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end of dreaming

I don’t want to be the one who lives here
     but the alien
I want to visit your beautiful country

I don’t want to speak this tongue
     but the alien
I want to hear your beautiful language

I don’t want to share the words used
     to be the one who understands
     but the alien

I don’t want to be able to explain
     who we are
     what is said
     how we do things here

I don’t want to be the one who asks what you think
     of our beautiful country
     but the alien
I want to understand nothing but your laughter

I don’t want to be the one who knows
     who we are
     and who they are
     but the alien

I don’t want to be the one who knows
     what we are
     and what they are

I don’t want to give them the words
     to take out the words they use
     to share the words in their mouths

I want to share in your beautiful laughter
     and to understand in your smiles
     your good will to strangers

I don’t want to be the one with dreams of leaving
     anymore
     but the alien

I don’t want to be the one who hears
     from your beautiful mouth
     you are leaving
     but the alien
who leaves who just leaves who lies down
     and leaves

I don’t want to feel this grief on anyone’s behalf
I don’t want to feel this shame on anyone’s behalf

but I want this grief
but I want this shame

     and the shame of grief
     and the shame of shame

 

 

[written on the occasion of the shooting

Christchurch 15 March 2019]

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Valeria Luiselli writes in La Calle, Alex Webb’s book of photos of Mexico

Walking down the rumbling hot concrete of that fucked-up and noisy and utterly dirty triangular block in Tacubaya, it was sometimes comforting to think that the silent witch doctors’ cave was oblivious to the future respectful whispers inside the seventeenth-century shrine, and that the shrine knew nothing of the intrigues that must have developed behind the doors of that early Porfirian mansion, and that the mansion ignored the cum-cries and sobs of the Cine Hipodromo’s first sound films and the foreign words simultaneously spoken or written down by the residents of the Ermita, who in turn never even suspected my weary, pregnant footsteps trudging along the sidewalk, eager to arrive back home.

— copyright Alex Webb

…I am currently writing about writing–and theatre, always theatre–as belonging to the problematic field of the object, and outside, while theatre belongs to that of of the subject, and inside. The paragraph above appealed to me by being not only a writing on the outside but also one that addresses writing’s exteriority.

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dear reader, I am writing a book. Below a tiny excerpt. If you would like to support this work, please contact me by way of the contact form, top, left hand margin.

The brain remains a symbol, with all that is entailed under this symbolic existence, nailed at some extremity—perhaps the highest plank—of the vast carpentry we have been calling the symbolic framework of reference, so long as its cognitive functions are identified with representation and so long as these higher functions are so called. Except that it express itself symbolically we should therefore show no small amazement that we cannot trust it.

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field recordings 2017:06:16 18:06:43 – 2017:08:03 12:37:29 including Minus Theatre rehearsing VMG at the Baptist Church and setup at LOT23

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untitled 1: including an in memoriam for Douglas Wright, 14 October 1956 – 14 November 2018

The great Spanish writer—not an opinion, a fact, my friend

He would or he might begin with something suitably self-deprecating—

a reference to another writer, an artist who, perhaps, was more far-sighted,

in not worrying so much about his place in things, worrying at her hems,

edges and scabs, at the places where the body—of work, obviously—comes

undone, as it inevitably does, Douglas Wright died this week, I say this

not to be topical, but in respect of an image and its necessary resonance, or,

let us say, vibration with another—necessary, because the only reason ever

for an image, to initiate one, is to set it up in such a way that it ping

off another, calling everyone, at this overflowing table, to attention with the edge

of a knife, how sharp we will never know, tap against an empty glass—a

game of golf, Douglas in a liminal state induced by drugs of a medical nature,

purportedly, hearing the news, on the radio, a voice: it says, this

this will really really put New Zealand at last put New Zealand New Zealand

on the world the world on the world stage; and voices from a stand of

macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, echoing up over the balcony, in

through an open window, to where Douglas lies, on a couch, in a state

between waking and dreaming, hearing the voices commingle, those

from the stand of macrocarpa, adjacent to the golf course, where golf

balls often end up being hit by accident, voices of the searchers for the lost

golf balls, calling out, WHERE IS IT? HERE and IT’S OVER HERE,

WHERE? I FOUND IT! and that voice

on the radio, so that … but here I become confused, because the next

image enters, not prematurely, I hope, but soon enough that it sets off

the former image, so that we almost trip over it—HERE

New Zealand on the world stage IT’S OVER HERE

at last—and I would like to champion, at this point, Ghost Dance, the source

of this former image, having its source in its author, Douglas Wright, who

is also, sadly, former, as the greatest artistic autobiography ever written by

a by by a by a New Zealander by a New Zealander … OVER HERE … Lost …

from the world stage, forever. Vila-Matas was the famous Spanish author.

