Category Archives: Letterlove

Parallels 14 – Piss, like Love

I loved you
like a man loves a woman he never touches, only
writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,
but that didn’ happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’ help.

– excerpt from Charles Bukowski’s An Almost Made Up Poem, USA, sometime between 1960 and 1990

Karen, take me to the nearest famous city middle
Where they hang the lights
Where it’s random, and it’s common versus common
La di la

I have weird memories of you
Wearing long red socks and red shoes
I have weird memories
I have weird memories of you
Pissing in a sink, I think

I have weird memories of you
The National (lyrics Matt Berninger), City Middle, USA, 2005

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Parallels 13 – (Ac)counting (for) the un(ac)countable

Yes, the awful pun (is it even a pun?) is on purpose.

Beowulf was obviously willing to die in vengeance for his fallen lord, but his revenge succeeded: he crushed Daeghrefn and killed “thirty” other men, the figure used in Beowulf for a very great number
– S. Gwara, ‘King Beowulf and Ealdormonn Byrhtnoð’, in his Heroic Identity in the World of Beowulf (Leiden, 2008)

(for reference, Beowulf was written in Anglo-Saxon England, sometime between the 8th and the 11th century

And the queen gave birth to a child who was called Asterion.

Apollodorus Bibliotecha III, I

I know they accuse me of arrogance, and perhaps misanthropy, and perhaps of madness. Such accusations (for which I shall exact punishment in due time) are derisory. It is true that I never leave my house, but it is also true that its doors (whose numbers are infinite) (footnote: The original says fourteen, but there is ample reason to infer that, as used by Asterion, this numeral stands for infinite.) are open day and night to men and to animals as well.
Not only have I imagined these games, I have also meditated on the house. All parts of the house are repeated many times, any place is another place. There is no one pool, courtyard, drinking trough, manger; the mangers, drinking troughs, courtyards pools are fourteen (infinite) in number. The house is the same size as the world; or rather it is the world. However, by dint of exhausting the courtyards with pools and dusty gray stone galleries I have reached the street and seen the temple of the Axes and the sea. I did not understand this until a night vision revealed to me that the seas and temples are also fourteen (infinite) in number. Everything is repeated many times, fourteen times, but two things in the world seem to be repeated only once: above, the intricate sun; below Asterion. Perhaps I have created the stars and the sun and this enormous house, but I no longer remember.

– Jorge Luis Borges, The House of Asterion (La Casa de Asterion), Argentina, 1947

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Love (28)

Please pardon the absence; been busy and oddly happy.

We looked closely at the Kharg root. Without admitting it to ourselves, we sensed that there was something feminine about its shape. It was, in fact, a kind of plump, dark-hued pear, with a skin like suede, slightly cracked, the underside was covered in purplish down. From top to bottom the root was divided by a groove that resembled the line of a vertebral column.

The Kharg was very pleasant to touch. Its velvety skin seemed to respond to contact with the fingers. This bulb with its sensual contours hinted at a strange life that animated its mysterious interior.

Intrigued by its secret, I made a scratch on its chubby surface with my thumbnail. A blood-red liquid poured into the scratch mark. We exchanged puzzled looks. “Let me see,” demanded Samurai, taking the Kharg from my hands.

He produced his knife and cut into the bulb of the root of love, following the groove. Then, thrusting his thumbs into the down at the base of the fleshy oval, he pulled them apart smartly.

We heard a kind of brief creak — like the sound of a door frozen fast with ice when it finally yields under pressure.

We all bent forward to get a better view. Within a pinkish fleshy lap we saw a long, pale leaf. It was cuffed up with that moving delicacy often encountered in nature. And it inspired mixed feelings in us: to destroy, to smash this useless harmony, or… We really did not know what should be done with it. And thus for several moments we gazed at the leaf; it was reminiscent of the transparency and fragility of the wings of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.

Even Samurai seemed vaguely embarrassed, faced with this unexpected and disconcerting beauty.

Finally, with a brisk movement, he stuck the two halves of the Kharg together and thrust the root into a pocket of his knapsack.
Andrei Makine, Once Upon the River Love, trans. Geoffrey Strachan, Russia/France, 1994

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Love (27)

Just listen to this and read those beautiful lyrics.

Standing at the punch table swallowing punch
can’t pay attention to the sound of anyone
a little more stupid, a little more scared
every minute more unprepared

I made a mistake in my life today
everything I love gets lost in drawers
I want to start over, I want to be winning
way out of sync from the beginning

I wanna hurry home to you
put on a slow, dumb show for you
and crack you up
so you can put a blue ribbon on my brain
god, I’m very, very frightening
I’ll overdo it

Looking for somewhere to stand and stay
I leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away
Can I get a minute of not being nervous
and not thinking of my dick
My leg is sparkles, my leg is pins
I better get my shit together, better gather my shit in
You could drive a car through my head in five minutes
from one side of it to the other

I wanna hurry home to you
put on a slow, dumb show for you
and crack you up
so you can put a blue ribbon on my brain
god I’m very, very frightening
I’ll overdo it

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

The National/Matt Berninger, Slow Show, USA, 2007

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Love (26)

As it was Nietzsche’s 169th birthday yesterday, here’s a quote from the introduction to Derrida’s Of Grammatology, talking about his La Question du style:

A general reading of Nietzsche’s text would see him as a raging misogynist. But Derrida’s careful reading disengages a more complex collection of attitudes toward woman. Derrida breaks them into three and suggests that each Nitzschean attitude is contiguous with a psychoanalytical “position” – a modality of the subject’s relationship with the object. Summarized, the “positions” would be as follows:

The woman…condemned as…figure or power of lying… He was, he feared such a castrated woman…
The woman… condemned as… figure or power of truth… He was, he feared such a castrating woman…
The woman… recognized, beyond this double negation, affirmed as the affirmative, dissimulating, artistic, Dionysiac… He was, he loved such an affirmative woman.
(QS 265, 267)

– Spivak’s Preface to Derrida’s “Of Grammatology”, quoting Derrida’s “La Question du style”. 1967 in French/France, 1976 in English, USA.

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