Memory of the Prose Machine (Selections)
"You have now come with me, I have come now with you,
to the season that should be
winter, and it is not: we have not come back.
We have not come back: we have not come round: we have not moved. I have taken you, you have taken me, to the next and next span, and the last—and it is the last. Stand against me then and stare well through me then. It is a wall not to be scaled and left behind like the old seasons, like the poets who were the seasons.
Stand against me then and stare well through me then. I am no poet as you have span by span leapt the high words to the next depth and season, the next season always, the last always, and the next. I am a true wall: you may but stare me through."
— Laura Riding, Poet: A Lying Word
I can't recognize people's faces. I don't process their look. My man can remember down to the lapel pin. In the rear view mirror. The Rockies. That lady on talk radio lost 12 pounds in a week from a smoothie. I'm amnesic. Losing. I don't remember what I was doing in the 90's. The 90's. Where I lived. Seattle, Chicago, DC, Los Angeles, New Jersey, Massachusetts. What did I do every day? Who? Fight fight. They say the technologies are replacing memories. Multi-tasking replaces the task. Can I get a glass of water? Can I get something something with that? It's all coming true. People who play video games don't sleep. People who don't sleep watch commercials. People who watch commercials play video games. Gain 12 pounds. Lose a memory. I got three D's. One in Photography for not attending the class. One in Suzuki Acting for arguing with the method. One in Logic for not answering the equation. People who live in basements are teenagers. The house we're buying has no basement. Where is the record of my things? The fossil of my watching. In the 19-70's. Did your parents remember to feel the TV when they came home? Did they feel the heat?
"i suppose most people know that when i come to a place i have a bit of difficulty trying to say precisely what i'm going to be doing so i dont start with large introductions but as usual ive got a number of things on my mind when i go places and i think about them out loud in public and because what i'm doing is entertaining ideas not people i'm quite happy for people to feel free to get up and leave whenever they stop finding this entertaining and thats how i know i'm a poet not an entertainer though on several occasions people have compared me to entertainers like lenny bruce but thats not what i'm like..."
- David Antin, "the noise of time"
Don't turn on the box. Don't order a sandwich. Don't comfort it out in the middle there. Don't middle. Get yourselves a real fine pony and just glance and glisten. Take off your shoes. Let down your hair. Cut it off. We who see straight don't talk about it. Do you? The sixteenth thing I can remember from that life, the one before technical, is a good canvas hammock. A too hot Virginic summer. The hair of Poppy the dog. My own private picnic table. Brisket cooked all night and the crock. I have too many bees in my mouth to be talking now. Here they are. We stashed everything for later—the popsickles and the kiddie scotch—but it's melted and stolen and rolled down the hill because we forgot the emergency break and called the cops on ourselves. Where'd it go? Substitute I lost it for stolen. I stole. Once an entire grocery cart of panties, rolled right out with the things to the car. When one sister stole candy from the bin in the grocery, I turned her in to the manager. But I just wanted to turn someone in. Into. The father in cowboy boots had it too good, swinging home to the dogs and the kids a leaping. If we didn't run to greet him with our tongues out, trouble. If we didn't pass the ketchup with our elbows not touching the table, grab and humble. If we didn't iron the shirts with starch enough, get dressed with shoes early enough. There’s a thing about shoes he has, to protect his feet from the world, never gone barefoot, takes offense at the foot. We will wear shoes in our houses. We will sleep and bathe with our shoes on. We will absorb these rules like a saltbath. We will Google you when you're someone else.