The next image is—can it in all truth be called an image? when it is

a matter of voices?—and Douglas’s voice, I hear his cadences, pronouncing

on the, what was it we had lost? the sense of the strength of movement

coming from the pelvis, that we had lost, in our young dancers—the next

a voice says please

return to your seat

it sweeps the aisle

clear at the same

time David Byrne

is singing another

voice and another

close, Stay in your

lines.

You are being

You are out

of control, Sonny

or is it Girlie?

I have the strange

unwonted accompanying sensations,

not entirely unpleasant, of arms, not entirely unpleasant, only

unwonted, of arms holding me and the hands attempting

to take hold

of the left arm in the classic armlock we know from films, and twist it

behind my back, movies about forced removal

of potentially disruptive and violent—and again

the fit of the words is false, without falsifying, since this is

indeed what we do with miscreants: the bodyguard, no, he is

a security guard, with a beautiful word emblazoned—the most

exaggerated form of embroidery or printing—emblazoned on his back, VENUE

SECURITY all one word, like a gang patch.

Douglas Wright and David Byrne. Douglas was just 62. What is

an age, when you do not grow old?

 

David Byrne David David Byrne amazing fantastic and beautifully

deconstructed in the concert version of American Utopia two

words

venuesecurity at the Spark telco arena, although this makes it sound like

they built it, they did not—do brands maintain their psychosexual overtone?

of having been inflicted in a hot moment of contact—let us say, “the lie

of the land

she meant yes

she meant yes”

 

It was a white and middleclass and quite fat night on the metaphorical bleachers

at the David Byrne concert tonight,

the second encore ended with a rollcall of names of murdered

African-Americans (two words?)

whose killings in racially charged circumstances have elevated them into the hall of martyrs” says Variety

There is an insupportable irony in the fact that my assailants were all brown

because I wanted to dance

 

Dance

is it a health and safety issue that so few serious modern composers who

are accepted as such

commit themselves to music to dance to?

 

Dance

I cannot imagine Douglas Wright dying

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now i’m listening to kip hanrahan’s beautiful scars and i realise there is no other music for grownups so full of joy sex & politics 3 of my fav things but art too art music art life art rotting with life decomposing on the street sweating in the room shroom is how i am

thanks gareth

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“I wanted to do something worthy of the place” – theatre of writing

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03.08.2018 Universal City, Studio & so on, to infinity and beyond

Hakutsuru since 1743—choice. Although, writing with Gekkeikan glass this balmy evening.

…speaking of culture: 2 gratifying aspects of culture and cultural acceptance we observe are 1) the presence of ashtrays; although it is not a nation of smokers as it might once have been, like some charming anachronism ashtrays have accompanied our dining experiences, if not the actual effluvia; although tonight we sat opposite two middle-youthed men in shirtsleeves, both trying valiantly to master the art of electrocigarette action (the younger man, trying to outdo the elder, tried to smoke harder and drink louder, while his cigarette insert kept falling out of the electro-gizmo, and he acted like he didn’t care, sweeping it off the floor with a nonchalance so contrived and demonstrative as to be theatrical); and other times young women smoking, the smoke effectively sucked out of the room, leaving the tang of chemicals behind, like a sour smell-rind; 2) despite the years of isolation being long gone by about 2 centuries and those of American occupation barely within living memory, despite the porky presence of gaijin reeking of the dairy (to mix scentences), particularly in a place like the Dot of Doutonbori, it is surprising the predominance of Japanese language outside the most tempting of eating-places, drinking-places, on menus and in descriptions of what lies inside the mostly inward-facing joints, bars, holes in the wall, restaurants, rooms for public life. This is accommodation without concession.

…yes, speaking of culture, today we went to Hogsmeade, Harry Potter Land, Hogwarts—at Universal Studio! …

We expected crowds—there were; we expected tantrum-inducing waiting-times—there were; but we also expected—the Japanese panache at carrying fakery to next level; we expected the generosity in adopting the misshapen popular artifices of cultures other than that of Japan; despite the Americolonial years, we expected the joy at inventions—that the Japanese seem to have invented anyway, like theme-parks, living hoardings, robots-are-as-good-as-life, loud in your face snakeoil salesmanship … and we expected it all to be beautifully performed, dressed, choreographed scenically. After all, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey has won best ride in the world for @5 consecutive years. I think.

