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“All that remains is an air-filled cavity connected to the throat, containing three tiny linked bones that transmit vibrations” – Richard Makin, WORK (Chapter X)

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.

Work is forthcoming with Equus Press in 2020.

X

Anima Monday

That could be me in thirty years’ time, living on my own in a house full of hares.

            Dog started barking (St Agnes). I died a martyr who refused to marry. I am the patron saint and my emblem is the lamb. As a child, I was an elective mute; I chose this path because at an early age I understood the fragility of language. My fast day is the twenty-first. I lived around about, and was canonized. My fast day is every available second.

            All this was very disconcerting indeed, some call it the time of your life. This is my first card after getting back to the desert, with its nasty blue sky.

            Look after mother he says, like we’re all in a fucking film or something. (Permit me to remove this maniac elsewhere.) For example, apex might be represented by a picture of an orangutang followed by a randomly chosen letter. Above my head is an ornamental device associated with a person to whose name it savagely alludes. Origin refers to a headline or section of text written in red for distinctiveness, such as the quarry marks daubed in the so-called relieving chamber.

An event in time.

He considers me a loose cannon. A window vibrates, the merest shudder — I always forget what one thing can do to another thing, how one object can influence an adjacent object, quite unbidden. Acrobats at the far side of the park are panicking their somersaults. . . . No barricades for the anatomy in this neighbourhood.

            She does find him overpowering at times, quite out of her depth. That heavenly body is a binary star with a dim companion, a white dwarf. They’re nesting high this year.

            Mercury descends to announce his challenge.

I suddenly felt uncomfortable. This is all that remains of my twelfth-century monastic cell. All that remains is an air-filled cavity connected to the throat, containing three tiny linked bones that transmit vibrations — the manipulated sound of metal objects, Frank’s undervoice.

*

The fox. (Mad.) I am breaking your law; time has no power against a total lack of identity. Maya is the name for the supernatural power wielded by gods and demons. The only thing that matters: back in the night.

            Everyone had that she says, everyone.

            So much for references to the self. In one quadrant flickered the needle of a compass. I think there’s a limit to what she can do. His fingers are rusty, but he sucks at them regardless.

            ‘Well?’ asks the Governor, who has taken off his collar. ‘Have you found the renegade man?’

            Inside of him somewhere must lie a goodly deal of scrap. He tears at his flesh like a dog, is jackal-headed. It had begun to thaw again (or other apposite citation).

A period of fifty-two vague years. 

You got one and a half percent; I felt beaten and wanted to die. They found him hanging above the shingle full of dung. After spending two or three weeks locked indoors, this still was not enough, our aim being the production of an entire corpus. He invented a timing device: two connected glass bulbs containing sand that takes one hour to pass from the upper to the lower bulb. The nearest fragment has an arched top as if it were being lifted from below, like a pileus sheltering the fleshy gills of a mushroom.

            ‘Now you’re saying you are not the undergaoler’s daughter?’

            Contre-jour produces backlighting of the subject. See, all the sevens, over and over, sometimes having a hexagon as the base.

            She sighs, ‘No, and who, or what, are you?’

            A bandolier (or bandoleer) is a pocketed belt for holding ammunition. It is usually slung sash-style over the shoulder, with the ammunition pockets across the midriff and chest. We’ve hit the crest of a slump.

*

I learnt everything I know about language from silence. This is on condition that attention be a glimpse, and not a hijacking. The underground burial chamber with rooms above it at ground level has been named a mastaba, or a stone bench built into the wall of your house. I dreamt I was reading a classical masterpiece backwards, as was the custom in those days. The book fell apart in my hands and the page numbers wouldn’t match up. The scene was a pub lock-in.

            Experimental inversion of the earth’s magnetic field would significantly decrease synthesis and the ability to stand up. My own mother’s funeral was up by the castle at the cliff. It overlooked. Hieroglyph is the word I’m looking for.  

*

We’re almost inside Beethoven’s head as he tries to find a way forward: empirical clues, any serviceable misdemeanour, however slight. The chemist removed the absorbed substance by washing with a solvent — this is shown as a high-angle shot in which the subject is photographed from above. Origin is sluiced from the verb, as suggested. Do we include the spiral cochlea?

            Your own dark matter holds molecules of a gas, liquid or solution cast as a thin film across your outside surface. I hate these fucking split shifts, they kill me, they hate me.

            Would you prefer that we just left you alone.

