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“His original name was who” – Richard Makin, WORK (Chapter VI)

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.

VI 

Pulling up the anchor — Emergency track circuit failure — Trespass of ectoplasm on route — Members are displaced — The prologue of Armageddon — Rubber collars — Experiments in telepathy — My first seance — Our departure

Translucent white grains on the table refract oblique winter sun. The usual frantic measurements reveal the inevitable vacuum — nothing to show for this, to reveal, no antidote or secret place. We found two granite figures facing one another in the herb garden that bordered the cloister. 

            A single persistent memory: the need to escape the confluence of forces within which I find myself trapped —eastward to the sea, west to the ring of smoke. Thrown with such force, one of the small bones that form the arch of the instep was broken. Orange burn-off flares strung across at night the built distance, the darkening shell: gulag borealis. She says these are the finest constellations she has ever seen from the island. 

            I looped north and pressed on till I reached a sandbagged threshold. As noted elsewhere, a black cross on a yellow ground, blue plaque an ellipse, the crush of rootstock underfoot. Time is a source of regret. 

            Someone bearing my name must once have lived here, in a house at that place — not now, not here. 

*

The travellers found temporary lodgement in the parapet. Miscellaneous objects fell from the sky. We can perhaps make something dramatic of this: parricide, matricide, fratricide, infanticide, sororicide, homicide, regicide, a double deicide. Sixty-one percent of successful male suicides take place while the person is alone in the house, flat or workplace. Such a felon-of-himself is to be buried at a crossroads. 

            He lies exhausted, as one broken on the wheel; mechanized killing is thirsty work. At different moments each of these statements reflects a phase of the body. Indeed, in the first part of this book we were able to make use of space-time coordinates which permit a direct physical interpretation, and can be regarded as five-dimensional space: the vacuum which separates a performer from her audience, the conceptual barrier between any fictional work and its viewers.

            Once the fabric starts to crumble, there’s no going back (the earth’s precession is an irresistible wobble in the globe’s orbit). The last measurement was below thirty thousand — if something doesn’t look right, please report. Origin is wild or masterless cattle. 

            We’re embedded now. What drives him onward, what force goads him?

Panic terminus.

Now we are at the very edge of the photograph. The man to the left of the picture plane holds an electric cattle prod. Rinderpest or plague is forecast. 

            Lodestar bright above a dormant peninsula, that needless motif, all sense of self now redundant — a desert reveals, if nothing. (There’s too much weather in this text.) In short, he’s not truly here. 

            He spilt the whole contents of his sack out the window. He shrugs; all have their familiars and confederates. Maybe he’s testing our mettle. 

            I possess a tough core of deathless rhetoric. He hails from elsewhere, the representamen, an object exhibited to the mind. Since none of these categories can be detached from those above or below it, I composed a list of all the objects that could be supposed to exist. 

            What is.

*

I refuse. List here synonyms for collect, foregather and so on. He vibrates, dissolute and absurd, and all the stars withdrew their sheen. 
            And he says, ‘Against the underside of clouds, robe and skullcap, lightning — a sanctum where four roads meet. . . .’

A wake had taken over the inn, the green dragon. Rainwater rippled at our ankles on the ascent; at the summit the ruins were shut. We barely made it back to the sanctuary of the outhouse where, panic-stricken, we barricaded the door.

            The ironmonger sold minutiae, everything in detail. I fabricate as I crawl, bordering on lost time.

He stands facing east, casts no shadow. [Two seconds.] Come night, a collision of tumulus cloud, stacked high above a ruinous pier. (Birds were a mediaeval obsession.) There are some important crossings hereabout; dig yourselves in. He is not the sort of sound that is heard by ears, space swinging open again and again, a logic gate banging in the wind. 

            Now that’s a real coincidence: second-time. . . . What a show of strength that would be at the very climax of a war. Her final form he sketched as ink on paper. 

She slept. She woke. She spoke but he could not understand. Two days later mother died; together we made the long journey to her corpse. About the walls flicker burnished masks, blue devils thrashing archangels, the branch of an acacia, a prodigious portrait head, spatterings of hot wax, a chimera or basilisk, papier mâché cocks, dentiform battlements, semée of crosses of lilies, a goatfish (the ibex) — the memory of a feral she-goat bleating at the rim of a moat, scattered pine needles, and the inevitable spine of a stingray piercing the tongue-pad, sinew cruelly severed. Just northeast of your mouth is the chosen rendezvous.