The trip came on on leaving our train at Universal City. Like the Tomoyuki Hoshino novel I’m reading, things got weird pretty quickly; and like with any trip left little time to wonder at psychological harm, ensuing identity disorders, or moral malaise (anyway, we’d been to an owl forest in stifling heat, in a suburb of Kyoto).

The check-in lady’s voice came at us with machine-gun machine-reproduced—for no conceivable reason, since she was just behind glass—ear-slicing consonantal bruitage. And we asked about express tickets. Would’ve added hundreds onto the bill, as well as kept us there until 1900 hours plus.

We braved the cheaper entry. Found Hogsmeade, Diagon Alley, the snow glistening, and J. asked how they keep it from melting … Magic.

Rode Harry Potter and the Forbidden & so on. Ate churros. Checked out the Butter Beer.

Rolled out of the Wizarding World into Muggles of Amity Village, and onto the schlocky Jaws ride. What was our open secret? Singles! Japanese prefer to ride in groups, friend groups, family groups … so we are told. Still, with the Potter ride, the ten mins turned into about an hour, but beat the two hour standard wait time—unless you have express and can arrive at the designated 1900 hours. We rode singly. That’s how we rolled.

Next, Jurassic Park’s The Ride, in water, with splashdown.

On to The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man – The Ride 4K3D. This was great—cartoon characters leaping into your field of vision, with 3D goggles, addressing each of you, each of me, individually, right up on your bonnet, and grill. When the electric baddy plugged his thing into the front of our car the Chinese lady two down screamed like she’d been personally electrocuted. Electrocution—it’s personal.

But the prize—apart from the overall artdirection of the Wizarding World—went to Evangelion XR 4D. This was a VR—full head-set (staff intensive, the team fitting me up, as I sat beside, as a single, an odaku guy, asked where I was from. New Zealand. Ah, sheep! Yes, I said, with fingers in beard, like me! Most disconcerting—when she’d fitted the headset and launched me into VR I heard You’re a sheep! You’re a sheep! A sheep!) hyper experience. Mosquitoe giant guys demolished the city and, cleverly, with a pilot and orientating details in field of vision, we hurtled through the apocalypse, bodies thrown one way, then another, because on an actual rollercoaster, while heads and sensory apparati were, through the headset, tuned into the virtual environments. And what works here is scale. This world was huge and in 360 degrees. … Mission accomplished, we slowed, me and the odaku guy, whom I’d neither heard nor seen a baby whisker of, into a massive hangar space, and outside the VR I heard clapping, the clapping the staff were routinely doing for new recruits, getting seated in their pods.

Tonight we found a skinny building to eat in, sat upstairs, two cynical electrosmokers doing their best to look cool.

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29.07.2018 Arashiyama

The typhoon passed. Through the night, like the Buddhist monks at the head of Robert Matta-Clark’s bed, at the moment he passed away, shouting into his ears, because hearing, of all the senses, is the last to leave us, ROBERT! ROBERT! YOU’RE DEAD! YOU’RE DEAD, ROBERT! … like them, was heard, through the night, a loudspeaker announcing the present calamity. Although we could not understand a word of what was actually being said. A theme-tune played. Every station has a theme tune, or refrain—ritornello—so why not a typhoon? (It had after all a name, which I do not recall.) THE TYPHOON! THE TYPHOON IS HERE! IT’S A TYPHOON! Is what we imagined.

Japanese breakfast: I write this after our final Japanese breakfast at Hanayashiki Ukinuneen, drinking coffee, overhearing the roar of water from the dam, interrupting itself as it does, with expostulations of even greater fervour, then relenting, overlooking the Ujugawa; I write this having had our last here and drinking coffee we brought, dirty black coffee brought to the land of clean green matcha tea, its homeplace, having indeed thought as I surveyed this morning’s Japanese breakfast that I would not want to continue day after day eating, morning upon morning, with a fish, pickle, seaweed, pickle, omelette, pickle, miso, seaweed, burdock, rice, starch dumpling, marrow, pickle, soya sauce, silky tofu, golden needle mushrooms, if that’s what they’re called, spinach leaves, tea… It’s not the unrelenting proteiny-ness of it all. Not the liquid quantities to wash it down with—it’s instead an overload of care paid to it, having to take first from this bowl, then from that, having to connect flavour and taste groups transversally, diagonally, umi to sour, to sweet to bitter, to savoury to sour again, or earlier, having to attend to the artful disposition of vessels and viands. It’s not the time it takes. It’s the strain on the senses of so much peace and … I am forgetting the ma—the void it is work to make. Ma does not break into the lavish laying-out of the Japanese breakfast so much as—does it? I’m not sure—relate across space, in a rule or as a condition of its distribution, its spread, its extension over bowls of lacquer, black, ceramic, imperfect, pale and striped, metal, to be heated by a burner below, lit by the serving staff, young man or woman, he in pants, she in simple kimono. Square vessels, oval lowdishes, lidded bowls, lidded with lacquered plastic or wood, lidded with a wooden bucket lid, like granny’s chook bucket—the metal cooking pot, on its support, above its flame.

