Friday, November 30, 2018
Yesterday afternoon. Another break in the weather. Out the back this time, down the lane, left onto Clark to 11th, right to Commercial, where I turn left again, keeping to the east side of the street, the sunnier side, stopping outside Pulp Fiction Books because JP's behind the desk, and I have never seen that before: JP at the Commercial store.
On the desk, a display of Metatron titles, the first I have seen from this press I have heard so much about. But these books -- like the Pocket Poets series City Lights puts out. 6.5x4.75. An ideal size. A true pocket book! Twelve titles, of which Aja Moore is the only writer I am familiar with, whose work I have read, so it is Aja's book -- hotwheel -- that I set aside in the midst of my conversation with JP about the leap between poetic lines -- how hard they can be to stay with, as a reader, and harder still to trust, as a writer.
"Like an enthymeme," says JP. "You know what an enthymeme is," he says, and I confess that I don't. "A suppressed premise," he says, writing it down (at my urging), and from there he tells me what he learned from Aristotle's Rhetoric, a 4th century B.C. treatise on persuasion.
Further on, crossing 1st, my mind turning, coming up with stuff, "dumb shit," as George Bowering would call it -- or "a lot of dumb shit" as he once called Kevin Davies's "script" as he tossed it from the podium after Kevin aggressively read from it at the Western Front in October 1983, a benefit for a firebombed MacLeod's Books that Peter Culley used as a lede years later for his contribution to the Western Front's Whispered Art History: 1973-1993 (Vancouver: Arsenal Pulp, 1993).
I stop, write in my notebook
when missing you (withers?) into heartbreak
when I notice a picture of Pete Fry on the cover of a free daily. Inspired, I add
green critique of capital-is-him/patriarchy
and in re-reading these lines I feel nothing for the space between them.
A couple blocks later I am outside the People's Co-op Bookstore, and in the window is Byung-Chul Han's Psycho-Politics (London: Verso, 2017), which I grab without cracking and pay for. Later, over coffee, I flip through both books and turn down a corner in each. In Han's book, the opening page of Chapter 5, "Foucault's Dilemma", where he tells us how Foucault got it wrong: that it is not biopolitics (in relation to neoliberalism) but psycho-politics. In Aja's book, halfway through her poem "After I Definitely Can't Afford to Study w/ Sharon Olds" -- this:
I avoid my body its triumphs and
If I think of you at all
it is to wonder just how badly
I wanted a proper and final
And all the ways we feel about it