The ice age paintings are prehistoric, thus they contradict the birth chart. That looks like alpine snow beginning to fall as we write (crocus). And many books written in discourse will enervate the language, invisible atoms flowing through the pores. 

            This reminds me of that time in Zurich, head in a box of bones at her feet. . . . He had always disliked flowers, gently distilled flowers, hence there are none. Nevertheless, spleen and liver normal. He is sure to happen.

Lockdown for a book burning.

Must finish my report, culled from a comprehensive collection of papers, diaries and archival notes across an unimaginable span of time. I have now adorned my room with plaster casts of Florentine statues. . . . Men in uniform pressed together in the railway carriage, chewing deadpan on their way to the front.

            Resist the temptation to argue with yourself. Origin is dread, compared with to turn, turning. 

I was reading his biography when a firework went off in my ear. The building was without limit: throughout his long life the master had restlessly added stone upon stone. 

            An interesting announcement is expected at our next meeting. I am turning into him. He was stranded on the island from November 1741 to August of the following year; these facts are off-putting — I am to be carried off myself in January, the fifteenth. (What tense are we here?) They will position me carefully beneath the frozen earth — I have a choice: on my back to face the stars, or standing for the worm. I have reason to suspect all present are rather disturbed at the prospect.

            What if the place of decease were godforsaken, too far distant? Someone has pinned back my surviving ear with a nail. (Tongue firmly in rectum another wrote.) Our emblem was painted on the mainsail between the sixteenth and eighteenth precincts — from the crow’s nest a small teardrop-shaped flatfish of temperate seas was observed. A series of horny rings on the tail produce a characteristic rattling sound when vibrated, as a warning.

*

No more of your withdrawal. The day will be a frozen day, a fleet day without words. The lead pellet shot up to there [indicating], and then it veered diagonal. I, from my heart, am preparing to die — this is complex, and at the same time not — we shall taste the snow awhile and think we lived once more. . . . (Something smells nice.) There was a mass grave, gunshots: the cries we had been hearing, it was the soldiers shouting orders to one another.

            I shall stretch out my branches as if one of those blasted trees — say, the oleander or flame — a bottle tree, bronchial scrofula — another term for flamboyant. One of the two swollen torsos contained holy water. Flowers became fireflies hovering above the burnt stubble, set into which were the remains of an octofoil mosaic. 

            Compare with monopteros, a circle of columns supporting a roof. Origin is one-winged. And I sometimes feel, and yet have not the love. . . . Come, bird, come. 

            The sense of contrast was not disturbed in the text until the appearance of a pale flag — respite and nepenthe for thy memories of fading light, of forgetfulness, mislaid by your slanderous tongue. Origin is not grief. 

            The witness claimed there was a ‘murmurous voice’ coming from next door. Normally meaning is untethered, not held in place. Every day is turnkey day.

            Yet I recall him once saying I am on my way to love. 

            So much for that, undergaoler. (It’s the way he said the word.) The letters jump from one point to the next, as if sovereign. 

            There’s a trail of numbered bank notes; the newspapers were right. The second movement is a lament — they are changing the vitrines as we speak.

*  

Hallucination again last night, via sight and ear: one skeletal runner with rictus grin, drummerboy attendant — the cry of an animal, grinding of iron keel, the always crashing car, corpse carted off in a metal casket by jesting paramedics. . . . Rippling vegetation in her skull — blue pulse at the temple — phosphorescent plant life snared in the current of a river. 

Question forms.

This begins to resemble. [Where.] In my room; I was alone. [Were you awake.] I was awake every time. When she comes, speaks to me for a minute, I write it all down. Anything might happen — lifelines have been severed, scored into the flesh. I remember her last face. I shall try and get through January, which is a strange one. [Excuse me.] Then she goes out through the door, dissolving without a clear transition from daytime toil to nightly longing. Not a single word is to be altered. [Always through the door.] The underworld is represented as a star within a circle.

*

There’s always something to remind when one forgets. Perhaps I should enlist the help of a few minders with grimy black clothes, worn and shiny. (A bodyguard is a person employed to escort and protect the important person in a given scenario.) We found ourselves in the original July, the month so named, before an impossible tide of the exact same mud: long shadows cut across the hills and cheated space — golden green was the hue, we all agreed. Sandbags had been gathered at the threshold; the ascent was murderous. Can you not keep up, can you not make it a year sooner? Take rest and see what happens. 

            From now on read but for because

She urges silence as he approaches climax, ventriloquizing the neighbours with their flock of raptors: ‘night shroud a cerement’ et cetera. People have killed for less. 

