I am concerned, I say, with facts which may belong to pure observation, but which on each occasion present all the appearances of a signal, without our being able to say precisely which signal, and of what. For instance, The Humanité bookstore has a wonderful sign, “ON SIGNE ICI,” a person leaning against a cart, windows giving onto dark rooms half-covered with curtains, and a shop (possibly something like “CARTES TABAC PRESSE”). Although he rails against the psychiatric profession at the end of Nadja, Breton never visited Léona during her long, anguished confinement, and Polizzotti suggests that it is unlikely she ever saw the book that made her famous. Never released from the asylum in Ballieul, where she was transferred in 1928, she suffered from cancer and died in 1941, probably from the effects of typhus aggravated by chronic malnutrition. Thanks to research by the Dutch novelist Hester Albach, who spoke to Léona’s granddaughter, and the publication in 2009 of Léona, héroïne du surréalisme (as yet untranslated), we now know that her last name was Delcourt, and we also have a photograph. Bang-Bang-Ugh and Something Too Heavy To Swim. Make every day Meat Day! Make your mouth taste like a bicycle! An expert told me you have an eye called the Eye of Hours, that your fantasies are bright as barbwire and rashes. Maybe I’m writing to the wrong address. The rich own the rackets; the poor play with wrists. What’s wrong with this picture? Is this the card you were thinking of? The Queen of Pork. I tell the cops what I tell my own hands: You are the premier expert. But you have no idea who I am. Sunday morning in Kaohsiung. Early. 1:38. Thought to write before I dissipated into the rain. The rain that rises from below. The air conditioner is on. The window is black. In a few hours the fireworks will start exploding over the white buildings: businessmen praying. Fire-prayers. For their economic futures. The predominant colors are white, red, and green ... I hope everything goes well. That sounds vague, but I mean it ... There’s a high rate of leukemia where we live (South Tucson), which apparently is due to high levels of (white) paint in the water -- from when airplanes were being repainted in the 70s or 80s, and all the unused paint was carelessly dumped. The rivers in Tucson are 300-feet below ground, by the way. The river beds (dry) are populated primarily by homeless men. Occasionally one will get killed, usually by another homeless man. Anyway, South Tucson is Mexican. Then it’s the desert. I spend much of my time in the desert pondering the lives and consciousnesses of the people in the prison down the street, the homeless men who live beneath mesquite trees, the Virgin of Guadalupe enshrined on the hill east of town, the people on the city buses ... I was thinking today: we’ve exceeded the end of the world. Dismayed. Though here in Taiwan, since I don’t know Chinese, I’m largely oblivious to what’s right in front of me. Semi-tropical. I process the desert. The expiration date of human beings. I feel we’ve folded back on ourselves; where has “consciousness” brought us? When I see a praying mantis, I think: you will inherit all we’ve destroyed ... 1,000,000 words. What’s your ideal life for that work? I mean, in what form, in what WAY, do you imagine it to exist (at last)? I mean, I’m seeing stars after stooping over in my chair. It can’t be the weather, which has been very busy today. I’ve been very busy today, which amounts to seeing stars after stooping over in my chair. A few months LATER, in early 1964, Lovatt arrived. Through her naturally empathetic nature she quickly connected with the three animals and, eager to embrace John Lilly’s vision for building an interspecies communication bridge, she threw herself into his work, spending as much time as possible with the dolphins and carrying out a programme of daily lessons to encourage them to make human-like sounds. While the lab’s director, Gregory Bateson, concentrated on animal-to-animal communication, Lovatt was left alone to pursue Lilly’s dream to teach the dolphins to speak English. But even at a state-of-the-art facility like the Dolphin House, barriers remained. “Every night we would all get in our cars and pull the garage door down and drive away,” remembers Lovatt. “And I thought: ‘Well there's this big brain floating around all night.’ It amazed me that everybody kept leaving and I just thought it was wrong.” Lovatt reasoned that if she could live with a dolphin around the clock, nurturing its interest in making human-like sounds, like a mother teaching a child to speak, they’d have more success. "Maybe it was because I was living so close to the lab. It just seemed so simple. Why let the water get in the way?” she says. “So I said to John Lilly: ‘I want to plaster everything and fill this place with water. I want to live here.’” The radical nature of Lovatt’s idea appealed to Lilly and he went for it. She began completely waterproofing the upper floors of the lab, so that she could actually flood the indoor rooms and an outdoor balcony with a couple of feet of water. This would allow a dolphin to live comfortably in the building with her for three months. Lovatt selected the young male dolphin called Peter for her live-in experiment. For Lovatt, though, it often wasn’t the formal speech lessons that were the most productive. It was just being together which taught her the most about what made Peter tick. “When we had nothing to do was when we did the most,” she reflects. “He was very, very interested in my anatomy. If I was sitting here and my legs were in the water, he would come up and look at the back of my knee for a long time. He wanted to know how that thing worked and I was so charmed by it that one time I said, ‘Peter, at the center of “The Deposition” (is a Christ-like arrangement focusing on Monkman — the artist figures in much of his own work (often as his drag alter-ego Miss Chief Eagle Testickle)). The artist’s avatar cradles a woman from Picasso’s “Guernica”, while young First Nations men surround him as he collapses. Off to the left, refugees from Francis Bacon paintings emerge from a shadowy doorway, and the North End neighborhood of Winnipeg, known for its large First Nations community, acts as the backdrop. The figures, with the exception of one coyote that barks at a Bacon-esque dog, appear emotionless. Ravens collect valuable trinkets on an awning, historic pictographs appear on a wall, and baroque clouds linger overhead. This is stuff you need to know about us humans.’” Which is to say, “The Objectively Offered Object” details the fabrication and subsequent psychoanalytic interpretation of nine object-assemblages. One of the most striking and complicated of such objects is “The Letter L,” a doll which Luca found in an antique shop and partially covered with cartoon riddles he cut from almanacs. Luca describes attaching a second head to the doll’s groin and asking his wife to sew on it a mask of steel pen nibs. After Luca’s wife tires and complains of the task, an argument ensues, leading to Luca’s moving out for a week to stay with friends. On his return, Luca affixes the second head, which he sees as a replacement for the doll’s sex, with razor blades. Pleased that the object was approaching completion, Luca’s wife asked what they were going to call their child; Luca replied that it couldn’t be their child since it would be called Nadja. As I have said elsewhere, a theory of a politics that cannot cope with contradiction, that denies the irrational, that tries to sanitize the erotic, fantastic components of human life cannot visualize an authentic end to domination but only vacate the field. Anyway, once offered, the object “began to murmur a black-magical language”: I want to get Augustan / pass the mustard / make it matter make it / brainmatter where the shattered / cranium just shivs it in the darkened theater of the skull; as in the darkened theater / raised for the splatter pic: roll call: roll camera: let the last girl / pick her way across the battlefield of upraised tibia / shattered and piqued at difficult angles, stripped ligatures / flapping like battle standards in the night; pick on in spike heels / ‘cross the spongy fosse; but the upright second regiment / of bone shards is a mighty / blank … I forgot preening over a labyrinth. I forgot the marrow and murmurs melting into soup. I forgot mercury. I forgot the pleasurable tension of avidity. I forgot sausage fat sizzling with the passion of cultists. I forgot the sunray that seared a stallion. I forgot intimacy as a glistening patch of skin. I forgot a sea refusing to swallow gold coins despite