Metallic cloud blanketed the entire sky, the sort of synth greyness I thanked Jah for and of many tones: today it’s cinema and fading bruise: and synth I was thinking when a train took us two stops from Mendelssohn to Möckernbrücke: Moo-kern-bridge it’s pronounced and I went down the steep escalator underground and that word underground leads to the words Pluto and emotion, how it relates to aesthetic choice when I boarded a U7 full of eyes and hells and got off at Mehringdamm to one of the tracks I forget off Replica, Oneohtrix: a synth philosopher along with Maus and: up outside daylight’d faded as I walked along Gneisenaustraße, I can never spell it, Ger-nigh-zen-now, G-N: on a street east a block or two from the crossroads was Another Country, you couldn’t call it a bookshop, more library: kind of a BLOCKBUSTER video style of business model: I climbed the staircase like a stoop-thing and when I creaked open the door a little bell jangled, a written notice tacked to the pane said: This is a safe space: something about proceeds on all Harry Potter books go to I forget, I remember: a mishmash of dinner and side-tables stacked with dusty atlases and dictionaries cluttered the wooden floor and low watt light meant I had to squint, when wanting to read a book with the page cheek-close and I took my glasses off in fact when I found (it said) a 1983 copy of Journey to the End of the Night on New Directions, the same black spine in footage of Basquiat’s bookshelf and, once I’d turned the front cover, glued to the inside lay a red slip stamped with Another Country, the logo above it said: Lending Library: and I scanned the two epigraphs, scanned the raw preface with the words hey and on the rails and that Sarabbath is sick. Flipping deeper, seeing a lot of shapes clean to the eye I thought: an upgrade from my shitty modern edition: and due to every scrawny online writer namedropping it, I’d become bored of this novel which is American not French. But defo get, I decided. And tucked the copy under my left arm while browsing from the D shelf to the X-Y-Zeds, as the shop-owner, a man behind a desk started sending very relaxing energies, just us pair in the room and he was about fifty-nine, long-thin hair, sat before a laptop, tapping the keys from time-to-time and breathing, you could hear scraping rasps in his wet throat like static and with the temperature pretty stuffy, the rise and fall of his wheezy breaths in my ear, I felt tingles go from my nape softly down my back, skin-pleasures, like goosebumps but caused by his fucked-up-sounding respiratory. A drowsiness overcame and I lounged back in a chair to look at some novel, angling it with the question: how’s this been synthesised from dreck into words?
Then I read Journey’s first page.
Long by now I’d realised that the books that pumped me enough to read were what I categorised as the howlingest. It’s a simple idea. Means of all the howls I’ve noticed in novels and poems, all that noise spoken on the page, it’s the howls of the howlingest that’re the most kind of dangerous and spiritual and intense but I dunno. Howl. It’s just a word I like. The shape. The sound. The freewheel meaning. I’d daydream about it, searching for essays on howling aesthetics, when in the first bleak of that Janus I concluded that the howlingest of the howlingest might be Pound, Lawrence and Céline who each wrote words heightened by a burning-furious-painful energy but nothing people on the street wouldn’t in some circumstance actually say and I felt curious cos the literary value I prize above all is a sort of crooked-originality and I wondered. Why did these crookedly-original artists all become a bit fashcore? And why do I think they’re cool? Cos it was midwinter in the zone perhaps, dunno but I was drawn to them as a trinity cos they’re high-calibre stylists and my ambition’s to be not high-calibre but definitely a stylist in my own dog-eared way.
Just to turn my boring-complicated-maggot life into maggot art, I thought.
When I slapped Journey on the shopkeeper’s desk, he picked it up and went mm, his eyes judging and mascaraed, a tint of rose brightened the lips. When a soft voice explained that the book costs eight to lend, I realised this is someone who’s transmogrified into whatever they wanted to be but who in an outer-London accent added that when you return the novel we’ll give back five euro and I went a bit memory vague but dealt a tenner for a handful of coins are germ-traps, I thought. And is that bad? And am I a jerk? No way you returning this beaut, it’s in-good-nick I said when strolling in my little parallel reality to the coffee-shop on the crossroad where I sat under the canopy: dot-dot-dot. Thru the open doorway with a series of grunts I ordered a double-double espresso, a chunk of (looked homemade) this chocolate-n-walnut cake. Then chilled at a table outside. Where one could think about the dissolving of formal categories like how a documentary can be a strangling poem, a strangling poem can be an essay: a non-stop chain of people, fifteen strangers a second walked by and I wanted to know what’re they doing, I wondered who they lived with, the balance of their bank accounts and of the insect flow only a baby in a pushchair and a Turkish-looking man turned to me: they entered my maze and I entered their maze. I was a bit lonely, bit bored. Fridays are meant to be smiley-faced in our culture but I was apathetic, got a train south to Temple-Hoof and stepped up to the S-ring where by now the gloaming dimmed as in layers of soot on a glass lens and that pigeon, was it dying? I weaved between two clusters of sad faces, everyone grim yet determined to survive, the airport train ten minute away in this fucking chill, the wind’s claws. A muzzled Dobermann, even in a tartan coat, shivered like a nesh whippet. Footsore I found a bench and rolled a cig, sat puffing and looking at the dog and the time saying eight minutes and seven and a woman’s backside, she was the dog’s handler, her bum bulged solid and muscular I remember. Cig finished, I stubbed and opened my new book: Bardamu’s misadventures. The page where in the FORD factory he’s counting fleas. A voice within a voice, a meta of five in my brain wondered if people’ll see Céline on the spine and think I’m a fash. Everyone’s read Journey, said a countervoice (in some Liverpool accent) saying: it’s pure overground, a la the S-bahn here, it’s American mainstream. So much sluggish brain-talk, I imagined people seeing me with the paperback and as a consequence revolving swastikas on fire appeared in their minds. I and my ego didn’t care though, for strangers.