
Ants poured from the dead man’s ear — order Hymenoptera, family Formicidae, with several sub-tribes. Yes.
Got a box in my mouth. It is autumn; his people are meeklings to a man. Large stones stood blackly in the water, making it purl as it rolled around them. The people crash cars through storefronts to purloin merchandise, when they should save their energy for hanging judges. And then she chooses this moment to announce her fourth hunger strike.
None of these characters appeared in court again. (See thieve, see riot.) A tool is used to run old oakum out the seams of the vessel.
I’m making up your young mind, aren’t I? I doubt this will survive you — screams in the street, screams in the sky. There’s no time for quotation, but it’s your right to concur, to grow together into a mass.
Tradition is established in the rigour of ritual — two opposing tendencies conflate, variant readings. The magnetic field is produced by a superconducting magnet located around the outside of the chamber. (It was small for a dog.) Today I have recorded a sensation of moving backwards, even though we’re moving forwards.
‘Please, I’m not here — please, passion me or I die before we make it home.’
The crew performs every action with elegant simplicity. One side effect is the ignition of dead memory.
Changes in a particle’s phase are related to local changes in the field through which it moves. He has no choice left but to overthrow.
Messages are pinned to the cones, notes to remind ourselves how to proceed. The brake loosed itself and the diesel engine careered down the track to where the next victim was waiting clutching a metal cross; allies should be nurtured, enemies ignored, whereupon they evaporate. (Did you ever know something and not know why, or how?) He regards people as molecules of capital, an irresistible state of mourning. I feel you should publish your collected remarks; I could never differentiate between red and green myself.
‘So, father, when did all this happen?’
‘We’ll loop the yoke around his neck another time.’
And another infinite deferment has been triggered — the cerebral cortex is controlled by motor neurons. Interneurons are shown purple in the diagram.
‘You are to give him the 36-word cypher immediately.’
I am unrelated to knowledge or to any degree of its validation; this cannot be an accepted protocol. By condemning the killing as an atrocity on a par with the murder, we made maximum capital of it.
Choose an insect, any insect. He’ll sit there for days without moving. (The tennis ball was shat forth weeks ago.) Now I’m backing out. We were engaged in gathering samples — indiscriminate objects, eavesdroppage — there’s a zone set up between the dugouts down here, a pair of in-betweens, impractical mechanics. There’s a clearly demarcated exclusion zone; it is therefore evident that the universe must be considered as a growth of spiral filaments.
Now we’ve got a massive conundrum: tread your heel into the clay. I’m a doubter. Origin is your glaucous eye.
Tread the heel — febrifuge, senseless mayweed. . . . It’s said the rosary does not comprise the stigma, the style and the ovary, not at all, not at all. As we move further away from the midline, the spine is controlling the more distal parts of the body. Are you trying to reach someone, the outside? Origin is the name of an alphabet, abandoned word.
You need to spend at least an hour each day composing a list of numbers. . . . We walked through the arcade to avoid the heat of the square. . . . You need to spend an hour each day writing alphabets. One location is known as the gallows because of its resemblance to a hangman’s scaffold.
My worst case scenario is showing signs of rigor mortis. I’m engaged in gathering samples — for instance, in Mexico City I was struck by the image of a deity made of twenty-five pieces of jade. (Maybe this is the anticipated omen.) I could trap him in here forever with us right now. All sorts of musical apotheosis shall appear in about half an hour’s time, and an eight hundred-year-old tree, its roots wound about tombstones throughout its circumference, writhing around a spiral of memorial masonry, sandwiched at inexplicable pairings. I was put in mind of the studies I once made of a statue housed in a dimlit flagstone corridor; I was trapped beneath a fantasy trilogy created by the author, about the inhabitants of a subterranean gothic metropolis. The same state was praised in the highest terms by our main writer on art, Fuckwit the Elder. (We once passed upon the stair.) Our own group has been called the prototypical icon of human agony.
The reader has no doubt observed that I am restraining myself here. Charles pointed out that the bulging eyebrows are physiologically impossible.
In astronomy and navigation, fifteen degrees of longitude or right ascension is one twenty-fourth part of a circle. (Check this.) Origin is old time of origin, related to tide; I am superseded in a temporal sense. The earliest of the current verb senses is something to do with a particular moment.
At the eastern tip some isolated mounds proved to be stuccoed pyramids with sand cores — also several small plazas, platforms balanced at the crest of low hills. But the ambassador would take time to arrive, and besides, she has firmly ruled him out because she now recognizes him as a conduit of news to the outside world. Moths battered at the screen, Mythimna and other genera, family Noctuidae, several species. Yes.
