Saturday, April 06, 2002

Still fathoming Terra Nostra by Fuentes.

I am at 695 pages still at sea with this thing. It’s harder than hell to tell just what he is up to here. It seems to be some kind of historical monograph on the conquest and Spain’s failure to take the better of many roads when it came into European ascendancy in the 16th century. AND that Spain’s great writers – Cervantes, Fernando de Rojas – and artists had some idea of the correct road to take.

Thus the blending of fictional and historical characters. Even so, the thing is striking me as monstrous and self-indulgent to a degree not to be believed.
I’m Suing My Parents (for having given birth to me)

I’m suing my parents. For giving birth to me. Plato pretty much proved that we are spirits hanging around pre-natally, just waiting to be conceived after you’re assigned a form. You can read all about it in the last few pages of The Republic. It’s all there

You’re shuffled like a bunch of cheap tourists to the plains of the River Lethe, that’s The River of Forgetting, and you’re supposed to bend down take a few big gulps. The water of the Lethe wipes out your pre-natal memory, puts you to sleep and then, accompanied by thunder and lighting, you are born into your earthly life. It’s all there in The Republic.

I distinctly recall my pre-natal spirit; I was up there looking down, the floor was a glass-bottomed like some boats, and you could see what was happening on earth – not that you wanted to. I my case I saw it all. I saw my parents fucking and I knew I would be going. I shouted at them to stop. Stop! My dad was drunk and I screamed and became thinner and thinner like a plastic straw. I disappeared and found myself standing on the banks of the Lethe with a bunch of other straw-like wisps, naked, standing, waiting.

Then a beautiful woman – that was the Goddess Clotho – came up and said “hold hands everybody” and lead us into the river. About midway into the stream she told us all to dip a hand in and take a mouthful and drink. She was so beautiful that you couldn’t help doing what she asked but I was still so pissed at my parents I kept the water in my mouth and then spit it out before we stepped back up the riverbank.

So I remember everything perfectly. And I’m going to sue. There was no fucking way I wanted to come down here. It was so cool up there. It was like Liberace’s penthouse. Lots of pillows and sequins on everything. Lots of mirrors, lots of glitter. It was fucking great.

My lawyer says I have a pretty good case. Plato is one of the cornerstones of Western rationality, not to mention our legal system.
I’m gonna sue my parents. Damn right.
The Train that Goes Around the World

It was one of those rare nights in spring when it seems like a hot mid-summer night. Cars everywhere: a kind of takeover by teenagers and their cars – shirtsleeves, open windows, motorcycle cops.

It was the last night to turn in taxes. The last open mail drop in town, Terminal Station, across the railroad tracks. Cars, traffic cops, a giant sign on the corner: IRS MAIL. One block away the wooden arms go down and the red lights start flashing: a fucking train.
A guy with long hair and a girl with short hair smoke cigarettes and lean on the hood of a Pontiac. Translation: this is going to be a long train. Some drivers turn around. Some get out and light their own cigarettes. After about 20 minutes everyone realizes: this is THE TRAIN THAT GOES AROUND THE WORLD. Now nobody will ever cross. You must leave whatever it was…divided now by the train…never ending always separating the two sides from one another…always carrying off a world of riders…

THE TRAIN THAT GOES AROUND THE WORLD. It was dark and began to rain and the rain seemed to add to the darkness. The train was power, weight and speed and beckoned you to throw yourself into its wheels.

The train sweeps through the city collecting the souls of the dead. It’s always moving and never stops; it keeps going never stops continually adding another carfull of dead spirits.

On the train the spirits wander around, look out the windows. Since it’s usually night they end up playing cards. One train car is reserved for those who’ve died for love. Regular old dead spirits don’t like to pass through that car. It’s too sad; the atmosphere is just too heavy. The spirits of those who’ve died for love never play cards. They travel with their faces pressed to the window all the time.

You can’t seem them but they can see us. It’s the train that goes around the world
From the Manhattan Center Main Ballroom, Olga and Edgar dominate the ballroom dance competition (the judges even look at the facial expressions) Ballroom dancing is very exciting: the meaty women, the slender guys, the metric tons of makeup, the blocks of hair on the men, the athleticism. Ballroom dancing is one of the last hold outs of stylized effort, manners if you will. It’s like coming onto a lost pop world; it's as though you were to enter the Frayne building and all the businessmen are men, and wearing thick dark glasses frames and thin ties.