            It was like Anne Boleyn. Now you sound as though you’re in a casino, an interior with gaming tables, cottage industry. . . . This is a record of my halcyon days — a rotator studded around with teeth at the lower mandible — a rose window, spinning firewalk taken at a trot, broken by an occasional sideswipe glance. A mythical bird is said by ancient writers to breed in a nest floating on the sea at winter solstice, charming the wind and waves into calamity. And then Quetzalcoatl says everything we cherish fades away after one complete cycle of the warped neural sheet.

            But these are the nice people. Most of the people I meet do things slowly, by degrees. 

Onehood. Onehead. Onement et cetera.

The condition of being alone: the world is his prism, an acephalic paradise et cetera. Individual moths were tested, intact and decapitated. This is the original cobalt, a little piece of her — let him eat, or she he. (What is the sign for that?) Together they are a psychotic and early variety of pair, bone of my bones et cetera. Then she is taken outside — sparks fly— the smoke, the clamour. 

*

He is impressed with my talented new machine — the besiegers who have encircled the city are plotting a classic fait accompli.

            The meeting took place in a back room at the sign of the wild man. One of the challenges of the first read through is the segues and non sequiturs, which together create an unheard of imbalance — in fact, I don’t want to do anything in English ever again. (For one thing, I could never live that far from the molten core of the earth.) This declaration is my new bedrock.

            The table below shows in which zodiacal signs the four coluri fall for a variety of different epochs. Though the outer body wall gives rise to unexpected resistance, it’s breathtaking to witness up close his finely-tuned deathtrap and inexhaustible food supply. The prominent barrows lie in an arc on the highest ground in the neighbourhood, while he rots in a box under the ground, where a tube lets him breathe.

            Maybe I’m losing my personality. Later we shall find him hanged and slashed and drowned (there are many such torts here that may curry meaning). A compound of cyanogen with a metal, a substance found in plants or synthesized, has similar disastrous effects. 

Either that or I’ll reread the hive (viz. revenge). His mannerisms, it seems, are less satisfied than his words. Then we realized we’d been watching the same film that evening, about an open city after a catastrophic war.  

            ‘See, I would one day like to be a really, really amazing book.’ 

            What she saw instead was a solemn young man in a diving suit, incredibly thin, floating at the eye of a triangle. He is the possessor, always.

            ‘I guess you want me to pack up my housefly samples and leave.’

            Use is being made of a dissimilar sequence of actions for narrative effect — how they live in the air and sparkle, the ‘scintillas that flashed before our eyes’.

            That’s you and your fucking confluence. (Just give me back my boots.) And then came yet another repetition of the aforesaid familiar action. All my faults have escaped in the printing. An intense white light is obtained by heating lime, formerly used.

            ‘Fly down and circle about the jackal’s head.’

*

His last words, herein my past and present waste et cetera. The mirror darkens, the dialectic is eclipsed. Often have I glimpsed his untimely-parted ghost et cetera.

            Now let’s dwell upon some infamous Richards, Coeurdelion et cetera, whereupon authorship is to be brutally interrogated.

            He reacts by demanding that the heretic be exiled. This is supported by the manuscript evidence and reports of a death-bed repentance (often reproduced and discussed). Here then is the concluding step in a poem on the theme of the pilgrimage of Ra — see the introductory note to Fragment X, to the blind eye that weeps: the heart falls silent now, there are no words, she’s like a swallow et cetera. He remembered hearing.

            But of course I take exception to all these rules. It is strange that such a thing could have overpowered such another thing. He has never really had to struggle. Still, I’ve made good use of circumstance today; a true analyst needs to have one foot in the grave. Signora lies hardened in heart and feeling — it’s not at all like you, this game. A puzzle was introduced in which words are represented by combinations of pictures and individual letters. Origin is Terra — in science fiction, the planet earth — ground ochre used as a writing material, from the base of red desert.

Somehow, she miraculously escapes torture on the wheel. She has the world’s largest variable skin. (Knowledge is.) Her head has been divided neatly into sixths — she also does psychic executions. This is my own science of immortality. Let me describe her for you.

            Who is that man waiting on a corner at the foot of the cliff? And I think, I wonder, has the other arisen yet. In form the apparition resembled the cap of a toadstool, more or less.

*

Claret shed and clotted on the pavement, a glow of zodiacal light opposite the sun. The sky seems somehow out of kilter. A vast pink moon hung above the horizon — snail tracks, facts at a distance, the plop of a rat in the lake as I climb the hill. Mister once swallowed a whole box of cartridges. 

From my own personal brain, the view therein, some disinterested facts, including remarks on clouds. 

