Silence, a black abyss, a turbulent void. And in the midst of the turbulence (Katasia having withdrawn) there suddenly loomed an irresistible, shining constellation of mouths, with two mouths unquestionably related to each other.
Gesture by gesture, as if idea by idea, the drama is built up. The audience watches for each allusion in turn; it follows point by point. The interest becomes like that of a detective story.
The phone rings and rings and rings and then someone picks up. Jeremy recognizes the silence on the other end. “Everybody came over and fell asleep,” he whispers. “That’s why I’m whispering.”
…and in sleep, being for the time dissociated from the characterizing mind, which at other times employed it for its outer vehicle or agent, it spontaneously sought escape from the scorching contiguity of the frantic thing, of which, for the time, it was no longer an integral.
The phonebook – already so outmoded as to be a relic – is an (almost impenetrably) concrete example of how a specific technology effects a printed text. Basic capitalism spawned ‘seedier’ aspects of phone communication: scams, sales, solicitations (though I wouldn’t place phone sex in this category).
Instead of a site of domination and surrender, the body of the dance partner becomes a site – or rather, a point of reference – for association and coordination. This is the “deindividualizing” principle (Jelavich, 179ff.) of the kick-lines which conquer the revue stages, transforming the individual bodies of the “girls” into complex systems of well-coordinated limbs. [see Revues] This is also why the role of the gigolo does not turn into a role of surrender and therefore hardly ever humiliates male gender-pride.
We could earn our living in hundreds of ways, why got it from killing animals? Any foods can fill our stomach, why took the risk of incarnation by consuming meats? Why don’t we become a vegetarian from now on?
I lowered my eyes, and again saw nothing but a little hand on the tablecloth, a double mouth with double lips, innocent and yet corrupt, pure and yet evil and darting, I gazed at it intently, gasping for breath, whereupon the whole place suddenly started swarming with hands, Leo’s and Fuchs’s and Kulka’s and Louis’s, a whole multitude of hands were being agitated in the air. What on earth could this be? It was a wasp. A wasp had flown into the room.
1 - Witold Gombrowicz (tr. Eric Mosbacher), Cosmos. Grove (NYC), 1970.
2 - Edwin Denby (ed. Robert Cornfield), Dance Writings and Poetry. Yale (New Haven), 1998.
3 - Kelly Link, Pretty Monsters. Viking (NYC), 2008.
4 - Herman Melville (ed. Charles Child Walcutt), Moby Dick. Bantam (NYC), 1981.
5 - Emily Beall, The Communicative Contract For Telemarketers: One Section Of The Phonebook. (Brooklyn), 2009.
6 - Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, In 1926: Living At The Edge Of Time. Harvard (Cambridge), 1997.
7 - [Unknown Author], The True Stories Of Cause & Effect. Shing Tak Temple (Queens), 2008?.
8 - [see 1]