The missed target, errors in print. 

This might well occur after an atomic siege, but the last two lines bring us back to sixteenth-century Europe. Divination was by used book; I was disgusted forever with the act of eating (problem eyeballs). Use a stem sign to denote the first consonant of any inherited words.

            His original name was who. At another feast two hundred people were eaten; they had changed his entire name. No one else understands, no one else really matters. He was born in a distant land under a bridge. Then they moved — his parents moved away, both. On separate days of the year they died, in separate years. I waited. I was biding my time. Every moment without you feels unrehearsed, makeshift. We are never again going to breathe in the accepted fashion, are we. 

            This is precision engineering, a complex angling question.  

Excitations in the neural current, vagus nerve. (I forgot my name, my address, such madness. . . .) It’s his own body that the priapic experiences as persecutor when he worships the immortals, that closed circuit of evil-minded hypocrites. He was almost alive. Apparently the wind got hold of a metal roof and flung it down onto the track. He told me he had an insect living inside his brain. 

            No one knows you like your own name. This is an abstraction which occurs frequently in mathematics, where I am an illegitimate construct.                        

I know your voice, I would recognize it anywhere. . . . No one can sleep for the searchlight beam (subfusc from birth et cetera). Origin is the thirty-six, modern plural from cape. It was 1860. A parasitic bacterium like a virus requires the biochemical mechanism of a host cell in order to reproduce. Origin is medieval knot, an oversight of memory. 

            The watchtower, as mentioned in the story, is in reality a pile of stones marking disputed terrain. The primaeval world was not destroyed because of atrophy, but due to its lack. A tongue, on the other hand, is lean meat salted and dried into strips.

*

He was mustard. I’m hypnotic. That sound of yours is so rich; we share the same zodiac. The crescent shape in his dream resembled a sabre. (You think him amusing?) His cock split open from end to end ‘like a peeled papaya’. We have footage. A representation is a thing serving to represent something.

            Which time suits you. I could find no survivors on the surface of the burning sea. Malediction comes from some unresolved place in between.

            He’s the author of various farces, a performer of boundless nervous tensility, whereas I, who for the most part have been a dependent creature, have an infinite yearning for autonomy in all things. Here, there is no chance of a breakout, no rapture or deliverance. Beware of the premises: origin is a dismembered limb.

Fuck, the hydra, a water feature, which should be the most exciting part. By now she will have gone through her final transformation — the crawfish, another term for spiny — she may also have turned herself into a crab, a hind, a wild nightmare or a cloud. Who among us, like his creator, is left very much alone: ‘iterability of insatiable need’ et cetera.

            Retreat from this position. Your first oversight is the desecration of memory.

Now she contrives to win back the head. It amuses her to perform as a professional apothecary in this way, to deal in the elements: carbon, copper, white titanium. . . . She was torn; I wasn’t having any of that. The two of coins turned up and everyone in the room froze. Origin is feminine take-away, the surgical removal of all your body tissue.

            Her sign is notorious for hoarding; even wreckage has sentimental value. Her signal is the touchstone. By contrast, the hero’s role is to become at any given time (he’s the one with horns grafted onto a head). In his view the body of a radiate animal is essentially a sphere, with the mouth at one of the poles.

            Here, the themes of victimization and female agency in the face of drug addiction, poverty and neglect are carefully dissected. The steps were just outside in the ice and she went flying.

Journal.

Continuing to retreat, slowly making my way across the glacier to asylum in the east.

            He enjoys the fasting, his adeptness at it, and clearly wants no interruptions. Saint the first once drew a hundred horse down from out of a cloud. But this strange and alien presence that banishes us from everything in which we are at home, is no particular event that can be named. I’ll stop screaming for a moment — listen, with hand cupped to ear, see if anyone answers.

            Note how, when he tells an extraordinary story, he immediately adds a skeptical and rational commentary, but his reservations do not prevent him from unconsciously disclosing all the details.

*

More than twenty were injured after the nightclub sinking; now members of our table will not wear the yellow. I’ve had it with symmetry. Sometimes I write myself into a line, sometimes not. What do you mean ‘alleged friend’? How can we mend our working schism? Origin is a four-sided spinning top with a letter on each side as a gamble, by and large.

            If I’d had to return to the office at that moment, I would have punched the wall. What do we say when we say guilt. I may be doing the wrong thing; that would fit this particular moment in time. And so another task is left undone, left out in the cold like some vanquished contender.                 