An outward journey may not be in the past. (He peaked at about ten o’clock.) It’s a big old crack. You see it time and time again, don’t you, the repetition.
I can’t. I really should escort you home before there’s no longer any point to the gesture. It’s measured in Fahrenheit. (What is? You don’t say.) I always volunteered for the nightshift. Why don’t you take another look at the slow-motion replay? What do you mean there’s nothing out there et cetera.
One day it was raining, the next it wasn’t. The day after that the wind blew strong. For most scientists, the unpredictability of some of the equations in classical science is a revelation. I’m desperately trying to motivate myself to write, otherwise I might as well be out earning money on a Thursday, like everybody else.
He considers all this as an attack upon his fiefdom, otherwise unassailable. He had begun the year 5210AD with a sense of triumph, having successfully fist-fucked a fearsome opponent. Aftermath is a synonym.
Are you coming to the funeral. Origin is a suture, from to stitch — an excessive localized swelling of the wall of an artery.
You are suffering and you have been taking place for years. During cunnilingus, at the instant of reciprocatory orgasm, his jaw locked — only the sedatives administered by a panic-stricken physician would release the gorgonized mandible. I too have my moment every morning. (Where were you last night.) If our adversaries should come tomorrow or the day after, the idea is to let them pass by unmolested; this will later be discussed in greater detail, under the heading of war plans. Meaning is literally the latter, i.e. a second crop grown after the first is harvested. Figuratively speaking, I am a later result or consequence, a further development.
Once he started laughing he couldn’t stop. I knocked on the gaffer’s door and demanded an immediate transfer.
Groom of the stole, origin obscure: small fry, offspring encroaching into the father. We retrieved her ashes, which had been transferred to a large hourglass. Dying in the numbers game, the war is a civil, word for word — it was through these citizens that I uncovered a network who believed they were being driven into a senseless conflict. Waving the white flag was a civil engineer who felt no love and who happened by chance to be crawling about on the battlements that afternoon. My father clutches an old instrument of bone and leather that consists of a toothed dial and plastic slide; audible in the background is a rather leaden and self-conscious libretto. I would rather leave before I am tempted by anyone here to speak, make voice. That said, we no longer do guilt; I’m resigned to another quiet weekend.
She placed the wrist tags in her orange basket. I’ve got to open up; I am selling.
Consider this as a point of failure, if you prefer. He takes careful measurements before whispering grow less, subside (he is the deed itself, not the outcome). I am stillborn: your man painted potatoes and nothing else, maybe the occasional deceased comic genius. If I don’t stop soon, I won’t have anything left to sell.
But I wanted to keep the driftwood thing; the constellation depicted was hitherto unknown. Yes, but I would like something to happen: one flash of light. . . . I want to come down right now. A letter found tucked in the manuscript gives a tantalizing clue as to our origins.
Pursue this course of action while there’s still money in the bank. If all else fails, list: a basket of mustard, an unquiet grave, tombstones embedded in ancient roots, rare pink fuchsias dangling, digger a silhouette on the dismantled horizon — the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow. The singing was excruciatingly awful. (I’m surprised they didn’t.) As much as I loathe preamble or textual commentary, I feel compelled to say there is little room here for jokes. I’m sure you can accommodate.
Rationalize: workman with wireless. . . . We are talking about the best of houses; you can take the sander with you when you go. (This passage sounds a bit like a song, does it not.) On certain days psychology describes the phenomena of seeing.
To the fastness, the safe and the unreliable; it’s all he knows and values. One volunteer remains unused, unsung. He is strapped. I hope we can stop here soon and rest, but there are numbers to look up. He is no longer bereft: he has his kodak head, his pick of the angel cards, the teeth — and a list of names: names of dead and names of vanished, names of forgotten, names of familiars and names of the distorting sound. We discovered that our respective ancestors were from the same remote island off the west coast.
I observe that overnight a cage has replaced the fractious badgers in the forecourt. Symptoms include memory loss and degenerative motor neurone disorder.
The door clatters shut, a lock clicks. The central movement is no more than a set of variations on a descending bass line; the solo part soars.
Origin is pass without touching, with reference to the exemption from death of their fishborn. We can change the future. County, in the province, is the source of vole plague, a crucified ground plan. (You’ve got nothing left, how odd.) I’ve decided to leave codeine behind: that solar flare, if it caught the both of us, we would be ash. Till then, I beseech you not to move.