5.11 / November 2010


excerpts from a prose-poem sequence

Whoever wants to get to know a man should leave him as quickly as possible. He is in the last place to be found there where he stands. All the time he silently moves away from himself by expressing himself in the world of things. So one can learn to know another best by traveling with him through a country or by looking at a town with him.[1]

the wending through the streets, adding props to the self. Devils and mimes, models waiting for taxis. Some part of you is always over the horizon; knowledge to feeling, phenomenon to enigma.

The life of the stage is a flow underground, meldings with other stages, roots of trees, worms, the dead; or actors who’ll do anything for work.

The movies, however, are in a world without plumbing. Suggestion, quotation, pun, and ample faith: these carry the life of the cinema.

And yet we tend to think it’s real. But the theater of old is more real, more like Plato’s cave and the dazed climb back out to Broadway.

To see the face in the Shroud of Turin, stand seven meters back, creating for yourself a small chapel or private screening room.


The faces of madmen were micro-theater, thought Guillaume Duchenne. He believed that any face was beautiful through the accurate rendering of emotions, and called the passions forth with a shock-puppetry of batteries and wire.

At the morgue, a grey old man lay still in a dark corner; freshly dead, and now many times as old as when he died. It was raining, and the window was cracked slightly to let out the smoke from the burning lamps. A line of water crept along the ceiling; drops fell slowly onto the old man’s face, forming new lines that trailed around his mouth, making him smile at his fate—or possibly at ours.[2]

Is immediacy what we experience, or memory? We think of time as tick-tock because moments accordion-fold from one another; we go backward almost as much as forward.


“The idea presents itself that the body-image boundary corresponds in some ways to a screen on which is projected the individual’s basic feelings about his safety in the world.”[3]


You were a beautiful palimpsest; I was immanence dreaming of transcendence.


Terror and hope like profiles left and right. Unfathomably of seas and shipwrecks, but they are of “my” seas, where projection threatens to become perception, a delta.

[1] J. H. Van Den Berg

[2] Adapted from Charles Dickens’ The Uncommercial Traveller; with thanks to Angus Trumble

[3] Seymour Fisher and Sidney Cleveland

5.11 / November 2010