When I say particular, I mean the level of particularity of the average novel — that’s what gave us the idea of buying something, anything, right there and then. The maritime lexicon is often disorderly. 

            Today we’re concentrating on music he did not have to write — as far as I can see, there’s no record of what the special occasion might have been, that ominous gala. Close your eyes tight for a minute and picture a courtroom, elegantly panelled in walnut. 

            We absconded. The only way to find out is to get on with the job.

            A single drop of water falls from a cloudless sky and lights upon my arm. But we also need to understand how we make this model of preparedness future-proof.

Lifeworks. Wax.

In the dock stands a wayfarer. I dreamt of home; I think I went on a bit too much and embellished the tale. Now I must take care in the presence of every word — one cannot spend a season in hell without crying out for instant nostalgia. In the past I have magnetized a sequence of different memories. (This is taking place in the distant, instinctual past.) I have omitted a great deal of objects from my list. 

Shall I tell you what he said about the cyst? Once, I even mentioned you. He said you were not relevant, he said you are of no significance, a mere cipher — you exist at the periphery, merely another part of our shadow.

            We need not be overly compliant. I am emerging into the ghost of another companion, an exercise in pointlessness.

This is what he said in a confidential mode of speech. Some of them want to sell, some of them don’t want to sell (viz. Eastbourne Suzuki). Upon withdrawal, seed began to ooze from between her lips; it was a nightmare having him as a house guest. We expect more spleen in our illuminati, wrote another.

            Ooo dribble she says. And yes, she is here in the audience tonight. I have long grown used to being dead murmurs a passerby. He has come forth.

Concatenation. Tonguefish, yes.

These events took place during the last thirteen hundred years. Three more attempts failed. (Concerning what or whom? You don’t say.) But there are good things emerging from circumstance. The judge said the suspects were the most repugnant family in the known world throughout history.

I read of complex events which entail a lot of obscure stuff about finance. The supervision, the third movement, is titled elegy. (Is there a closing date.) At this moment in time everything appeared futile — at the time of writing everything appears futile. He promised he would consign me to the lowest circle, given the nature of my existence. He said I was extremely everyday, then he asked about my lodestone incident. 

            At that point the music takes up a kind of insane dance until, like a novelist at the end of a novel, the composer swings back to the weighty indifference of the opening chords. There were three hundred switches in that building — try dividing that by the number of deaths in the latest outburst. Iterability refers to the deconstruction of a sign, the capacity to be unrepeatable in different contexts.

            Watch their mentality. They don’t know. I can’t really explain (a lot of retail investment stuff). For sure, a series of things are dependent on one another: internal memoranda, solid pillars of flint and steel, gigantic cones of salt in the distance. And at that horizon there was seen a dead man walking.

            An undergaoler is a dungeon overseer. Many would receive hundreds of radiation absorbed doses, aka rads, or Joseph Merrick, the Elephant Man.

            So, under or over?

Ex people.

I think I’m beginning to read you more closely, with a little more acumen. The problem set involves a regular oval shape, resulting when a cone is cut by an oblique plane which does not intersect your moon base. The sign was not just the swarming of myriad flies: ash from the kiln was cast into the air. Now stand, bareheaded, with due attention. 

We are sewing back his eyelids, in reverence to the noonday sun. Merchandise must be abandoned, gifts to nothing. The carrier resin hardens. We spent the rest of that evening smoking in silence, surrounded by an opaque darkness that could be touched.         

No one would have found that message had the tree not fallen to reveal another far older tree trapped inside. I believe you’re none the wiser for knowing this brutal information. (It’s going to make everyone think of a Trojan fucking horse.) A vitrine is a glass display case.

            The sun was shining on the hill a short time ago, a blood-red supermoon in syzygy. All that jism near filled a bin liner, while close by stood a reliable witness.

Now a general bank of general cloud, swiftly flowing a little above the landscape we traverse, underside grim. And I think that’s the horn of a stork, maybe a heron — a herm. A herm is a square stone pillar with a carved head on top used as a boundary marker. He is sometimes visible to the naked eye just after sunset. 

            There is no atmosphere and the planet has no satellites; origin is probably a heap of shingle. From early morning I too was identified by my stockpile. The cards that have not been dealt are left on the table to be drawn, but this is certainly my body.

            Now, some remarks about writers, a welcome shriek from one corner of the room. More and more this discourse begins to resemble an inquisitory. (Did you.) A resolution accords with the tone of genesis, which is known.

The promised rain.

