Friday, January 21, 2005

Lecture on Modernism

The novels of Henry James descend from whence they were elevated on a brushed-concrete staircase. They smile coquettishly at a large flash. They are how do you say, apropos to zero. Their declensions fall on deaf ears.

The S.S. Europe steamed into New York Harbor and crashed straight into 14th Street. It is lodged there still.

Crepe paper velocipedes all over these islands, black and pink for mourning.

Lunch held a luncheon for a puncheon floor where hogs cool their bellies near Yoknapatawpha. Look, I found a decorum where someone must have discarded it. A decorum is a Roman coin, much bitten.

Then prose rolled over and stopped snoring.

A lecture takes the form of its hearers' mixed memories. One recalls the fuzz standing up on her sweater sleeve as a lightning storm approached. The one in love with her (three rows behind) did not notice this but attributed his own rising hackles to her resemblance to his favorite poem: Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Maud. Moral: memory is rarely progressive.

Every part resembled every other part except for Henry Miller's hangnail.

Declare yourself a genius and watch the bucks come clattering in! It worked for Gertrude Stein. Her rose still hovers over your bluebook, a revenant noun and verb.

Get a load of that impulse control. We know why Jas. Joyce goes blind in the last chapter, now don't we? Now Stan, his brother—there's a soft touch!

"But why would you want to put your ideas in order?" Mussolini asked Pound on the golf course. He put a nine-iron's tip to his lips. Pound shook his head and squinted at the sun. "From this angle you're better off with a sand wedge."

After Faulkner made off with her tricorn, Marianne Moore copyrighted Miss.

First electroplating. Then beaten copper. Then fresh ground pepper. Then snow began, snow began, snow began. White ashes whirled around spires and the people did not dare to look up. Color bleeds out of the scene for forever and a day. Architecture stalls.

A banner is completed by wind.

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