twitter
facebook twitter tumblr newsletter

The flayed compass, or ENJOY / THIS / STRIP / BABY

If I am to walk, as we did, directly south of the apartment where we are staying in Rome, although one cannot walk south as such because despite the oft-repeated efforts of certain fascists and their planners lines of sight do not radiate outwards like a flayed compass (almost like Littoria, that pestilential miraculum, which was in truth not mire drained but a martial pane of glass   dropped from on high, from a bomber’s metallo nethers onto the swamp below), and besides, even those were to have been crystallized or trenched nth degrees of the orthogonal rather than the kissing crux of the joist itself and anyway we are well to the southeast of the center’s speckled cavities, useless as an adult handful of baby teeth they may be but still, still they crowd and cannot be discarded

and although they are trying to put in a new metro so that things will no longer be orthogonal only in four quadrants around a single point of juncture which smells of soot and spilt piss even in the height of winter

 

So that when a body throws itself onto the tracks

like a only a body would

it could be routed around

as only a body can

 

but they’re getting nowhere with all this digging, I mean nowhere in vertical and diachronic to boot, it makes Boston    look like goddamn Zurich, The Shitty ‘n The Skill, altogether now, though the problem isn’t the eventual and certain ruination of the concrete which was not up to snuff but the ever-present and frankly stupid abundance of ruins that you can’t bear to throw away, I mean a dog can’t even scratch a spot to bury a turd without unearthing The Stuff of The Past, even a cur knows by scent alone how it must be writ like proper or German, these Shards and Latrines and Decapitated Capitals

And this is what you get for trying to tarry with the substance of history, the mutt says, smearing his profound filth on the windows of the passing train

You’re telling me, says the befouled conductor who is not, it’s true, paid nearly enough to put up with this shit

and we are to the northeast of where   it

- the plan, that is, the regulation, the aortal splints, the disembowlings, the archèd stone, the investiture of capitals, the rank pond, the belabored extension of shadows across spans of tar, the subsequent mounds of gelato, the piles of tramezzini like mortar, the muttish leer at all of it -

  was to have happened most clear and poured into realness not by the architects of those hung from their feet on meathooks from the roof of a gas station as if Ruscha and Nitsch joined forces to close the door on a historical zone before the crowds came with stones, no, it was not finished by them but by those who declared themselves the stewards of Rome thereafter, those who took their especially democratic knives to the center once again, no longer for the compass to spread itself but to build a parking lot for cars with no home and meanwhile others without labor took shelter in shanties beneath the aqueducts

and this being to the west of us doesn’t change the fact that one cannot just walk south but needs to wind and skirt, running into the unburied tracks laid out like strips gone to fray, as close to that as one can we walk, it’s getting near election days , which means that brown men get paid to carry buckets of glue and paste up jowly faces of white men on top of chiseled faces of white men or vice versa,

Isn’t that the very movement of history, argues the mutt, gesticulating slowly, the slow passage from lean to fat while never once unearthing the real bone of contention

who will, in the days following accession to power, most certainly insist that those who stuck them up, in frankly silly sequence on board after board, a film that doesn’t progress but merely gets sodden, are in fact the addition to the city, not to mention the nation, that cannot be incorporated

and just behind the faces is the train, though not quite, because a train is not just track and car but fences too that stop a body from crossing it at any angle, and with fences come not just spaces surrounding domiciles and jails but strips of neither here nor there, little hinterlands and emptinesses which mean not just grass and mud but other tents and homes, where those who are said to be unwilling to incorporate themselves no matter how much glue they sling live in families and under tarps, the pots and pans hung out to dry like clothes in the wind

 

The wind of a passing train, reminds the mutt

Yes, exactly that, say the pans

 

or beside them in another null space, just off Via Acaia, it has started raining and it is less a thin belt where the trained wind hustles than a vague zone into which cars drive,  they come in without a garage in sight or a road to rejoin or even a store where one could buy some glue or glass, there the cars have entered precisely because there’s no reason to enter other than to be where one will not be disturbed, they do it enough that the grass has been stripped bare or just pummeled into mud, the track coming in straight and true as a train that goes nowhere, just fore and aft, and when we walk into it we walk past first a pair of spandex tights, furled into themselves, then a bottle, then a shirt that promises or orders

ENJOY

THIS

STRIP

BABY

its arm wrapped snakely around a log, when the floods burst over Rome it will cling as a raft high above the trains, the roads, the homes, the spots that are none of them, there is then a pair of underwear and some trash and another shirt, unlike the underwear it is not white but red and unlike the underwear it seems to have come from a man, from one of those who bring women or men or neither of the above but above all who are not their wives, to strip them partial or not at all, to enter them out of traffic’s sight in exchange for money in one form or another, and there too lies a boot, then a second, beside logs like the legs had been wood

 

But they were not, insists the mutt

No, they were not, reply the boots

 

and the thought of what has happened, what does happen, what will happen such that someone has left here not just without shirt or pants or socks or underwear but shoes, the history beneath that belongs to another history of horror and fury that runs alongside the other one of roads and swamps, not like a train or plan or latitude but like this, not running but sprained, strewn, left sinister on the shitty grass in a lot where it rains and that cannot be written in this sentence and so will not be.

 

Previously by

Leave a Reply