Rain was promised. This turns out to be a bitter mistranslation. Origin is late (as an exclamation) from comparative of excelsus, from without — beyond plus soaring.  It cannot be, a disappointed bridge:

            Latest image enclosed
            wilfully unfocussed,
            with internal error. 

            Because our mutability —
            I mean the rib along the intersection.

Consider your porous borders. The next man we barely recognize. It’s all very tricky; no one knows how to act in this dying quarter of the game. Leaning forward he says spirit is being resolved to the essence of being. 

Ecstasy, i.e. stationed well outside of oneself. 

Now we’re straight down his throat. There is an unidentified mass in the oesophagus thorax, a spare man in the voice box. The tongue rises up but cannot escape — the floating watchtower, a pile of stones adrift on still water. Origin is inviolable.

Form. 

Young Pretender — Alchemotherapy — Yankee Tip — Alphabet Dolmen — Atum Hawkhead — Whereareyounow — Avatar — Cunty Boy — Balkan Substitute — Thoth II — Dead Nepthys — Synaesthete — Brave Calling — Legacy Supreme — Them Stone Trees —  Certainty’s Egg — Stein Laager — Chaucer’s Retraction — Some Judge — Classic Narrative — Simulacrum — Confederate Crossing — Shibboleth — Crowley’s Choice — Sansculotte — Granite Temple — Dante’s Duck —  Salt Hood — Dark Set — Cellini’s Ass — Royal Deluge — Deeday Afternoon — Rivet Head — Desert Alchemy — Reverse Pace — Dead Dad — Disco Bolus — Refugal — Disqualified — Atom Ra — Expresso Bongo — Quid Pro Quo — Finger Visual — Quetzalcoatl — Geb’s Earthquake — Rara Avis — Quantity First — General Duress — Popocatépetl — Ghost Trio — Globus Hystericus — Nagual’s Time — Gobatrix — No Alternative — Hanes Blodeuwedd — Norton’s Pledge — He’s Driving Not Me — Plumed Serpent — Criminal Bard — Navigatrix — Nile Earth — Heimweh — Mr Ellipsis — Ice Is — Mount Vesuvius — Monolith — Inglis Drover — Jackal-head Day — My Nemesis — Moist Tefnut — Janiform Lad — Mastabatomb — Human In The Middle — Lord Dives — Deaf In Half An Hour — Kaaba Penis — King Clay — Mini Krakatoa — Kurgan — Ruffian Under The Car — Last Destiny — Angelic Lifer 

It was a fitting end to the eighteenth century. We here meditate on the possible result, and hope that if visitors are not numerous they may at least be select. He was familiar with techniques, including distillation and sublimation; fascism never sleeps. It is moving further and further away from him, this extra dimension. 

            He rotates. He is now far distant along the axis. [Laughs.] When you look at the landscape like that, it’s fine, but when you look at it like this, it becomes skewed, out of kilter. A master shot is a single uninterrupted scene, usually taken from long range, and which contains an entire lifespan. Could we ever see how once we were (ultraviolet camera, well done mate). It was an icy red — everyone had the same eyes, essentially: I shall never again see the colour violet, you will never see blue. We are named and called forth, nomenclatured. 

I picked one up at the airport. I needed to keep moving. You are never early enough for me. (I couldn’t think as slowly as you if I tried.) Ophiuchus, the serpent bearer or Holder, is said to represent a man in the coils of a snake. Also, owing to precession, each sign of the zodiac now corresponds to the constellation that bears the name of the preceding sign, i.e. you are carrying the destiny of the person standing behind you in the queue.

There is no reason, when I look at red, why there should be any drastic changes (see early bath). But then again, there are reasons.

            It seems we exist as if in a recurring dream of disillusionment. They have found out something very important about the brain: dislocation theory is the best we can do. The future’s a broken exit sign.

            You can’t do this by experiment alone. Hold this bell she said, wait while I mount the stairs to the garret. 

            Now we’re assimilated. I heard rumour. In the meantime, you could try a transplant (fucking manta rays). I never said this was going to be easy. Thank you. 

The island’s parasitic cone is the dead centre of a cloud of volcanic ash and lava. Beneath our prow, a green wave freezes and we’re held at its glacial crest. (Hello, it’s mister ellipsis.) Origin is early from subfusc, from sub plus somewhat dark brown. I have another term for spiny lodestar, particularly with regard to intention, purpose.

            Odd’s on. End on a list, always end on a list, if you can. Actually, yes — yes — I could believe that. Cancer of the tear duct is a very rare condition. All three networks, intimidated by the public outcry, had begun to crawfish. 

