Tuesday, April 30, 2013


If the nineteenth century gave us melancholie, a condition Baudelaire captured so gently in his prose poems, it was the twentieth century that gave us jet-lag, where space is comprised of competing times.

In "Anywhere Out of the World", Baudelaire writes:

This life is a hospital where every patient is possessed with the desire to change beds; one man would like to suffer in front of the stove, and another believes that he would recover his health beside the window. It always seems to me that I should feel well in the place where I am not, and this question of removal is one which I discuss incessantly with my soul.

Who is our jet-lag poet? Is that person even a poet?

Hunter S. Thompson comes to mind. As does Tom Wolfe. Joan Didion too. The "New Journalism", as opposed to Donald Allen's New American Poetry (1960).

I am writing from Victoria, from Room 205 of the Oswego Hotel, where I have come to install my exhibition A Postcard from Victoria at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. It is dark, the streets filled with bird chirps similar to those along 20 Innsbruckerstrasse only a couple of mornings before. NPR whispers softly from the nightstand -- Gershwin's thoroughly modern Rhapsody in Blue (1924) -- while I type into this plastic case words that might return me to the arms of Morpheus, allow me to wake with others, feel part of this place and not two places, until my work is done.

But sleep does not come. The more I type, the less tired I am. I want to get out of bed and ride to Cafe Sur. But that is 4850 miles away, or nine-plus hours by jet.

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