Friday, December 12, 2014

A Hostility Toward the Introspective Tone, Most Often Characterized by an Over-Use of the Crushed Cadence. A Fondness for Pointlessly Matching Fragmented Passages with Each Other. And at the More Personal Level, a Megalomania Masquerading Behind a Modest and Kindly Manner

     'Mr Ryder, please tell us,' she said. 'Let's get to the bottom of it. Is Henri right in believing we can't at any cost abandon the circular dynamic in Kazan?'
     She had not spoken loudly, but her voice had a penetrating quality. The whole room heard her question and immediately became quiet. A few of her companions gave her searching looks, but she glared back defiantly.
     'No, I'll ask it,' she said. 'This is a unique opportunity. We can't waste it. I'll ask it. Mr Ryder, please. Tell us'
     'But I have the facts,' Christoff muttered miserably. 'Here. I have it all.'
     No one paid him any attention, every gaze having focused once more on me. Realizing I would have to choose my next words carefully, I paused a moment. Then I said:
     'My own view is that Kazan never benefits from formalized restraints. Neither from the circular dynamic, nor even a double-bar structure. There are simply too many layers, too many emotions, especially in the later works.'
     I could feel, almost physically, the tide of respect sweeping towards me. The pudgy-faced man was looking at me with something close to awe. A woman in a scarlet anorak was muttering: 'That's it, that's it,' as though I had just articulated something she had been struggling to formulate for years. The man named Claude had risen to his feet and now took a few steps towards me, nodding vigorously. Dr Lubanski was also nodding, but slowly and with his eyes closed as if to say: 'Yes, yes, here at last is someone who really knows.' The young woman with the thick spectacles though had remained quite still, continuing to watch me carefully.
     'I can understand,' I went on, 'the temptation to resort to such devices. There's a natural fear of the music flooding the musician's resources. But the answer surely is to rise to such a challenge, not to resort to restraints. Of course, the challenge might be too great, in which case the answer is to leave Kazan well alone. One should not, in any case, attempt to make a virtue of one's limitations.'
     At this last remark, many in the room seemed no longer able to hold back their feelings. The grizzled man with the muddy boots broke into vigorous applause, throwing snarling looks toward Christoff as he did so. Several others started to shout again at Christoff, and the woman in the scarlet anorak was again repeating, this time more loudly: 'That's it, that's it, that's it.' I felt strangely exhilarated and, raising my voice above the mounting excitement, continued:
     'These failures of nerve are, in my experience, very often associated with certain other unattractive traits. A hostility toward the introspective tone, most often characterized by an over-use of the crushed cadence. A fondness for pointlessly matching fragmented passages with each other. And at the more personal level, a megalomania masquerading behind a modest and kindly manner....'
     I was obliged to break off because everyone in the room was now shouting at Christoff. He in turn was holding up his blue folder, thumbing it's pages in the air, crying: 'The facts are here! Here!'
     'Of course,' I shouted above the noise, 'this is another common failing. The belief that putting something in a folder will turn it into fact!'

Ishiguro, The Unconsoled.


Jerome Rotherberg

The cruel majority emerges!

Hail to the cruel majority!

They will punish the poor for being poor.
They will punish the dead for having died.

Nothing can make the dark turn into light
for the cruel majority.
Nothing can make them feel hunger or terror.

If the cruel majority would only cup their ears
the sea would wash over them.
The sea would help them forget their wayward children.
It would weave a lullaby for young & old.

(See the cruel majority with hands cupped to their ears,
one foot is in the water, one foot is on the clouds.)

One man of them is large enough to hold a cloud
between his thumb & middle finger,
to squeeze a drop of sweat from it before he sleeps.

He is a little god but not a poet.
(See how his body heaves.)

The cruel majority love crowds & picnics.
The cruel majority fill up their parks with little flags.
The cruel majority celebrate their birthday.

Hail to the cruel majority again!

The cruel majority weep for their unborn children,
they weep for the children that they will never bear.
The cruel majority are overwhelmed by sorrow.

(Then why are the cruel majority always laughing?
Is it because night has covered up the city's walls?
Because the poor lie hidden in the darkness?
The maimed no longer come to show their wounds?)

Today the cruel majority vote to enlarge the darkness.

They vote for shadows to take the place of ponds
Whatever they vote for they can bring to pass.
The mountains skip like lambs for the cruel majority.

Hail to the cruel majority!
Hail! hail! to the cruel majority!

The mountains skip like lambs, the hills like rams.
The cruel majority tear up the earth for the cruel majority.
Then the cruel majority line up to be buried.

Those who love death will love the cruel majority.

Those who know themselves will know the fear
the cruel majority feel when they look in the mirror.

The cruel majority order the poor to stay poor.
They order the sun to shine only on weekdays.

The god of the cruel majority is hanging from a tree.
Their god's voice is the tree screaming as it bends.
The tree's voice is as quick as lightning as it streaks across the sky.

(If the cruel majority go to sleep inside their shadows,
they will wake to find their beds filled up with glass.)

Hail to the god of the cruel majority!
Hail to the eyes in the head of their screaming god!

Hail to his face in the mirror!

Hail to their faces as they float around him!

Hail to their blood & to his!

Hail to the blood of the poor they need to feed them!
Hail to their world & their god!

Hail & farewell!
Hail & farewell!
Hail & farewell!