            At one end is the sheer face of a cliff. Granite, most probable.

*

That same year, execution with the sword was replaced in the legal code by the use of a 3.6-kilogram axe. You sound as though you’re in a casino, a roulette ball — ‘He stands alone in the issueless’ et cetera. 

The war seemed unending, the scene of my adolescence. Two interrogators screamed into both ears through megaphones.

            We are standing in the back of a battered truck. I’m strapped in. A form of punishment in which the victim is secured to a rope and made to fall from a height almost to the ground, before being stopped with an abrupt jerk, has been given the corporation’s seal of approval. There are some holes in all of this, the twenty-four techniques of inquisition.

            I should imagine so, yes. A rad is a dose of ionizing radiation corresponding to the absorption of 0.01 joule per kilogram of matter.

He’s deafened, blood flows from his ears. Witness the old black river and the even older claret lion rampant (not the most tactful thing to put in a case history). We see much the same thing in our western cloisters with the fountain in the garden. 

I was forbidden to dissect and subject the diseased tissues to microscopic analysis, but went ahead regardless. No neurotic harbours thoughts of suicide which he has not turned back upon himself from murderous impulses; it’s a simple enough plot. She signed the manuscript herself, but most likely her hand was guided. This was an act of revenge.

            And who bought the foundry which has been abandoned of late? You should have matured into a fully qualified hare by now.

I have seen heavy objects swimming in the air like so much ash, untouched by human hand, obeying the commands of some unseen operator. (The accordion is a living organism, after all.) There was nothing we could do. But he’s still attached to skin and bone, to memories and intentions. 

            This I set down after a long day at the chalkface, quarks and boundaries and so forth, logic gates banging in a cyclone. Now a pale sun is trying to shine, battling against exhaustion and mental instability.

A scuffle, then I saw the flash of a blade. Disguised as a prison guard, who is never named, she rescues her husband from death in a political prison. In glorious confusion I say whatever appears first, with shadows numberless, full-throated. 

            This event was swiftly followed by a frantic departure — the cordite around the volunteer’s neck, the sack stuffed into his mouth, a membrane of abnormal character. 

John the Revelator

He is traced by a point moving in a plane such that the sum of its distances from two other points is constant. These points are named foci. Or, we chanced upon a matchstick man, head severed from the body, his anatomy inscribed in exquisite detail.

            One who stretches inward, contra one who stretches outward; it could have been any of us. A woman scuttles past clutching a giant plastic clam (sea-blue). You couldn’t make it up. I love that chalky aftertaste.

On the night sea-crossing I did not feather the oars because the wind was with us. To be short, among whalemen, the harpooneer is our custodian. 

            We are addressing here that which refers to the ground and its interpretant, the effect of a proposition or sign on the person who interprets it. From early morning I too was represented by a carved stone, and was identified. Consider our mutability.

            He is messenger of the gods, merchants, thieves and oratory. He is portrayed. When he withdrew his breath, withdrew his storms, the people were saved from disaster. All this was obvious.

            A low murmuring or blowing sound could be heard through the speaking tube when applied to the volunteer’s ribcage. We had been wrong all along.

            Trust is shrinking. His message arrived long ere he came to deliver us. We were saved in the place of three men slain in the desert. 

This cover story could explain a lot of the coming and going at odd hours, as well as those shipments from another dimension. Now we conduct the survivors to war on horseback, but only to spectate. 

            ‘No, by the letter Z,’ says the first.

            Existence is the length of time for which a person or animal lives or a thing functions.

            ‘Never will we have the strength to endure such intoxicating agony a second time,’ says the next.

            ‘In what way?’ says the first.

            ‘And how much time do you allow for that usually?’ says the third. 

            (This type of rambling dialogue is causing all the delays.) 

            ‘Always through the door, I even seem to hear her come in and go out.’ 

            ‘There’s reason in that,’ says the first.
            

Tumulus cloud, sky burial. The next thing worth mentioning is disambiguation, the removal of uncertainty from a linguistic apparition. There was a machine, prised open.

            A casino engine spills chuntering coin into her readied sac. One distant voice said the evening was crepuscular.

*

The message on the scrap of paper in the film reads 70 Media Orcanir Order 8200. This story lacks a convincing villain and proceeds as if writing were a licence to steal. I knew you would never be ready. (Who or what do I resemble now.) We met on a mountain pass. I finally saw some lights much further up the lake, strung out close to the shoreline.

