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 pointed out (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.
There was nobody there. An empty canvas knapsack had been abandoned at the foot of the glacier. I am the only one who can keep the tensions and responses of the group running in a self-augmenting pattern, that is until the strain breaks. (We’ve had that once already today.) The habit of a certain empiricism is never easily overcome.
Origin is a flute or furrow, back-formation from chant, edge plus broken — i.e. the shattered beak. On the way we passed bloodclotted feathers in the road.
Dust on his fingers — hubris, such as invites disaster, the shock of daily spectacle. I’ve observed that most of those who have left memoirs have only shown us their bad conscience. Overuse of the whip leads to amnesia. Herr T brought me his certificate and a grubby stained duvet. Are you alright he asked. I had visited the site on a previous trip and, walking through the ruins, I found it hard to believe that anyone could have survived the bombardment.
Flagging horse turning slow circles in the water, dying downstream of the weir; things start to get confusing around this point in time. The house creaks in the wind — the agency of moving air, wailing through head and body — the dwelling, straight through the skull, filaments pouring from the fingers like white lightning.
The old house was quiet now, no sound audible. It’s a quarter to three. . . . Most of our numbers correspond to other people’s names. The year is 1305AD. The policeman didn’t blink, moves on in the direction pursued; they slew him in the cloisters. (When, you don’t say.) A late summer sun beams through the crumbling arches; two sacred black stones are set into the cathedral’s south-west corner, staring one another down. I sidestepped the etched and worn grave slabs; I felt worthless.
Cloister moblift. (More fun and games with Bach.) I found paired in a herb garden two standing stones, facing one another, as if lovers or mortal enemies. Multicoloured fossils were embedded, hewn from the earth’s oldest quarry. It was early evening, intoxicating perfumes led my path et cetera. I touched the smooth surface, which compressed into a single form all the colours yet witnessed. (Some were unknown.) Such a vision would amount to annihilation of all yardsticks.
I am waiting for my contact, am resolved, you should understand that by now. But note, ‘the circumference is an iridescence of themes’.
He touches the petals as if they might burn his fingers; it’s licence-to-kill day. Angling into the black silt, I hooked a fine piece of nothingness. At the dock, you sat beside me. It is known that his greatest skill was espionage.
Must write back. I could see a trace of colour stealing back into my face. Change just one thing, change the electricity.
More than one half of this tale I now suspect to have been sheer fabrication, a reliquary of errors. We are in the midst of transition from a system of justice based on magico-religious speech to a system based on speech-as-dialogue. As a matter of fact, the law’s opposition to despotism always arrives too late.
Resume at immutability.
‘Very divertisant life were at that time, very divertisant indeed.’
But now she must rest: there’s a test in the morning that will determine her future. One make-up artist fell off the cliff and died. The oldest objects every recorded on earth are the grains of stardust inside a meteorite — overnight, livestock had been slaughtered and skinned, their hides and feathers missing. I don’t worry about what will happen, only what needs to be done.
Then a man put a gun to his head and shot him while he dreamed. I often would. I stopped.
There follow some remarks on your disequilibriums. A groundbreaking insecticide for the control of sap-feeding pests provokes residual control; the equipment’s here, along with its viewing piece. Here is the entrance, here is the view. One hundred and eighty were arranged upon the floor under harsh strip lights — flat and shadowless, some face down, some face up, eyelids sewn back. The sun had set.
He had no shadow either. I think I’ve passed you by. I’ve really never noticed that object on the table, but it seems more or less as it should be.
I had bought her the gift of a gold back scratcher in the form of a disembodied hand, which she placed alongside the infant head and a bottle of gin in an elegant cabinet of curiosities set against a wall in the morning room.
I recall his cerecloth vestment. Across the surface a warmth spreads and consumes; a coppery redness slowly leaches back in.
An archipelago of dust leads a trail straight to the bed. Faint parallel grooves trace diagonals across each plane of his body, the signal tracks of a cutting process. One false move would be fatal. At your approach the pallid reeds, slime.
Each object is discrete yet connected, clusters packed to build nine distinct shapes; hair still clings to the blackened bones. Close by is the neck and skull of a bison, vertebrae fused. I don’t think those photographs of my stigmata have helped my defence overmuch.
Free-swimming sexual forms such jellyfish typically have a diaphragm with stinging tentacles around the edge. (Also named cnidarian.) The outcome is flight.
Dust for prints, ink the structure, the scaffold. Moon is full, red everywhere, spats of white fluid on the floorboards. At the new lunar phase they break out. Your treasured paradigm is secretly discomposed — save yourself some grief, a tyranny of signs refracting a dream et cetera.
Seek a place in repose; there would be no men, no land, only ice.
Others said do not become cadavers, lest you be eaten yourselves. One twin was mortal, the other not. They shared immortality between themselves, spending half their time below the earth in hell and the other half among the pattern of stars in the sky.
Herein lies a method of classification of animals and plants. They knew too much, what they missed was the simple fact. . . . He’d known muscle, sinew — clearly there’d been an earthquake. He’s made of stuff — carbon, brittle beyond touch. A chrysalis is forming; we passed that great hill, one-time redoubt — atom in the eye, the indestructible almost: that eye was made of blocks, tiny cubes. They’re machined. Eroticism springs from an alternation of fascination and horror.
These ideas were hidden on just one or two pages of a notebook he kept. The editor feels it is better to promote the idea of widespread psychic ability than uniqueness and colonization. That’s why we are as we are, a rare electromagnetic anomaly known as geoplasm.
Grey moth pinned out to dry in the sun. Subspecies Curtis has the median band uninterrupted or only narrowly interrupted. See, I spring from an alternation of affirmation and denial — the smoking dark border is usually infested.
We made up only half the army’s number, but provided its strongest units. I don’t read for sense.
Confused and dazzled, it lived only five days. You have to learn. A train shunters on to a nearby track where the rail splits. Our view is an obstructed bench. . . . Knock knock knock. . . . Come, the half-emptied tins, petrol on the table, another Saturday night in. The upper skull plate is tilted, coloured wires connect — the outcome is a string of fractured air and its partitions. The first set ends with a boom. This episode is lost.
These machined blocks of time accentuate our quiddity. It’s worthwhile interrupting just to say; her face looks familiar, their faces dissimilar. In this manner I am learning to speak, to communicate, to remember.
Light blue spores cover every page; I had such fire in me that day. And this bulkhead typically houses the rudder. . . . You are destined to shoot yourself, and yours will be the only prints on the gun; blame it on our age.
The dejections cast a No. I can’t stay a second longer. At least it’s been identified — our desideratum — that grief-shot thing, what’s left of me and my desire. In the room were a pair of similar things bearing two words of the same derivation, but with different meanings. The same number on two dice was thrown at the same moment, street theatre for the dead.
The captured alien’s eye was a combination of two simple lenses. Origin is eighties, from meta, just over an hour ago. Our instincts are based upon the fact that there are many external things that simply cannot be us. Movement leads to more movement.
by Richard Makin