Ezra Pound in London

 Posted by at 10:36 am  Atelier, ON the STREET  Comments Off
May 232008

I enjoyed James Campbell’s piece in last Saturday’s Guardian review piece about Pound in London and my attention was particularly taken with the following extract:

“Go In a friendly manner,
Go with an open speech.

He lived in London for 12 years, from 1908 to 1920, gradually widening his poetry to absorb natural forms of speech and at the same time, the life of the city. If we could unearth Pound’s copy of the London A-Z, it would be a heavily thumbed, scribbled-over, asterisked and earmarked volume.”

More Mess

 Posted by at 10:28 am  Atelier, OUT in the WILDERNESS  Comments Off
May 232008

What is it about, this mess?

Surely it’s the ground of our being, the ground to which we return as rotting meat or ashes.

There’s that other phrase: the return of the repressed.

Sleep might be seen as a preparation, a daily practice of dying. A letting go into . . . what exactly – the bizarre chaos of dreams – consciousness continues in free form – in a free fall that’s also a working through, a re-working of psychic elements.
A dissolving – a dissolution – disillusion – from which we emerge into the new day barely knowing what we are or what we may become, but we have to become something, we have to make choices and the habits of yesterday are generally felt to be a possible place to start.
Is there terror at the heart of the “Western” project? Our hypermanic efforts to protect what we’ve got.

Every few days ‘I must go down to the sea again’ to bear witness to the dissolution. Every night I must return to the sea (mare) of our nights and after a certain number of years I must return to the dissolution of death.

And for some reason I am infused with the joy of celebration. A celebration that gets to the point of it all. A bottle of champagne plus plus plus!

May 152008

It was one conversation, Hey Het, but they were travelling in opposite directions, it was familiar territory, Terra Nostra, and yet they were both headed for unknown regions. What do people get out of your songs, the one travelling in a westerly direction asked, but dissatisfied with the way the question sounded in his ears he began again, What do you give them in your songs.

I don’t give them anything, she replied, speaking in English but with a strong accent from the direction of Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean or Middle East, People take what they want from them.

As he had begun to ask his question, the interviewer had imagined a pre-established value, a price that was set on her songs, and there was a material truth in it, how else would she earn the bread she needed to live by, and the value fluctuated according to an unpredictable and unseen force, the force of desire in the heart of every listener, and both could claim equal possession, and mostly did, according to ancient historical rights, the rights of property, and so on, so that conflict and violence appeared endless, Palestine was everywhere, the constant threat of terror and war.

Then there was the point in his asking when he paused, a moment of insight and drawing back, in this libidinal economy it was the moment when disgust exceeded the power of his sexual desires, and he softened his question, and made it into a gift, a hand-out rather than a form of exchange, although it was still clear that he intended to keep the upper hand.

Her refusal was shocking, and once she might have been locked up for replying in such a way, as a street walker, and for singing such songs, it had happened in the past, she might have been stoned or burnt, but now everyone had a radio, and the airwaves were full of her songs, and other songs like hers, and noone was punished, or only rarely, it all being the same will to expand in every direction, yet as if all lacked potency.

Until the last part of her reply, those two walking fish had intervened again, the infinity of her resource, the obvious and unremarkable answer.

How easy it is to go mad

 Posted by at 9:28 am  Atelier, IN Conversation  Comments Off
May 122008

I said something about the mess that most of us live in and what I meant was that rationality and logic – by themselves – can often lead us away from the truth – from a sense of reality that takes in a sufficiently wide view of what’s going on out there and inside us. In the case under discussion, the wilful ignoring of the fact that she was (very understandably) spitting fury. But because she was confined to a logical analysis (she was after all a very capable lawyer working at high levels of government) and the consequent plans of action, she had decided to commit suicide. I hasten to add that the plan has not (yet) been acted upon.

How easy it is to go mad; to go off track into the wasteland.

What constant attention has to be paid, what temptations have to be resisted . . . in order to stay sane.
One could say that staying sane is one of our high priority duties.
The best way is an ordinary, every day conversation with friends, colleagues and family.

I’ve got a secret . . .
Tell me about it.