            Go, sit down and dry thy feet. To speak of paternity is no easy metaphor. (Nine’s the new seven.) There’s reason in what she says. 

            The scripts have been deliberately confused. Of course, when one expects to find something, one usually does, and that principle applies here. A ban has been placed on offerings boiled in copper vessels. 

At the time appointed for astral visitation he destroyed all memory of the future, until the next great cloud ‘spills hoofed animals upon the earth’. (Intervention of saint who?) The barbarous king kept the child in a desert place. . . . Walk up into that column of light he said. 

The airport was so vast it took seven hours to walk around it. It made more sense to look up; I’ll do that next time. Before our eyes he transfigured into a vortex of gold luminescence, but you’re not allowed on this coach. She didn’t know where to put her legs. 

An escape route above the port and clamour, through which we are to climb. We are tracking the progress of a bunch of escapologists with no time left to frame. I am quite unable to explain the process by which my head has again become detached from my body.

*

The same nose on all three faces. Here the trade is out of joint: he built the abattoir on spec — fifty-rouble notes have been sellotaped to the ceiling et cetera. Book me an executioner for tomorrow at break of day. 

            He has fled his natural territory, the timeline a long curve in a funereal sky — cortex of the bell tower, white earth spinning below — tongue battery in collision. A composition of folded grey matter is playing an important role in consciousness.

            A clapperboard snaps. When it’s all over the closer shots are photographed and an edited sequence composed of a variety of different stills is constructed on the executioner’s chopping block. Origin is distantly related to home.

The initial stage introduces the hooded crow (Corvus corone cornix), followed by a fossiled shark on a mountain top. Imagine a language system that resists naming: ‘and one disembodied thought draws the heart into stillness’ et cetera. The sea is heaving. Leveret by contrast is a young hare in its first year. 

            I’m hung up on your new idea — the circumvallation of stone, the extended moat. I’m not trying to bury you under invitations, but origin is calling. It says here that a grimoire is a book of magic spells, invocations.              

He weighs his options and decides to throw himself into the aforementioned moat; only through such tactics will we win the Lebensraum that we demand. Monte Cristo (evidently a pseudonym) was anxious to know what enemies and how many he would have to deal with. He is the very measure of alarm and compression.

            Dead centre is the position of a crank when in line with the connecting rod and not exerting torque. A pipe for conveying a person’s voice from one room to another had to be invented.

            Recalcitrants were secured in a wooden box no more than one metre square, in which they could neither lie nor stand, and were fed through a hole designed for that purpose. This isn’t the future; we were stuck. Just don’t let anyone steal the original. You’ll never manage this in your own words. 

Walking with me beside the sea one early evening she says bitter gall rises in my stomach when I read you. A tough protective capsule encloses the larva of a parasite at the resting stage, a thin-walled hollow cavity. Let us call a thing possessing signification a representamen, when your day has come.

*

We need about sixty degrees of bridgehead to survive. We’re finished. As soon as the courts were reopened they at once introduced the tort of temporary sanity: this diverges in concentric circles from a central point, weakening as it approaches the periphery. We are still not touching on the core problem. (See asylum chapter.) If this hadn’t happened the subject might have recovered his sight instantly, but now his brain is turned to face the reverse direction, the two eyes quite useless that way round. Nonetheless, as a herald he is equipped for wayfaring with a broad-brimmed hat, winged shoes and a luminescent rod. A sign or signifier, whether physical or otherwise, points to an object.

            It was a chain reaction, a re-evaluation. Ignite those pages; I have changed my mind yet again — grasp of the universal is achieved solely though representation and suchlike. Am I sanctioned.

*

He struggles to raise his head and glances around the room before, exhausted, he drops back, face pressed into the pillow. In his mind’s eye he ascends the wooden steps to the scaffold. He stops. At a crack of the whip the horses leap away: renaissance of compulsory spectacle et cetera.

            She is working her iniquity by night; now she may take her place. 

He is depicted in early narratives as dispensing with divine messengers — he deals directly, without intermediaries. I waited for one long hour; in the early years there were convenient ovens sunk into the frozen tundra. I tried again to persuade him to concentrate his thoughts on the image of a scrimshaw heart, exquisitely inscribed with an image of calvary. (Come on corpse, it’s just a man, and so forth.) He comes after me, shroud in half-whispers: someone has been writing me, and the ligatures have left deep weals upon my flesh at the inner thigh. 

How are we doing with the numbers? He bows down, the old kopf — cloth-headed, coarse and blue with his tangled face in loose strands — the patriarchal counterpast, eternal guessworker.