their flirtatious glints. I forgot capturing light through algebra. I forgot stitching together a map and fur-covered boots. I forgot flabbergasted lions bred for locked jaws. I forgot baby priests turning away to cast profiles forsworn to Donatello. I forgot her hobby of attending to death beds — each time afterwards she lusted for hotel lobbies stuffed with crystal chandeliers. I forgot the startling velocity of tourists. I forgot Fiore slicing mushrooms delicately then spreading the segments on a wooden table to dry under the sun. I forgot wanting to see sky above her cheekbones instead of a mirror reflecting the killer inside me. I forgot a limp laundry line, almost invisible in the grey air. I forgot obviating zero gravity to hone in. I forgot I knew better than to display flinch. I forgot a mountain will split to form a heart. I forgot branches will break to form a heart. I forgot my father is not Adolf Hitler of Germany. I forgot my father is not Pol Pot of Cambodia. I forgot my father is not Anastasio Somoza of Nicaragua. I forgot my father is not Joseph Stalin of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. I forgot flamenco’s First of Ten Commandments: Dame la verdad! I forgot stepping into a story I falsely thought belonged to me. I forgot Carmen Amaya who sweated so much when she danced that aftermath meant pouring sweat out of her shoes. I forgot his songs compelled demon blood to boil in all of our veins. I forgot him singing a man thrown in jail for stealing grapes to appease the ugly grunts of his starving wife and children. I forgot his cante came from him like a rusty nail slowly pulled from an old wooden board. I forgot that when a stone hand cracks, its pieces will not be caught. The house of mirrors is a system of ecology here. And yet a large part of the commentary concerns the television program Hoarders, a show that focuses on those who withhold themselves and their “stuff” from circulation. However, as one of the primary vehicles of manufactured desires, television reminds us once again, that obsolescence is the bread and butter of capital expansion. Referring to the size of a bin of her “things” given to her by her mother, Durback notes that “The specular relationship between the coffin and time capsule points to the fetish, of course, but beneath a near full moon, outside the Quality Inn swimming pool, C.A. Conrad attuned us to Reiki 1. Hexagons slipped out of the moon ‘like lozenges.’ The pineal gland opened in the wrong place, like an eye on the top of the head. We were creatures. We sat on the floor and received a ruby in one hand and emerald in the other, like a coven of unicorns and realists.” And at the same time, the smudge of it is all over us. “The tantra of the charnel ground, where the toxic waste churns -- infinite.” That was Anne Waldman. What are the “antidotes”? How can we take our seat in the midst of this waste and look right at it, be with it -- with a “dharmic gaze or scrutiny”? “What strengthens your resolve?” “Subatomic,” said Anne. “There are five worlds. We are in the fifth world. The world we are in right now. It is called The Glittery World.” That’s what Layli Long Soldier said.
[Note: Sources: André Breton, Nadja (tr. Richard Howard), and James Elkins, as quoted in Elkins’ “4 / 1 / André Breton, Nadja”, at Writing With Images; JBR; Rick Poynor, “On My Shelf: André Breton’s Nadja”, at Observatory, 19 Aug 012; Johannes Göransson, “Dear Ra”, at Octopus 4; Brandon Shimoda, email rec’d 14 Jun 014 approx 10:58 AM PDT; JBR; Del Ray Cross, “mmclxxvii”, at Anachronizms, 14 Jun 014; Christopher Riley, “The dolphin who loved me: the Nasa-funded project that went wrong”, at The Guardian, 8 Jun 014; JBR; Hrag Vartanian, “The Violent History of Kent Monkman”, at Hyperallergic, 14 Jun 014; JBR; Michael Leong, “Surrealism in a Minor Key: Recent Translations of Ghérasim Luca”, at Hyperallergic, 28 Jul 012 (hat tip J Karl Bogartte); Jessica Benjamin, quoted in Jacob Bard-Rosenberg, FB post, 15 Jun 014; JBR; Joyelle McSweeney, “Carpal Seeple”, at The Rumpus, 3 May 012; Eileen Tabios, “10 couplets and 10 tercets for John”; Tyrone Williams, “One woman's garbage.... taking out, taking in, the trash...”, at Jacket2, 13 Jun 014; Bhanu Kapil, “Summer Writing Program: Week 2: Decompressions”, at Was Jack Kerouac a Punjabi?, 14 Jun 014]