ArchivesSite MapSubmitOur GangHot Sites
tearing the rag off the bush again
Works by Louis Armand PDF E-mail
beneath the window Rimbaud masturbated from
(for Bruce Andrews, New York, Friday 18 October, 2005)

What is less clear
than this world is
harder to determine.
Here where we’re
never faced with
what’s not here—

turning equivocation
into a moment
of possessiveness.
A film of dust on a plate.
Nixon in China
on the kitchen radio.

And from this fact,
ascribing beliefs,
a few “subjectivist
errors.” The entry code
is loser wins:
the operator

at the back brain
will transact the
pre-recorded message
or won’t—
and that will be that.
(for Donald Theall, in memoriam)

Before this, darkness and intervention, the mock-ironic
posturing of implements that almost mitigates their

cruelty. Blunted at dusk, with its sunken cataracts, who
does the illusion hope to bear witness for? Arriving

like so many approximations, lighting a corner of a table,
the eye searching to see more. Scenes of humiliation

in which an adversary awaits the signal not far from shore,
a window hanging enormously over the sea, covered

with green shutters. There sounds no alarm, even as the
grey hull rounds the buoy, wind sweeping over water.

Only the wavefall barking in cold air. Or somewhere
a bell is gradually tolling, that might once have seemed

ominous, but isn’t. Awaiting the arrival at that senescent
plateau where “everything peaceful has a troubled past.”

Its lack of punctuality is like some carefully devised
stratagem, to force the issue. And the hollow muscular

thoracic cone, circulating the blood for a clinical higher
purpose, unaware of the distress that its activity is arousing.

† 15.5.2008


The silence went unresponded to; we lay there
forming our hypotheses, colder at that time of year
than it should have been, awaiting correction,
thin as a film of sullied light. What looked
like a wall turns out to be an obituary, blank spaces
left to be filled-in by the next itinerant.

Something discarded us among strange cities.
Cried in the night for a sickness that couldn’t be
reclaimed, Garibaldi in Washington Square,
a dwarf standing on a fountain, naked, holding a
balloon. People came and went, possessing
themselves for hours at a time, unconsciously.

Was that really you, at the Stonewall the night
Judy Garland died? You looked younger then.
Dancing the can-can in front of the riot squads.
Yesterday the bombing began. We still look
upon these rites as strangers do, although you
have become us, growing old ungracefully.

The lesson instructed us to oblige. Despite it
you still teach children to burn down cities, stay
safe from rain. And still we find ourselves amazed
at our stupidity. Not knowing who unwinds
the rope from the neck of adversity. Who deems.
Who expects. The children laughing at our error.


We play at degrees of being alive. Walking
along the Seine, past the bibliothèque, a circus,

a wax museum. The ordinary is so freakish,
unsettling, impossible to ignore. Where to next?

A progress report. Immigrants waiting for a bus.
Opposite the starch works, a big moon spotlights

a giant’s anvil and hammer as it forges the
timeless instant at hand. A marrow of forms:

naked concrete, matière vivante, pieces of interior
after identical interior. Their stories swept over us,

we were gathered up in them. Hurrying down a
street under nightlights the world at a standstill,

twenty-four frames per second—a machine of
seizures, violent banalities, in which everything

is still unfolding, everything still in play. Few lives
have the aesthetic dimension of classical narratives.

Should we care? But we too become deaf to all
persuasion, like God in Racine’s laughable tragedy—

an anti-self who merely traverses and rates.
Looking for an explanation for what’s taking place:

a movement, a sound, a change of stance—
something simple we could understand, that

keeps the two terms of the contradiction together?
Fate, you say, is just as arbitrary as a name

or a shadow cast upon history as upon a wall.
Hoping like a cinema parvenu to be picked-out

by the appropriate ending. We climb the
martyr’s hillside under drainpipes and fire escapes,

air thick as oatmeal and molasses. Only to re-
descend, wet coats and boots in a bar above the quays.

It’s midnight, again. Wrapped in perishable words
we exchange dark resolutions. Also, it’s raining.

Desire and police keep vigil along rue Victor Cousin,
beneath the window Rimbaud masturbated from.
< Prev   Next >