            It is 1564AD. The diminutive figure on the coin bears a lance instead of a sword, hence the name. Origin is obsolete geist, unrelated. The sense objectionable dates from my bedrock.

            His flesh is turned to flame, his veins are turned to fire, his eyelashes are turned to bolts of lightning, his eyeballs are turned to flaming torches. He is double, the one who is placed above himself. 

            The last sentence may be translated as ‘my mystic treatise has a luminous pink spine’ or ‘all the household gods have gone out for the day, get used to it’. 

You’re standing alone at the entrance to the tunnel. A current flows back and forth along your vertebral column, galvanizing the shaft of every feather, spicula of bone — each of the tiny needle-like structures of silica that compose your skeleton. A radial jet of gas suddenly burst through the corona of the sun and reached out into space. 

            One rogue acid virus is causing a variety of diseases in humans and other animals. Note how blood still courses through the mortician’s wax.

Lapster. Lapwing. 

            ‘Am I the horse today?

            ‘Yes.’

            A fold of flesh is sometimes found hanging either side of the animal’s body. Admittedly, we know nothing at all about this phenomenon. The process also generates adipocere, aka grave-wax, the conversion of one’s organs into an unstructured mass.

            Within this composition the writer has rejected all words that contain a certain letter. (The reds have a life expectancy of three months.) It was like the interval at Glyndebourne, implicated organisms everywhere — glacial remains, drowned anatomy. Synaesthesia was outlawed.

            Note how the subject has developed an inability to interpret sensations and henceforth to recognize anything. A mass of rocks and sediment is carried down and deposited, typically in the ridges placed at your extremity. 

            There are plans to send an artificial moon into orbit to illuminate the streets at night. I had guessed an experience of that nature must have befallen you. Not being visible has its advantages.

*

Universal precognition leads to irreversible societal unravelling. The inquisitor had discovered another body on nearby landfill only the previous day. He is resolved to cast off his own coil, this anchorite. My own job depends on the proper use of scale, mnemonic purity: coruscating sheets of rose and blue, rising heat vapour on an airstrip out east — quivering bolts of violet. Certain objects have been set aside expressly to covet. 

            The islands as depicted appear to be floating in the mist. That evening, the A-list discussed early methods of forgery involving captured light — the residue after chemical analysis is literally dead head, worthless residue.

I am making an inventory of affinities: vein and sinew, artery and nerve. I said I would not but now I have. It just doesn’t feel as though that way is south he says, pointing an index. 

            Compare with bronze, a yellowish-brown alloy of copper with up to one-third tin. This passage relates to a non-physical realm of existence in which various paranormal phenomena take place, and to which the physical human body acts in counterpoise.

            Our ancestors inhabited a world of constructed distance, then the sky fell in on their heads; I know nothing about that unnameable world. Origin is standing apart.

            But if we compare Kircher’s map with a modern geophysical globe that shows the south as up, our perspective changes forever. Black garb is prominent, no doubt compulsory, in the ten days since the cyclone. Here are bodies, perfect achieved bodies. 

            An operator used in vector analysis has the symbol delta. The rank-and-file are dead set against synthesis, interflow — they have escaped the violence of their feudal oppressors, but there’s always the promise of more to come over the bank holiday weekend. It’s rumoured that the whole sphere of authenticity lies outside technical reproducibility: one evening, when the sun had set, and not only the sun et cetera.

*

I can’t remember. Faded portraits glance up from the pages of a discarded schoolbook impressed into the pavement, also golden-red starfish, the galley slave, an orgy of butterflies or moths. . . . Who in those days suffered the most cruel martyrdom? A future event is possible but cannot be predicted with certainty, thus the absence of necessity: the fact of being so without having to be so. Outside the wind howled. Reading patterns are changing. 

One of our best workers can’t see with her own eyes today. Nonetheless, a timely sketch of a clearwing, which has narrow transparent pinions and, lacking the clubbed antennae, resorts to caricature. The chosen card indicates the return of a loved one.

            I decided to begin with etymology — the foundation survives somewhere nearby, somewhere very close. I don’t read to remember.

            In the dead centre he comes to himself. (I came to myself.) The straight way was lost, the ruptured dam of bad luck, precursory seismic activity. Some cunt had a dead crow on a stick.

© 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
"It is the business of the future to be dangerous" // A.N. Whitehead

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"Poetism is the crown of life; Constructivism is its basis" // Karel Teige

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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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