Listen I have something to tell you and it’s too simple to tell it simply so

1872 Dostoyevsky publishes Besy
                                                       1913 Constance Garnett publishes first
English translation as The Possessed
                                                             thus precisely within the brackets
of the Great War and the Commune
                                                         “human character changed”

Listen I have something to tell you and it’s too simple to tell it simply so

1872 Dostoyevsky publishes Besy
                                                             1913 Constance Garnett publishes first
English translation as The Possessed
                                                                  thus precisely within the brackets
of the Great War and the Commune
                                                              “human character changed”

A library is more like a palace than it is like a bookstore
                                                                                               a bookstore is more
like a hotel
                   a hotel is only something like a library
                                                                                    but a great deal like a
department store
                               while the department store and the high palace are one

Around that time we were leaving
                                                          behind realism and with it the struggle
over the working day
                                   once that catastrophe was confirmed
                                                                                                   the fighting
shifted to the front of consciousness and
                                                                      then we were finally modern

In the main hall of the century the décor was a jumble of americanoiserie

I have read a lot of very thick books
                                                             and come to believe only three things

One do not send your army into Afghanistan
                                                                      the Hindu Kush will swallow them

Two no matter the circumstance
                                                       do not grant emergency powers to anyone

I promise to finish but first an interlude on the romance of the lost manuscript

The Passagen-werk and Theorie du speculation
                                                                                    were both left to languish
in the National Library in France
                                                        while everybody was having modernism
and then recovered in the Fifties
                                                        and each book invented a new capital
one for the 19th century
                                       one for the future of finance
                                                                                      oh those banky boys
swanning through the age of arbitrage
                                                                  like hookers through the dizzy atrium
of the Hotel Future Foretold
                                                and in Sao Paulo there is a department store
without any doors at all
                                       what thoughts I have of you tonight Fred Jameson!

We make our plans among ruins
                                                         of the geopolitical baroque
                                                                                                       at some point
we were all working downtown in bookstores
                                                                             what a luxury!
                                                                                                    like Coca-Cola
for breakfast
                      we took turns sitting on the floor
                                                                             behind the back counter
reading new arrivals
                                   I remember The Andy Warhol Diaries
                                                                                                     I remember
Lipstick Traces
                            I remember all those black pocketbooks from Semiotext(e)

Now everyone is superflux
                                              but like credit we are
                                                                                  getting ahead of ourselves

Later it would be translated as The Devils or Demons
                                                                                           the Russian word besy
actually indicating spirits
                                          which may possess a body uninvited
                                                                                                          but are not
themselves possessed
                                         it seemed like a crude mistake had been rectified

To say it is a new era is to say
                                                     it has discovered a new style of time
                                                                                                                    we do not
do this in language
                                 first but in terrain we have not chosen
                                                                                                 and do not yet
                    language meets us there and must be cajoled
                                                                                                   into open air
by dangling the old forms
                                         in their wrack and wreckage
                                                                                        this is the poetic thought

What true act would make every word in the dictionary political
                                                                                                           Nina says
book-burning and that seems right
                                                           and it may be that a people can be
judged by how they answer this question
                                                                     and this too is the poetic thought

                      “mysterious and extreme Romantic”
                                                                                   was in 1870 already dead
in a hotel
                 a few yards from where I stayed last week
                                                                                        the Chants of Maldoror
largely unknown
                            until it was discovered in a bookstore 1917
                                                                                                      hey Paris

you are beautiful but you are terrible at keeping track of books
                                                                                                          it had been
filed in the mathematics section
                                                       and finally this too is the poetic thought

Like credit the book is unable to be
                                                             in the same time with itself
                                                                                                         its meanings  
run ahead while it lingers on a shelf
                                                            or its meanings come
                                                                                                 racing to catch up
to the instant when the book is found
                                                               in some poor agent’s hand
                                                                                                             and so
we are always naming   
                                       the wayward motion of things
                                                                                         en route to realizing
                   the fate the itinerary the defile the fortune
                                                                                        “to have had their time”

But is there not a kernel of truth
                                                     concealed within Garnett’s error
                                                                                                            if we speak
you and I of the dispossessed
                                                   free and doubly free
                                                                                    to haul their flesh to market
why would we not call those others
                                                           within whom moves the spirit of money
why would we not call these
                                              the possessed
                                                                        green and gold in the springtime
in March and in April and in May
                                                       especially in late March
                                                                                                seize the banks

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