Category Archives: Pseudointellectual

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 (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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Love (25)

I see you drinking at a fountain with tiny
blue hands, no, your hands are not tiny
they are small, and the fountain is in France
where you wrote me that last letter and
I answered and never heard from you again.
you used to write insane poems about
ANGELS AND GOD, all in upper case, and you
knew famous artists and most of them
were your lovers, and I wrote back, it’ all right,
go ahead, enter their lives, I’ not jealous
because we’ never met. we got close once in
New Orleans, one half block, but never met, never
touched. so you went with the famous and wrote
about the famous, and, of course, what you found out
is that the famous are worried about
their fame –– not the beautiful young girl in bed
with them, who gives them that, and then awakens
in the morning to write upper case poems about
ANGELS AND GOD. we know God is dead, they’ told
us, but listening to you I wasn’ sure. maybe
it was the upper case. you were one of the
best female poets and I told the publishers,
editors, “ her, print her, she’ mad but she’
magic. there’ no lie in her fire.” 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. you said
you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying
bench every night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never
heard again. a friend wrote me of your suicide
3 or 4 months after it happened. if I had met you
I would probably have been unfair to you or you
to me. it was best like this.

Charles Bukowski, An Almost Made Up Poem, USA, can’t find the date, but common sense says it’s between 1960 and 1990.

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Love (24)

That week, in tribute to December, I wrote another bold column: “How to be Happy on a Bicycle at the Age of Ninety.

On the night of her birthday I sang the entire song to Delgadina, and I kissed her all over her body until I was breathless: her spine, the side with the mole, the side of her inexhaustible heart. As I kissed her the heat of her body increased, and it exhaled a wild, untamed fragrance. She responded with new vibrations along every inch of her skin, and on each one I found a distinctive heat, a unique taste, a different moan, and her entire body resonated inside with an arpeggio, and her nipples opened and flowered without being touched. I was beginning to fall asleep in the small hours when I heard something like the sound of multitudes in the sea and a panic in the trees that pierced my heart. I went to the bathroom and wrote on the mirror: Delgadina, my love, the Christmas breezes have arrived.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Memories of My Melancholy Whores (originally Memoria de mis putas tristes, Colombia, 2004

Sorry for disappearing for a bit, currently doing my best not to abandon this blog. The name change is a sign of that, as well as a quote from an absolutely superb bit by W. H. Auden, which I’ll post around here soon enough. If you’re reading this, thanks for sticking around.

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Parallels 12 – Wolves (1)

i.e., a mini collection of wolf references in Shakespeare, more to follow. I’m thinking of doing a series of Wolves posts, just like the one on Love, but I’ll see…


No, he’s in Tartar limbo, worse than hell.
A devil in an everlasting garment hath him;
One whose hard heart is button’d up with steel;
A fiend, a fury, pitiless and rough;
A wolf, nay, worse, a fellow all in buff;

Comedy of Errors


Now the hungry lion roars,
And the wolf behowls the moon;
Whilst the heavy ploughman snores,
All with weary task fordone.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream


Thou best know’st
What torment I did find thee in; thy groans
Did make wolves howl and penetrate the breasts
Of ever angry bears: it was a torment
To lay upon the damn’d, which Sycorax
Could not again undo: it was mine art,
When I arrived and heard thee, that made gape
The pine and let thee out.

The Tempest


Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men;
As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,
Shoughs, water-rugs and demi-wolves, are clept
All by the name of dogs

Now o’er the one halfworld
Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse
The curtain’d sleep; witchcraft celebrates
Pale Hecate’s offerings, and wither’d murder,
Alarum’d by his sentinel, the wolf,
Whose howl’s his watch, thus with his stealthy pace.
With Tarquin’s ravishing strides, towards his design
Moves like a ghost.

Third Witch

Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches’ mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin’d salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg’d i’ the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver’d in the moon’s eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar’s lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver’d by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger’s chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Macbeth (who would’ve thought)

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