We’ve forgotten why Joan Fontaine leans over the edge of the cliff and what it was that Joel McCrea was going to do in Holland. We don’t remember why Montgomery Clift was maintaining eternal silence or why Janet Leigh stops at the Bates Motel or why Teresa Wright is still in love with Uncle Charlie. We’ve forgotten why Henry Fonda is not entirely guilty and exactly why the American government employed Ingrid Bergman. But we remember a handbag.
But we remember a bus in the desert. But we remember a glass of milk, the sails of a windmill, a hairbrush. But we remember bottles in a line, a pair of glasses, a passage of music, a bunch of keys, because it’s thanks to them that Alfred Hitchcock succeeded where Alexander, Julius Caesar and Napoleon failed: to become master of the universe.
“In one case, the hors-champ designates that which exists elsewhere, to one side or around; in the other case, the hors-champ testifies to a more disturbing presence, one which cannot even be said to exist, but rather to ‘insist’ or ‘subsist’, a more radical Elsewhere, outside homogeneous space and time.”—
“And the signifieds butt heads with the signifiers,
and we all fall down slack-jawed to marvel at words!
While across the sky sheet the impossible birds,
in a steady, illiterate movement homewards.”—JN, on repeat here in literary nerd alert no-sleep land
As you probably noticed, I went away forever. I am very experienced now and very famous. I am even a star. Every day I eat a mop, twice on Saturday. It is made of salami and that is my favorite. I get plenty to drink too, so don’t worry. I can’t tell you how to get to the Castle Yonder because I don’t know where it is. But if you ever come this way, look for me.
“La beauté d’un plan, sa justesse, est autre chose que la beauté d’une image. Le plan est musicale, finalement. Respiration, rhythme. Il y a ‘cinéma’ quand, inexplicablement, ça respire entre les images. Sinon, l’ennui devant le décoratif…”—Serge Daney
LP i just had a dream that we were back in paris and you were sitting on my bedroom floor (it was also the living room of the apartment where i babysat) doing arts and crafts (maybe with juliana?) and i said “LP guess where we are” and you said “why won’t you just tell me?” and i said “WE’RE IN PARIS” and you said “no we’re not” (i think i had summoned you there through some sort of magic… in my dream i had no memory of how i had gotten to the airport, paid for the plane ticket, or gotten to my host family’s house) and i said “YES WE ARE” and then you looked out the window and almost passed out because you were so excited.
then later i had to buy my own tshirt from a hot dog stand run by my mom’s friend jenny. it was a weird dream.
Lie back, daughter, let your head be tipped back in the cup of my hand. Gently, and I will hold you. Spread your arms wide, lie out in the stream and look high at the gulls. A dead- man’s float is face down. You will dive and swim soon enough where this tidewater ebbs to the sea. Daughter, believe me, when you tire on the long thrash to your island, lie up, and survive. As you float now, where I held you and let go, remember when fear cramps your heart what I told you: lie gently and wide to the light-year stars, lie back, and the sea will hold you.
(Phillip Booth; my mom emailed this to me this morning)
i’ve been thinking a lot about tattoos. possibilities:
-something vermont related (i’m thinking state outlines, “freedom and unity,” VT LOVE, etc.)
-something obnoxious in french
—” J’aimais les peintures idiotes, dessus de portes, décors, toiles de saltimbanques, enseignes, enluminures populaires; la littérature démodée, latin d’église, livres érotiques sans orthographe, romans de nos aïeules, contes de fées, petits livres de l’enfance, opéras vieux, refrains niais, rhythmes naïfs” (Rimbaud)
—“Il y a seulement deux choses: c’est l’amour, de toutes les façons, avec des jolies filles, et la musique de la Nouvelle-Orléans ou de Duke Ellington. Le reste devrait disparaître, car le reste est laid, et les quelques pages de démonstration qui suivent tirent toute leur force du fait que l’histoire est entièrement vraie, puisque je l’ai imaginée d’un bout à l’autre.” (Vian)
When I see birches bend to left and right Across the lines of straighter darker trees, I like to think some boy’s been swinging them. But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay. Ice-storms do that. Often you must have seen them Loaded with ice a sunny winter morning After a rain. They click upon themselves As the breeze rises, and turn many-coloured As the stir cracks and crazes their enamel. Soon the sun’s warmth makes them shed crystal shells Shattering and avalanching on the snow-crust Such heaps of broken glass to sweep away You’d think the inner dome of heaven had fallen. They are dragged to the withered bracken by the load, And they seem not to break; though once they are bowed So low for long, they never right themselves: You may see their trunks arching in the woods Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground, Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair Before them over their heads to dry in the sun. But I was going to say when Truth broke in With all her matter-of-fact about the ice-storm, I should prefer to have some boy bend them As he went out and in to fetch the cows— Some boy too far from town to learn baseball, Whose only play was what he found himself, Summer or winter, and could play alone. One by one he subdued his father’s trees By riding them down over and over again Until he took the stiffness out of them, And not one but hung limp, not one was left For him to conquer. He learned all there was To learn about not launching out too soon And so not carrying the tree away Clear to the ground. He always kept his poise To the top branches, climbing carefully With the same pains you use to fill a cup Up to the brim, and even above the brim. Then he flung outward, feet first, with a swish, Kicking his way down through the air to the ground. So was I once myself a swinger of birches. And so I dream of going back to be. It’s when I’m weary of considerations, And life is too much like a pathless wood Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs Broken across it, and one eye is weeping From a twig’s having lashed across it open. I’d like to get away from earth awhile And then come back to it and begin over. May no fate wilfully misunderstand me And half grant what I wish and snatch me away Not to return. Earth’s the right place for love: I don’t know where it’s likely to go better. I’d like to go by climbing a birch tree~ And climb black branches up a snow-white trunk Toward heaven, till the tree could bear no more, But dipped its top and set me down again. That would be good both going and coming back. One could do worse than be a swinger of birches.
Extinguish my sight, and I can still see you; plug up my ears, and I can still hear; even without feet I can walk toward you, and without mouth I can still implore. Break off my arms, and I will hold you with my heart as if it were a hand; strangle my heart, and my brain will still throb; and should you set fire to my brain, I still can carry you with my blood.