He’s a floating vessel, pressganged crew cowering in the forecastle, exhausted by their night of toil against the storm. The oldest parliament is the all-thing. My own fast lasted around ten seconds.

            A front is moving in, listless blue-grey. There is a noted centre near horseshoe curve, where the rails first crossed. A layer of altocumulus is moving imperceptibly across the sky; mine is not a tendency to direct assassination.

            My own offering was mute, which only one of the priests understood. When I say priest, I mean thaumaturge, but am reluctant to use this word due to its syllabic count: I am trying to keep things simple.

            A layer of altocumulus. Or, permit me to remove this maniac elsewhere. No, better, altocumuli ‘shudder across the sky’. . . . An ancient tomb consisting of an underground burial chamber with rooms above it at ground level was once used as a holding chamber for those awaiting sacrifice. By contrast, a cedar wood mallet is used to kill fish caught when angling.

            My own mother did not receive the last rites. (Did she know she was dying.) The solar flare is responsible. I heard of a man born in the same year who also prized solitude.

Within this context, please identify the hermitic convention, and compare it with the himself-herself convention. Some people can take it, but me, I was never built for this. What he means is there is no effective way of barricading a womb.

            This is a technique in which the viewer is pointing directly toward a source of light, and there is an equivalent technique found in painting. Protein bands were dissolved and used as an immunogenic vaccine.

*

Opaquely layered, in a region whose boundary suddenly decreases to zero, he recaptures. The author’s ingenuity is only too apparent as he expounds his indivisibility. I got a job with Plato.

            He gives up on everybody, this ghost. From a great way off comes the sound of a sea. I am here approaching novel ideas for survival, but before many hours have passed the grey malevolence of a November dusk had fallen once again. Besides, the near-escape of the dog was still at the back of my mind — the graphic representation of this event sometimes features a hexagon at the base.

            I am the one who collects his efflux, that incomprehensible final fugue. Origin is truncated, so named because your lower part is permanently cut off from view.

            ‘The two great circles intersecting at right angles at the celestial poles pass through the ecliptic at equinox or solstice.’               

            Who’s that, speaking. In the end, your illusions are scattered and the real becomes visible. All the same, you may not be able to see me. Origin is headless.

            This word is at least forty years old. 

Cephalic influences on defensive behaviour in the dogbane tiger moth.


Let’s get back to learning your lines. (Get carried away.) Your anointed deliverer is already here, it’s just a question of revealing him, blow by blow, like a living statue — flecks in stone that are revealed as the sculptor chews away at the surface. (There’s no other word for messiah.) He has withdrawn.

            The chosen colour — which you don’t identify — can sidestep the social staircase: friendly bacteria never tasted so good. There’s a resistance ahead on the track. You are a little late, memory.

The sixth of his apparitions.

She inspects upon her right arm high the track of a bite, deep weals promising scar tissue. I could only realize my ambitions by closing the original deal and embarking on an abandoned future. On internal surfaces within your body lie hidden layers of dark matter. They’ll come back when they are hungry.

            A prehistoric wrought iron plate was found after the explosion. The star is so named because it appears to follow at the heels of Orion, the stalker (viz. Musca domestica, the family misericord).

            You are the emptied page. Whatever I decide to read to her, rest assured I’ll be pleading for you — a wedge between anterior things and posterior signs, where nothing signals. This presence knows and wishes to be heard.

            Oddly, the origin of need is danger. We decided to leave memory behind, a one-on-one family entertainment. Such speech though foreshadows revenge.

            I held that note underwater for as long as possible. Is this what you call measuring yourself against the world, testing our dominion? I had so wanted to take myself off somewhere else on that uncontainable day, dowsing with brittle antennae. Now all I hear in my head is the clatter of a roulette ball, orbiting the wheel.

*

Arrival of the nonce-gift, a nothing. (Signal that to your physicians). I was looking for something more permanent, whereas he is mere semblance, an outward show — but he signs this well, does he not. By dialectic, I mean a Kantian enquiry into metaphysical contradictions and their lottery numbers.

            Now she takes us all for her own private army of fools, but that’s not to say there won’t ever be a sea change. Yet still we’re called forth, into yet another situation. 
            This is all for the time being — I’m generally getting through, slowly, day by day. The origin of are is uncertain.

            The insider equals zero, therefore the outsider equals one. I am marshalling.

© Richard Makin

About Equus Press

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

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"Modernity today is not in the hands of the poets, but in the hands of the cops" // Louis Aragon
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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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