We went to Arashiyama and saw gardens–Ōkōchi Sansō garden, “the former home and garden of the Japanese jidaigeki (period film) actor Denjirō Ōkōchi in Arashiyama” (the best and most beautiful) and Tenryū-ji Temple garden (when the rain came down, and we realised, looking at all the people taking refuge on the verandah we’d been excluded from the temple once more—a garden dating back to the 15th century, a temple rebuilt in the Meiji period, due to fires, fires, fires, 8 times rebuilt, perhaps the fire has a theme-tune and an announcer shouting, perhaps a monk, with a loud voice, proclaiming FIRE! THIS IS A FIRE! … IT’S A FIRE! YOU’RE ON FIRE!)—and saw monkeys, or more correctly macaques, and went in to an owl forest, next to a bengal cat café, where there were really owls. Real owls. We were given a little squirt of handsanitiser and shown to stroke the owls with backs of hand only, and not fronts of owls, or fronts of hands, as owls bite. About twenty owls, including snowy owls, which I did not snap—they were a little pathetic, under the weather, in the heat and humidity at @30C+, in their cage, two of them: at least in company. And some of the owls not to pat: ones with sign saying “just a beginner” and “taking a break”. That points to their having a kind of apprenticeship, a training period, inuring themselves to the light, sometimes, pressure of backs of hands on backs of owls. But still the feet tether is not light. But still, they are released—but where? The monkeys have a forest park, with deer also, and black bears, and, no doubt, racoons—at night: they are nocturnal animals. This is why they are so sleepy and docile to be patted.

I made a strong connection with a sad-eyed owl called Tie. And his picture ends the series of snaps of owls, because I turned back to say Ciao, Tie. YOU’RE AN OWL!

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I think this will be the last one of this series, it is #31

XXXI.

getoveryourself or you should know when to stop are not the same pieces of advice

but you are not listening to me you are looking at the image of an idiot on the screen

an idiot boy Bolaño says—right in my ear—the image of an idiot boy—and i am overcome by a feeling of wonder at how great it would be it is to be a female art

a female artist a woman first, second—they are not the same pieces of advice—you could—one justifies another—produce the most overtly sexual and sexualised imagery

you would not be guilty of sexuality—and I am fore-betrayed by knowledge, memory, belief one does not justify another duplicitous amongst the victims blending in, before a page of prose looking for even yet the flight of a bird & birdsong, time blurred like the wingbeat of a sacred kingfisher [writes Adam Roberts] and

 

my stomach drops

into shallow pans

tripe-white

of my open hands (even yet Fergus Barrowman, replied, some of the lines are simply bad)

facing a page of prose: sometimes life is shit: one justifies another and I accuse the extinguished theatre I mean professor removed from positon by concerted and personal vendetta—what one feels now the other will. INTIMIDATION seemed right closest to our theme but you should know when to stop

the recoil is lost it is political and so it is born: and once it was a child and knew getoveryourself for not having to be a female artist, of a woman first second—at the same—the integrity of the personal gesture of sexuality now the integrity of the gesture was lost

it would not be reproduced, it would not pay to reproduce and once it was a child, and at the same time it is the memory of things, not as they were, thought to be heading in a certain direction, ends unknown, all of a sudden going in a wholly unexpected direction the integrity of the gesture was lost, and the reduction to ends and desires the image of that idiot boy on a screen I see my memory at two removes extinguished theatre I mean professor and yours but you are not looking

and in no wise would it be true to say these two manners of appearing followed one upon the other but that in somewise I know not were they concurrent also Adam in The Thing Itself the thing itself might as well figure thought in the image of the hypocrite not the idiot

we are so many people in the manner of a lost world given the word or gesture of the appearance of victims and I amongst gathered together who don’t who can’t and who cannot recognise a crime who gather together in their want and in their lack of recognition and who do not ask who answers for it, for once it was a child and knew, but that in the want and lack of their recognition its answer goes unquestioned its question goes unasked

which is their question and i amongst and it is like the memory of smoke in a dream that on waking is the image of a face in sand that on looking you look does not ask anymore

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