Kepler saw the moon as the face of a smallpox boy.
The night is the size of the Pacific.
Under the skylight we lay in the glare
of stars that burned out before we were born.
That night alone, all clockwork stood still,
the moon froze in its arc.
Under the city, a sea of iron and slate,
we lay there together.
Unwilling, unable, to hear the sound
of the future gaining upon us.
Recently, I had the pleasure of contributing to the wonderful Badaude‘s cutups BookGame at Dialogue Books in Berlin (including the above verse). The game was inspired by Raoul Vaneigem’s quote from The Revolution of Everyday Life, ‘Ideally a book would have no order in it, and the reader would have to discover his own.’ It’s one of many fascinating projects that Badaude has masterminded. I highly recommend checking out her work.
I’ve also been posting excerpts from Franz Kafka’s diary on twitter. When I’ve run myself into the ground as occasionally happens, I’ve found there’s always books that can help you read your way out. They tend to appear dark and anxiety-filled but are strangely settling. Seneca’s On the Shortness of Life, Strindberg’s Inferno, Hamsun’s Hunger, Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations, Huysmanns’ Against Nature, Plath’s Ariel, Camus’ The Fall, Bulgakov’s A Country Doctor’s Notebook, Janet Frame, Under the Volcano, the poetry of Michael Hartnett. The list goes on and on. Maybe the thought that someone else has been there before, and been worse, is a comforting one. Though it’s of no consolation to the poor bastard who wrote it, Kafka’s diary is one of those. There’s a bleakness to it that is almost zen. I thought I’d share some of it at least until the inspectors call around one morning or I awake as a monstrous vermin…