friday morning nine o’clock
the text disintegrates. It flies apart into its several fractions.
It escapes the mind. The pages turn into other pages. The lines stare.
Birnham wood never makes it to Dunsinane. We can’t find the speech
about whatever it was we were looking for. Back at the castle the queen
walks the battlements in a nylon nightie unable to be released
certainly not by my fumbling fingers
the text escapes
the readers sit gazing into the air. What were those words they
hadn’t heard. It’s too early in the morning. What the hell is going on?

meanwhile the instructor gathers up heretofore unthought of
reserves. And attacks the text again. With a page number. Which he
promptly loses. The instructor would very much like to lie down on
the floor for a while.

but they are waiting. If not from him where will they get the
information? What is going on? He’s there to tell them, give them the
news straight from the horse’s mouth. What is it like out there? He’s
been there, he ought to know. He wears its halo in his disordered hair.
What is it that is so exciting that it causes him to stumble? What is it
that is so urgent about the text?

here is the part about the horses eating each other. Is that
important? Here is the porter. There was a party. The instructor
explains the jokes. It provokes, you know, desire. it takes away

o yes
the performance
where was that? The date is among the papers on the desk; or
perhaps it’s on the next page.

they all turn over. They dream of turning over in their single
beds. They dream of owning and occupying double beds. Their eyes
glaze. They heartily wish they were elsewhere. So does the instructor.
He has wished vainly that he and they were elsewhere right from the
start. He returns to furious battle with the text. Go back to the porter.
The porter is drunk. Who are all these people?

They troop into the room. A french tailor, an explanation of
venereal diseases hits the blackboard. The farmer who hanged himself,
mention of going to heaven. What are they doing in the room? What
are they doing in the play. The porter is drunk.

The instructor has recently been drunk, too. Very recently.
Where was that? He fails to relocate the porter. The drunken tailor will
not leave the room.

Their eyes open. They gaze steadily at the instructor. What
obscure struggle is he engaged in? With whom is he wrestling at the
front of the room? Why do his fingers flail so urgently through the
pages of the text? What is he doing?

The porter is drunk. What is the porter doing? He points to the
blackboard. They are instructed to write something. What are they

We can’t find the speech. We keep arriving on the doorstep,
pleading with the drunken porter. The porter seems incapable of
letting us in. What is happening in there?

We’ll never know.

friday afternoon at the seminar
rain has fallen since leaving the station. The traffic has been
hazardous. While approaching a corner jammed with four lanes
trying to empty itself into four lanes the driver cursed. The vehicle
itself came unexpectedly to a halt just as the corner had been navigated
and failed to restart. Behind on two roads traffic stopped for miles.
The driver leaped around in despair.

On the way to the seminar the driver missed the stair.

fire and air

They are talking about someone who means absolutely nothing.
Their voices are raised. They are getting excited about something. The
driver is very anxious to explain it but the explanations are not clear.
Why are they getting so excited? What is going on?

behind the bare hills ragged men take pot shots at each other
when possible the opposing lines are bombarded with leaflets
they address their enemies as brother
louse for louse they are as alike as peas in a pod

The driver tries to set the scene. Now they are talking about
the people. The passenger wonders who are the people, the people,
the people, you know, the masses, the labouring classes, the proletariat,
the landless, the means of productionless, the propertyless,
the dispossessed

wage slaves, workers

you, passenger, you are the people

The people have risen. Writers are trying to get them to lie
down again. Intellectuals prove to their own satisfaction that the
people have no imagination, no passion, no brains, no capacity for
suffering, no trace or skerrick of anything at all uncommon.

yet when the driver looks at the passenger there is a shimmer
of fire about her

Intellectuals are lying about the people, to save their skins.
They have no passion, no imagination, no brains. They have,
however, intact and unbroken skins. The passenger, sitting blazing
hopelessly amid all these perfectly formed, carefully preserved skins,
expensive and thick like carpet-bag steak, a fillet wrapped lovingly
around a gluey grey oyster like the souls of the rich, wonders what
they are talking about. The driver, who is getting more and more
angry, declares it is insulting. The driver’s companion has gone to
sleep again. Who are all these people? What are they doing, in this
large room with the vaulted ceiling?

contemplating the prospect of explaining why, in fact, nothing
is going on, in this attempt to do something about nothing, the
driver …

l’imagination prend le pouvoir

red flags over the shipyards, the power stations, the aircraft works
executives beating vainly on the locked doors of their offices
workers everywhere
anything is possible
students armed with paving stones
attack the police
blazing cars and barricades
the bourgeoisie is forced
to hit the street

the sailor
drags the reluctant navigator
across a tunnel of water and air
the navigator is at sea
the clues are incomprehensible

the sailor, on his first determined effort to put out into the
ocean, found herself without a notion of what to do
the navigator was equally at a loss

there were no instructions and no signs
it was hard to find anyone else qualified in the matter
if they were they were silent
if they were not silent their instructions were so much white noise

the sailor continues to seduce the navigator with fresh proposals
the navigator has a problem of meaning
the sailor has a problem trying to keep the meaning
but nevertheless plain     the sailor is trying
to strip the meaning of its meaning
the navigator will act

the sailor cannot see the sailor
the navigator sees     the navigator
cannot see the navigator the sailor sees

yet each is trying to be
short of declaring themselves
as plain as possible

and over all this wide flat sea the moon rides
in a company of stars
and although they misunderstand each other
they are far from land

the sailor dreams that the navigator
will rise like the sun
surround him
and drown him

the navigator plots his future
according to the map
if the ship moves
it is the result of some natural law

o sailor they are
drowning your navigator
as you sit on the deck
wondering why the ship doesn’t sink

the navigator’s face
slips into the foam
and your arm
just isn’t long enough

o navigator the water
is filling your lungs
colder and colder
out beyond the headland
nothing beneath you
further and further
into the darkness

The sailor has gone a long way out to sea, out beyond the
flotsam, on a wide flat sea, without wind, floating in perfect solitude
under the moon. Above him the sky hangs, a massive, multiple necklace
of stars, diamonds dripping in the velvet night.

The dolphin coughs for company as he splashes about the boat.

The boat is darkness hanging on the shining water. The dolphin
passes in a flash of phosphoresence.

Alone in the boat, the sailor dreams of the navigator. The stars
are poured above his head like fire. In his dream, the navigator sits in
a green glade, on which the sun falls, and draws maps.

What will the navigator say when, encrusted with salt, eyes
drained by water and sun, hands burnt brown as oak, the sailor
lurchingly returns?

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